Fried Chicken With Buttermilk Marinade


Ever since I’ve made this fried chicken with buttermilk marinade, it’s been one of my favorite recipes — like ever! I love making it because its super easy to make and always turns out great. Everyone has loved this recipe when I’ve made it before and it’s one that is frequently requested in our house. If you’re one who loves fried chicken, then I’m sure you’ll love this recipe as well.

Crispy Buttermilk Fried Chicken

With this especially crispy and tender buttermilk fried chicken, Food & Wines Grace Parisi has perfected one of our all-time favorite things to eat. A buttermilk marinade with a touch of cayenne ensures juicy meat, while a flour dredge spiked with garlic and onion powder delivers a crunchy, flavorful crust in every bite.


Recipe Summary


2 hrs 35 mins


45 mins




Buttermilk Soak

  • 3 cups buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 4 pounds medium chicken wings, thighs and drumsticks

Flour Dredge

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Vegetable oil, for frying


Instructions Checklist

  • Step 1In a large bowl, combine the buttermilk with the salt, black pepper and cayenne.
  • Step 2Add the chicken and stir to coat. Let stand at room temperature for 2 hours or refrigerate for 4 hours.
  • Step 3In a large, resealable plastic bag, mix the flour with the onion powder, garlic powder, salt, black pepper and cayenne and shake to combine.
  • Step 4Set a rack on a baking sheet. Working with one piece at a time, remove the chicken from the buttermilk soak, letting the excess drip back into the bowl. Dredge the chicken in the flour mixture, pressing so it adheres all over. Transfer the coated chicken to the rack and let stand for 30 minutes.
  • Step 5In a deep skillet, heat 1 inch of oil to 350°. Set another rack over a baking sheet; line with paper towels. Fry the chicken in batches at 315°, turning once, until golden and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of each piece registers 160°, 15 to 18 minutes.
  • Step 6Transfer the chicken to the paper-lined rack and let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Buttermilk Fried Chicken Tenders

One of my most popular recipes, these chicken tenders are marinated in seasoned buttermilk and pan-fried to crispy, crunchy perfection.

Like most kids, my daughter prefers “kid food” to “grown-up food” any day of the week. Occasionally, it works to my advantage—a trip to McDonald’s makes excellent bribery—but most of the time I’m just dealing with a picky eater. Rather than desperately trying to coax her into eating dinner every night, sometimes I just make her favorites. These chicken tenders, marinated in seasoned buttermilk and pan-fried to crispy, crunchy perfection, are at the top of her list. They’re delicious plain, dipped in honey mustard sauce, or perched on top of a salad. And they’re not just for picky kids — everyone loves them.



Begin by combining the chicken tenderloins with a mixture of buttermilk, paprika, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, and salt. If you have time, let them marinate overnight.

When you’re ready to cook them, make the breading by combining the flour, baking powder and spices in a bowl. Stir in a bit of buttermilk until the mixture is nice and clumpy.

Toss the tenderloins in the mixture and coat evenly with the breading.

They’ll look like this…

Finally, heat your oil until shimmering in a high-sided pot to prevent splatters. Place the tenderloins in the hot oil without crowding the pot, and cook until golden brown on both sides.

Drain on paper towels.

And that’s all there is to it. If you need a good honey mustard recipe to go with it, try this one.

Buttermilk Fried Chicken Tenders

One of my most popular recipes, these chicken tenders are marinated in seasoned buttermilk and pan-fried to crispy, crunchy perfection.

Servings: 4

Total Time: 40 Minutes, plus at least 4 hours marinating time



  • 2 pounds chicken tenderloins
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika


  • 1½ cups all purpose flour
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 heaping teaspoon salt
  • ¾ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¾ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¾ teaspoon paprika
  • 3 tablespoons buttermilk


  • 3-4 cups vegetable oil, for cooking


  1. To marinate the chicken: In a large sealable bag, combine the chicken tenders with the remaining marinade ingredients. Seal the bag tightly and massage the chicken until it is evenly coated with buttermilk and seasoning. Place in a bowl (in case of leakage) and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to 24 hours.
  2. To make the breading: In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and paprika. Whisk until well blended, then add the buttermilk and stir with a fork until the mixture is evenly clumpy.
  3. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil for easy cleanup. Remove the chicken tenders from the marinade a few at a time and toss into the breading mixture. Be sure to press the chicken firmly into the breading so clumps adhere to the meat. (It’s a messy job: use one hand to remove the wet tenders from the bag and the other to toss in the breading.) Set breaded tenders on the prepared baking sheet.
  4. To fry the chicken: Line another baking sheet with a few layers of paper towels and set next to the stove. Add oil to a large, high-sided pot until the level reaches about ¾-inch. Heat over medium-high heat until oil is shimmering (about 350°). (If a cube of bread sizzles when you drop it in, it’s ready.) Using tongs, place several chicken tenders in the hot oil without crowding the pan. Cook until golden brown on the bottom side, a few minutes, then flip and cook until the second side is also golden, a few minutes more. Set the cooked tenders on the paper towel-lined baking sheet to drain. Fry remaining tenders in batches adjusting the heat as necessary (if the tenders are browning too fast, lower the heat). Serve hot.
  5. Note: I find that it’s hard to tell how golden the chicken is when it’s immersed in the oil. It may only look lightly golden, but it’s actually a perfect fried chicken golden brown. If you’re unsure, simply pull a tender out of the oil and rest it on the paper towels to see the true color.
  6. Note: Nutritional information was calculated assuming that approximately ¼ cup of the oil is absorbed into the chicken tenders when frying.
  7. Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The cooked chicken tenders can be frozen for up to 3 months. To reheat, put the frozen tenders on a wire rack on top of a rimmed baking sheet and warm in a 350°F (175°C) oven until heated through and crisp, about 25 minutes, flipping halfway through.

