Ultimate Crispy Southern Buttermilk Fried Chicken

Ultimate Southern Fried Chicken Recipe with Buttermilk Brine

Discover the secret to irresistibly juicy, golden-brown fried chicken with a satisfyingly crunchy crust. This buttermilk-brined Southern classic will transport your taste buds straight to comfort food heaven.

Prepare for a flavor explosion with this perfected fried chicken recipe. We’ve cracked the code on achieving that ideal balance of tender, succulent meat and a crispy, spice-infused exterior. Get ready to impress your family and friends with this crowd-pleasing dish!

Mastering the Art of Buttermilk-Brined Southern Fried Chicken

Fried chicken holds a special place in many hearts, evoking memories of family gatherings and summer picnics. This recipe takes the beloved classic to new heights, combining time-honored techniques with a few clever twists for an unforgettable result.

The magic begins with a flavorful buttermilk brine, infusing the chicken with moisture and a tangy essence. A carefully crafted spice blend adds depth and complexity, while a unique breading method ensures that perfect crunch in every bite.

The Science of Succulent Chicken: Brining Brilliance

The key to exceptionally juicy fried chicken lies in the brine. This recipe employs a buttermilk-based brine, which not only seasons the meat throughout but also tenderizes it to perfection. The result? Chicken that’s moist and flavorful to the bone.

Our brining process involves:

  • Infusing the meat with seasoning beyond just the surface
  • Improving the chicken’s ability to retain moisture during cooking
  • Creating a tender texture through protein modification

A six-hour soak in our spiced buttermilk brine transforms ordinary chicken into something extraordinary, setting the stage for an unforgettable fried chicken experience.

Crafting the Ultimate Crispy Crust

Achieving that perfect crunch requires a bit of culinary science. Our recipe incorporates several techniques to ensure a crust that’s crispy, flavorful, and adheres beautifully to the chicken:

  • Combining flour with cornstarch for optimal texture
  • Adding baking powder for extra lift and crispiness
  • Incorporating a touch of buttermilk into the breading for those coveted crispy nooks and crannies

The result is a crust that shatters satisfyingly with each bite, revealing the juicy, flavorful meat beneath.

Ultimate Crispy Southern Buttermilk Fried Chicken


For the Spice Mix:

  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

For the Buttermilk Brine:

  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 large egg
  • Kosher salt

For Finishing the Chicken:

  • 1 whole chicken, about 4 pounds, cut into 10 pieces or 3 1/2 pounds bone-in, skin-on breasts, legs, drumsticks, and/or wings
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 4 cups vegetable shortening


  1. In a small bowl, mix the paprika, black pepper, garlic powder, oregano, and cayenne with a fork to create your signature spice blend.
  2. Whisk together the buttermilk, egg, 1 tablespoon salt, and 2 tablespoons of your spice mix in a large bowl. Add the chicken pieces, ensuring they’re well-coated. Transfer to a gallon-sized zipper-lock freezer bag and refrigerate for 4 hours to overnight, flipping occasionally for even distribution.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, 2 teaspoons salt, and remaining spice mix. Add 3 tablespoons of the marinade and work it into the flour with your fingertips. Dredge each piece of chicken in this mixture, ensuring a thick, even coating.
  4. Preheat your oven to 350°F and position a rack in the middle. Heat the shortening to 425°F in a 12-inch cast-iron chicken fryer or large wok over medium-high heat. Maintain this temperature throughout cooking.
  5. Shake off excess flour from each chicken piece and place them skin-side down in the hot oil. Fry until golden brown, about 6 minutes on the first side and 4 minutes on the second side, maintaining a temperature of 300°F.
  6. Transfer the fried chicken to a wire rack set in a rimmed baking sheet. Season lightly with salt and bake until the internal temperature reaches 150°F for breasts and 165°F for thighs/drumsticks, about 5-10 minutes. Serve immediately, or follow the next step for extra-crispy chicken.
  7. For extra-crispy chicken, refrigerate the cooked pieces for at least 1 hour or overnight. When ready to serve, reheat the oil to 400°F. Fry the chilled chicken for about 5 minutes, flipping once, until supremely crisp. Drain on a wire rack and serve hot.
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
824 Calories
53g Fat
33g Carbs
57g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 3 to 4
Amount per serving
Calories 824
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 53g 68%
Saturated Fat 18g 91%
Cholesterol 318mg 106%
Sodium 1144mg 50%
Total Carbohydrate 33g 12%
Dietary Fiber 3g 11%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 57g
Vitamin C 1mg 3%
Calcium 135mg 10%
Iron 5mg 28%
Potassium 790mg 17%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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