Enjoying the Simple Pleasures of Life, While Living in a Complicated World

The BEST Fried Chicken…Ever!


The Best Fried Chicken…Ever! I’m not kidding about this recipe. I’ve tested and tested it…This fried chicken is consistently delicious every time; succulent, tender and moist every time, and asked for time…and time again, by my family.

For me, frying food is not the norm…with one exception, this chicken. The day I stumbled across this recipe on The Chicago Tribune website, little did I realize, the way I would make fried chicken would change…forever. It’s the best fried chicken I’ve ever made; perfectly cooked (tender and moist) with a lovely brown and crunchy crust! This recipe is so remarkable and special; definitely a keeper to pass down in my family. I made it three more times to make sure this recipe lived up to my expectations. It most certainly did! As I write this, it’s with with the hope, you will soon be sharing it with your family!

This recipe begins with making a seasoning mix. It makes a lot and I store it in a 1- quart restaurant container. The next (most) important step is marinating the chicken, overnight, for more than 12 hours in the buttermilk and egg mixture. It’s absolutely crucial to this recipe to marinate more than 12 hours. I’ve found marinating overnight is ideal. The third important step is frying this chicken in a cast iron pan.

My cast iron pan was my mothers; and before her, my grandmothers. This pan has spanned generations and through the decades, has faithfully created wonderful food made with lots of love. I like to picture my grandmother standing in her kitchen, cooking at the stove; (when I think how this pan journeyed from kitchen to kitchen, I’m amazed) and how the world has drastically changed from the first time it was used, in a kitchen lit by oil lamps. This culinary heirloom has cooked so many batches of fried  chicken, I wouldn’t even venture to guess the number. It’s now my pleasure to share this recipe with you.

First step: Make seasoning mix. Combine ingredients thoroughly. Keep in a large, sealed, airtight container. I like storing mine in a 1-quart restaurant container.

Second step: Marinate chicken pieces in the buttermilk and egg mixture, overnight or more than 12 hours, in a covered container in the refrigerator. Do NOT disregard or shorten the marinating time in this step. I guarantee you, this will make the moistest and tenderest chicken you’ve ever tasted!


Third Step: Coat chicken in seasoning mixture. Using a fork, Press the coating onto the skin so it doesn’t come off during the frying process.


Fourth Step: Allow chicken pieces coated with seasoning mixture to dry at room temperature on rack for 29-30 minutes. The seasoning will darken as it dries.



Heat a heavy cast iron pan, with 1 inch of vegetable oil to 350 degrees. Add chicken pieces and fry until both sides are nicely browned and crispy.



Remove fried chicken to a rack lined with paper towers.



The BEST Fried Chicken!

Seasoning Mix

2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 tablespoon salt
1/2 tablespoon dried thyme leaves
1/2 tablespoon dried basil leaves
1/3 tablespoon dried oregano leaves
1 tablespoon celery salt
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon dried mustard
4 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons garlic salt
1 tablespoon ground ginger
3 tablespoons ground white pepper

Buttermilk Marinade:
1 cup buttermilk
1 egg, beaten
1 chicken, cut up, the breast pieces cut in half for more even frying
Or, a combination of your favorite chicken pieces: I prefer chicken thighs and breasts.

Make the seasoning mix:
Mix the flour in a bowl with all the herbs and spices; set aside. Store in a quart container. For one whole, cut up chicken, you’ll use between one to two cups of seasoning mix. Before seasoning chicken pieces, stir the seasoning mix to incorporate all of the spices and herbs.

Marinate your chicken:
Whisk the buttermilk and beaten egg together, in a medium bowl until combined. Soak the chicken in the buttermilk mixture, in a covered in a container, overnight in the refrigerator for the tenderest and most flavorful chicken.

Coat the chicken in seasoning:
Remove chicken from the buttermilk, allowing excess to drip off. Dip the chicken pieces in the herb-spice flour mixture and with a fork, press seasoning into surface of the chicken to coat all sides. Shake off excess. Move pieces to a cooling rack that is placed over a baking sheet, to dry for 20 to 30 minutes. Note: The seasoned coating mixture will darken as it dries.

Fry chicken in a cast iron pan:
Meanwhile, pour about 1-inch of oil in a large Dutch oven (or similar heavy pot with high sides) and over medium-high heat, carefully keep an eye on the oil until it reaches 350F degrees. I know and love using my grandmothers cast iron, chicken frying pan; so it’s easy for me to gauge when the oil is hot enough. If you’re new to deep frying, use a deep-fry thermometer to check the temperature.

When the temperature is reached, add 3 or 4 pieces at a time, being careful not to crowd the pan. Turn down the heat slightly after a few minutes, so the oil doesn’t begin smoking.

The art of frying involves timing: cooking the outside nice and crisp, and the inside fully cooked. If your oil is too hot, the chicken will brown too quickly, and the inside will not be fully cooked. Also, keep in mind, various cast iron pans will cook chicken faster or slower than others, so choose your pan wisely.

Fry until medium golden brown, turning once. Total frying time should take 15-18 minutes for larger pieces; 5-15 minutes, for smaller pieces, such as chicken fingers. Transfer chicken pieces to a baking sheet covered with paper towels. Repeat with remaining chicken.


I’d love to hear from you and tell me your thoughts about this chicken!

From my kitchen to yours,
Annie Hayes


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