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The best fried chicken recipe you will ever make

This is simply the best, and you can stop looking for this recipe now

Fried chicken
Andrea Nguyen / Flickr

As you know, we love all things fried chicken. It’s the ultimate comfort food no matter the day of the week, no matter the weather. We just can’t get enough of that golden brown and delicious chicken. Keep reading, and you’ll find the best fried chicken recipe … hands down.

The history of fried chicken

Fried chicken
Hong Feng / Unsplash

Europeans were the first to fry up chicken during the Middle Ages. Fried chicken was considered an expensive delicacy until after World War II and was only served for special occasions. Scottish immigrants were the ones who introduced fried chicken to the U.S., but they didn’t use any seasonings until West Africans added spice blends into the recipe. Since then, it has been a staple in Southern cooking.

Some of the first documented recipes of fried chicken were in the mid-1700s and the first printed recipe was documented in 1825. Fried chicken was offered in restaurants but it wasn’t until 1964 that it because a national craze. Since then, fast-food restaurants have been vying for the best fried chicken and have even had some “fried chicken wars.”

American fried chicken is the most popular fried chicken and in Japan, it is traditional for a family to order American-style fried chicken for their Christmas celebration.

What’s the best way to cook fried chicken?

Frying chicken without oven
Warongdech Digital / Shutterstock

The three primary methods of frying chicken are deep-fried, oven-fried, and pan-fried. Most households don’t have a deep fryer and oven-fried chicken takes a long time to cook. So the most effective method is pan-frying. The cast-iron skillet is the best for frying chicken because it distributes heat evenly and when a cast-iron skillet gets hot, it stays hot.

Shortening is the preferred oil over any vegetable or canola oil because it has a high melting point and is more stable than frying oil. While shortening has eliminated trans fats, it is still a highly processed product, so you should use it sparingly.

Can you fry chicken in an air fryer?

Even though the focus here is frying chicken in a cast-iron skillet, you absolutely can fry chicken in an air fryer. It’s a great way to achieve crispy, delicious chicken with way less oil than traditional deep frying. And it works as the air fryer circulates hot air at a high speed around the chicken, simulating the drying effect of frying. This creates a crispy golden crust of fried chicken. You only need a very light coating of oil to achieve this crispy effect, resulting in a healthier alternative to deep-fried chicken.

The best way to eat fried chicken

Fried chicken
Ke Vin / Unsplash

In Gainesville, Georgia, it is (actually) illegal to eat fried chicken with any sort of utensil. Fried chicken was designed to be finger food. You just pick it up and eat it, or you pull it apart and eat it bit by bit.

A lot of people enjoy having dipping sauces with their chicken. Sauces such as ranch, barbecue, hot sauce, and even wasabi paste are used as condiments. The top choices for dipping sauces are #1 — plain that is no sauce, #2 — barbecue sauce, and #3 — hot sauce.

You can enjoy fried chicken freshly fried, you can eat it cold, or you can reheat your fried chicken. Either way, it’s an enjoyable dish that you just can’t get enough of. Just make sure you have a napkin or two handy.

Crispy fried chicken recipe

Fried chicken
Pj Aun / Shutterstock

Ingredients

  • 1 to 2 pounds of chicken breasts, skin on or boneless
  • 2 tablespoons Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons ground pepper
  • 2 quarts buttermilk
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • Canola oil for pan-frying

Method

  1. Place chicken in a large leak-proof container. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Add garlic and rosemary and cover with buttermilk. Cover and let sit overnight.
  3. Fill a large, 12-inch skillet with oil 2/3 of the way to the top and heat over low/medium heat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Use a cooking thermometer to monitor the precise temperature.
  4. While the oil is coming up to temperature, combine flour and the spices in a shallow dish and mix well.
  5. Remove the chicken breasts from the buttermilk and bread in the flour mixture, making sure to coat the chicken all over. Double bread the chicken by dipping the chicken in the buttermilk mixture after the first round and breading again.
  6. Add the chicken to the oil one piece at a time. Do not crowd the pan. Turn the chicken breasts every few minutes until all sides are golden brown.
  7. Serve with hot sauce, honey, or nothing at all! Just grab that napkin, you’re going to need it.

Editors' Recommendations

Joe Morales
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Joe Morales is a trained chef with over five years of experience working in fine dining and Michelin recommended restaurants…
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