Picnic Basket Fried Chicken

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

Editor's Note: When it comes to classic recipes, you can't go wrong with this Picnic Basket Fried Chicken! This old-fashioned recipe is just like the one Grandma would make. This recipe uses only six ingredients and uses buttermilk to get get that delicious and crisp flavor that simply cannot be compared. This recipe is also hearty and delicious, and will taste great when served on the dinner table or in a picnic. You'll find that this chicken recipe is sure to be a crowd-pleaser for family and friends, and will definitely be a hit with the kids.

Deep-fry? In the middle of summer? We know, but fried chicken holds great childhood memories of picnics by the sea or under the stars watching the Fourth of July fireworks. Cut up the chicken and marinate it overnight; the next day you can fry it (and heat up the kitchen) early in the day before it gets warm. Then you are good to go until the cooler evening hours.


Cooking MethodPan-frying


Total Timehalf-day

Make Ahead RecipeYes

Occasional Fresco, Buffet, Buffet Meal, Casual Dinner Party, Family Get Together, Game Day, Picnic

Recipe CourseMain Course

MealDinner, Lunch

Taste and TextureCrisp, Meaty, Savory


  • 2 pounds chicken pieces (breasts, legs, and thighs)
  • 3 cups buttermilk
  • 4 cups vegetable shortening, for frying
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 3 cups flour


  1. With a cleaver or heavy knife, split the chicken breasts, then cut each breast half in half again.

  2. Place the chicken pieces in a shallow container skin side down and pour the buttermilk over them. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours or overnight if possible.

  3. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

  4. Remove the chicken from the buttermilk and season both sides with salt and pepper.

  5. Place the beaten eggs and flour in separate shallow bowls. Dredge the chicken pieces first in the flour, then the egg, and then the flour again.

  6. In a 12-inch sauté pan with deep sides, melt enough shortening so that it is 2 inches deep and heat the pan until the oil begins to smoke.

  7. Fry the chicken for 2 minutes on each side, until the skin is golden brown. Transfer to a baking sheet and bake the chicken for 15 minutes, or until cooked through.

  8. Serve warm immediately, or store in the refrigerator for the next day’s picnic.


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