10 Pro Tips for Making Southern Style Fried Chicken at Home

Fried chicken is a beloved comfort food that evokes memories of family gatherings, summer picnics, and Sunday dinners. When done right, Southern style fried chicken is crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside, and packed with flavor. If you’ve ever wondered how to achieve this at home, look no further. Here are 10 pro tips to help you make the perfect Southern style fried chicken in your own kitchen.

Choose the Right Chicken

The type of chicken you use can make a big difference. Opt for fresh, high-quality chicken. Many Southern cooks prefer using bone-in, skin-on pieces like thighs, drumsticks, and breasts. The bones help keep the meat moist, and the skin crisps up beautifully when fried.

Marinate for Maximum Flavor

Marinating the chicken is key to adding flavor and tenderness. A classic buttermilk marinade is a favorite in Southern cooking. Buttermilk not only tenderizes the meat but also helps the flour coating stick better. For an extra flavor boost, add spices like garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and a dash of hot sauce to the buttermilk.

Season the Flour

Don’t skimp on seasoning the flour. A well-seasoned flour mix is crucial for flavorful fried chicken. Use a combination of salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and cayenne pepper for a bit of heat. Make sure to taste the flour mixture before you start coating the chicken to ensure it has enough seasoning.

Double Dredge for Extra Crispy Chicken

For that extra crispy crust, use the double dredging method. After marinating the chicken, dredge it in the seasoned flour, then dip it back into the buttermilk, and finally coat it in the flour mixture again. This double layer creates a thicker, crunchier crust that is a hallmark of great fried chicken.

Use the Right Oil

The type of oil you use for frying is important. Choose an oil with a high smoke point, such as peanut oil, canola oil, or vegetable oil. These oils can withstand the high frying temperatures needed without burning, ensuring your chicken cooks evenly and stays crispy.

Maintain the Right Temperature

Keeping the oil at a consistent temperature is crucial. Aim for a frying temperature between 325°F and 350°F. If the oil is too hot, the coating will burn before the chicken is cooked through. If it’s too cool, the chicken will absorb too much oil and become greasy. Use a deep-fry thermometer to monitor the oil temperature.

Don’t Overcrowd the Pan

Frying too many pieces of chicken at once can lower the oil temperature, resulting in soggy, greasy chicken. Fry in batches to maintain the proper oil temperature and ensure each piece cooks evenly. Give each piece enough space in the pan so they don’t stick together.

Drain Properly

Once the chicken is golden brown and cooked through, remove it from the oil and drain it on a wire rack set over a baking sheet. This allows excess oil to drip off and prevents the chicken from becoming soggy. Avoid draining on paper towels, as this can trap steam and make the crust less crispy.

Season Immediately After Frying

While the chicken is still hot, sprinkle it with a little extra salt. This final seasoning step enhances the flavor and gives the chicken that perfect finishing touch. You can also add other spices at this stage, such as smoked paprika or a pinch of cayenne, to add a bit more flavor.

Serve Hot and Fresh

Fried chicken is best enjoyed fresh out of the fryer. Let the chicken rest for a few minutes to cool slightly and allow the juices to redistribute, but serve it while it’s still hot and crispy. Pair it with classic Southern sides like coleslaw, mashed potatoes, and cornbread for a complete meal.


Making Southern style fried chicken at home can be a rewarding experience. With these pro tips, you’ll be well on your way to creating a dish that’s crispy, juicy, and full of flavor. Remember to choose the right chicken, marinate it properly, season the flour, and fry at the correct temperature. These steps will help you achieve the perfect Southern fried chicken that will have everyone coming back for more.


Can I use boneless chicken for this recipe?

Yes, you can use boneless chicken, but bone-in pieces tend to stay juicier and have more flavor.

How long should I marinate the chicken?

Marinate the chicken for at least 2 hours, but overnight is best for maximum flavor.

What if I don’t have buttermilk?

You can make a buttermilk substitute by mixing 1 cup of milk with 1 tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice. Let it sit for a few minutes before using.

Can I bake the chicken instead of frying?

Yes, you can bake the chicken at 400°F for about 40-45 minutes, or until it’s cooked through and crispy.

How do I store leftovers?

Store leftover fried chicken in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the oven at 350°F to maintain its crispiness.

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