Crispy Southern Fried Chicken: A Classic Recipe

Calling all chicken lovers! Whether you are a fan of classic comfort food or crave spicy southern-style cuisine, I have the perfect recipe for you. And by perfect, I mean crispy, juicy and finger-licking good. Are you ready for some real Southern Fried Chicken?

As a chef specialized in cooking southern-style dishes, I know how to make a fried chicken that will transport you to the heart of Dixie. This recipe is not for the faint of heart; it’s bold, it’s flavorful, and it’s loaded with spices that will take your taste buds on a wild ride. Trust me when I say that this is the kind of recipe that will have your entire family begging for seconds.

But what exactly makes this recipe so special? First, there’s the golden-brown crust that encases each succulent piece of chicken. Made from a mixture of flour and an array of herbs and spices like garlic powder, paprika, tarragon, oregano and rosemary, this coating is what gives this Southern Fried chicken its signature crunch.

Then, there’s the chicken itself. It’s important to start with high-quality chicken pieces that are preferably bone-in and skin-on, as these will ensure maximum juiciness and flavor. You’ll also need to soak the chicken in a mixture of milk and egg before dredging it in the seasoned flour to get that extra richness and tenderness.

Lastly, but definitely not least, there’s the way this dish represents everything soulful, warm and comforting about southern cuisine. It’s a dish that speaks to Black folks’ cultural heritage, as well as the region of America that inspired its creation. The South is known for its thriving culinary scene and it doesn’t get much more Southern than this classic comfort food.

So put on your apron, dust off your cast-iron skillet or air fryer if you prefer less oil usage then follow along as I show you how to make the perfect Southern Fried Chicken that will impress even the

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Real Southern Fried Chicken
Real Southern Fried Chicken

If you’re a true fried chicken lover, then this southern-style fried chicken recipe is surely going to make it to the top of your list. With a deliciously crispy exterior and juicy, succulent meat on the inside, this recipe gives you the traditional southern fried chicken flavor that’s simply unbeatable.

What sets this recipe apart is the perfect blend of herbs and spices that go into the seasoning mix. From garlic and paprika to tarragon and oregano, every spice is carefully selected to create an explosion of flavors in your mouth.

But what truly makes this recipe special is the technique used to cook the chicken. The use of shortening instead of vegetable oil adds depth and richness to the flavor while keeping the chicken tender and succulent.

Plus, with simple ingredients that are likely already in your pantry, this recipe is not only delicious but also incredibly easy to prepare. All you need to do is follow a few simple steps, soak the chicken pieces in a milk mixture for added tenderness, and fry them up – it really doesn’t get much easier than that.

And let’s not forget – there’s just something special about homemade fried chicken. This classic southern dish brings back fond memories for many folks, evoking nostalgia for family gatherings, comfort food, and traditional soul food.

So, if you’re looking for an irresistible dish that’s sure to impress your guests or just want some good old-fashioned comfort food, give this southern-style fried chicken recipe a try. You won’t be disappointed!

Ingredient List

 The ultimate southern comfort food - Real Southern Fried Chicken!
The ultimate southern comfort food – Real Southern Fried Chicken!

Let’s take a look at the ingredients you need to gather for this Real Southern Fried Chicken Recipe. Don’t worry, most of these items should already be in your kitchen or pantry!

Here are the ingredients:

  • 8 pieces of chicken: you can use a whole chicken, cut into pieces or just separate chicken parts.
  • 2 cups of buttermilk: buttermilk will help keep the chicken moist and tender.
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of kosher salt, divided: this coarse salt is perfect for seasoning chicken.
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon of paprika: adds a subtle smokiness to the chicken.
  • 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper (optional): if you like a little heat in your fried chicken.
  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon of baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme and rosemary each: these herbs will bring out more flavor in your chicken.
  • 3 eggs: used to make an egg wash for coating the chicken before frying.
  • Hot sauce (optional): add as much or as little as you like to spice things up!

Now that you have all of your ingredients ready, it’s time to start cooking!

