This Buttermilk Fried Chicken is deliciously juicy and perfectly crispy! Soaking pieces of chicken in buttermilk is the secret to the most mouthwatering, fall-off-the-bone meat, and the blend of spices creates the tastiest coating.

buttermilk fried chicken on a blue plate, with lemons and corn on the cob.

What’s in this Buttermilk Fried Chicken Recipe?

Crispy and flavorful buttermilk fried chicken, marinated in tangy buttermilk and seasoned with a blend of herbs and spices, is a mouthwatering and irresistible classic comfort food.

  • Buttermilk: Tenderizes the meat and makes it super moist and juicy.
  • Spices: Salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and cayenne pepper infuse this chicken with so much flavor!
  • Chicken: I like to use thighs and drumsticks for the juiciest meat, but you can use any pieces you like.
  • All-Purpose Flour: Creates a crispy coating on the chicken.
  • Vegetable Oil: The perfect high smoke point neutral oil for deep-frying.

Pro Tip: For a spicy kick, add some hot sauce to the buttermilk!

Variations on Buttermilk Brined Fried Chicken

Try adding chopped fresh herbs into the buttermilk brine for a burst of fresh flavor. Or swap the seasonings for a packet of ranch seasoning! Toss the freshly fried chicken in Buffalo sauce or drizzle it with honey for a fun twist!

close up in a pile of crispy buttermilk fried chicken.
Why add buttermilk to fried chicken?

Buttermilk is the secret to moist, juicy chicken. The acidity in the buttermilk works at breaking down tough muscle fibers in the chicken, tenderizing the meat.

How long can you soak chicken in buttermilk?

You can soak chicken for up to 48 hours in buttermilk. Beyond that, it will become too mushy.

Can you oversoak chicken in buttermilk?

Yes, as stated above, anything over 48 hours will cause the chicken to turn out mushy.

Do you rinse meat after soaking in buttermilk?

Nope! There’s no need to rinse the meat, but you may want to pat it dry to help the flour stick better.

How do you keep breading from falling off buttermilk when frying chicken?

If you’re having trouble with the breading falling off, be sure to let the chicken rest in the flour coating for 20-30 minutes before frying. This gives the breading time to adhere itself to the chicken.

Should you let breading sit on chicken before frying?

Yes! This will help it stick better when frying. Skipping this step could cause the breading to fall off in the fryer, making a mess.

a serving platter filled with fried pieces of chicken.

How to Store and Reheat

Store leftover pieces of buttermilk fried chicken in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To reheat, place the chicken on a wire rack set in a baking sheet in a 400°F oven for 15-20 minutes, or until 165°F internally.

How to Freeze

Freeze buttermilk fried chicken tightly wrapped in aluminum foil and set in a Ziplock bag for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

Serving Suggestions

Serve buttermilk fried chicken with classic sides, such as mashed potatoes, french fries, cole slaw, mac and cheese, corn, or biscuits. Dip in your favorite sauce, such as honey mustard, BBQ, ranch, or hot sauce!

pieces of buttermilk fried chicken; at the center is a drumstick with a bite taken out.
Fried chicken on a blue plate with lemon wedges.

Buttermilk Fried Chicken Recipe

This Buttermilk Fried Chicken yields the tenderest meat and the crispiest coating, all at the same time!


  • Baking Sheet

  • Deep Fryer OR

  • Dutch Oven AND

  • Deep Fry Oil Thermometer


  • In a large bowl, combine the buttermilk with the 2 tablespoons salt, ½ tablespoon pepper, and hot sauce. Add the chicken and stir to coat.

    2 cups buttermilk, 2 tablespoons kosher salt, 1 tablespoon ground black pepper, 1 teaspoon hot sauce, 4 pounds chicken pieces

  • Refrigerate for 4-6 hours, then remove and allow to sit at room temp for 1 hour.

  • When ready to cook, In a large, clean bowl, whisk together the flour with the remaining salt, pepper, and seasonings. Set a cooling rack over a baking sheet and set aside.

    2 cups all-purpose flour, 2 teaspoons ground paprika, 2 teaspoons garlic powder, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

  • One piece at a time, remove the chicken from the buttermilk soak, allowing any excess drip back into the bowl. Dredge the chicken in the flour mixture, making sure it’s thoroughly coated. Transfer the coated chicken to the rack and let stand for 30 minutes until the flour coating is pasty.

  • While the chicken is setting, preheat the oil, in either deep fryer or a Dutch oven on the stove, to 350°F. Set a clean cooling rack over a baking sheet lined with paper towels.

    2 quarts vegetable oil

  • Fry chicken in batches, maintaining the temp between, for 5-8 minutes, flipping if necessary, until golden brown, and a thermometer inserted into chicken reads between 160-165°F. Transfer the chicken to the rack and let it sit for 5 minutes before serving.


Storage: Store buttermilk fried chicken in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Nutrition Facts

Buttermilk Fried Chicken Recipe

Amount Per Serving (0.66667 pound)

Calories 734
Calories from Fat 387

% Daily Value*

Fat 43g66%

Saturated Fat 12g75%

Trans Fat 0.3g

Polyunsaturated Fat 12g

Monounsaturated Fat 16g

Cholesterol 163mg54%

Sodium 2573mg112%

Potassium 593mg17%

Carbohydrates 38g13%

Fiber 2g8%

Sugar 4g4%

Protein 46g92%

Vitamin A 893IU18%

Vitamin C 4mg5%

Calcium 131mg13%

Iron 4mg22%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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