New This Month

Fried Chicken


A simple spice-filled brine ups the flavor ante on this crisp and juicy fried chicken from Carolyn Bane and Erika Geldzahler, co-owners of Brooklyn restaurant Pies 'n' Thighs.

  • Servings: 4

Source: The Martha Stewart Show, January 2011


  • 1 cup coarse salt, plus more for serving
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 (3 1/2 pound) organic chicken, cut into 8 pieces
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • Canola oil, for frying


  1. Fill a large pot with 16 cups water and add salt and sugar; bring to a boil over high heat and cook, stirring, until salt and sugar have dissolved. Remove from heat and transfer brine to a large container; let cool completely.

  2. Season chicken with paprika, cayenne pepper, and black pepper. Add chicken to brine; cover and transfer to refrigerator for 24 hours.

  3. Fill a large cast-iron skillet with canola oil to a depth of 2 inches and heat over medium-high heat until it reaches 350 degrees on a deep-fry thermometer.

  4. Place flour in a shallow dish. Drain chicken and rinse under cold running water; dredge in flour, shaking off any excess. Add chicken to hot oil and cook until golden brown and crisp and chicken reaches 165 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, about 13 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain; season with salt and serve immediately.

Reviews Add a comment

  • jweaver67
    6 JUL, 2015
    I have made this numerous times for my family, and they love it. The trick to the brine is to use the coarsest salt that you can find, I like a very coarse sea salt that I get from a local Mexican grocer. This chicken is delicious, especially when served with fresh, not frozen, waffles, and greens. Classic Southern food.
  • Bobin
    25 JAN, 2014
    Rinsing the chicken is important too. Don't forget to rinse.
  • fourchismom
    10 OCT, 2011
    I wish I had taken time to read the reviews before I made the chicken...I would have cut the salt in half. I used table salt instead of kosher salt and that may have made a difference. The chicken fried up beautifully with a lovely crunchy crust. When I bit into a piece I was really disappointed. I had planned to take some to my neighbors but decided against it. I do like the idea of brining the chicken because it did cook up nicely and I think that cutting back on the salt will help.
  • dbcjeri1
    28 SEP, 2011
    I have to say my mouth watered at the thought of this recipe and was so very disappointed with the results. We made this and everyone was so excited to eat it, everyone's first bite commented on how salty it was, so we brought out the BBQ sauce to 'hide" the taste. Well we should have just threw it away. All 5 of us who ate it was up all night with very upset tummys from the salt. Everyone was bloated and still upset the next morning. WILL. NEVER. MAKE. THIS. AGAIN!. Very disappointing.
  • mother3kids
    16 MAR, 2011
    Thank you all for your comments, I used less salt and add about 2 Tb of vinegar after the water was cool, left over night. The taste was irresistible to eat only one piece. My family enjoyed, this one of my favorites recipes. *- )
  • Maggie217
    10 MAR, 2011
    Sadly I read the comments after spending 2 days making the chicken (24 hours). I almost brought it to my friend's birthday party. Absolutely inedible. Did any figure this out as the project was easy and I love the look and feel (and it wasn't a mess and then it was just a "bar of salt"!
  • MS10332841
    12 FEB, 2011
    I too thought the chicken was too salty but not inedible, at least only by me. My husband and son thought it was fine. I am sensitive to salt and I have high blood pressure so it was too much salt for me. The next time I will only use 1/2 cup of salt instead of 1 cup. I did love the fact that the chicken didn't burn faster than it cooked since the chicken was brined beforehand. Brining is the way to go and I will use this technique from now on when frying, baking or broiling meats.
  • Ellen11703
    5 FEB, 2011
    To answer Geralyn - Table Salt weighs out heavier than Kosher Salt so you would use half as much. With Table Salt the salt/sugar ratio will be 1:1 - Kosher Salt is 2:1 to sugar. I too think timing is the problem. Chicken parts would be 1-2 hours tops! A whole chicken is about 8 hrs. A big 20 lb. turkey overnight. Hope this helps!
  • Ellen11703
    5 FEB, 2011
    To answer Geralyn - Table Salt
  • KatWarren
    2 FEB, 2011
    I'm going to try 1/2 c. Kosher salt, etc in 1 gallon of water, no heat, and chill for only 12 hours. I'll post next week. :)