The Recipe How-To

 Perfectly crispy and juicy, this chicken will have your taste buds dancing the two-step.
Perfectly crispy and juicy, this chicken will have your taste buds dancing the two-step.

Now, it’s time to get down to business and fry up some mouth-watering southern style chicken. Trust me, once you try this recipe, you’ll never go back to store-bought fried chicken. So, let’s roll up our sleeves and jump into how to cook this delicious dish.

Prepping the Chicken

The first step is prepping the chicken. Take 6-8 pieces of your chicken cut into the desired sizes (legs or breasts will do just fine). Rinse the chicken pieces under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels. Now, season the chicken with one teaspoon of garlic powder, one teaspoon of paprika, one teaspoon of dried tarragon, one teaspoon of dried rosemary and one teaspoon of dried oregano. Rub in seasoning with your fingers on both sides of each piece.

Creating Egg and Milk Mixture

The second step is creating the egg and milk mixture. In a shallow bowl, beat 2 eggs until frothy using a whisk or fork. Next, stir in half a cup of milk into the eggs mixture.Stir in one teaspoon of salt and half a teaspoon of black pepper until well blended.

Soaking Chicken in Mixture

Thirdly, it’s time to soak the chicken in the egg and milk mixture for some tender-turned out results! Place the seasoned chicken into the egg and milk mixture (in batches) making sure they’re fully coated in the liquid marinade also shake off excess marinade from each breaded piece. Then place them aside for about 5-10 minutes.

Coating Chicken in Flour

Next up is coating your chicken pieces with flour! In another shallow dish mix two cups of all-purpose flour with two teaspoons kosher salt and half a teaspoon finely ground black pepper.

Frying The Chicken

Heat up at least 2 cups of shortening or cooking oil in a large Dutch oven or deep-fryer until it reaches 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Take each chicken piece from the egg and milk mixture, coat in flour mixture, then place in hot oil. Avoid overcrowding the pot so that the chicken can cook evenly; leave space around it for even heat distribution. Cook for approximately 15-20 minutes until the internal temperature of the chicken registers 165 degrees Fahrenheit and the crust is golden brown.

Plating Your Southern Fried Chicken

Now that your southern-fried chicken is cooked perfectly, it’s time to plate it! To bring out those traditional southern flavors, try serving with a side of creamed corn, mashed potatoes, or collard greens. A piece of warm cornbread also wouldn’t go amiss!

Now you have all the necessary steps to make the best Southern fried chicken recipe around. Don’t hesitate any longer; fry some up for dinner tonight!

Substitutions and Variations

 Don't be chicken to try this recipe at home - it's easier than you think!
Don’t be chicken to try this recipe at home – it’s easier than you think!

Now, I know not everyone has every ingredient on hand or may want to switch things up a bit. That’s why I have a few substitutions and variations for this recipe that will still give you delicious results!

Firstly, if you don’t have shortening, you can use vegetable or canola oil for frying instead. Make sure the oil is heated to 350°F before placing the chicken pieces in.

If you’re allergic to egg, you can substitute it for buttermilk as an egg wash when coating the chicken. Simply dip the chicken in buttermilk and then dredge it in the flour mixture.

If you want to add some heat to your southern fried chicken, try a dash of cayenne pepper or a few drops of hot sauce in the flour mixture. This will give your fried chicken a spicy kick that’s sure to please.

For a more herbaceous take on this recipe, swap out the paprika and garlic powder for fresh herbs like tarragon, rosemary, and oregano. You’ll get bold flavors that will elevate your fried chicken to new heights.

Finally, if you prefer boneless chicken, feel free to use boneless skinless chicken breasts instead of thighs or other pieces. You can even try cooking this recipe in an air fryer for a healthier but just as delicious alternative.

These substitutions and variations are just suggestions. Don’t be afraid to get creative and make this recipe your own!

Serving and Pairing

 This ain't your grandma's fried chicken - it's even better.
This ain’t your grandma’s fried chicken – it’s even better.

Get ready to experience southern comfort on a plate! Southern fried chicken is best served hot and crispy, straight out of the skillet or air fryer. Place it on a bed of fluffy mashed potatoes or alongside a side of savory collard greens. With a drizzle of hot sauce, this dish will hit all the right spots in your taste buds.

