The Best Crispy Fried Chicken

The Best Crispy Fried Chicken

This recipe is adapted from cooks illustrated. It's not quick, but it produces the most succulent, crispy fried chicken I've ever had. EVER. 


For the brine:

  • 1 & 1/4 cups kosher salt

  • 1/4 cup sugar

  • 2 tablespoons paprika

  • 2 tablespoons chili powder

  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder

  • 2 tablespoons onion powder

  • 20 cloves of garlic, smashed

  • 3 bay leaves

  • 2 L 1% buttermilk (minus 1 cup)

  • 1 chicken, cut into 12 pieces

For the breading:

  • 1 large egg

  • 1 tsp baking powder

  • 1/2 tsp baking soda

  • 1 cup 1% buttermilk

  • 4 cups flour

  • 4 cups vegetable oil


  1. Cut your chicken into 8 or 12 pieces. If you've never done this before, there is a great video here.

  2. In large ziplock bag, combine the rest of the ingredients for the brine. Zip it up and massage mixture with your fingers until all the salt has dissolved. 

  3. Add chicken to brine and place in refrigerator for 2 hours up to overnight. 

  4. Remove chicken from ziplock and place on cooling rack placed over cookie sheet. Put chicken back into the refrigerator for 2 more hours. This allows excess brine to drip off and dries out the skin: the secret to crispy chicken! 

  5. In one large bowl, add flour. In second bowl, whisk egg, baking powder and baking soda together. Add buttermilk and stir to combine. It should foam. 

  6. Piece by piece, add chicken to flour and coat to combine. Then more chicken to buttermilk & egg mixture and coat. Move chicken back to flour mixture for final coat. Set aside and complete for all chicken pieces. 

  7. Preheat oven to 200F. In large cast iron skillet, add oil and heat to 375 F.  Place 6 pieces of chicken in cast iron, and cook 5-6 minutes until crispy an golden brown. Turn chicken over and repeat for second side, another 4-5 minutes. 

  8. When chicken is cooked, place on paper towel to soak up extra grease then place on cooling rack over cookie sheet. Place in oven to keep warm. Repeat for second batch of chicken. 

  9. Enjoy the best fried chicken you'll ever have!