Fried Chicken is an American standard, and one of the country’s most commercially sold foods. Homemade is always better, though Diane Worthington’s recipe excels. Serve hot with Mashed Potatoes, or at room temperature with potato salad. Absolutely perfect food any time of year!
Fried Chicken

Fried Chicken
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Serves: 4 to 6
  • 3 1/2 to 4 pound chicken, cut into 8 serving pieces
  • 1 1/2 Cups buttermilk
  • 1 Tablespoon salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon Cayenne pepper, divided
  • 2 Cups all purpose flour
  • 3-4 Cups vegetable shortening
  1. Begin the recipe at least 3 hours before you want to serve the fried chicken.
  2. Rinse and dry the chicken pieces with paper towels.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the buttermilk with 1 teaspoon of the salt, 1/4 teaspoon each of the black pepper and paprika and 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper. Add the chicken pieces and turn to coat evenly.
  4. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to overnight, turning the pieces occasionally.
  5. When you are ready to cook the chicken, put the flour in a pie plate along with the remaining salt, pepper, and paprika and stir well with a fork.
  6. Place three layers of paper towels on a baking sheet and place the baking sheet in a spot close to the stove for easy access.
  1. Put the shortening into a 10 inch to 12 inch cast iron frying pan or Dutch oven.
  2. Over medium-high heat, heat melt the shortening and heat until it registers 365 degrees F on a deep-fry thermometer or until a small cube of bread dropped into the oil browns in about one minute, (if you don't have a thermometer). You should have between 1 and 1 1/2 inches of oil, depending upon the depth of your skillet.
  3. Remove the thighs from the marinade first, letting the excess marinade drain off over the bowl for a moment. Dredge in the flour mixture, turning to coat evenly. Shake off excess flour over the pie plate, then carefully (using two forks or tongs) put the pieces skin side down in the center of the hot oil. Proceed to coat all the pieces in the same manner, removing any bits of flour clumps that accumulate in the pie plate and placing the other pieces around the thigh.
  4. Do not move the chicken until the coating is set and looks firm, about 4 to 6 minutes.
  5. Check the underside by lifting with tongs. Rearrange the pieces when they are a deep golden brown.
  6. Fry on the other side until that side is also deep golden brown, rotating pieces as necessary. Remove from the heat when done ( about 17 to 20 minutes for breasts and 20 to 25 minutes for the other pieces.)
  7. If you not certain if a piece is done, pierce the thickest part of the piece with a sharp knife and the juices should run clear.
  8. Place on a prepared baking sheet to drain and serve hot, cold or at room temperature.
Many recipes now call for oven-baking "fried chicken" but this recipe is the real Mc Coy. One of the secrets of crispy, non oily fried chicken is keeping the temperature of the fat high enough to cook the meat without letting the crust get soggy. It should be bubbly hot throughout the frying process. If fried chicken is a favorite dish, invest in a deep-frying thermometer and by all means don't overcrowd the skillet.


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