Southern Buttermilk-Fried Chicken

Editor's Note: When you think of favorite Southern recipes, it's very possible that fried chicken is near the top of the list! And when you make this recipe for Southern Buttermilk-Fried Chicken, you'll see why fried chicken is such a beloved dish with Southerners of all ages. When serving this Southern Buttermilk-Fried Chicken, consider putting your favorite potato salad, homemade biscuits, and fresh vegetables on the table, too, for a well-rounded and hearty meal. This recipe is perfect for any occasion, including potlucks and your next game day watch party. You'll also find that this recipe is kid-friendly, too. 

I have learned all about Southern fried chicken in my monthly visits to my daughter, who lives in Nashville. Crisp and crunchy and slightly salty on the outside, and tender and juicy inside, there is nothing quite like it. We Northerners try and try, but somehow the best fried chicken still seems to be made down South. I think this is because Southerners rely on tradition and don’t give much thought to contemporary health concerns when it comes to their fried chicken. If Grandma threw lots of fat in the pan and a ton of salt and pepper in the flour, that’s how the chicken still gets fried.

The main consideration is to keep the fat as near 365 degrees F as you can, from the moment you place the chicken in the pan right up until you lift it out. This will give you the crisp skin and juicy meat that makes fried chicken so tasty. You can also adapt this method to other birds. I’ve made a great, crunchy and delicious quail.


Cooking MethodFrying, Pan-frying


Total Timeunder 4 hours

Kid FriendlyYes

OccasionBuffet, Casual Dinner Party

Recipe CourseMain Course

MealDinner, Lunch

Taste and TextureCrisp, Crunchy, Juicy, Meaty, Salty, Savory


  • 1 quart buttermilk
  • ¼ cup Tabasco sauce
  • 2 3½- to 4-pound frying chickens, cut into serving pieces, thoroughly rinsed and patted dry
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons coarse salt
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 4 cups vegetable oil


  1. Combine the buttermilk and Tabasco in a large nonreactive bowl. Add the chicken pieces and toss to coat them well. Cover the chicken with plastic wrap and allow to marinate for 3 hours.

  2. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.

  3. Place the flour in a large plastic bag. Combine the salt and cayenne. When well blended, add to the flour and shake to blend.

  4. Add the marinated chicken to the flour mixture, one or two pieces at a time, and toss to coat well. When nicely coated, transfer to the parchmentlined baking sheets. Continue coating the chicken until all of the pieces are done.

  5. Heat 2 cups of oil in each of two large, heavy-duty, frying pans until very hot but not smoking.

  6. Add the chicken pieces to the hot oil, taking care not to crowd the pans, and fry the chicken, turning it occasionally, for about 25 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and golden brown and crisp.

  7. Using tongs, transfer the fried chicken to paper towels to drain. (If you need to make more than two batches, preheat the oven to low. Place the fried chicken on baking sheets and into the preheated oven with the door slightly ajar. This will keep the chicken warm and crisp while you continue frying.)

  8. Place the chicken on a large serving platter and serve it family-style.


Free recipes, giveaways, exclusive partner offers, and more straight to your inbox!


I have not made this yet so I cannot rate it.

Include a Photo Include a Photo

Click the button above or drag and drop images onto the button. You can upload two images.

Cancel Reply to Comment

Thanks for your comment. Don't forget to share!

This recipe sounds like it is right up my alley. I love spicy foods, but I do not eat them as much as I used to do when I was younger. This sounds like a recipe that I can adjust the heat to fit my diet best. Thanks for the ideas.


Report Inappropriate Comment

Are you sure you would like to report this comment? It will be flagged for our moderators to take action.

Thank you for taking the time to improve the content on our site.

Sign In to Your Account

Close Window
Sign In with one of your Social Accounts
Facebook Twitter
Sign In using Email and Password