How to Make Fried Chicken

By: The Editors of

Making a batch of Southern fried chicken from scratch can be a bit daunting, but it's much simpler than it seems. Our guide for How to Make Fried will show you how to easily whip up a batch of classic Southern chicken. Our step-by-step guide will teach you everything you need to know so that you can make our test kitchen-approved recipe for Popeye's Copycat Fried Chicken with Delta Sauce, as well as any other fried chicken recipe you happen to come across.

No one is able to resist a plateful of juicy, crispy fried chicken. Friends and family will surely thank you for learning how to make fried chicken. Plus, once you know the basics of making fried chicken, you can easily switch up your seasonings and coatings to make it a different way each time. Our guide for How to Make Fried Chicken will show you the best way to start out making this authentic Southern dish. Enjoy! 

Fried Chicken

How to Make Fried Chicken

Table of Contents

What You Need

What You Need For the Chicken:

  • 1 (3-pound) chicken, cut into pieces
  • 1 quart buttermilk
  • 4 cups flour
  • 3 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ground pepper
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 cup hot pepper sauce
  • 3 cups peanut oil
  • salt and fresh ground pepper

What Tools You Will Need

  • large skillet
  • tongs
  • bowl
  • wire rack set over a baking pan
  • meat thermometer

Tools You Will Need

See our recipe for Popeye's Copycat Fried Chicken with Delta Sauce for exact measurements and further instructions.

Making the Chicken

  1. Place the chicken pieces into a very large bowl and add buttermilk to completely cover.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  2. When ready to fry the chicken, combine the flour, cayenne and all purpose flours and paprika in a large zip-top bag and shake to mix. Combine eggs, water, and hot sauce in a large bowl.
  3. Remove chicken from the buttermilk and arrange on a cooling rack set into a rimmed baking sheet so that excess buttermilk drips off.

    Drain the chicken
  4. In a large skillet which is at least 3 inches deep, place the oil and heat over medium high until it reaches 350 degrees F – use a thermometer to check the temperature.  

    Heat the oil
  5. While oil is heating, drop chicken a few pieces at a time into the zip top bag with the dry ingredients and shake to coat, then dip them into the egg mixture and finally back into the dry ingredients again. Shake off excess flour and set on the cooling rack to drip.

    Place chicken in bag with dry ingredients

    Place in egg mixture

    Return to dry ingredients and shake to coat

    Set on cooling rack
  6. When oil is at 350 degrees F, use tongs to lower a few pieces at a time into the hot oil  - do not crowd the pan. Cook for about 15 minutes, turning once and keeping an eye on the oil temperature, adjusting the heat to be sure the oil remains at 350 degrees F. 

    Place the chicken in the hot oil

    Do not overcrowd the pan
  7. When chicken pieces are done, remove from the oil with tongs and set on another cooling rack/baking sheet so that air circulates around them.  Place into a 300 degree oven while you repeat the procedure until all the chicken is cooked. 

    Drain the cooked chicken on a wire rack

     If the oil gets too hot and the chicken browns too much before it is totally cooked, simply put it into the oven on the cooling rack/baking pan as directed above, but raise the oven temperature to 350 and let cook a few more minutes.
  8. Serve right away or at room temperature.

How to Make Fried Chicken

Download a free, printable copy of 11 Savory Southern Recipes for Dinner: The Best Southern Dinner Recipes for more Southern recipes.

Southern Fried Chicken Recipes

Now that you've learned how to make fried chicken, you can easily conquer all of the recipes below. These delicious chicken recipes will show you all of the varied ways that you can whip up a batch of crispy fried chicken for friends and family.

Check out our full collection of 12 Fried Chicken Recipes for more delicious chicken recipes.

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