Buttermilk Fried Chicken

Serving Size: 6
Total Time:

A sugar-and-salt-spiked whole-milk brine makes this chicken sweet and juicy; a mixture of buttermilk, flour, baking powder and baking soda yields an extra crisp crust.


  • 1 Quart whole milk
  • 5 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1.5 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 0.5 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tsp hot sauce
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 4-pound chickens, each cut into 8 pieces
  • 0.5 cup sugar
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 Quart vegetable oil, for frying


  1. In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup of the milk with 3/4 cup of kosher salt and the sugar and stir over moderate heat just until the sugar and salt dissolve, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a large, deep bowl and add the remaining 3 cups of milk. Add the chicken pieces and refrigerate for 4 hours. Drain the chicken and pat thoroughly dry.
  2. In a bowl, mix the buttermilk, eggs, 2 tablespoons of salt, the paprika, hot sauce and pepper. Whisk in the baking powder and baking soda. Put half of the flour in a large bowl. Working with a few pieces at a time, dredge the chicken in the flour, tapping off any excess. Dip the chicken in the buttermilk, letting the excess drip off; return the chicken to the flour and turn to coat. Transfer to a rack. Repeat with the remaining chicken, adding more flour as needed. If the flour becomes too lumpy, sift it.
  3. Heat the oil in 2 large, deep skillets until shimmering. Working in batches, add the chicken to the skillets in a single layer, without crowding, and fry over moderate heat, turning occasionally, until deep golden and cooked through, 18 to 20 minutes; an instant-read thermometer inserted near the bone should register 160°. Drain the chicken on wire racks lined with paper towels and fry the remaining pieces. Serve hot or warm.

Make Ahead: The chicken can be fried up to 4 hours ahead and reheated.

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Recipe Credit: Dave Arnold
Image Credit: Matthew Armendariz