This Southern style Chicken Fried Chicken recipe is drizzled with a homemade peppered milk pan gravy. Pair it with creamy mashed potatoes, a skillet of Southern succotash and a basket filled with fresh from the oven buttermilk biscuits and it's a feast. Don't forget the sweet tea to wash it all down and for dessert? Why pound cake, of course.
Easy Chicken Fried Chicken Recipe
What is chicken fried chicken? Classic Southern fried chicken is made with bone-in chicken pieces from a whole bird. This chicken is made with boneless skinless chicken pieces usually chicken breasts, but occasionally thighs as well. It's widely believed by food historians that this dish actually evolved from chicken fried steak. The story goes that German immigrants who settled in Texas, brought with them a classic Austrian dish called Wiener schnitzel made with thinly pounded pieces of veal. Settling in Texas where beef was abundant they used the same technique adapted to beef. Fast forward to this century when chicken is in abundance and country cooks began making it using boneless skinless chicken pieces, pounded and coated with breading just like chicken fried steak. Thus chicken fried chicken was born.
How to Make the Best Chicken Fried Chicken Recipe
Regardless of origin, this fried chicken recipe is country cooking at it's finest and not difficult to prepare.
- Ingredients you'll need to make this recipe for Chicken Fried Chicken and Gravy: Boneless skinless chicken breasts, all purpose flour, crushed saltine crackers, seasoned salt, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, buttermilk, eggs and peanut oil or vegetable oil for frying.
- Ingredients needed to make the peppered milk pan gravy you'll need: All purpose flour, pan drippings from frying the chicken, salt, evaporated milk and whole milk. To make the gravy, it's super simple. Whisk the flour into the pan drippings over medium heat scraping all of the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Next, add the salt and both kinds of milk while whisking until it begins to thicken. You can adjust the seasonings, to your taste.
- Can I use bone-in chicken pieces? This recipe uses boneless chicken breasts. The advantage of using boneless chicken breasts, is that it cooks more quickly without the bone.
- When preparing the chicken breasts for dredging, you'll need to pound them using the smooth size of a meat tenderizer for uniform thickness and even cooking.
- What's in the breading? The breading for this recipe includes all purpose flour, crushed Saltine crackers, seasoned salt, smoked paprika, granulated garlic and onion powder. The crushed cracker crumbs add a light crunch to the breading.
- What is peppered milk gravy? It's basically an easy pan gravy using milk that's been generously seasoned with black pepper. When making it, you will want to scrape up all of that goodness left behind on the bottom of the skillet from frying the chicken breasts. This will give a boost to the flavor overall. You can adjust the amount of black pepper to suit your taste.
- What oil is best for frying chicken? This always depends on the preference of the cook, but this recipe will work well with vegetable or peanut oil.
Southern Side Dishes to Make
You can really go wrong but there are some favorite Southern side dishes that pair particularly well with fried chicken. A few from the recipe index that you may like to try:
- Homestyle Green Beans and Potatoes when cooked together always hits the spot.
- Southern Bacon Dill Deviled Eggs add another dimension of color and texture to the plate.
- A fresh crunchy batch of Homestyle Cole Slaw.
- Sweet Oven Roasted Corn on the Cob is a must during garden season.
- Creamy Buttermilk Ranch Mashed Potatoes will be the perfect foundation for the creamy peppered milk pan gravy.
- Country style Turnip Greens from The Loveless Café.
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Helpful Kitchen Items:
Chicken Fried Chicken
- 6 8 oz boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 2½ cup all purpose flour
- ½ cup crushed saltine crackers crumbs or panko breadcrumbs
- 1½ teaspoon seasoned salt
- 1½ teaspoon onion powder
- 1½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 2 large eggs
- Peanut or vegetable oil for frying
- ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
- 4 tablespoon pan drippings
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper divided (Adjust to your taste)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 14 oz can evaporated milk
- 1 cup whole milk plus additional as needed to thin
- Using a meat mallet, pound the chicken breasts to about ½-inches for uniform thickness. Season on both sides with seasoned salt and black pepper.
- Sift together the flour, cracker crumbs, 1½ teaspoon seasoned salt, 1½ teaspoon onion powder, 1½ teaspoon garlic powder and smoked paprika. Set aside.
- Whisk together the buttermilk and eggs.
- Dip the chicken pieces into the seasoned flour, then into the egg wash, then back into the seasoned flour. Shake off any excess.
- Place onto a baking pan in a single layer. Refrigerate uncovered for 15 minutes or up to 1 hour to allow the breading to set.
- To prepare: Preheat the oven to 350°F and fit a baking rack into a rimmed baking pan.
- Heat ¼ cup peanut or vegetable oil in a large 12-inch cast iron skillet or similar.
- Brown the chicken about 2 minutes per side. Repeat frying in batches with all 6 pieces.
- Place browned chicken onto the rack and into the oven for 15-20 minutes or until the juices run clear.
- Meanwhile to make the gravy: Discard all but 4 tablespoon of the drippings.
- Add the flour to the drippings stirring constantly over medium high heat scraping any brown bits from the bottom of the skillet. .Add the salt and ½ teaspoon black pepper.
- Gradually add the evaporated and regular milk whisking constantly. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil.
- Lower the heat and allow the gravy to gently simmer for 3-5 minutes. Taste and adjust the salt to your taste. Thin further with additional milk, if needed.
- Serve the milk gravy drizzled over the chicken fried chicken and garnish with remaining black pepper.(Adjust the amount to your taste)