If you’re looking to take your meal up a notch, pair it with some classic mac and cheese or coleslaw. The creaminess of the mac and cheese complements the crispiness of the chicken, while the refreshing tanginess of coleslaw cuts through the richness of the dish.

A tall glass of sweet tea or lemonade perfectly completes this homey meal, giving you a refreshing palate cleanser after each delectable bite.

This recipe is perfect for any occasion, whether it’s a family gathering or a potluck party. Impress your guests with this traditional soul food delicacy – an iconic comfort food that is a staple in southern-style cuisine. Guaranteed to leave everyone wanting more, Southern fried chicken is sure to become your go-to recipe for years to come!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 Golden brown and delicious, you'll be frying up more than just one batch.
Golden brown and delicious, you’ll be frying up more than just one batch.

Ah, reheated chicken – that tantalizing aroma of crispy coating and savory seasoning that wafts from the microwave. But wait! Before you heat up your precious Southern Fried Chicken left-overs to enjoy it again, you should know how to properly store and reheat it.

If you’re planning on making this chicken recipe ahead of time, I would recommend preparing and frying the chicken as close to serving time as possible. This method ensures the best results in terms of crispiness and flavor.

However, if you do end up with some leftovers (which is hard to resist), it’s important to store them correctly to ensure freshness. Once cooled, wrap the chicken tightly in aluminum foil or plastic wrap, and store it in an airtight container or freezer-safe plastic bag. You can keep it in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days or freeze it for later consumption.

Now, let’s talk about reheating methods. There are several ways that you can reheat your leftover Southern Fried Chicken: microwave, oven, or air fryer. Personally, I recommend using either an oven or air fryer for optimal taste and texture.

To reheat in the oven, preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Place the chicken pieces in a baking dish or sheet pan and cover with foil. Bake for 15-20 minutes until heated through. To reheat using an air fryer, I recommend preheating to 370°F (190°C). Then, place the chicken in the air fryer basket and reheat for about 3-4 minutes.

Keep in mind that once fried chicken gets cold after reheating it may lose some of its original crispiness, however, this doesn’t affect its flavor at all. At this point you can simply add a little bit more seasoning or hot sauce if desired.

So go ahead and enjoy your delicious Southern-style fried chicken whenever you want without compromising its quality. Happy reheating!

Tips for Perfect Results

 Take a bite and get ready to be transported straight to the heart of Dixie.
Take a bite and get ready to be transported straight to the heart of Dixie.

Now, I’m going to share some tips with y’all to ensure you get the perfect Southern fried chicken every time. Listen closely and, who knows, maybe people will start calling you the “fried chicken whisperer.”

First tip is all about preparation. It is important to have all of your ingredients ready before you start cooking. So, make sure to have your flour mixture and egg wash prepared ahead of time. Trust me, trying to mix everything up while cooking can lead to overworked arms and unevenly coated chicken.

When it comes to seasoning your chicken, don’t be afraid to get creative. While traditional Southern fried chicken is made with a simple salt and pepper seasoning, adding in some garlic powder, paprika or herbs such as tarragon, rosemary or oregano can really take the flavor up a notch.

Next up, temperature control is key. Make sure your oil is at the correct temperature (around 350-375°F) for optimal frying—the temperature will drop when you add the chicken but aim for that range if possible.

When frying your chicken pieces, overcrowding the pan is a recipe for disaster. It will lead to uneven cooking and soggy breading. Give each piece room to breathe so that they can cook evenly and get that delicious crispy texture we all love.

Finally, once your chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165°F (use a meat thermometer), let it rest on a wire rack for a few minutes. This allows the excess oil to drip off and keeps the coating crisp.

These tips may seem simple but trust me when I say they can make a big difference in achieving perfectly cooked Southern fried chicken every time.


Now, let’s dive into the FAQs of this real Southern Fried Chicken Recipe. If you have any questions or doubts about the ingredient list, recipe method, or final results, you’re in the right place. I’ve compiled the most common queries and concerns that readers have asked me over time. So, keep reading to clear your doubts and enjoy your lip-smacking fried chicken with confidence!

