Can I fry chicken in a frying pan? also, how do you make the breading?

Ok, so I think I’ve mentioned before that I don’t cook. I am capable of following a recipe tho, and my husband wants me to cook for a friend of his, who doesn’t eat much of anything (my husband is trying to show off by inviting him for a real dinner). Everything I have learned to cook so far (and have a recipe for that I know works) is something that he doesn’t like. :smack:

So - he likes fried chicken. That can’t be too hard, right?

I have a frying pan that’s about 12 inches across, and another pan that is like a frying pan but has straight sides, is deeper (maybe 4 inches?) and about 14 inches across. Can you pan-fry chicken? I was thinking legs and thighs, as all of us prefer dark meat. I was thinking I could bake the chicken to cook it, and then pan fry it for the “fried chicken” part, but I have no idea how that works, other than there’s some sort of whitish liquid, some sort of crusty something, and then heat and oil.

Please advise!

I have panko (japanese breadcrumbs) grits-ground cornmeal, and flour. I have a feeling that something breading-like could be made from that, but don’t have a clue how.

I’d rather trust you guys than some recipe on a website that is for people who know what they’re doing and can fix things if they look wrong. I won’t know if they look wrong (and I fear giving people food poisoning), so I am hitting up you guys for directions.

I would like to know

  1. Do I need to bake the chicken thighs and legs first, and then pan-fry them, or can I just pan-fry them? If baking first, what temperature and how long?

  2. How do I make the liquid and crusty dredgy components?

This dinner is set for Sunday, so not a huge hurry.


I haven’t fried chicken in awhile, but you will definitely want to use the straight-edged pan and not a skillet as it isn’t deep enough. If you have a cast iron pan, that would be ideal. I’d put about a half inch of oil into the pan to fry the chicken with.

To prepare the chicken, what I would do is dredge the chicken through seasoned (salt and pepper) flour first, eggwash it (with a few scrambled eggs) then dredge it once again through your panko or whatever breadcrumbs you are using. Once the oil is hot, gently lower the chicken parts (whatever you are using) into the oil. If you have tongs, use them. The oil will likely spatter some, so be prepared for that. I can’t remember what the actual time is for frying…you could try googling it but just using your eyes for a golden brown on both sides should work out ok. Good luck!

I read your post and feel for you. And yes, chicken can be fried in a pan. Remember the fundamentals: chicken gets placed into hot oil and cooked. Basically use any vessel that can hold the oil while it heats and also hold the raw chicken when it cooks.

I’m sure dopers will be along with great recipes for you, but again, don’t worry, cooking is cooking; just get the meat temp up to the correct level, and that’s it.

I make good fried chicken. Here’s what I do.

Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Beat an egg or two with a splash of milk (buttermilk if you have it, but regular is ok) and season that mixture a little too. I use flour for the batter, which has also been seasoned with salt and pepper lightly. You can put the seasoned flour and wet chicken in a bag and coat it that way too.

Dredge the chicken in the egg, then the flour, then the egg and flour again for a better crust. Then let the pieces sit for a half an hour or so on a rack. Put about an inch or so of oil in the frying pan and get it heated up, medium high heat should work.

When a pinch of flour placed in the oil starts to pop a bit, carefully place your chicken in the oil. Don’t crowd it too much. Turn the heat down a smidge and cook until the chicken is golden brown, then flip and brown the other side. The internal temp should be 165 to be done. The cook time will vary depending on how big the pieces are and how hot your oil is, but 20 to 40 minutes total should get you there. You could also take it out and finish it in the oven after it is browned.

My first attempt at fried chicken was when I was 10 years old or so. I had the chicken all prepped and then discovered I was out of oil. I tried to fry it anyway. What a mess I had. That’s when my mom had a friend come over and teach me a few basics.

There are a lot of you tube videos you could watch to help you feel more comfortable.

Good Luck and good eating!

I’m an experienced home cook, but have never fried stuff (mom used to do that) myself, and though I assisted with the fried chicken projects as a kid, I haven’t done it as an adult. I just don’t fry stuff so it’s never come up. I’m saying this because I wanted to tell you my experience before saying that if I were to fry chicken for a guest, I’d do a test batch a couple days ahead of time for practice.

Also, YouTube is your friend! There are lots of instructional cooking videos and I would highly recommend watching some - which is also something I would do before attempting the first test batch, as a refresher and as a way to make sure there aren’t any newer ways of doing things since my teenage and younger experiences with mom 25 years ago. For a beginner, they will be invaluable for showing you what to watch for and your end product, probably a little more explanatory than even the best written post (on preview - like not what you’d expect wrote so well!). I would watch the instructional vids, and then look online for what and how much to add seasoning-wise to whatever breading I end up using.

I like to poach the chicken (boil water and let the chicken simmer in it for 15ish minutes) and then flour, egg, and bread it. That way I don’t have to worry about cooking it all the way through. Once the outside is golden brown and crispy, I can call it done.

