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.

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Ingredients

Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • 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.

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  • 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.

  • 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).

  • 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.

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

Cook's Notes

A deep-fry thermometer is the best way to monitor the temperature of the oil. Adjust burner heat during cooking to maintain a steady temperature.

Variations

For fried chicken with less fat and fewer calories, remove the skin before marinating.

Reviews (13)

154 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 32
  • 4 star values: 41
  • 3 star values: 48
  • 2 star values: 26
  • 1 star values: 7
Rating: Unrated
09/25/2011
how many reviews must i give to be in this site ????????
Rating: Unrated
09/25/2011
cant print recipes for my use !!!! what good is that ? LOUSY SITE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Rating: Unrated
06/26/2010
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!!
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Rating: Unrated
02/24/2009
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)
Rating: Unrated
08/29/2008
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
Rating: Unrated
08/29/2008
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.
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Rating: Unrated
08/29/2008
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.
Rating: Unrated
08/29/2008
I'll try this for sure, frying with 2 cups hot oil may not be easy for beginner cooks though, safety issues here. Joannabanana
Rating: Unrated
08/29/2008
I'll try this for sure, frying with 2 cups hot oil may not be easy for beginner cooks though, safety issues here. Joannabanana
Rating: Unrated
08/29/2008
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
Rating: Unrated
11/25/2007
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
Rating: Unrated
11/25/2007
Living on farm, we ate chicken most every day in summer, with pork
Rating: Unrated
11/20/2007
Yummy! That is some good chicken. My family loved it. We can't wait to have it again.