Buttermilk Fried Chicken Recipe

Buttermilk Fried Chicken Recipe
By The Cooking World, Editorial Staff
May 6, 2022

Thomas Keller Buttermilk Fried Chicken Recipe

There is no surprise how much we love a good fried chicken for those who follow our work. In this week's recipe, we decided to share one of our favorites, if not our favorite, Buttermilk Fried Chicken Recipe.

This recipe is from Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc At Home cookbook, and it's one of the best buttermilk fried chicken recipes we have tried.

The chicken is brined for 12 hours in a herb-lemon brine for this recipe, which seasons the meat and helps it stay juicy. The flour is seasoned with garlic and onion powders, paprika, cayenne, salt, and pepper. The chicken is dredged in the seasoned flour, dipped in buttermilk, and then dredged again in the flour. The crust becomes almost feathered and is very crisp.

45 minutes
30 minutes
4 to 6


Two 1.1 to 1.3 kg (2½- to 3-pound) chickens

For the Chicken Brine

5 lemons, halved
12 bay leaves
113 g (4 ounces) flat-leaf parsley
28 g (1 ounce) thyme
170 g (1/2 cup) clover honey
1 head garlic, halved through the equator
36 g (1/4 cup) black peppercorns
280 g (2 cups) Diamond Crystal kosher salt
7.5 l (2 gallons) water

For Dredging and Frying

Peanut or canola oil for deep-frying
950 g (1 quart) buttermilk
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

For the Coating

720 g ( 6 cups) all-purpose flour
20 g (1/4 cup) garlic powder
20 g (1/4 cup) onion powder
10 g (1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon) paprika
10 g (1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon) cayenne
20 g (1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon) kosher salt
2 g (1 teaspoon) freshly ground black pepper

Ground fleur de sel or fine sea salt
Rosemary and thyme sprigs for garnish

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  1. Cut each chicken into 10 pieces: 2 legs, 2 thighs, 4 breast quarters, and 2 wings. Pour the brine into a container large enough to hold the chicken pieces, add in 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 hour and 30 minutes, or until it comes to room temperature.
  3. If you have two large pots (about 15cm / 6 inches deep) and a lot of oil, you can cook the dark and white meat at the same time; if not, cook the dark meat first, then turn up the heat and cook the white meat. 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. Fill the pot with at least 5 cm (2 inches) of peanut oil and heat to 160 ºC (320°F). Set a cooling rack over a baking sheet. Line a second baking sheet with parchment paper.
  4. Meanwhile, 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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 will allow excess fat to drain, whereas leaving them skin-side-down could trap some of the fat.) Make sure that the oil is at the correct temperature, and cook the chicken drumsticks. When the drumsticks are done, lean them meat-side-up against the thighs to drain, then sprinkle the chicken with fine sea salt.
  8. Turn up the heat and heat the oil to 170 ºC 340 °F. Meanwhile, 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.
  9. Arrange the chicken on a serving platter. Add the herb sprigs to the oil (which will still be hot) and let them cook and crisp for a few seconds, then arrange them over the chicken.
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