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Buttermilk Fried Chicken

This Southern Buttermilk Fried Chicken recipe is juicy on the inside with a crispy coating that’s finger licking good. You’ll love serving this authentic Southern fried chicken recipe for Sunday supper or include it on the menu any day of the week.

Buttermilk Fried Chicken

How to Make the Best Southern Buttermilk Fried Chicken Recipe

The technique for making this buttermilk fried chicken recipe begins with the chicken pieces being brined in buttermilk. This step adds extra tenderness and flavor. The chicken pieces are then coated with a flavorful seasoned breading and deep fried until crispy and golden.

  • Ingredients you’ll need to make the best homemade Buttermilk Fried Chicken: One whole chicken divided into 8 pieces, buttermilk, salt, black pepper, all purpose flour. onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, cayenne large eggs and peanut oil or vegetable oil for frying.
  • There are many variables involved in frying chicken. Things such as the weight of the chicken, the pot that you’re using, even the type of stove or fryer that you have. So be patient, sometimes it takes practice to master frying chicken.
  • It may not be clear in the video, but for flavorful fried chicken it’s helpful to season every layer. Start with the actual chicken pieces then season the breading and the egg wash, too. Follow the written recipe and you’ll be good to go.
  • The best seasonings for frying chicken can vary from cook to cook. This chicken is coated with all purpose flour, salt, pepper, garlic and onion powder, smoked paprika for color and cayenne for added flavor. You may also adjust the amount of cayenne to suit your personal taste or omit.
  • This recipe and the cooking time is for bone-in chicken pieces. Each piece will cook slightly differently so for the best results cook similar pieces together.
  • Keep in mind it’s important to always cook chicken until the juices run clear or it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F.
  • Monitor the temperature of the oil throughout the frying process. if the oil is kept around 335°F-350°F while frying it shouldn’t over brown.
  • If the oil is hotter and you’re concerned about over browning and under-done chicken there is a solution. Place the fried chicken pieces onto a baking pan fitted with an oven safe rack. Place the pan into the oven at 325°F for several minutes to gently finish cooking. Again, check the internal temperature using a meat thermometer for doneness.
  • When frying chicken in batches place onto a pan and into a 200°F  to keep warm.
  • Store leftover Buttermilk Fried Chicken chilled in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • You can enjoy any leftover fried chicken pieces cold or reheat in a 350°F air fryer for a few minutes just until heated through.
Buttermilk Fried Chicken

Southern Side Dishes to Serve with Buttermilk Fried Chicken

So, there are some classic side dishes that go along with fried chicken “automatically”.  That said, there are no hard and fast rules regarding what you can eat with fried chicken. It’s one of those moments that if it’s something you like, then it works! Classic dishes often served along with Southern fried chicken that you may like to try:

Buttermilk Fried Chicken

More Southern Style Chicken Recipes To Make

Every single Southern cook and resident chicken fryer has his or her favorite fried chicken recipe. It’s often been a family secret that’s been handed down for generations. I have so many favorite ways I like that it’s impossible for me to choose only one. Did I say impossible? That’s right, impossible. In light of that, checkout a few other crispy fried chicken recipes to make:


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Buttermilk Fried Chicken

Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Marinate Time3 hours
Total Time45 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: buttermilk-fried-chicken
Servings: 8
Calories: 636kcal
Author: Melissa Sperka


  • 1 3-4 lb whole chicken cut into 8 pieces
  • 2 cups whole buttermilk
  • 1 3/4 tsp salt divided use
  • 1 3/4 tsp ground black pepper divided use
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 3 large eggs
  • 6-8 cups peanut oil


  • To brine: Place chicken pieces into a bowl and cover with buttermilk. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight. May cut super large breast pieces in half to allow for more even cooking, if needed.
  • To cook: Fill a deep fryer, deep medium-large pot or Dutch oven halfway with oil. Do not overfill. Heat the oil to 350°F.
  • To prepare the dredging station: In a shallow dish or plate use a whisk to sift together flour, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika and cayenne.  
  • In a separate dish whisk together eggs with 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. (You can also add a few dashes of hot sauce.)
  • Remove the chicken from the buttermilk shaking off the excess. Season lightly with remaining 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 black pepper on all sides.
  • Dip chicken pieces into flour, then into egg wash then into flour again. Have nearby a pan, arrange breaded pieces on pan. Repeat until all are breaded.
  • To fry: Gently lower pieces into the hot oil a few pieces at a time skin side down. Maintain temperature while cooking to around 325-350°F.
  • Cook in batches beginning with the dark meat being careful not to overcrowd the pot. Cook dark meat for about 10-12 minutes on each side and white meat pieces for 8-10 minutes on each side or until juices run clear.
  • Remove to paper towels or an oven safe baking rack to drain. Cover and keep warm until serving. (May season with additional salt, if desired.)