What is the difference between fried chicken and Southern fried chicken?

In the South, there’s nothing quite like crispy, golden fried chicken. This classic dish involves coating chicken with a mixture of seasoned flour or batter and cooking it through various methods such as pan-frying, deep-frying, pressure-frying or air-frying. The coating adds a crunchy layer to the outside of the chicken, sealing in the meat’s natural juices.

What is the secret to making great fried chicken?

As a chef who specializes in southern-style cuisine, I know the importance of properly preparing chicken for my dishes. To achieve a perfect balance between dark and white meat, I suggest using a whole chicken cut into pieces. But before cooking, make sure to marinate your chicken to guarantee the best flavor possible. Take your time and let the chicken soak up all those delicious flavors. Don’t forget to season generously to bring out the best in your ingredients. When it comes time to cook, choose the right cooking oil and temperature for a juicy and tender result. Finally, I recommend ditching the paper towels and opting for a wire rack to let the chicken cool instead. Trust me, these small steps can make a big difference in the final outcome of your dish.

Why do you soak chicken before frying?

One way to prevent dry and chewy fried chicken is through the process of brining. By soaking the chicken in a saltwater solution, the meat retains its moisture and remains tender. This technique is particularly useful in tenderizing the meat and preventing overcooking.

Do you dip chicken in milk or egg first?

Before we begin, let’s break down the first steps in preparing delicious southern-style fried chicken. Firstly, we’ll need to start by cutting the chicken into pieces that are perfect for frying. In a shallow bowl, we’ll beat some eggs and mix in some milk, salt, and pepper to create a tasty and creamy mixture. We’ll then need to let the chicken soak in the mixture for a few minutes to thoroughly absorb the flavors. After this, we’ll roll the chicken pieces in flour until they are completely coated – this will give them the perfect amount of crunchiness that makes them so irresistible.

Bottom Line

To sum up, my real southern fried chicken recipe is the ultimate comfort food that will bring the taste of the Southern soul to your table. The crispy golden crust and juicy tender meat of this chicken will definitely leave you craving more. In fact, it’s tough to resist the incredibly delicious taste of the crunchy coating and alluring flavors infused in every bite.

While this recipe might seem challenging for some, with these thorough instructions and tips, you can rest assured that you’ll end up with a mouth-watering outcome. So why not try this southerner’s favorite dish today? Take my word for it, it’s so worth it!

Real Southern Fried Chicken

Real Southern Fried Chicken Recipe

aka "Heart Attack in A Skillet", but, according to the elderly Louisiana gentleman who shared this recipe, the genuine thing. It's been a long time since I made this but I do remember how good it was. Cook time includes marinating time.
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Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 2 hrs 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 8 pieces chicken
Calories 1521.7 kcal



  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon tarragon
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed


  • 8 pieces chicken, 1 cut-up fryer,washed and patted dry
  • 2 cups shortening or 2 cups vegetable oil
  • 1 cup flour, seasoned with
  • salt and pepper
  • salt


  • Marinade: Combine marinade ingredients and chicken pieces in a plastic bag and refrigerate for 2 hours.
  • Chicken: Heat oil in skillet until it sizzles when tested with a drop of water; place seasoned flour in a plastic bag; remove chicken from marinade and add to flour; shake to thoroughly coat; brown chicken quickly on all sides.
  • Cover, reduce heat and cook SLOWLY until chicken is tender and cooked through, about 20 minutes; salt the chicken generously as it fries, poultry absorbs a lot of salt.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 402gCalories: 1521.7kcalCarbohydrates: 24.5gProtein: 5gFat: 158.5gSaturated Fat: 33.1gCholesterol: 52.9mgSodium: 18.5mgFiber: 1gSugar: 0.2g
Keyword < 4 Hours, Beginner Cook, Chicken, Easy, Inexpensive, Kid-Friendly, Lunch, Meat, Potluck, Poultry, Savory, Stove Top, Weeknight
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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