Teach me to fry chicken (need answer fast)

I’ve never prepared fried chicken. These past few weeks I have had the desire to expand my home menu with this, and on Friday a kind soul gave me a big ol’ cast iron skillet. It is time to do this!

But now talk has turned into expectation. My gf sees the skillet and hears my musings, and is expecting fried chicken- tonight! I know I could go to google and look for fried chicken recipes- I don’t expect it to be so difficult- but I’m hoping to tap into the knowledge and experience of 'dopers to settle on an especially tasty fried chicken recipe from the get go.

I’m going to have to get cracking on this by sundown. What is the tastiest fried chicken recipe?

Here you go, this one is pretty good.

It’s definitely a learning curve, getting the oil at the right temperature. If you don’t have a good cooking thermometer, maybe now is the day to invest in one. Otherwise, like in the recipe linked, be prepared for some variable results until you get your setup perfect.

Season (oil) the skillet before you use it. I’m no chef, so hopefully someone more chefly will show up to tell you how and why. Good luck with the chicken!


this explains the seasoning process

Aha, brining is exactly the kind of technique I wouldn’t think to do on my own. So, we’ll give this one a shot, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for more advice on how to maximize the tastiness of this fried chicken!

Also, thanks for the video on seasoning the skillet. I would have done it wrong :smack:

How, or rather, where, do you cut the breasts in half? The fried breasts I can get at the store’s hot food counter are intact.

I do have a cast-iron chicken frying pan with a basting lid. But it’s nearly impossible to regulate temperature accurately on an electric stove. Would an electric skillet work?

I still haven’t perfected the frying of chicken. I should try the brining and the gag buttermilk.

Why do you need to season the skillet before deep frying in it? Seasoning creates a non-stick(ish) surface for shallow frying/sauteeing.

I’m not sure why Deb recommends cutting the breasts in half - maybe they were just too big to cook evenly whole? Or to get the size similar to the either pieces, for even cooking times? I think she means just slice in half cross-wise, I mean, across the short side.

Johnny, I don’t know why you’d have trouble with an electric stove, that’s what I use. You have to be patient, though, and make sure you get the oil back up to temp before starting the next batch.

OP, don’t be tempted to use the brine as the batter, although they seem similar - it’s just waaay too salty. Oh, I also usually add a bunch of cracked pepper to the flour - not salt, since it’s brined.

I just did fried chicken in an electric skillet a few nights ago, and it came out perfect. You are using a cast iron skillet, which a lot of people recommend, but I find to be trickier than an electric skillet where you can set the temperature and regulate it precisely.

Basically what I did was heat the oil very very hot, put the chicken it, and let the coating get browned a pretty deep brown, then reduce the heat on the skillet to low, let it cook turning occaisionally for about 30 minutes on this lower heat, and then near the end, crank up the heat again and fry it crispy. It turned out great. I used a flour/corn-meal mixture for the coating, as well as using eggs to help it get nice and thick.

I did buy a digital thermometer while I was picking up the other ingredients. I’ll be attempting to fry chicken in a newly-seasoned cast iron skillet on an electric range. My strategy is to catch the (peanut!) oil on a trajectory toward 375, then add the chicken and reduce the heat a little at the same time to avoid over-cooking.

Pepper is one of my favorites, and I have a brass Greek pepper mill which I will take any excuse to use, so I will be adding freshly ground peppercorns to the flour. The chicken is brining at the moment- all breasts actually since that seemed convenient. I’ve got a few hours before it is go-time.

My method is a 30 minute soak in pickle juice then I dip the chicken in salted and peppered flour, an egg wash and then seasoned panko bread crumbs. Fry in hot oil which I temp in my skillet with the super accurate method of sticking the handle of a wooden spoon in the oil and seeing if bubbles form around it. Butterflying the chicken just makes it likelier that the chicken will cook thoroughly before the outside gets too fried.

