Classic Southern-Fried Chicken Recipes

“Fried and True: More Than 50 Recipes for America’s Best Fried Chicken and Sides” author Lee Brian Schrager shares his favorite fried chicken recipes that he discovered across the country.

Art Smith’s Fried Chicken

Serves: 4

Ingredients for the Spice Mix:

  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Ingredients for the Chicken:

  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken drumsticks
  • 4 cups vegetable oil, for frying
  • 2 cups self-rising flour


  1. Make the spice mix: In a small bowl, combine the paprika, cayenne pepper, smoked paprika, thyme, oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, and black pepper. Set aside.
  2. Brine the chicken: In a large bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, 1 tablespoon of the salt, and 2 tablespoons of the spice mix. Place all the chicken pieces in an airtight container or Ziploc bag. Pour the buttermilk mixture over the chicken, seal, and refrigerate for 24 to 48 hours.
  3. Fry the chicken: In a large, high-sided skillet, slowly heat the oil to 325°F. Place the flour in a large bowl and stir in the remaining spice mix and the remaining 1 tablespoon of salt. Set a wire rack on top of a rimmed baking sheet and set aside. Remove the chicken from the buttermilk brine and dredge in the seasoned flour, shaking off the excess, then dredge again in the flour to form a double crust. Working in batches, gently place the chicken into the hot oil; the temperature will drop to 265°F to 275°F. Fry the chicken until deep brown and crisp, 12 to 14 minutes for the first side and 10 to 12 minutes for the other side. Transfer the fried pieces to the rack and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

Swiss Chard Salad with Pine Nuts and Lemon

Serves: 4


  • 8 large Swiss chard leaves (about 3/4 pound), trimmed and thinly shredded crosswise
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, or more to taste
  • 1/4 cup lightly toasted pine nuts
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


  1. In a medium bowl, toss the chard, oil, and lemon juice. Add the cheese and pine nuts and toss to incorporate. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Courtesy Art Smith

Hattie B’s Hot Chicken

Serves: 4

Ingredients for the Dry Brine:

  • 1 whole chicken (3 pounds), washed, patted dry, and cut into quarters
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

Ingredients for the Dip:

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon Louisiana-style hot sauce

Ingredients for the Dredge:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • Vegetable oil, for frying

Ingredients for the Spicy Coating:

  • 1/2 cup lard, melted and heated (or hot frying oil)
  • 3 tablespoons cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon (packed) light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder


  1. Dry Brine the chicken: In a bowl, toss the chicken pieces with salt and pepper, cover, and refrigerate overnight or up to 24 hours.
  2. Make the dip and dredge: In a bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, and hot sauce. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and salt.
  3. Dredge the chicken: Dip the chicken in the flour mixture, then in the milk mixture, then in the flour mixture again, shaking off the excess after each step.
  4. Fry the chicken: Fill a 6- to 8-quart pot halfway with oil and to 325°F. Set a wire rack on top of a rimmed baking sheet and set aside. Working in batches, lower the chicken into the fryer and fry until crisp, 15 to 17 minutes for breast quarters and 18 to 20 minutes for leg quarters. Remove the chicken and let drain on the rack.
  5. Make the spicy coating: Carefully ladle the lard or frying oil into a medium heatproof bowl and whisk in the cayenne pepper, brown sugar, black pepper, salt, paprika, and garlic powder. Baste the spice mixture over the hot fried chicken and serve immediately.

Courtesy John Lasater


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