Buttermilk fried chicken

Do you love buttermilk fried chicken but you can’t seem to get the recipe right? Chicken is a household staple, but crispy fried chicken can be hard to really nail! When you’re looking for a Goldilocks-level of fried chicken goodness, this is the only buttermilk chicken recipe you will ever need. People will love your buttermilk chicken recipe and ask you to make it for every picnic, potluck or barbecue!

Buttermilk fried chicken tenders

The key to the best fried chicken is a quality recipe, and my buttermilk fried chicken is just that! It’s made with top-notch ingredients, delivering juicy, flavorful chicken with a super crispy exterior. Your family and friends will definitely want seconds. If you’re after a delicious dish, try this buttermilk chicken. You won’t regret it!

Growing up, we loved mom’s buttermilk fried chicken. Her double dipped fried chicken, crispy and delicious, won several ribbons. Many worry about making buttermilk fried chicken, but there’s no need. This recipe is easy and customizable!

Ready to start? Follow this recipe closely, and you’ll have people begging for it! They’ll want this buttermilk chicken recipe at every potluck, school event, BBQ, picnic, or any occasion where you need to bring a dish!

How to make buttermilk fried chicken

Buttermilk fried chicken recipe

Ingredients

  • Chicken Tenders: The star of the show! Using chicken tenders instead of traditional whole pieces of chicken allows for faster cooking time and a more tender bite.
  • Buttermilk: This tangy ingredient not only adds flavor, but also helps to tenderize the chicken, resulting in a moist and juicy final product.
  • Self-Rising Flour: This type of flour already contains leavening agents, making it perfect for those who do not have access to baking powder or baking soda. It also creates a lighter and crispier coating on the chicken.
  • Spices: A blend of salt, sweet paprika, freshly ground black pepper, garlic powder, and Lowry’s Season Salt create a delicious and well-rounded flavor profile.
  • Vegetable Oil: This is used for frying the chicken and should be heated to 360 degrees Fahrenheit for optimal results.

Substitutes

  • Chicken Tenders: If you don’t have access to chicken tenders, you can use boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into strips. Or you could use other chicken pieces such as thighs, wings or drumsticks. Just adjust the cooking time as these take more to cook.
  • Buttermilk: If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, you can replace it with yogurt or sour cream, thinned with a bit of milk.
  • Self-Rising Flour: If you don’t have self-rising flour, you can make your own by combining 1 cup of all-purpose flour with 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • Paprika: For a spicier option, you can substitute cayenne pepper for the paprika.

Equipment you’ll need

  • Mixing Bowls: These are essential for combining the ingredients and marinating the chicken.
  • Plastic Wrap: This is used to cover the marinating chicken and prevent any spills in the fridge.
  • Non-Stick Pan or Skillet,  a Deep Fryer or a dutch oven: Any of these options will work for frying the chicken, but make sure they are large enough and have high enough sides to hold the oil without splashing.
  • Tongs: to turn the chicken pieces.

Instructions to cook the buttermilk fried chicken

Preparations:

  1. In a large bowl, toss the chicken tenders, buttermilk and 1 teaspoon of salt.
  2. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  3. In a shallow dish, mix the flour and spices.

Cooking:

  1. Heat 1 inch of vegetable oil in a deep skillet or deep fryer over medium-high heat until a thermometer registers 360 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Remove one chicken tender from the buttermilk, shake off any excess and roll in the flour mixture.
  3. Shake off any excess flour and place chicken pieces on a plate. Repeat this process with all chicken tenders.
  4. Then repeat the steps for a double coating.
  5. Cook the seasoned chicken in batches without overcrowding in the hot oil, turning occasionally.
  6. Fry until golden brown and cooked through, about 10-15 minutes for both sides. Adjust the heat as needed to prevent burning, and use tongs to turn the chicken.
  7. Drain the fried chicken on paper towels.

Tips

  • For tender chicken, make sure to marinate for at least an hour before frying, up to 4 hours.
  • For a spicier kick, increase the amount of cayenne pepper in the spice mixture or add a sprinkle of hot sauce to the buttermilk marinade.

Recipe variations

  1. Oven-Baked Buttermilk Chicken: For a healthier alternative, skip the frying and bake the chicken tenders in the oven at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for 20-25 minutes or until crispy and cooked through. Or use an air fryer for a similar result. Preheat air fryer to 400 degrees F. Place chicken in the basket of the air fryer. Cook for 10 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and juices run clear.
  2. Buffalo Buttermilk Fried Chicken: Add some hot sauce and cayenne pepper to the buttermilk marinade for a spicy twist on this classic dish.
  3. Lemon Pepper Buttermilk Fried Chicken: Use lemon pepper seasoning in place of the paprika for a tangy and zesty flavor.

