There’s more than one secret to making the ultimate crispy fried chicken.
Fried chicken is having a moment and not just in the South. More restaurants are embracing this classic, and diners are looking for the crispiest crunch. Every time I take out my nana’s cast-iron pan, I dream of her fried chicken—she was a New Yorker, no less, who knew her way around the kitchen quite well. Try our method of an overnight dry rub with a buttermilk dunk just before rolling in seasoned flour.
The Ultimate Crispy Fried Chicken
- Cast iron pan
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt, divided
- freshly ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
- ¾ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ½ teaspoon garlic salt
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- 1 chicken (3-4 pounds), cut into 10 pieces, backbone removed.
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 large egg
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- peanut oil for frying
- hot or orange blossom honey for garnish (optional)
- Combine the salt, fresh-ground pepper, cayenne, paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder.
- Rub the spice blend all over the chicken and place on rack in a refrigerator overnight to let the skin dry.
- Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before frying.
- Pour oil into a cast-iron pan to approximately ¾ of the pan. Prop a deep-fry thermometer so it doesn’t sink into the oil. Heat oil to 350°.
- Set a wire rack inside a large rimmed baking dish.
- In a large bowl, mix buttermilk and egg with ½ cup water and 1 tablespoon kosher salt and fresh-ground pepper. (You may also add a splash of hot sauce.)
- In a separate baking dish, whisk together the flour with the cornstarch.
- Working with 1 piece of chicken at a time, dip the chicken into the buttermilk mixture and shake off excess. Dip the chicken into the flour mixture to coat evenly and shake off excess. Put 5 pieces of the chicken in the oil. Fry and, using tongs, turn the chicken every 2 minutes and adjust heat to keep a steady temperature of 300–325° until the skin is golden brown and the internal temperature is 165° (10 minutes for wings and 12 minutes for thighs, legs, and small breasts).
- Using tongs, remove the cooked chicken from the skillet, allowing excess oil to drip back into the pan. Let cool slightly on a cooling rack and serve with hot honey.
*This recipe comes to us from Edible Sarasota. Photos by Kathryn Brass Piper.