Buttermilk Fried Chicken - (Free Recipe below)

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Buttermilk Fried Chicken

Prep Time: 12 hours, 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 13 hours

Yield: 20 pieces


Enjoy the most flavorful, crispy and tender buttermilk fried chicken at home! This recipe is inspired by Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc fried chicken, so you don't have to travel to Napa, CA. Your guests will be asking for thirds with this irresistible recipe!


    • 2- 2 ½ to 3 pound chickens
    • Chicken brine, recipe to follow
    • Ground fleur de sel or fine sea salt
    • Rosemary and thyme sprigs for garnish
Chicken Brine-
    • 5 lemons, halved
    • 12 bay leaves
    • 1 bunch (4ounces) flat-leaf parsley
    • 1 bunch (1 ounce) thyme
    • ½ cup clover honey
    • 1 head garlic, halved through the equator
    • ¼ cup black peppercorns
    • 2 cups (10 ounces) kosher salt
    • 2 gallons water
For Dredging and Frying-
    • Peanut or canola oil for deep-drying
    • 1 quart buttermilk
    • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 cups all-purpose flour or gluten free flour
  • ¼ cup garlic powder
  • ¼ cup onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Chicken Brine-
    1. Combine all the ingredients in a large pot, cover and bring to a boil. Boil for 1 minute, stirring to dissolve the salt. Remove from the heat and cool completely them chill before using. The brine can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Makes 2 gallons, and enough for 10 pounds of meat.
    1. Cut each chicken into 10 pieces each: 2 legs, 2 thighs, 4 breast quarters, 2 wings. Pour the brine into a container or plastic re-sealable bags large enough to hold the chicken pieces, add the chicken, and refrigerate for 12 hours (no, longer or the chicken may become too salty).
    2. Remove the chicken from the brine (discard the brine) and rinse under cold water, removing any herbs or spices sticking to the skin. Pat dry with paper towels, or let air-dry. Let rest at room temperature for 1 12 hours, or until it comes to room temperature.
    3. In a large pot (about 6 inches deep) or deep fryer, fill the pot with at least 2 inches of oil and heat to 320°F (follow manufacturing instructions if using a deep fryer). No matter what size pot you have the oil should not come more than one-third of the way up the sides of the pot. Set a cooling rack over a baking sheet. Line a second baking sheet with parchment paper.
Coating and Dredging-
    1. Combine all the coating ingredients in a large bowl. Transfer half the coating to a second large bowl. Pour the buttermilk into a third bowl and season with salt and pepper. Set up a dipping station: the chicken pieces, one bowl of coating, the bowl of buttermilk, the second bowl of coating, and the parchment-lined baking sheet.
    2. Just before frying dip the chicken thighs into the first bowl of coating, turning to coat and patting off the excess; dip them into the buttermilk, allowing the excess to run back into the bowl; then dip them into the second bowl of coating. Transfer to the parchment-lined pan.
  1. Carefully lower the thighs into the hot oil. Adjust the heat as necessary to return the oil to the proper temperature. Fry for 2 minutes, then carefully move the chicken pieces around in the oil and continue to fry, monitoring the oil temperature and turning the pieces as necessary for even cooking, for 11 to 12 minutes, until the chicken is a deep golden brown, cooked through, and very crisp. Meanwhile, coat the chicken drumsticks and transfer to the parchment-lined baking sheet.
  2. Transfer the cooked thighs to the cooling rack, skin-side-up and let rest while you fry the remaining chicken. Putting the pieces skin side up-side-up will allow the excess fat to drain, whereas leaving them skin-side-down could trap some of the fat. Make sure the oil is at the correct temperature, and cook the chicken drumsticks. When the drumsticks are done, lean the meat-side-up against the thighs to drain, then sprinkle the chicken pieces with fine sea salt.
  3. Turn up the heat and increase oil temperature to 340°F. Coat the chicken breasts and wings. Carefully lower the chicken breasts into the hot oil and fry for 7 minutes, or until golden brown, cooked through, and crisp. Transfer to the rack, sprinkle with salt, and turn skin side up. Cook the wings for 6 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked through. Transfer the wings to the rack and turn off the heat.
  4. Arrange the chicken on a serving platter. Add the herb sprigs over the chicken (you can fry the herbs for a few seconds if desired).


Recipe adapted from Ad Hoc at Home, by Thomas Keller