What to serve with

This fried chicken is the entrée, so don’t forget about some sides! I like to whip up a side of roasted potatoes with mushrooms or sweet potato fries to go with the meal. But there are so many delicious things that go with fried chicken! Here are a few of my family’s favorites:

Buttermilk chicken tenders on a white plate next to a bowl of barbecue sauce

Q&A you might find useful

How to make the best buttermilk fried chicken

In my opinion, what sets good fried chicken apart from outstanding fried chicken is based on two things:

1) The spices you put in your flour, which are used to coat the chicken and

2) The level of crispness you can achieve from your fried chicken. Here’s the thing about crispness: It’s all about how much flour mixture is on the chicken when you lower it into the hot oil. There’s a common misconception that fried chicken gets crisp based on how long it is fried. So let’s debunk that myth right here, right now. You don’t need to go crazy with frying your chicken just to crisp it up. All you need to do is double dip.

How do I make my fried chicken crispy?

To get this recipe super delicious, I mix the chicken, buttermilk and 1 teaspoon salt in a bowl. Then I cover and refrigerate it for one hour. When heating the oil, make sure you take your time with it. It’s important to heat the oil really well before proceeding to fry the chicken. This will truly make the difference between crispy chicken and soft chicken. Heat 1 inch of vegetable oil in a large deep skillet (or in a deep fryer) over medium-high heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 360 degrees.

Double coating and dipping the chicken also plays a very important part in this.

Fry, turning occasionally, until golden brown and cooked through, for about 10-15 minutes total time (adjust the heat as needed). Keep an eye on the chicken so it doesn’t cook too much! Sometimes you have to use your judgment on this, but a good rule of thumb is 10-15 minutes while flipping occasionally. Everyone likes a different level of crispy, so do what you (and your family and friends) prefer. If you have a meat thermometer, the chicken is done when the internal temperature reaches 160F.

What does buttermilk do to chicken?

Buttermilk is key for making fried chicken because it tenderizes the meat and adds a delicious flavor. It also helps to create a crispy coating on the outside of the chicken. Buttermilk is made by adding lactic acid to milk, which gives it a sour taste. This is why buttermilk can be used as a marinade as well — it helps to break down the tough proteins in chicken, making it more tender.

Does buttermilk change the taste of chicken?

Yes, buttermilk does change the taste of chicken. It makes it more tender and adds a delicious flavor. It also aids in the formation of the crispy crust on the outside of the chicken, thus changing the overall taste and texture.

How long can I marinate the chicken for?

You can marinate the chicken for up to 4 hours for maximum flavor and tenderness.

Can I freeze leftover fried chicken?

Yes, you can freeze leftover fried chicken for up to 3 months. To reheat, thaw in the fridge overnight and bake in the oven at 375 degrees Fahrenheit until crispy. Or use an air fryer on 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 10 minutes.

Storing and reheating instructions

  1. Store leftover fried chicken in an airtight container or resealable bag for up to 3 days in the fridge.
  2. To reheat, place on a baking sheet and bake in the oven at 375 degrees Fahrenheit until crispy.
  3. Or use an air fryer on 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 7 minutes.
  4. Microwave is not recommended for reheating fried chicken as it can make the coating soggy.

Additional serving suggestions

  • Buttermilk Fried Chicken Sandwich: Use the fried chicken tenders and my homemade sandwich bread recipe to make a delicious sandwich with your favorite toppings like lettuce, tomato, and mayo.
  • Buttermilk Fried Chicken Salad: Cut up the fried chicken tenders and serve on top of a bed of greens with your favorite salad toppings and dressing. Use this salad recipe as a suggestion.

More chicken recipes you will love:

Serving size

This recipes serves 4 people, with about 3-4 chicken tenders per serving. However, you can easily double or triple the recipe to feed a larger crowd. Check out the recipe card for these details.

There’s nothing quite like homemade fried chicken. And this buttermilk fried chicken recipe is the best of the best. Tender, juicy chicken coated in a crispy, flavorful batter – it’s sure to be a hit with your family and friends! So why not give it a try today? You won’t be disappointed!

Deliciously buttermilk fried chicken, double dipped for extra flavor and crispiness. Perfect for potlucks and BBQs, everyone will love it! Try the recipe now!

