Help Making Perfect Southern Fried Chicken

I am desperately needing the help of the Thrifty Fun community. I have been trying to southern-fry chicken for a very long time, but have failed miserably. My two assets are firstly, the batter sticks to the chicken without a problem and secondly, the flavor is wonderful.


The problem is that it tends to burn before the internal temperature reaches the 180 degrees. I use a thermometer and have tried frying at 350 degrees while turning the chicken often. After those pieces burned, I tried as some have suggested to fry at 300 degrees, while turning often. Of course the last option is a little better than the first, but it still isn't anything to brag about. The area that touches the skillet gets almost black, while the crust gets very, very dark brown.

I have used several types of skillets, including cast iron, stainless steel, and nonstick. I have also used an electric deep fryer to which I keep the oil at a steady 350F. It also is too dark. I do long for some seasoned cook to give me a foolproof, time-proven formula for perfect southern-fried chicken. I do believe I am messing up in the technique because the flavor is wonderful. Thanks again for all input! You're a wonderful group.


By Marla from MO

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January 9, 20110 found this helpful

I don't know if the way that I have always done it would be considered Southern fried, however, I find it a lot easier than standing by a stove, watching it. It is called oven-fried chicken and I found the recipe in an old Betty Crocker cookbook. I no longer have the book or the recipe, as I haven't fixed chicken other than in a slow cooker for more than 20 years.

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January 9, 20110 found this helpful

My fried chicken is really good, by what my husband says, and he's painfully honest, so I'd know if it wasn't.


I start off by salting and peppering each piece of chicken separately. At the same time as you are preparing the chicken, you will be heating your cooking oil in your skillet. After you have salted and peppered the chicken, you will then flour each piece right before you put them into the hot grease. Don't put all of them in the flour at the same time, just wait until its time for that piece to go in.

Now for the most important part- be sure you start with very hot grease, but shortly after you get that first batch put in, turn the heat down between medium and medium high. This allows for crispy chicken on the outside but also time for the inside to cook slowly enough to get done. When its done it will not bleed when stuck, but also, you can cut into one piece to check it, especially until you get the feel for when the chicken is done.


Hope this helps!

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January 10, 20110 found this helpful

Yes, fab4mom is right. You must not fry chicken in extremely hot oil (once it is started cooking). You turn the chicken frequently, also. If the oil stays too hot, it will burn the chicken outside and not cook the inside properly. Also, if you use a batter with buttermilk or milk or such as that, it will be harder to keep it from burning. Flour, salt and pepper (and a few spices if you wish) is the best way to fry chicken.

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January 12, 20110 found this helpful

Another ditto with fab4mom's advice! That's how my grama used to do it. :-)

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January 12, 20110 found this helpful

I always made wonderful fried chicken until I moved to a part of the country where I could not get fryers. Frying chickens are small and do not have to cook as long as large pieces, therefore do not burn.


Fryer?broilers are not the same. Now I fry my chicken until it is brown and cook it in the oven until it is done. It is good and I don't have to worry about the meat next to the bone being red.

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January 12, 20110 found this helpful

Another ditto for fab4mom. The only thing I do different is that I cover my chicken the first half of cooking, then uncover to get it nice and crispy. Also I don't have good luck cooking in a fryer. Other then that any skillet should do. If cooking in a cast iron lower the heat to medium-low because the cast iron skillet cook hotter than the other skillets. You didn't say how much oil you use. Maybe add a little more. I use about half way up the chicken pieces. Good luck.

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January 12, 20110 found this helpful

I learned from Paula Deen! And yes, iron skillets I believe are the best way, they help keep the oil at the right temp. I agree with the Fab mom, but also must add the Paula covers her chicken, during the cooking, takes off the lid to let it crisp up at the end.


A thermometer in your oil to make sure you are getting the right temp too, every burner is diff. esp between gas and electric. Good luck!

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January 12, 20110 found this helpful

When you fry chicken, you have to have alot of oil. Get it hot, but not too hot.It needs to float in the oil, not touch the bottom of the pan. An iron skillet is the best to use. Just salt and pepper the chicken. Put the flour in a bag. Add the chicken a few pieces at the time. Shake the bag and coat the chicken with the flour. Knock off any extra flour, because it will burn. Don't crowd the chicken when frying it.

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January 13, 20110 found this helpful

I 'flash fry' my chicken until crispy in very hot oil. I then take the chicken and finish baking it in the oven at 350 for 45 minutes. Chicken outside is crispy while the inside is all cooked! I have been doing my chicken this way since the early 70's & my family and parents love it!

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January 18, 20110 found this helpful

I've made this recipe for Southern Fried Chicken dozens of time and it always come out terrifically. Hope it helps:

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January 26, 20110 found this helpful

I am from southern Mississippi maybe I can help. I have always fried my chicken till perfect Golden brown then pop it into a 350 oven on a rack over a bakin sheet till the chicken is done while cooking the rest. My chicken is juicy not greasy done to temp and it sets its crisp. When you feed large groups you find this really handy, takes all strees away. gives your time to get everything else done and on the table.

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January 30, 20110 found this helpful

Head straight to Paula Deen's website and get the best advice on southern food ever!

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October 1, 20140 found this helpful


Easier Fried Chicken


1-1/4 c. buttermilk, divided
Table salt
Dash of hot sauce
3 t. ground black pepper, divided
1 t. garlic powder, divided
1 t. paprika, divided
¼ t. cayenne pepper
3-1/2 lb. bone-in, skin-on chicken parts (8 parts, breasts cut in 4 pieces)
2 c. all-purpose flour
2 t. baking powder
1-3/4 c. vegetable oil


Whisk 1 c. buttermilk, 1 T. salt, hot sauce, 1 t. black pepper, ¼ t. garlic powder, ¼ t. paprika, and a pinch of cayenne together in a large bowl. Add chicken and turn to coat. Refrigerate covered, at least 1 hour or up to overnight.

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Whisk flour, baking powder, 1 t. salt and remaining 2 t. black pepper, ¾ t. garlic powder, ¾ teaspoon paprika and remaining cayenne together in a large bowl.

Add remaining buttermilk to flour mixture and mix with fingers until combined and small clumps form. [I THINK YOU SHOULD SKIP ADDING THE BUTTERMILK TO THE FLOUR MIXTURE, BUT THAT'S WHAT THE ORIGINAL RECIPE SAYS TO DO.] Working with 1 piece at a time, let excess buttermilk drip off and dredge chicken pieces in flour mixture, pressing mixture onto pieces to form thick, even coating. Place dredged chicken on a large plate, skin side up.

Heat oil in an 11-inch straight-sided sauté pan over medium high heat to 375 degrees. Carefully place chicken pieces in pan, skin side down, and cook until golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Carefully flip and continue to cook until golden brown on second side, 2 to 4 minutes longer.

Transfer chicken to a wire rack set in a rimmed baking sheet. Bake chicken until instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of chicken registers 160 degrees for breasts and 175 for legs and thighs, 15 to 20 minutes. (Smaller pieces may cook faster than larger pieces. Remove pieces from oven as they reach correct temperature.) Let chicken rest 5 minutes before serving.

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