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3 Ways to Make Really Great Fried Chicken

Updated April 24, 2017
Your fried chicken fix doesn’t have to come from a take-out window. You’d be surprised how easy it is to make this popular comfort food at home.

You can make really great fried chicken that is crispy on the outside, moist on the inside and delights the taste buds—and you don’t need a commercial deep fryer to do it! Here are three simple and delicious methods: deep fried, oven fried and pan fried.

All About Frying
Frying literally means “to cook in fat.” Which sounds a little unappealing—and intimidating to try at home. But oh, is it worth it.

Deep fried chicken requires a fat that has a high smoking point, meaning it tolerates high heat well. The best thing about making your own fried chicken is that you control what (and how much) fat to use, whether it’s lard (rendered pig fat), solid vegetable shortening, peanut oil or a vegetable oil.

Traditional fried chicken uses bone-in, skin-on chicken—and that’s what our first method below uses, too. But you can certainly get delicious results from boneless and/or skinless chicken as well, like the second and third methods we’ll cover.

Before you cook your chicken pat it dry with paper towels. Don’t rinse your chicken in the sink; there’s no food safety reason to do this, and in fact running water can splash and spread around germs and bacteria from the chicken to other surfaces in your kitchen. Just dry it well with paper towels prior to cooking to prevent splattering when the chicken hits the fat. Place thicker, meaty pieces in the pan first so they get a head start on cooking. And make sure not to crowd pieces too closely together. Now, get ready to choose your method.

Method 1: Deep-Fried Chicken


For a true deep-fry, use a heavy pot or fryer that can tolerate high heat and can hold at least three inches of your chosen frying fat. Electric fryers are expensive and usually end up in your appliance graveyard. A heavy-duty pot, such as a Dutch oven, will do the trick with a lot less money and clutter. 

This Copycat KFC™ Original-Style Chicken is one of our most popular recipes of all time. Just like the real deal, our DIY version is coated with an 11-ingredient seasoning mix.

Here’s how to make it:

  1. Fill your pot with about 3 to 4 inches of oil and heat to 350°F. Mix together the spice ingredients, then combine the spices with flour, frown sugar and salt. 
  2. Dip chicken pieces in egg to coat them, then transfer to the four mixture and dredge the pieces so that it’s coated very well on all sides. More coating = more crunch!
  3. Let the chicken pieces rest for a bit so the coating can absorb moisture and really adhere well to the skin of the bird.  
  4. Using long-handled tongs, gently place chicken pieces in the hot oil and fry in batches. Don’t drop the chicken in or it may splatter. The chicken is done when a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of a piece reads 165°F. This will take about 12 to 14 minutes for breasts and wings, and a few minutes longer for legs and thighs.
  5. Set the cooked chicken on a paper towel-lined plate to drain excess oil, and serve while hot.  

Get the recipe >> 

Method 2: Oven-Fried Chicken


Oven-fried, un-fried, baked—whatever you call it, this lightened-up method for making crunchy Oven-Fried Buttermilk Chicken keeps a lot of what you love about the original.

By removing the chicken skin but keeping the bone, you retain the flavor of bone-in chicken while reducing the fat. For this recipe, we also soak the chicken pieces in a buttermilk bath prior to cooking to provide even more authentic fried chicken flavor. And crushed cereal helps keep that crunchiness of skin-on fried chicken even when baked (really!).

Here’s how to make it:

  1. Combine buttermilk and seasonings called for in recipe. Pat chicken dry and place the pieces in a large baking dish. Pour the buttermilk mixture over the chicken, then cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400°F. While the oven heats, crush 2 cups of cereal into crumbs. Combine the crumbs with salt and pepper in a shallow baking dish.
  3. Remove chicken pieces from the buttermilk bath and coat one piece at a time. Make sure to get a good, even coating on every side.
  4. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment and place chicken in pan. Drizzle a bit of melted butter over the tops of each piece, and bake about 35 minutes until golden brown and crispy.

Get the recipe >> 

Method 3: Pan-Fried Chicken


This easy recipe for stovetop Korean Fried Chicken is our quickest method yet! For this fast and easy way to make fried chicken in a skillet (also known as pan-frying) we use boneless, skinless chicken tender pieces. The small size and lack of a bone means these pieces will cook through in just minutes, so you can enjoy your chicken even faster. 

Our quick take on Korean Fried Chicken gets its flavor from a few places. First, we combine the flour with cornstarch and season it with the spices called for in the recipe, next uur egg dip includes soy sauce, and finally, the pieces are finished with an easy Korean BBQ sauce that includes sesame oil and additional soy sauce. 

The secret to making this Korean Fried Chicken so crunchy and flavorful is to coat it twice in a seasoned flour mixture before cooking. You could also use this pan-fried method with other flavor profiles, like the 11-seasoning mix and plain egg dip called for in the first recipe. 

Here’s how to make it:

  1. Dip chicken pieces in the flour mixture, then egg mixture, and again in the flour mixture. 
  2. Heat vegetable oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium and cook chicken in two batches for 5 to 7 minutes, turning once. When chicen is no longer pink in the center, transfer it to a paper towel-lined cookie sheet. 
  3. Brush with sauce as directed in the recipe and immediately sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Get the recipe >> 

And that’s it! Our three favorite methods for making fried chicken [/ingredients/meat/chicken], from traditional deep-fried chicken to lower-fat oven-fried to a quick stovetop pan-fried version that’s ready in about half an hour. Depending on the flavor you’re craving and how much time you have, any of these methods will give you great results.

Your chicken adventure is just beginning. Get even more ideas with our best-ever chicken recipes.