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5 from 42 votes

Buttermilk Fried Chicken

Try the ultimate buttermilk fried chicken recipe for perfect crispiness! It's a must have recipe everyone will love, ideal for potlucks & BBQs
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Marinating time4 hours
Total Time4 hours 20 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: best buttermilk fried chicken, buttermilk chicken, buttermilk chicken tenders, buttermilk fried chicken, buttermilk fried chicken recipe, crispy fried chicken, fried chicken
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 733kcal
Author: Petro Neagu

Ingredients

  • 3-4 pounds chicken tenders
  • 3 cups buttermilk
  • 2 cups self-rising flour
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon sweet paprika
  • 1/2 tablespoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon Lowry's Season Salt
  • Vegetable oil for frying

Instructions

  • Toss the chicken, buttermilk and 1 teaspoon salt in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate, 1 hour.
  • Heat 1 inch of vegetable oil in a large deep skillet (or in a deep fryer) over medium-high heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 360.
  • Mix the flour and spices in a shallow bowl.
  • Remove one tender from the buttermilk, shake off the excess and roll in the flour mixture. Shake off the excess flour and lay on a plate.
  • Repeat the process until all pieces of chicken are double coated.
  • Place in chicken into the hot oil and fry, turning occasionally, until golden brown and cooked through, about 10-15 minutes (adjust the heat as needed).
  • Drain on paper towels.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 733kcal | Carbohydrates: 56g | Protein: 86g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0.04g | Cholesterol: 238mg | Sodium: 2330mg | Potassium: 1606mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 835IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 241mg | Iron: 2mg
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about petro

ABOUT PETRO

Hi, I’m Petro, author and founder of Easy Peasy Creative Ideas. Sewist, crafter, avid DIY-er, foodie, photographer, homemaker and mommy to one. I’m an expert at coming up with quick, clever sewing tips, recycling crafts and simple, easy recipes! You can find my ideas featured in reputable publications such as Country Living, Good House Keeping, Yahoo News, WikiHow, Shutterfly, Parade, Brit & Co and more. Thanks for stopping by and hope you’ll stay for a while, get to know me better and come back another time. Stick around for real fun projects! Read more…

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34 Comments

  1. I tried but the breading just fall off the chicken what am I doing wrong. My husband loves fried chicken

  2. I have been looking for this recipe forever! Most buttermilk deep fried recipes are for bone in and skin on. I will be using this tomorrow for dinner. I usually use both breast and thigh pieces. Thank you

    1. Glad you found my recipe, Susan! You’re gonna love it, it’s absolutely fabulous!

  3. This is so yummy. Thank you. This is the first time ever that the breading stayed on and they really are good.

  4. This looks good. However I didn’t see an actual recipe on this page. Could you send?

    1. Hi, Karen! Recipe is on page 2 of the article.

  5. I liked your lead-in comments. Thank you

  6. Lisa Hager says:

    I only have all-purpose flour, will that work as well?

  7. Molly Lovell says:

    Is there a difference between sweet papericka and regular papericka?

    1. Yes. Paprika range from sweet to very hot. Regular paprika is medium hot.

  8. Hey I just tried making this and I had trouble keeping the breading on the chicken, it fell off most of the pieces. I used full chicken breast, could that be why?

    1. Hi Megan. Thanks so much for your interest in my recipe, it just makes my day! Have you used the whole chicken breast, without cutting in strips? That might be the reason. This works best with smaller pieces like chicken tenders. Make sure you keep the chicken and buttermilk mixture in the fridge for at least one hour and then shake off the excess, but not too much, you want it well coated. Dry the chicken with a paper towel before tossing with the buttermilk, especially if it seems too wet or watery. Also double dipping might work well (dip in buttermilk, cover in flour then dip again in buttermilk and cover in flour one more time), especially if your buttermilk recipe is not too thick. Hope that helps. Let me know how these worked out for you.

  9. DearCreatives (@DearCreatives) says:

    Looks so good. Just like my grandma used to make. Can’t wait to try your recipe. Pinned & shared.
    Thanks for linking up with us @DearCreatives party!

    1. Thanks so much for stopping by and for sharing.

    1. Aww, you’re so sweet. Thanks so much Jerri.

  10. Jamie @ Coffee With Us 3 says:

    Thanks so much for linking up at The Pretty Pintastic Party, and for pinning the features!
    We love your recipe so much we have decided to feature it at the party this weekend! We hope you’ll join us, grab a badge, and link up some more fabulous posts!

    1. Thank you so much, Jamie. You are a star!

  11. zollingermomof3 says:

    This is on the menu tomorrow night!

    1. Aww, thanks so much :)

  12. Pinned! Glad you shared!

  13. cynthial1956 says:

    This is a wonderful recipe. I love buttermilk chicken. I think I will give this recipe a try on some drumsticks this weekend!

    1. Thank you Cynthia, for stopping by and your lovely comment :)

  14. ashandcrafts says:

    Yum! I love fried chicken! Thanks for sharing this recipe with us at the Merry Monday link party. Hope to see you again next week. Sharing your post on Twitter!

    1. Thanks so much for stopping by and your lovely comment :)

  15. Chelc | Inside the Fox Den says:

    OMG, yum! Chicken is a staple in my house so I am constantly looking for new recipes to add into the rotation. Gonna give this a try! Thanks for sharing at Merry Monday, hope to see you again next week!

    1. Thank you so much for stopping by and your nice comment.

  16. This looks scrumptious.

    1. Thanks so much, Trish!