Real Simple Fried Chicken – My simplest and most authentic southern recipe for real southern fried chicken. Quick and easy for a family dinner or special occasion.
When I get into the frame of mind to go back to my culinary roots, I always go to recipes that are really representative of southern farmhouse cooking, and what’s more southern than fried chicken?
It’s a standard. It’s a staple. And, most of all it’s quick and easy. That’s right, I said “quick and easy.” Making my Real Simple Fried Chicken is not a production.
Fried Chicken Should Be Quick and Easy
It does not require overnight marinades or special equipment or any kind of fancy preparation whatsoever. If it did, do you think millions of southern women would have cooked it for lunch every day for years and years?
I can tell you without hesitation that they would not have. For our southern grandmothers, it was something they could whip up in a few minutes.
I’ve seen the recipes and the demonstrations where chefs put the chicken in milk or buttermilk or yogurt and let it stand overnight in the refrigerator. Then they coat it in all kinds of seasonings and shake it all up together in a paper bag.
Well, that’s fine if you really want to do that, but what you typically get from that is a big mass of fried flour with a little bit of chicken in the middle of it.
The Best Chicken for the Recipe
The best fried chicken is made with a chicken that weighs about 3 pounds. That’s pretty hard to find in today’s supermarkets especially when chickens have been bred for more breast meat, and that makes them weigh more.
Try to at least find the lightest weight bird in the case. If you have the skill to do so, buy a whole chicken and cut it up yourself. You’ll save lots of money. I, unfortunately, do not have that particular skill. Wish I did. I’ve tried. I’ve tried a lot.
Here’s how I (and millions of southern women before me) make really simple fried chicken.
Season the chicken
Wash and thoroughly dry all the chicken pieces and place them in a single layer in a pan. Liberally salt and pepper the chicken pieces on both sides. Be very generous with the pepper. The taste of pepper is very important to authentic southern fried chicken.
If you want to sneak in some other seasonings, this is the time to do that. Sometimes I sprinkle on some Lawry’s seasoning salt or some Jane’s Crazy Mixed-Up Salt. Whatever floats your boat. But if you’re a purist, you’ll stick with just salt and pepper.
Dredge in flour
Sprinkle all the flour over the chicken in the pan and toss the chicken to coat it well in the flour.
We’re talking about “dredging” here, not lightly flouring. That’s why you pour the flour over and toss the chicken in it rather than doing that shake-it-up in the bag thing. You want a good coating of flour.
Frying the chicken
Meanwhile, heat the peanut oil in a large iron skillet. You’ll want enough oil to reach a depth of about 1/2 inch. What we’re doing is pan frying, not deep frying. You need enough oil to come about halfway up the pieces of chicken, but not so much that it will spill over when you place the chicken in the pan.
Use the Right Pan
Using a well-seasoned iron skillet makes a huge difference in the taste of your chicken. Just something about a great iron skillet that you can’t get from any other piece of kitchen equipment. Also, I recommend using peanut oil because it will withstand higher temperatures for a longer time without burning than other oils.
A little trick to test whether the oil is hot enough to cook — Place the end of a wooden spoon in the skillet. If the oil bubbles around it, it’s hot enough.
Place the chicken pieces, skin side down in the hot oil. Cook for approximately 10 minutes or until the skin is pale golden brown.
Turn the chicken over and cook for 10 minutes on the second side. What? You say it’s burned? Hmm. Well, a couple of pieces are a little dark, I suppose. Oh, bless your heart…you thought it was going to look like Kentucky Fried Chicken, didn’t you? Let me tell you a secret. Those dark pieces will be the best tasting ones of the whole chicken. Trust me on that.
Turn the chicken pieces once more, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and cook approximately 10-15 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.
Please excuse my improvised lid in the picture. I don’t happen to have a lid that fits my largest iron skillet, so I improvised with the largest one I did have. Works fine.
Drain the Fried Chicken
Remove the hot chicken to a paper towel-lined plate and allow to drain for about 5 minutes.
If you try this method once, I’ll bet you won’t go back to all that complicated marinating and shaking. It’ll be the crispiest, most flavorful chicken you’ve cooked in a long time or my name isn’t Nana.
I’m not making any kind of promises about what the clean up is like, however.
More Good Southern Recipes on Never Enough Thyme:
- Southern Butter Beans
- The Real Deal Banana Pudding
- Fried Okra
- Boiled Peanuts
- Southern Fried Quail
- Old-Fashioned Southern Teacakes
- Turnip Greens and Corn Pone
- Old Fashioned Cornbread
fried chicken recipes from Other Bloggers:
- Fried Chicken from Recipe Girl
- Chicken Fried Chicken with Homemade Gravy from Fav Family Recipes
- French Fried Chicken from David Lebovitz
- Cajun Fried Chicken from Leite’s Culinaria
- Thai Fried Chicken from RasaMalaysia
- Korean Fried Chicken from Eat the Love
Like This Recipe? Pin It!
- 1 frying chicken, cut up
- 1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
- Peanut oil
- Wash and thoroughly dry chicken pieces and place in single layer in pan.
- Liberally salt and pepper chicken pieces on both sides. Sprinkle flour over chicken in pan. Toss chicken to coat well in flour.
- Meanwhile, heat peanut oil in a large iron skillet.
- Place chicken pieces, skin side down in hot oil. Cook for approximately 10 minutes or until skin is pale golden brown. Turn chicken over and cook for 10 minutes on second side. Turn chicken pieces once more, reduce heat to medium low, cover and cook approximately 10-15 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.
- Remove chicken to paper towel lined plate and allow to drain for about 5 minutes.
All text and photographs on Never Enough Thyme are copyright protected. Please do not use any material from this site without obtaining prior permission. If you'd like to post this recipe on your site, please create your own original photographs and either re-write the recipe in your own words or link to this post.
- Lodge 10.25 Inch Cast Iron Skillet. Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet Pan for Stovetop of Oven Use
- OXO Good Grips 12-Inch Stainless-Steel Locking Tongs
- Wilton 759284375082 Industries 2105-961 13x9 Oblong Cake Pan, 1-Pack
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 244 Total Fat: 7g Saturated Fat: 1g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 5g Cholesterol: 20mg Sodium: 720mg Carbohydrates: 35g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 0g Protein: 10g