Best Southern Fried Chicken Recipe

Indulge your taste buds in the delightful world of Southern cuisine with our unparalleled Best Southern Fried Chicken Recipe. This iconic dish has been perfected over generations, combining crispy perfection with a burst of flavors that will leave you craving for more. Our recipe not only guarantees a mouthwatering experience but is also crafted to make your cooking journey as enjoyable as the final result.


The origins of Southern Fried Chicken can be traced back to the heart of Southern hospitality, where gatherings revolved around delicious, comforting dishes. Passed down through family recipes, this Southern classic has become a symbol of warmth and togetherness. Our recipe pays homage to these roots while infusing a touch of modern culinary finesse.


  • 16 chicken drumsticks (or a combination of drumsticks and thighs)
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Tabasco sauce
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons black pepper (divided)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Vegetable oil (for frying, about 3 cups)

Step-by-Step Instructions

1. Preparing the Chicken

Begin by preheating the warming drawer or oven to 200°F. Pat the chicken with paper towels to ensure they are dry, a crucial step for achieving that perfect crispiness.

2. Marinating in Flavor

In a large bowl, combine buttermilk, Tabasco sauce, salt, and 1 tablespoon of black pepper. Add the chicken legs to the mixture, ensuring each piece is thoroughly coated. Cover and refrigerate, allowing the marinade to work its magic for at least 1 hour, or for an enhanced flavor experience, marinate for up to 24 hours.

3. Coating with Flavorful Flour

Remove the chicken from the buttermilk, letting any excess drip off. In a separate bowl, combine flour, an additional 1 tablespoon of black pepper, and cayenne pepper. Shake the chicken legs in the seasoned flour, ensuring each piece is well-coated. Place on a rack while waiting for the oil to heat.

4. Mastering the Fry

In a large, heavy saucepan or deep skillet, heat at least 3 cups of vegetable oil to around 365°F. Fry the chicken legs in batches for approximately 10 minutes, turning once for even cooking. Use an instant-read food thermometer to check for doneness, ensuring the minimum safe temperature of 165°F is reached.

5. The Crispy Finale

Place the fried chicken on paper towels to drain any excess oil. For the finishing touch, transfer the drained chicken to a baking sheet, cover loosely with foil, and keep warm in the warming drawer or oven while frying subsequent batches.

Serving and Enjoyment

As you unveil this masterpiece, bask in the satisfaction of creating Southern Fried Chicken perfection. Serve on a plate, and relish the crispy exterior giving way to tender, flavorful meat. This dish pairs wonderfully with classic Southern sides like mashed potatoes and coleslaw, creating a feast that will transport you to the heart of the South.

Pro Tips

In deep-frying, the food is completely immersed in the oil, while in pan-frying, the food is placed in enough oil to cover the bottom and sides. For this recipe, three cups of oil will provide a depth of 1/2-inch in a deep 10-inch skillet, sufficient for pan-frying perfection.


Elevate your culinary skills with our Best Southern Fried Chicken Recipe – a symphony of flavors that captures the essence of Southern cooking. Make every meal an occasion, filled with the warmth and tradition of this iconic dish. Experience the pleasure of Southern hospitality in your own kitchen.

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