Fried chicken is easy once you have mastered the basic steps. Follow this guide and then switch things up with your favorite spices and batters.
By Aaron Hutcherson
I present to you this comprehensive guide on how to make fried chicken. I’ve shared a couple of variations over the years, but this aims to be your go-to manual for how to fry chicken.
It of course all starts with the chicken. I tend to stick with dark meat these days because I find it more flavorful, but you can use whatever cuts you like. Lay your chicken out flat on a good working surface.
Now it’s time to season! The basic chicken spices that I always include are kosher salt, black pepper, and garlic powder. You can stop there (as I did for this post), or you can personalize with other herbs and spices. Some others that I regularly include are onion powder, mustard powder, paprika, chili powder, cumin, and cayenne pepper. Be sure to generously sprinkle all sides of the chicken so that it is full of flavor.
Speaking of flavor, it’s also a good idea to season the flour you’ll be dredging the chicken in. Just use all of the same spices you put on the pieces of chicken.
Coat the chicken in the seasoned flour a few pieces at a time, shaking off any excess, until they’re all floured. It’s great to let the dredged chicken sit for a few minutes to help the coating adhere to the meat.
While the dredged chicken is resting you can start heating the oil to fry the chicken. You want about 1/2 inch of oil (i.e. corn, canola, vegetable, or peanut) in a heavy-bottomed pan over medium-low heat. Though a cast-iron skillet is ideal for frying chicken, I have a confession to make: I don’t actually own one. I know, I know…it’s definitely on my list, but I’m low on space and already have to store some of my equipment in my bedroom. (Thank you, New York City apartments.)
You can check that the oil is ready by flicking some flour into the pan and looking for a moderate sizzle. If it goes crazy, then it means that the oil is too hot. Carefully add the chicken pieces, a few at time so as not to crowd the pan, and cook until golden brown on the first side, about 7 to 10 minutes.
Flip over and continue frying until the chicken is golden brown on the other side, about 7 to 10 minutes more.
Fry at a low temperature that will allow the chicken to cook all the way through without burning or having to finish in the oven. Put the perfectly fried chicken on a wire rack to drain. (Paper towels will also work.)
Repeat with the remaining chicken and then EAT!