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Fried Chicken with Paprika and Honey Butter

Scott Phillips

Servings: 4

The union of crisp coating, smoky heat, and a sweet slather of honey butter is a beautiful one indeed. The butter is so insanely good that you may want to double the recipe to have some on hand for toast and waffles.


For the brine

  • 2-1/2 oz. kosher salt (1/2 cup Diamond Crystal or 1/4 cup plus 1 tsp. Morton)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 large orange
  • 1 large lemon
  • 2 boneless skin-on chicken breasts, halved crosswise
  • 2 boneless skin-on chicken thighs
  • 2 bone-in chicken drumsticks

For the honey butter

  • 4 oz. (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt; more to taste

For dredging and frying

  • 9 oz. (2 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/4 oz. (1/4 cup) rice flour
  • 1 Tbs. plus 1/2 tsp. kosher salt; more for serving
  • 1 Tbs. garlic powder
  • 1 Tbs. freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1-1/4 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 gallon canola oil or rice bran oil

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 830
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 450
  • Fat (g): 51
  • Saturated Fat (g): 20
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 8
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 20
  • Cholesterol (mg): 175
  • Sodium (mg): 1690
  • Carbohydrates (g): 69
  • Fiber (g): 2
  • Protein (g): 28


Brine the chicken

  • Combine the salt, sugar, pepper flakes, and 1 gallon water in a large pot. Using a vegetable peeler, zest the orange and lemon in strips, and add the zest to the pot. Stir over medium heat until the salt and sugar dissolve, about 5 minutes. Cool to room temperature in the pot or other large container. Add the chicken, cover, and refrigerate for at least 12 and up to 24 hours.

Make the honey butter

  • Using an electric mixer, whip the butter ingredients in a medium bowl until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Season to taste with more salt.

Dredge and fry the chicken

  • In a large bowl, whisk the flours, 1 Tbs. of the salt, garlic powder, black pepper, onion powder, baking powder, cayenne, and 1/4 tsp. of the paprika. Remove the chicken from the brine and blot dry with paper towels.
  • Pour the buttermilk into a medium bowl and dip a piece of chicken into it, letting the excess drip back into the bowl. Dredge the chicken in the flour mixture, dragging it through to coat both sides but not too thickly. Repeat with the remaining pieces and set aside while you heat the oil.
  • Set a wire rack on a paper-towel lined rimmed baking sheet. Fit an 8-quart Dutch oven or other heavy-duty pot with a deep-fry thermometer, add the oil, and heat over medium high to 340°F. Working in batches, fry the chicken, adjusting the heat as needed to maintain 340°F, until an instant-read thermometer registers 165°F in the thickest part of each piece, about 8 minutes for the boneless pieces and 10 to 12 minutes for the drumsticks.
  • Transfer the chicken to the rack. Combine the remaining 1 tsp. paprika and 1/2 tsp. kosher salt and sprinkle half of it over the chicken while it’s hot. Let the chicken rest 1 minute, turn the pieces over, then sprinkle a little of the paprika mixture over the other side. Serve with the honey butter on the side, or generously smear some of it on the chicken before serving.


Rate or Review

Reviews (2 reviews)

  • User avater
    CaliforniaChardonnay | 09/21/2016


  • cookykamp | 08/03/2015

    The chicken itself was just okay, but the honey butter takes it over the top!

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