I keep a chart of all my fried chicken recipes. :slight_smile:

Keep the heat to about 4-7, depending upon your stove’s settings. Since you’re a first timer, for breading, keep it simple:

Get a tupperware bowl, with lid.

1 cup flour
1-2 tbs salt
1 tbs pepper
1-2 tsp garlic powder

Put the lid on, shake so everything is mixed. Open it up, smell it, taste it. Needs more salt, pepper, garlic? Put some in. Too much? Add a bit more flour. But the above should be fine.

Wash pieces, put one-by-one into tupperware, close lid, shake. Pull out, shake excess flour off, put on plate, repeat for rest of chicken.

By now, the temperature should be close to being hot enough for the chicken. Everybody tells you not to do this, but I do it anyway: flick a small drop of water in the oil to see how it reacts. Violently, and you want to turn the heat down. Not at all, turn it up. A couple of pops… it’s almost there.

I put the chicken in skin-side up - I don’t want to risk having the crust get stuck to the pan, as can happen when you first put a piece in and the oil is too hot. Move the pieces around a bit to make sure they don’t stick. Wait 10 minutes, turn, wait 10 minutes, turn, start flipping for “brownness” every 4-6 minutes, finally pull out a piece and use your thermometer on the thickest part of the meat that is the furthest from the heat.

As a general rule, pieces get finished in this order:


Breasts can be a pain as their shape may keep part of the meat constantly out of the oil - I’ve had to press them down like a hamburger to make sure they’re cooked.

Don’t worry about overcooking your food - chicken is one of those meats where you’d much rather have it 10 degrees over than 10 degrees under.

If you have thighs with two bones in them, you may wish to separate the thigh bone from the “hip” by bending it back, away from the side with the skin. This will help the dark meat cook more evenly and remove some excess blood and stuff from the meat.

Probably too late but there it is.

Pickle juice, huh? Do you buy that as an ingredient or do I just have to finish off a big enough jar of pickles?

Sounds like the kind of thing I might try next time. Now that I’ve dived into the world of fried chicken, the recipe is going to be something that gets ‘put into rotation’ on my turns to cook, so in the long run there will be plenty of time to experiment with the equipment and the ingredients.

For example, yes it is too late tonight for JohnT’s suggestions, but there Will be a next time… For now, it is time to make the buttermilk batter.

Michael Ruhlman hasn’t steered me wrong yet.


You don’t have to finish the pickles. Use the juice. The pickles will keep in the refrigerator.

And to whomever upthread, no, you don’t have to season a piece of cast iron for deep frying.

Keep a lid handy. On the off chance of a grease fire, put the lid on. A thermometer made for frying that clamps on the side of the pot is essential for safety.

Yeah, I keep the juice when I finish a jar but I’m not averse to simply pouring some out of a jar that still has pickles because I go through them fast enough it doesn’t seem to adversely affect their longevity.

If you have time, brine the chicken pieces for at least a few hours before you bread them.

The missing ingredient in your flour breading mixture is sugar. Really.

I have made some good (deep) fried chicken but don’t really like doing it in a big pot. I’ve determined that deep frying stuff ends up being a waste of cooking oil. Instead, I now oven-fry the chicken. It is still quite good and here is how it is made:

coat the chicken pieces in seasoned flour–put the pieces in a bag with the flour and shake it up

using a baking pan, coat the bottom of the pan with butter then arrange the chicken evenly, so there is space between them

cut up butter, more or less depending on the amount of chicken, and put the pieces between the chicken

cook the chicken at 450 for 25 minutes or so, then turn them over, adding butter if necessary

cook an additional 10-20 minutes depending on the size of the pieces

that’s it. It’s easy and I haven’t found the chicken gets dry.

So many ways to fry chicken! Right now I am frying 3 of 6 breasts. I don’t think I’ll do all breasts next time, but the store I went to didn’t have the choices I was expecting.

Anyway, since the breasts are kind of big, 7 minutes per side may not do it. It’s taking longer than we thought- where have I heard that before?

I do oven fried too, sometimes with olive oil.