Finger-Lickin’ Good: Southern Fried Gizzards Recipe

Southern Fried Gizzards in a Buttermilk Brine Recipe

Southern cuisine is more than just food. It’s tradition, it’s culture, and it’s a way of life. And nothing says Southern cuisine quite like crispy, juicy, and tender fried chicken. But what about the often-overlooked cuts of poultry that come with it? That’s where this recipe comes in – Southern Fried Gizzards in a Buttermilk Brine.

As a chef specializing in Southern-style cuisine, I want to share with you an authentic recipe that will elevate your taste buds while emphasizing Southern culinary traditions. This recipe calls for chicken gizzards, which are often thrown away without realizing their potential as a delicacy when cooked correctly.

The secret to the perfect southern fried chicken gizzard lies in the buttermilk brine. The buttermilk and seasoning mixture works magic by tenderizing the cuts and infusing flavors into them before frying them to perfection.

So come on over and dust off that skillet – let’s embrace our roots and create a dish that celebrates everything we love about Southern culture.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Southern Fried Gizzards in a Buttermilk Brine
Southern Fried Gizzards in a Buttermilk Brine

If you are a fan of Southern-style cuisine, then you absolutely must try the southern fried gizzards in a buttermilk brine recipe. This recipe is bound to delight your taste buds and leave you wanting more.

What makes this recipe so special? First and foremost, the chicken gizzards are marinated in a buttermilk brine along with various spices such as garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper and salt. This mixture tenderizes the gizzards and infuses them with flavor, making them juicy and succulent on the inside. The outside is perfectly crisp and crunchy after being coated in flour and fried to golden perfection.

Moreover, the use of buttermilk adds a tangy richness to the dish while ensuring that the gizzards are moist and tender. It also helps to eliminate any game-like taste that might be present in the meat.

This dish is not only amazingly flavorful but it is also quite versatile as it can be served as an appetizer or main course, pairing perfectly with a number of sides such as collard greens, mac and cheese or biscuits.

In addition, this dish is perfect for those who want to try something new or stretch their culinary horizons. It provides a great chance to explore new flavors and textures while remaining firmly rooted in Southern cooking traditions.

If you’re looking for a hearty meal that offers both delicious flavor and an exciting culinary experience, then this recipe for southern fried gizzards in a buttermilk brine is perfect for you!

Ingredient List

 Get ready to fry up some delicious Southern Fried Gizzards in a Buttermilk Brine!
Get ready to fry up some delicious Southern Fried Gizzards in a Buttermilk Brine!

Here is a list of ingredients you will need for Southern Fried Gizzards in a Buttermilk Brine recipe:

  • 1 lb chicken gizzards
  • 1 small onion, chopped coarsely
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Seasoned Salt
  • Garlic Powder
  • Onion Powder
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • All-Purpose Flour
  • Vegetable oil for frying

Note: If you want an even spicier dish, add hot sauce to the brine or sprinkle on top after frying. You can also use chicken livers or hearts instead of the gizzards, or a mix of all three. Experiment with different combinations and find your favorite!

The Recipe How-To

 These gizzards are packed with flavor and make for a fun twist on traditional fried chicken.
These gizzards are packed with flavor and make for a fun twist on traditional fried chicken.

Step 1: Prepare the Buttermilk Brine

First and foremost, taking your time to make the perfect brine is key to this recipe’s success. Place 1 pound of chicken gizzards in a large pot or Dutch oven, and add enough water to cover them by at least an inch. Add 1 small onion, chopped coarsely, and 2 teaspoons each of garlic powder and seasoned salt. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until the gizzards are tender, about 2½ – 3 hours.

Step 2: Marinate the Chicken

While waiting for the gizzards to cook down, prepare your buttermilk brine. Combine 2 cups of buttermilk, 1 – 2 tablespoons of your favorite hot sauce (optional), 1 teaspoon of onion powder, 1 teaspoon of black pepper, and a pinch or two of cayenne pepper in a bowl. This should be enough to cover about 1-2 pounds of chicken gizzards (or you can mix in some chicken livers or hearts if you want)!

Once you’re happy with your brine mixture, add the cooked gizzards (leaving behind any broth) into the bowl with buttermilk brine. Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes (overnight works great too!). This will ensure that your gizzards are flavorful and tender!

Step 3: Prepare the Dredge

Next up is preparing your dredge. Season about 2 cups of all-purpose flour with some more of your preferred seasoning blend – like garlic powder or seasoned salt! Mixing in a bit more cayenne pepper wouldn’t hurt anyone ether…

Step 4: Time to Fry!

Dredge each marinated gizzard in the seasoned flour mixture, shaking off any excess. Make sure every piece is well-coated for that crispy fried taste! In a large skillet or deep fryer, heat at least 2 inches of oil to a temperature of 350°F.

Now it is time for the best part: frying! Add your prepared gizzards to the hot pan and cook until golden brown on each side. Make sure not to overcrowd the pan, as this will lower the oil temperature and prevent the gizzards from getting crispy. Cook until each piece is crispy and golden-brown, for about 4-5 minutes per side or longer depending on how thick your cuts are.