Lots of salt and pepper. Fried chicken needs lots of salt and pepper.

I’m a fairly experienced cook and LOVE fried chicken. That being said, I usually don’t make it, and rarely ever make in the bone fried chicken. Why? Because it’s a PITA that takes forever to cook (about 40 minutes quoted above for a thigh is about right) and makes a huge mess (you’re frying in an open pan). Not to scare you, but it took quite a bit of time (couple of years or so) for me to learn how to fry chicken so that it wasn’t undercooked on the inside and the outside wasn’t burnt.

I would strongly agree with the poster who mentioned finishing it off in the oven. There’s nothing worse than biting into half cooked fried chicken.

Oh, and keep in mind, that with any other type of battered food, make sure you shake off all the excess flour, or it will pool in the bottom of your frying pan and burn and coat your food with a burnt taste.

Now, if I want to make fried chicken, I use boneless chicken breasts, cut into strips and season, batter and fry. Much faster and much easier.

I’m not sure if I think you’re brave or crazy to try something that you’ve never cooked before to serve to a guest. I’d advise to stick with something that you know.

I would never bother to fry chicken at home anymore. VERY hard for an inexperienced cook and too much trouble even for an experienced cook. Too messy and can’t compare with store-bought. JMHO.

Google chicken recipes with 4 ingredients or fewer and find a simple one where you brown the chicken pieces in the skillet with a sliced onion, then pour over a can of tomatoes and some cream of mushroom soup, cover, turn the heat down and cook (“braise”) for 45 minutes.

Serve each person a baked potato. Wash the potatoes and put them in a 400-degree oven-- right on the rack, no foil, no nothing-- for one hour. They’ll be good with the chicken sauce.

Get some good bread. Have fresh flowers on the table. Make it easy on yourself. Stack the deck in your favor.

Proper Southern fried chicken is brined for about eight hours, then soaked in buttermilk for another eight hours. Shake off the excess, dredge in flour, then pan fry in 335 degree oil, turning occasionally until done. Oil that is hotter will result in burned skin and under-cooked innards. Oil that is cooler will result in greasy chicken. That’s why you fry a few pieces at a time and keep watch on it. I have the actual recipe around here somewhere. Panko is a bad idea, unless you are oven-frying, as it will burn. Egg is unnecessary.

I’ve made perfectly acceptable oven-fried (Maryland) chicken in the past by melting butter in a baking pan in the oven, then putting the chicken in the butter, skin-side down. After about 20 minutes, turn it over so it will crisp.

I agree with the others who said you might want to re-consider. It’s a very messy process, even when you know what you’re doing. Oven-fried chicken is much easier and tastes yum.

Whatever you do, do this: make too much. That way you can sneak a piece out when you think it’s done and dissect it. Look for pink meat or blood, way down near the bone. If it’s good, it’s good. If it’s raw near the bone, give it another five minutes.

Good luck!

My suggestion is to go to the America’s Test Kitchen website and look for a fried chicken recipe. Read it through about 2-3 times so that you are familiar with the process. You might even want to subscribe to the magazine and/or website. ATK tests each recipe 40-50 times to make sure the end result is foolproof. I’m not a good cook, but everything I’ve made from ATK has turned out successfully. Tune into PBS stations; there might be an episode of America’s Test Kitchen you can watch and learn from. Hope this helps!

Too avoid a lot of mess just get one of those screen things to put over the skillet while you fry. Look for smaller chickens to make it right. Bulging thighs and drumsticks will take a long time to cook through, and the thicker skin on big chickens can lead to a tough or rubbery crust. I have to try the brining. I usually coat already wet chicken with fine flour seasoned with salt and pepper, let it sit, then use an egg wash and coat with bread crumbs. I’ll season the crumbs to my whims, but generally add more salt and black pepper, red pepper, coriander, a pinch of granulated garlic, and sometimes some poultry seasoning (mostly sage). I’ve occasionally added cumin, oregano, chili powder, and curry powder. Whether or not you double coat, let the chicken sit for a while after coating so that the crumbs/flour set up. You can fry some cut up onion in with the chicken to add some more flavor. When you’re done, keep a little oil in the pan and add some flour to make a roux, brown it to your favorite color, then add stir in some milk to make some gravy.

Southern Smothered chicken is a good alternative to fried, and less frying mess because you only have to brown the skin. It cooks slow, and works better with modern super chickens.

Wow, thanks for all the suggestions and advice.

On reading through, I’ve decided to change my plan a little.

To those who suggested experimenting, yeah, I was gonna practice on my poor husband tomorrow night. :smiley:

To ThelmaLou, unfortunately, my husband and his friend are what you would charitably call “picky eaters” in that they don’t really like stuff with more than one ingredient in it. They both grew up with dinner being a distinct meat, a smashed or bread thing, a vegetable thing, and no real exposure to soups or pastas or potpie type foods. I’ve managed to bully my husband into expanding his range (which is hard, because he’s the one who mostly cooks), but his friend has either been more stubborn, or his wife hasn’t been as demanding. So unfortunately, anything like that is right out. (Which is a damn shame, because we have an excellent recipe for chicken pot pie, and another for chicken parmesan.)

