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Southern Buttermilk Fried Chicken

One of America’s most popular dishes (and a tried-and-true Southern staple) is fried chicken. We coated ours with a seasoned flour mixture and then double-dipped it to create a crunchy, fluffy fried skin. The chicken comes out succulent and juicy, enveloped by a deliciously decadent coating.

Test Kitchen Tip: Add honey to make the flavors sing, or serve without for a lighter flavor.

Today, we will walk you through the steps to perfect Southern fried chicken. First, you’ll want to marinate the chicken in buttermilk overnight. Then, you’ll preheat your deep fryer and prepare a cooling rack where the chicken can drain.

You’ll make your flour mix and shake it up. (That part is really fun!) Pull out a few pieces of chicken and let them drain the excess buttermilk.

Next, add the chicken to a bag of the seasoned flour and shake, then repeat with buttermilk and flour. (Again, shaking is fun!)

Test Kitchen Tip:  Divide the seasoned flour mixture into 2 or 3 resealable plastic bags. The buttermilk can make the coating wet so this way you will have a few bags of dry mixture to work with in order to coat all the chicken pieces thoroughly.

Place the chicken into the fry basket in a single layer. You don’t want to crowd the chicken or add too much because it will lower the temperature of the oil and might not fry as well.

Carefully lower the basket into the preheated oil. Again, be careful.

Use a meat thermometer to check the temperature. You will know it is ready when it reaches 165°F and the coating is golden brown.

Drain the chicken on the rack and repeat with the remaining chicken. Serve it with fresh biscuits and honey. Mmmmmm…

Buttermilk Fried Chicken

Author: Hamilton Beach Test Kitchen


  • 1 (3 to 3 1/2 pound) whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • ​4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground marjoram
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • Vegetable oil for frying


  1. Place chicken and thyme in 13×9-inch glass baking dish. Pour buttermilk over chicken; stir until chicken is coated. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  2. Heat oil to 350°F in deep fryer. Prepare a rack to drain the chicken by placing on a cookie sheet lined with paper towels; set aside.
  3. In a large resealable plastic bag, combine flour, garlic powder, marjoram, salt, thyme, pepper, sage and paprika.
  4. Lift chicken from buttermilk, letting excess buttermilk drain back into the baking dish.
  5. Add several pieces of chicken at a time to the bag of seasoned flour. Shake gently to coat.
  6. Remove coated chicken, dip again in reserved buttermilk. Repeat shaking in flour mixture to get a thick coating.
  7. Place chicken pieces in a single layer in deep fryer basket and carefully lower basket into the preheated oil.
  8. Fry chicken until meat thermometer has reached 165°F and coating is golden brown (about 15 minutes). Transfer chicken to rack to drain.
  9. Repeat with remaining chicken pieces.


This fried chicken is crispy and delicious. A number of seasonings are added to the coating to give it a little kick, and the chicken is double battered for an extra fluffy and crunchy coating. We used our 8-cup deep fryer for this recipe. It is also available in a 12-cup capacity.

Do you have a recipe for making the perfect fried chicken? Let us know in the comments below.

Read more test kitchen recipes –




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