Step 5: Serve and Enjoy!

When they’re cooked to your liking, remove them from the oil with a slotted spoon and place onto paper towels to drain any excess oil. Serve hot with more of that delicious seasoning blend on top, alongside some green beans or mashed potatoes – southern style!


Substitutions and Variations

 The key to the perfect gizzard is in the buttermilk brine, which tenderizes the meat and adds flavor.
The key to the perfect gizzard is in the buttermilk brine, which tenderizes the meat and adds flavor.

One of the great things about Southern cooking is that it’s flexible and open to experimentation. If you’re looking to mix things up a bit, there are a variety of substitutions and variations you can make to this fried gizzard recipe.

For instance, if chicken gizzards aren’t your cup of tea, you could try using other cuts of chicken instead. Chicken breasts or thighs would work well, either marinated or breaded like the gizzards. You could even try mixing different cuts together for a crispy combination.

If you want to experiment with different flavors in the buttermilk brine, try adding some hot sauce or garlic powder along with the salt and pepper. You could also use seasoned salt in place of regular salt for an added punch of flavor.

For those who are gluten-free, swap out the all-purpose flour for chickpea flour or cornmeal. Another option is to make the dish entirely gluten-free by using rice flour and panko breadcrumbs as a coating.

If you’re looking to elevate the dish even further, try serving it with creamy homemade coleslaw on top of a toasted bun for a delicious sandwich. Alternatively, swap out the gizzards altogether and use crispy fried chicken livers or hearts instead.

The possibilities are endless when it comes to Southern cooking, so don’t be afraid to experiment and make substitutions based on your personal preferences. Whether you stick to the original recipe or branch out with your own twist, these buttermilk-brined southern fried gizzards are sure to be a hit at any gathering or mealtime.

Serving and Pairing

 Letting the gizzards soak in the buttermilk for at least 4 hours will help to break down any toughness and make them more tender.
Letting the gizzards soak in the buttermilk for at least 4 hours will help to break down any toughness and make them more tender.

Now that your southern fried gizzards are crisp and ready, it’s time to pair them with a delicious side like collard greens, coleslaw or mashed potatoes. I usually like to serve my fried gizzards with pickled vegetables or hot sauce for a tangy kick.

If you’re looking for a refreshing beverage to go with this meal, iced tea or lemonade would be a perfect choice. The sweet yet refreshing flavors of these drinks subtract the heat from the chicken and balance out the flavors.

For a complete southern-style meal, pair your fried gizzards with other classic dishes like deep-fried okra, cornbread muffins and slow-cooked black-eyed peas. The combination of these dishes will create an appetizing spread for you and your guests.

When serving fried gizzards, it’s important to remember that they are usually consumed as an appetizer so try not to overdo your portion size. Keep the servings small in order to have enough room for the rest of your meal.

If you are vegan or vegetarian, substitute chicken breast or marinated mushrooms into this recipe as an alternative. Their hearty texture will still give you that satisfying crunch similar to the traditional version.

With these perfect pairing ideas in mind, you can create an impressive Southern-style dinner party that will impress everyone who tries it. So go ahead and fry up some golden brown gizzards and enjoy!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 Once your gizzards have soaked in the buttermilk, it's time to coat them in a flavorful breading mixture.
Once your gizzards have soaked in the buttermilk, it’s time to coat them in a flavorful breading mixture.

These southern fried gizzards are best enjoyed fresh and hot from the fryer, but you can certainly make them ahead of time if needed. Once you have fried the gizzards and allowed them to cool to room temperature, you can store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

When ready to serve, preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C) and place the cooled gizzards on a baking sheet. Cover with foil and bake for about 10-15 minutes until they are heated through. Alternatively, you can reheat them in a skillet over medium heat with a little bit of oil until crispy and warmed all the way through.

It’s not recommended to freeze fried chicken gizzards, as their texture can become tough and rubbery when defrosted. If you have leftover buttermilk brine, it’s best to discard it as it can contain harmful bacteria after soaking raw chicken pieces.

To make this recipe even easier, you can marinate chicken gizzards in the buttermilk brine up to 24 hours before frying. This will help tenderize the meat and infuse it with flavor. You can also prep the flour mixture ahead of time and store it in an airtight container until ready to use.

Whether you choose to make these southern fried gizzards ahead of time or enjoy them fresh from the fryer, they are sure to be a hit at any gathering or family dinner. Just be sure to store them properly and reheat them using one of the methods recommended above for best results!

Tips for Perfect Results


If you want to achieve that perfect, crispy fried texture on your Southern Fried Gizzards, here are some tips that will help you up your game in the kitchen and give you impeccable results every time.

First and foremost, make sure to thoroughly clean and remove any impurities from your chicken gizzards before marinating them in the buttermilk brine for at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours. This helps to tenderize the meat and draw out any excess blood or unpleasant flavors.

Next, when it comes time to coat the marinated gizzards with the seasoned flour mixture, use a fork to gently lift each piece out of the buttermilk brine to prevent clumping, which can cause uneven browning or coating.