If the chicken is browning quickly and you’re concerned about it being under-done, place browned chicken pieces onto a baking pan fitted with an oven safe rack. Place into a 325°F oven for several minutes to gently finish cooking and to keep the chicken warm.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 636kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 48g | Fat: 33g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 10g | Monounsaturated Fat: 14g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 175mg | Sodium: 710mg | Potassium: 168mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 352IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 90mg | Iron: 2mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @melissassk or tag #melissassk!



  1. 5 stars
    WOW!! I’m thrilled I found this crispy, juicy, bursting with flavor fried chicken recipe. This is the third time I’ve served this to my family and friends, I really enjoyed hearing “mmmmm” as we sat around the table enjoying our meal!

      1. 5 stars
        Absolutely delicious!
        I did brown the chicken in the oil and got it crispy. I then put it in the oven to finish it. It stayed nice and crispy.
        My husband loved it!

  2. 5 stars
    Oh my goodness. I made this. My family raved “Best fried chicken ever”. Thank you so much. This was a trial run for our “Soul Food Dinner” later this week do not need to find another. I used boneless skinless chicken thighs. They worked perfectly and cook a bit faster so all good. Thank you

  3. I think it’s best not to rinse chicken it spreads bacteria, better to use paper towels to dry it before prepping

    1. When you rinse chicken bacteria will wash down the drain. It’s advisable to rinse all meat before preparing.

  4. Melissa, yet another winner recipe! Your site is such a delight for authentic southern recipes. I’m not much of an accomplished cook when it comes to fried chicken, and I believe the reason has to do with the humidity in the south as one cooks, simmers, and stews. Not good for a native Nevadan, even though both of my parents were from Georgia, and I do consider myself a, “Grits Girl.” Anyway, this recipe was FABULOUS, and my family LOVED it. Thank you again for another outstanding recipe!! ????

    1. This recipe you can’t it’s designed for frying. However I have oven fried chicken tenders, Parmesan chicken and provolone stuffed chicken breast recipes as well. Search under Poultry in the recipe index.

  5. The 3 hour wait time applies to the buttermilk marinade. It’s not a magic number, but, if you don’t have time to let it soak overnight, at least 3-4 hours. Yes, after soaking, and coating the chicken, you can fry it.

    1. My Dad was from Alabama and made the best fried chicken ever! However that was a long time ago and he never marinated it in buttermilk. What does that actually do?

  6. i use to be a barback in the air force and use to go to the kitchen and talk to the master Sargent that cooked they never used a thermometer they did the chicken in a deep fat fryer and when it floated it was done it always seem to be perfect they called it the float test

  7. I have never had any luck frying chicken. It always gets too dark before it is thoroughly cooked. I notice that in the picture, it looks like you are deep frying, but the directions say to turn the chicken. Do you have to turn if you are deep frying? Also, what is a Dutch oven?

  8. Hi Jo, learning how to fry tasty fried chicken takes practice, truly, so don’t give-up! I prefer to fry chicken in small batches. If you over crowd the pot or pan it lowers the temperature of the oil. Yes, the chicken pieces will float and if you don’t turn the chicken it can overcook on one side and undercook on the other side. If you have a pan,fitted with a rack, I think you might benefit from frying the chicken to golden then finishing it in the oven. I hope this helps, Melissa

  9. I’m from the South, having lived here most of my life. I make pretty good fried chicken, but no one (mom? grandma?) ever told me to let it soak in the buttermilk overnight. Thanks! G
    onna try it tonight … no tomorrow. Gotta let it soak!!

  10. Hello! My Gramma is who taught me this trick, and I never make it without letting it soak. I have heard some soak it in a salt water brine, too. Happy frying!

  11. It’ll work just fine. I assume you mean bone-in? Breading tends to stick better if the skin is on, but, just be mindful of that when handling the chicken. Boneless skinless chicken will also work, of course, but would likely cook in half the time. [depending on thickness]

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