Homemade fried chicken has never been so delicious! This is my all-time favorite Buttermilk Fried Chicken – brined chicken is quickly soaked in buttermilk & dusted with flour before frying in garlic- & fresh herb-infused oil. The resulting fried chicken is absolutely juicy & tender, intensely flavorful, & ridiculously crispy. Absolutely perfect, in absolutely every way!
- 2–3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs (see Recipe Notes, below)
- simple poultry brine, below
- poultry spice blend, below
- 2.5 quarts frying oil
- 1 head garlic, halved crosswise
- 3/4-ounce pack fresh poultry herbs (see Recipe Notes, below)
- 2 cups buttermilk (see Recipe Notes, below)
- 1 large egg
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
for the simple poultry brine:
- 4 cups hot water
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon whole peppercorns
- 2–4 dried bay leaves
- optional: 8-10 sprigs fresh thyme
for the poultry spice blend:
- 1 heaping tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 heaping tablespoon onion powder
- 1 heaping tablespoon smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- optional: 1 -2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
helpful frying equipment:
- Optional: Brine the chicken: To a large bowl or resealable bag add the simple poultry brine ingredients – hot water, kosher salt, brown sugar, whole peppercorn, bay leaves, & fresh thyme (if using). Whisk to combine. Add the chicken to the brine, ensuring all pieces are submerged. Cover or seal & transfer to the refrigerator to brine for 12-72 hours. About 1 hour before you’d like to start frying the chicken, remove from the refrigerator & set on the counter to allow the chicken to come up to room temperature.
- Preheat the garlic- & herb-infused frying oil: About 30 minutes before you’d like to start frying the chicken preheat the oil. Fit the Staub Tall Cocotte or another heavy-bottomed 5-quart pot or Dutch oven with a candy thermometer to accurately monitor the oil temperature. Add the frying oil, garlic, & fresh poultry herbs to the pot. Preheat over high or medium-high heat until the thermometer registers 300 degrees F. Use a spider strainer to carefully transfer the fried aromatics to a plate or bowl. Reduce heat to medium-high or high until the thermometer registers 350 degrees F, at which point you’re ready to begin frying the chicken.
- Mix poultry seasoning: Meanwhile, as the oil heats, prep the poultry seasoning. Combine all listed ingredients – garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, dried thyme, kosher salt, & cayenne pepper (if using) – in a jar or small bowl. Whisk or shake to combine. Set aside or store sealed on your spice rack for up to 1 month.
- Prep chicken for frying: Meanwhile, as the oil heats, prep the chicken for frying. Remove the chicken parts from the brine, using paper towel to pat them as dry as possible. In bowl or shallow container, whisk together buttermilk, egg, & 2 tablespoons of poultry seasoning. In second bowl or shallow container, whisk together flour, baking powder & remaining 2 tablespoons of poultry seasoning. Working in batches, dredge the chicken. Submerge the chicken in the buttermilk mixture, then transfer to the dry flour mixture & coat completely, shaking off any excess buttermilk & flour as you go. Transfer the breaded chicken pieces to a large plate & continue with the remaining chicken parts.
- Fry the buttermilk chicken: Working in batches of 5-6 pieces of chicken at a time, carefully slide the breaded chicken into the hot oil. Adjust the heat as needed to maintain the oil temperature at a steady 325-350 degrees F. Fry the chicken for 7-8 minutes until crispy, golden brown, & an instant read thermometer inserted in the thickest portion of each piece registers 165 degrees F. Use a spider strainer to carefully transfer the fried chicken to a plate or bowl. Repeat the frying process with all remaining breaded chicken. [gallery columns="2" size="large" ids="16453,16454"]
- Serve the buttermilk fried chicken immediately, with the spent crispy herbs, flaky sea salt, & lemon wedges. Enjoy!
- Chicken: The size of the chicken pieces used plays a crucial role in how long it takes the chicken to fry. I always err on the side of smaller or medium boneless skinless thighs or chicken breasts when I make this fried chicken recipe, & I halve chicken breasts at an angle crosswise to create 2 thinner pieces of about the same thickness as the chicken thighs. This is what the fry temperature & fry time indicated in the Recipe Directions, above, reflects. If your pieces of chicken are on the larger side or if you opt to use bone-in, skin-on parts, you’ll want to reduce the frying temperature slightly (try 300-325 degrees F) & increase cooking time (which will vary based on the size of your chicken, use an instant-read thermometer to check for doneness & adjust temperature/timing for your subsequent batches).
- Poultry herbs: Rather than buying fresh herbs individually, many grocery stores that sell fresh herbs also carry a “poultry blend” consisting of fresh rosemary, sage & thyme. If you prefer to purchase herbs individually (or you have a bountiful herb garden!), you can create your own “poultry blend” with 2-3 sprigs fresh rosemary, 8-10 fresh sage leaves, & 8-10 sprigs fresh thyme.
- Buttermilk substitute: If you do not have buttermilk on hand, you can make a quick substitute for this buttermilk fried chicken recipe by adding 2 tablespoons lemon juice or vinegar to a scant 2 cups milk. Stir to combine & let the mixture sit for a minute to thicken slightly.
- Storage & Reheating: Crispy buttermilk fried chicken is best served fresh, though leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. The best way to reheat is to toast them in the oven or in an air fryer.
- Reheating in an oven: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Place the buttermilk fried chicken on a baking sheet and bake for 3-4 minutes per side, until toasty & warmed through.
- Reheating in an air fryer: Preheat the air fryer to 375 degrees F. Place the buttermilk fried chicken in the air fryer basket & air fry for 2 minutes per side, until toasty & warmed through.
- 10-Minute Meal Prep: While this buttermilk fried chicken is a slightly more hands on recipe, you can make day-of frying a little bit easier by prepping parts in advance. To prep, brine the chicken & mix up the spice blend. At dinnertime, all you have to do is dredge & fry – easy!
- Brine the chicken according to Step 1 of Recipe Directions, above, and store in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. (5 minutes active prep)
- Prep the poultry seasoning according to Step 3 of Recipe Directions, above, and store in a sealed container on your spice rack for up to 1 month. (5 minutes active prep)
Keywords: buttermilk fried chicken, extra crispy, boneless chicken, fried chicken recipe, comfort food, spring, summer, fall, winter