So I’m thinking now of just getting thighs and boning them, brining them overnight, then poaching them in water for about 10 minutes before frying them up. That will make me feel better about getting them cooked through.

My straight-sided pan has a mesh lid thing that I think I can use to cut down on spatters, and my husband fries bacon all the time on an electric skillet, so we’re ok with the millions of paper-towels routine.

Quick specific questions:

  1. How long do I need to soak the chicken in the milk/buttermilk/eggs? Am I just getting it wet, or hoping for some to soak in?

  2. Does it matter if it’s just frying in regular veggie oil, or do I need to go hunt down some peanut oil or something fancy?

  3. If I’m poaching the strips/pieces for about 10 minutes before frying them, about how long do I need to fry them? Just until they look fried-chicken colored, or do I need to go for a specific amount of time?

  4. Do I need to break out the baking racks to put the chicken bits on after they get done frying? Or can I put them directly onto a paper-towel-lined plate in the oven to stay warm?
    Thank you all - I’m feeling a lot less worried now!

I came in to mention my Mom’s method for breaded chicken, but this is pretty much it. :smiley: We generally added a dribble of milk to the egg bath, (‘scrambled eggs’ makes me think of the cooked kind,) and dry bread crumbs or cracker crumbs for the final dredge.

And we didn’t use that much oil - more like a couple tablespoons in the pan for several pieces of chicken. It all gets soaked up, but you don’t really need more.

EDITED TO ADD: This was for boneless chicken breast, not pieces with the bone in.

Really, any of the oven-fried methods sound like good ideas. You can get a delicious, crunchy finish, but still have the chicken cooked just enough–not too much. And with far less mess. Pan-fried chicken is not a good First Recipe…

(Glad Mom started us all off on cooking early.)

For just breading, just get it wet, then right in the crumb.

I’ve used plain old Wesson oil and it came out fine. I’d recommend Canola oil for flavor, but it’s a personal preference. And it’s expensive if that matters.

Boned or sliced is going to reduce the cooking time. You’ll have to use a thermometer or cut a piece open to be sure. But if it’s not very thick, you can tell by the feel.

Depending on how they come out, paper towel might stick. I’d use parchment paper or paprus plates (like Chinet). But if you but them on a rack for a few minutes and they’ll drain excess grease. I usually preheat my oven on warm, turn it off, and put fried stuff in to sit until it’s time to eat. If you allow it to cool completely, it should reheat well in a hot oven and maintain most of it’s crispiness.


I brine and buttermilk, but 99% of Southerners would roll their eyes at you if you told them to add those steps to fried chicken. A few may soak in buttermilk. Maybe. Weaver D just drags it through seasoned flour, and drops it in the oil.

And whoever said 40 minutes above is way off. 20 minutes in 375 degree oil, 10 minute per side. Keep it hot in a 200 degree oven.

That being said, you don’t need to be doing this for company unless you’re an experienced cook. Trust me.

This is how my Hungarian ex-girlfriend would make it. When we dated, she wasn’t much of a cook, but she just nailed fried chicken every time. It’s one thing I couldn’t get right, but she just had the knack for it. Flour, egg wash, bread crumbs, fry in oil, flip. She just had the right feel for when the oil (or lard) was up to temp and would adjust the burner if she felt the chicken was cooking too fast or too slow.

It’s a bit difficult to describe in text, but what I remember is that you were looking for a nice steady, frying, with lively bubbles coming up as the chicken was cooking, but not an “explosion” of bubbles when you put the chicken in. The temp Chefguy posted sounds right to me. I’m used to deep frying chicken wings, where I go for a temperature of 375-400 (I don’t use a thermometer, though, and neither did she.) At that temperature, when you dump chicken in, it just foams up and sizzles quite aggressively as the moisture just boils off instantaneously. You can do this with wings, as they’re pretty thin and cook fast. When the outside is crisped up and golden brown, you can be assured the inside is done. With whole chicken parts and breading, that’s just going to cause the outside to burn and the inside to be raw. So you’re looking for a steady, but not too vigorous, bubbling and adjust the burner accordingly. She’d flip several times through the cooking process until it looked crispy and done.

I would not advise doing this without experimenting beforehand.

Also, I agree with Chefguy on the breading. I despise egg wash and breadcrumbs. That how you make eggplant, Italian style.

Lasciel, don’t let everybody scare you. It’s just a dish that needs careful attention while cooking. You have to turn and move the pieces, and adjust the heat as you go. By cutting up and boning the chicken (and I’ll just pretend you’re leaving the skin on somehow), you’re making something that will cook faster than the big chicken in the sky intended. So you might overcook the first couple of pieces, but they won’t take very long, and you can adjust as you go.