For best results, use a deep fryer set at 350°F/175°C to fry the chicken gizzards until golden brown and crispy on both sides. Alternatively, they can be pan-fried in hot oil until crispy and cooked through.

To ensure the gizzards cook evenly, don’t overcrowd them in the fryer or skillet. Fry in small batches instead.

Another tip is to let the fried gizzards drain on a wire rack instead of paper towels to keep them crispier longer by allowing air to circulate around all sides of each piece.

Lastly, consider serving your Southern Fried Gizzards with a side of hot sauce or dipping sauce for a tangy kick of flavor, and pair them with other Southern classics like collard greens, macaroni and cheese, or cornbread for a well-rounded meal.

Follow these tips for perfect results, and you’ll soon have a go-to recipe that will leave your taste buds singing!


Now that you know how to make southern fried gizzards in a buttermilk brine, you might still have questions about some of the steps or ingredients. To help you troubleshoot common issues and understand more about this recipe, I’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions and answers. From cooking time variations to tips for substitutions, read on to find out everything you need to know about making the best crispy fried gizzards possible.

What is the best way to fry gizzards?

When it’s time to fry up some delicious gizzards, heat the oil up to a sizzling 350°F. First, dip each gizzard into the egg before thoroughly coating it in flour. It’s important to make sure that each gizzard is completely coated in flour in order to achieve the perfect crisp batter. Once the gizzards are thoroughly coated, place them gently into the hot oil and fry until they are a beautiful golden brown color and ultra-crispy. This typically takes about 2 to 3 minutes.

How long does it take for gizzards to get tender?

To get tender and juicy gizzards, we’re going to start by boiling them. Once they’re boiling, reduce the heat to low and cover them. Let them simmer for about 2 1/2 hours until they get just the right texture.

Why use buttermilk for fried chicken?

Marinating chicken in buttermilk can make the meat more delicate and flavorful. The acidity present in buttermilk helps to tenderize the chicken, while also preventing it from becoming too chewy. Moreover, buttermilk can aid in creating a crispy and flaky texture when the chicken is coated with dry mix.

What tenderizes gizzards?

To prepare delicious chicken gizzards, start by simmering them in boiling water for around 30 minutes. This process will soften the meat and reduce frying time, resulting in juicy and moist gizzards. After the gizzards are cooked to your desired tenderness, let them cool down before breading. This step is essential to ensure that the breading sticks to the meat and doesn’t fall apart while cooking.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, Southern Fried Gizzards in a Buttermilk Brine recipe is the perfect dish that creates a balance of flavors – the crispiness of fried chicken and the tenderness of the brined southern gizzards. This dish not only is delicious but also easy to make with readily available ingredients in any local store.

So, whether you’re a seasoned chef or new to the kitchen, this recipe is perfect for you to try at home. By following these detailed instructions and tips, you’ll be able to recreate a restaurant-quality result that will leave your family and friends wanting more.

Don’t hesitate to experiment with substitutions and variations to personalize the dish according to your liking. And remember, when it comes to cooking southern-style cuisine, there’s no substitute for patience and taking time in every step of the process.

Lastly, I hope this recipe article has encouraged you to step out of your comfort zone and try something new. So gather up your ingredients and get cooking! You won’t regret trying out this amazing Southern Fried Gizzards in a Buttermilk Brine recipe.

Southern Fried Gizzards in a Buttermilk Brine

Southern Fried Gizzards in a Buttermilk Brine Recipe

The buttermilk softens the gizzards and makes them more tender, but they still retain some of the chewiness and gaminess one expects from offal meats. Adapted from a recipe by Chichi Wang at Serious Eats.
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Prep Time 1 d
Cook Time 15 mins
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Southern American
Calories 214.2 kcal


  • 1 lb chicken gizzard
  • 1 small onion, chopped coarsely
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk, approximately
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt (to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (to taste)
  • 1 1 teaspoon Lawry's Seasoned Salt or 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 egg, beaten


  • In a bowl, combine gizzards and onions. Pour over enough buttermilk to cover. Cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours (24 is better), or up to 2 days.
  • Drain gizzards in a colander, allowing any excess buttermilk to drip away. Cut gizzards into 1/2" chunks, working around any gristle or tendons.
  • Combine flour with salt, cayenne and seasoning. Beat egg in a small bowl.
  • In a pot or deep skillet, heat 1 1/2 to 2 quarts of vegetable oil to 350°F Dip each piece of gizzard in egg, then in flour. Be sure to coat them well or the coating will not be crisp.
  • Place coated gizzard pieces into oil and cook 2-3 minutes until golden brown and crisp. Drain on a rack. Serve immediately.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 181gCalories: 214.2kcalCarbohydrates: 30.4gProtein: 15.7gFat: 3.1gSaturated Fat: 1.1gCholesterol: 149.1mgSodium: 1292mgFiber: 1.2gSugar: 5.4g
Keyword Chicken, Deep Fried, Healthy, Inexpensive, Meat, Poultry
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