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Buttermilk Fried Chicken

Marinating the chicken in buttermilk makes the meat moist and flavorful. Chicken breasts cook faster than other parts, so fry them separately in the last batch.

  • Prep:
  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 8
Buttermilk Fried Chicken

Source: Everyday Food, June 2004


  • 2 cups low-fat buttermilk
  • Coarse salt
  • 3 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 2 whole chickens (2 1/2 to 3 pounds each), each cut into 10 serving pieces (wings, thighs, drumsticks, and 4 breast pieces)
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups vegetable oil


  1. In each of two 1-gallon resealable plastic bags, combine 1 cup buttermilk, 1/2 tablespoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne, and half the chicken pieces. Shake to coat, refrigerate up to 2 days.

  2. In a large shallow bowl, whisk flour with 2 tablespoons salt and remaining 2 teaspoons cayenne. Dredge chicken pieces one at a time in mixture, shaking off excess.

  3. In a 12-inch cast-iron skillet (or other heavy-bottom skillet), heat oil to 350 degrees on a deep-fry thermometer (or until a pinch of flour sizzles when dropped in the oil).

  4. Carefully add 1/2 of the chicken. Cook 10 minutes: turn chicken with tongs. Cook until golden brown, the juices run clear, and internal temperature is 165 degrees about 10 minutes more. Transfer to a rack to drain. Season with salt, if desired.

  5. Return oil temperature to 350 degrees. Repeat with remaining chicken.

Reviews (13)

  • convoycoyote 25 Sep, 2011

    how many reviews must i give to be in this site ????????

  • convoycoyote 25 Sep, 2011

    cant print recipes for my use !!!! what good is that ? LOUSY SITE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • GiveMeGourmet 26 Jun, 2010

    Best fried chicken one can make. It's been a 4th of July tradition since the recipe was published t in Martha's magazine, I believe it was around 10 years ago. Thanks for such a great comfort food recipe!!

  • Apartmentchef 24 Feb, 2009

    Boy oh boy was this chicken great! I used Canola oil and it turned out just right with Zero spattering. I Ithink my big cast iron skillet contributed to the phenomenal end result. The left-overs were even better served cold the next day for lunch. I served with collard greens, black-eyed peas, and garlic mashed potato. (and a sweetened southern-style iced Barry's tea)

  • chefem 29 Aug, 2008

    jo68 the technique is when you put the chicken into the hot oil.. put it away from you, so in case it splatters, the oil splatters away from you , hope that helps

  • fcdean 29 Aug, 2008

    I have tried this recipe. It's very good. As far as the oil I use peanut oil, it doesn't crackle and pop when you add the chicken and it has the lowest smoking point and is better for you than canola.

  • salanie 29 Aug, 2008

    I agree with comment number 3. If you cook to only 165 degrees, the meat will still be very pink near the bone. Yuck, I don't eat "pink" chicken.

  • jo68 29 Aug, 2008

    I'll try this for sure, frying with 2 cups hot oil may not be easy for beginner cooks though, safety issues here. Joannabanana

  • jo68 29 Aug, 2008

    I'll try this for sure, frying with 2 cups hot oil may not be easy for beginner cooks though, safety issues here. Joannabanana

  • foodfoodgirl 29 Aug, 2008

    Boneless chicken should be cooked to 165F but if you use bone-in chicken such as drums, you need to cook to an internal temperature of 180F.

    I'm a food scientist who works in R

  • mmsrjs 25 Nov, 2007

    since my complete comment did not register, I will try again. Pork and Beef were eaten in the winter. This chicken is excellent, everyone likes it and will make it again and agin until Martha comes along with a better recipe

  • mmsrjs 25 Nov, 2007

    Living on farm, we ate chicken most every day in summer, with pork

  • Meggs 20 Nov, 2007

    Yummy! That is some good chicken. My family loved it. We can't wait to have it again.

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