Chef John's Buttermilk Fried Chicken


Buttermilk fried chicken that's incredibly tender, thanks to tangy buttermilk. After the buttermilk soak, dredge the chicken pieces in seasoned flour and fry them in hot oil until crisp and golden.

Prep Time:
15 mins
Cook Time:
25 mins
Additional Time:
6 hrs 10 mins
Total Time:
6 hrs 50 mins
8 pieces


  • 1 (3 1/2) pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces

  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon paprika

  • ½ teaspoon white pepper

  • ¼ teaspoon dried rosemary

  • ¼ teaspoon ground thyme

  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano

  • ¼ teaspoon dried sage

  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 2 cups buttermilk

Seasoned Flour:

  • 2 cups flour

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • ½ teaspoon paprika

  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder

  • ½ teaspoon white pepper

  • ½ teaspoon onion powder

  • 2 ½ quarts peanut oil for frying


  1. Toss chicken pieces, black pepper, salt, paprika, white pepper, rosemary, thyme, oregano, sage, and cayenne together in a large bowl.

  2. Stir in buttermilk until chicken is evenly coated. Cover and refrigerate for 6 hours.

  3. Combine flour, salt, paprika, cayenne, garlic powder, white pepper, and onion powder in a large shallow dish.

  4. Remove chicken from buttermilk and dredge each piece in seasoned flour; shake off any excess and transfer to a plate.

  5. Heat peanut oil in a large Dutch oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

  6. Add chicken pieces to the hot oil and fry for 10 minutes. Turn chicken pieces and fry for another 10 to15 minutes.

  7. Transfer fried chicken to a cooling rack set over a paper towel-lined baking sheet. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

    close up view of fried chicken on a cooling rack

Cook's Note:

The oil is 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) to start, but it may drop to about 300 degrees (150 degrees C) when chicken is added. It should rise back to 305 to 310 degrees F (155 degrees C) and be held at that temperature until done, about 25 minutes.

Editor's Note:

The nutrition data for this recipe includes the full amount of buttermilk. The actual amount of buttermilk consumed will vary.

We have determined the nutritional value of oil for frying based on a retention value of 10% after cooking. Amount will vary depending on cooking time and temperature, ingredient density, and specific type of oil used.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

1262 Calories
85g Fat
56g Carbs
66g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 4
Calories 1262
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 85g 109%
Saturated Fat 16g 78%
Cholesterol 179mg 60%
Sodium 1443mg 63%
Total Carbohydrate 56g 20%
Dietary Fiber 3g 9%
Total Sugars 6g
Protein 66g
Vitamin C 3mg 13%
Calcium 193mg 15%
Iron 6mg 34%
Potassium 666mg 14%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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