Buttermilk Fried Chicken

Buttermilk Fried Chicken

Bob doesn’t get to have Buttermilk Fried Chicken as often as he would like because I consider it an occasional treat, not something to have in my regular recipe rotation. (Isn’t it all the more special if you don’t eat it very often?) We were headed to Metropolitan Market after lunch yesterday to buy chicken when Bob talked me into making Buttermilk Fried Chicken instead of roast chicken.


I selected a small (3 pound) chicken. Smaller chickens work best because they cook quickly and you can fit all of the pieces in a 12-inch skillet. The best size for frying is 2½ – 3 pounds, but it can be hard to find small chickens. Many of them weigh 4½ – 5 pounds! If you use a larger chicken, you may need to cook the pieces in two batches.

You can cut up a whole chicken yourself*, or buy 2½ – 3 pounds of chicken pieces. (That’s the way to go if everyone in your family likes the same pieces; it will save fights over the drumsticks or wings!)

I was recently given Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc at Home for my birthday (thank you, S & B!) and I have heard wonderful things about his fried chicken. I checked the recipe when we got home at about 2:00 and found that Keller calls for an “essential” 12 hour brine. Since we wanted to be eating fried chicken within 4 or 5 hours, I decided to save his recipe to try another day.

This Buttermilk Fried Chicken is adapted from the one in The Best Recipe from the editors of Cook’s Illustrated. Their chicken marinates in yogurt for “at least 2 hours”, so I had plenty of time to make it. I had my chicken marinating in the refrigerator by 3:00. I let it marinate for 3 hours, and we enjoyed a Buttermilk Fried Chicken dinner at 7:00!

Today’s lunch: leftover fried chicken and “smashed” Yukon Gold potatoes!


Buttermilk Fried Chicken

(Adapted from the recipe in The Best Recipe by the editors of Cook’s Illustrated)

In true Cook’s Illustrated fashion, the editors tested all types of cooking fats for frying chicken. In the end, they preferred shortening. If you have shortening, by all means, try it with this chicken. I don’t ever have it on hand and don’t want to buy it for 1 recipe. I’ve had good results using coconut oil, or a combination of coconut oil and mild olive oil.

(print the recipe)

Serves 4

1 (2½ – 3 pound) chicken, cut into pieces*

1½ cups buttermilk


  • 1½ cups buttermilk
  • 2 cups flour
Read the whole recipe on In the Kitchen with Kath