Buttermilk Fried Chicken

This Buttermilk Fried Chicken recipe is packed with all the tips you need to make EXTRA crispy fried chicken. Once you give this a go, you won’t have it any other way!

Oh boy, is this post a long time coming. I’ve been testing out this fried chicken recipe for a loooooong time, and I’m super excited to finally share with you the tried, tested and perfected recipe! Follow me…

Extra Crispy Fried Chicken

I hope we’re all in agreement that the best fried chicken is mouthwateringly tender on the inside, tooth shatteringly crispy and flakey on the outside and bursting with flavour all over. This recipe will give you exactly that. I’ve packed this post with everything you need to know in getting perfect fried chicken, so let’s start right at the beginning.

What cut of chicken to use for fried chicken?

I always get a whole chicken and cut it up, just because I like the variety. From this, you’ll get 10-12 pieces of chicken (depending on if you split the wing in two or not, here I do).

Best chicken to use for deep frying?

If you opt not to use a whole chicken, just use a variety of different cuts i.e half thigh half drumstick. Just make sure you use bone in skin on chicken. This will result in the crispiest/juiciest fried chicken. I love drumsticks because they’re the easiest to eat, but thighs and wings are also a classic choices. If you’re doing breast as well just make sure you dice in half (keep on the bone) otherwise it’ll be too big to properly cook.

Buttermilk Chicken Marinade

The absolute KEY to getting tender and crispy fried chicken is using a buttermilk marinade. Marinating the chicken in (seasoned) buttermilk tenderises the chicken and injects a huge amount of flavour.

What does marinating chicken in buttermilk do?

Because of its slight acidity, buttermilk has the ability to tenderize the chicken, without it becoming tough and chewy. Using buttermilk also helps the chicken go nice and flaky when you dredge it through the dry mix. As such, buttermilk is great for fried chicken because it a) increases the chance your chicken will come out soft and juicy and b) increases the chances of your chicken coming out crispy.

How long to marinate chicken in buttermilk?

minimum of 4 hours, a maximum of 24 hours. Personally I very rarely marinate the chicken for less than 12 hours. Some recipes suggest a minimum of 1 hour, but from experience you just don’t get the same results. Some recipes also suggest the marinade stops being effective after 4 hours, but again, from experience I tend to differ from this. Anyway, if you’re going to the trouble of making fried chicken why risk it and shorten the marinading time!?

Alongside the buttermilk you’ll want to add some pantry staple seasonings (all listed in the recipe card). This will be similar to the flour seasoning, just with a few adjustments. Mainly the inclusion of white pepper. This gives you that classic KFC style chicken taste, definitely don’t skip this!

How to marinate chicken in buttermilk (quick summary)

  1. Pour your buttermilk in to a suitably sized bowl and add your seasoning.
  2. Stir to combine.
  3. Add your chicken and fully coat.
  4. Pop over cling film and marinate in the fridge for a minimum of 4 hours and up to 24 hours.

How to prepare fried chicken

Once you’ve marinated the chicken, it’s time to coat it in seasoned flour.

The seasoning mix is similar to that of the buttermilk, with a few tweaks. The main one is the addition of baking powder. Using baking powder in fried chicken is another crucial ingredient in getting a crispy coating. When the baking powder hits the hot oil it creates lots of tiny air bubbles, which in turn creates an airy and crispy batter.

What is the best flour to use to fry chicken?

You’ll want to use plain/all purpose flour. Some recipes suggest the addition of cornflour, but I don’t think it’s needed here. Because you’ve got the baking powder, it works great with the flour to make a nice and crispy coating. Nothing else needed (apart from the seasoning – of course).

To dredge the chicken just shake off some of the marinade, then coat in the seasoned flour. Really make sure you rub the flour into every part of the chicken so absolutely none of the flesh is showing. It’s too often I see people roll the chicken in the dry rub a couple of times and be done with it. Really make sure you get in every crevice.

How to coat chicken in flour (quick summary)

  1. Add seasoning to flour and mix. I find this easiest in a small tray, but you could also use a bowl.
  2. Shake some of the buttermilk off the chicken and one by one coat in the dry seasoning. Really get as much flour in every part of the chicken.
  3. Give the chicken a little shake.
  4. Place on a tray ready to deep fry.

Deep Fried Chicken

Of course, to get truly crispy chicken, it’s got to be deep fried.

What oil to use for deep frying?

You want to use an oil with a high smoking point, which essentially means it can go to high temperatures without turning into smoke. You also want a neutral flavoured oil. We’ve already injected enough flavour into the chicken, so no need for a flavoured oil too. For this reason I use vegetable or sunflower oil.

What temperature to deep fry chicken?

You want to get the oil to about 350F/175C. When you drop in the chicken it will drop to about 320F/160C, and that’s fine. To maintain that heat a medium flame should be fine. If it becomes too hot simply pour in some oil to lower the temperature.

How long to deep fry chicken?

Anywhere between 10-15mins, depending on the cut of chicken. I.e wings will probably cook quicker than drumsticks. The crust should be deep golden and the inside white and piping hot. Work in batches of 3 (4 max) pieces at a time.

What is the safe internal temperature for chicken?

According to the safe internal temp of cooked chicken is 165F/75C. Do take into consideration it continues cooking slightly when removed from the oil.

How do you tell if fried chicken is done without a thermometer?

The chicken is done when the batter is golden and the inside is white (no pink insight) with the juices running clear.

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