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Southern Fried Chicken

Scott Phillips

Servings: 4

This recipe uses a dry brine (a spice rub containing ample salt) to add savory flavor without diluting the bird’s inherent chickeny flavor. The salt dries out the skin, so it becomes extra crisp. A dredge in a buttermilk and egg batter gives the pieces a thick crust that snaps and crackles with each bite. Rice flour lightens the coating and prevents bits of the batter from falling off in the hot oil.


For the dry brine

  • 3/4 tsp. dried basil
  • 3/4 tsp. celery seeds
  • 3/4 tsp. yellow mustard seeds
  • 1/2 dried bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp. sweet paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. black peppercorns
  • 1/4 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1-3/4 oz. kosher salt (1/4 cup plus 1 tsp. Diamond Crystal or 2 Tbs. plus 2 tsp. Morton)
  • 1 whole (3-1/2 to 4 lb.) chicken, cut into 10 pieces, or 3 to 3-1/2 lb. of your favorite bone-in, skin-on pieces

For dredging and frying

  • 9 oz. (2 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 5 oz. (1 cup) rice flour
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 gallon peanut or canola oil

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 810
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 380
  • Fat (g): 43
  • Saturated Fat (g): 11
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 11
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 17
  • Cholesterol (mg): 240
  • Sodium (mg): 1060
  • Carbohydrates (g): 42
  • Fiber (g): 1
  • Protein (g): 59


Dry-brine the chicken

  • In a spice grinder, grind the basil, celery seeds, mustard seeds, bay leaf, garlic powder, pepper flakes, paprika, peppercorns, and thyme to a powder. Transfer to a small container and stir in the salt. Sprinkle 2 tsp. of the dry brine all over the chicken, cover, and refrigerate for 3 to 5 hours.

Dredge and fry

  • In a large bowl, whisk the flours with 2 Tbs. of the dry-brine spice mix. (The leftover spice mix will keep in an airtight container for up to 3 months.)
  • Whisk the buttermilk and eggs in a separate medium bowl. 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.
  • Meanwhile, dunk a piece of chicken into the buttermilk mixture, then roll in the flour mixture until well coated. Set aside on a platter and repeat with the other pieces.
  • Set a wire rack on a paper towel-lined rimmed baking sheet. 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, 13 to 15 minutes total. Transfer the chicken to the rack to cool for a few minutes before serving.


Use a skimmer (not tongs) to lift the chicken out of the oil and keep the crisp coating intact.


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Reviews (5 reviews)

  • duchessofcumberland | 09/19/2016

    I had to add yogurt to my eggs since the buttermilk on hand was perhaps past its best. I let the dredged pieces sit a bit before frying and kept temp at 350 because that is what I am used to. This was moist, delicious and even better the next day. This will be a go to for the once or twice a year treat. The spice rub reminds me of Old Bay minus some heat.

  • andre40 | 09/27/2015

    Wow! I'm speechless! The BEST fried chicken I've ever tasted. Easy, easy, easy. The dry brine is what makes this so delicious, moist, and crispy. A hit at our house!

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