Classic Fried Chicken

Fried chicken
Classic fried chicken in a basket. Daniel Loiselle / Getty Images
  • 24 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins,
  • Cook: 14 mins
  • Yield: Serves 8
Ratings (21)

This fried chicken recipe makes enough for about 8 people. For best results, fry the chicken breasts separately at a slightly lower temperature, around 325 F to 330 F.

Keep pieces of chicken warm in a 200 F oven while your fry subsequent batches.

What You'll Need

  • 2 frying chickens (about 2 1/2 to 3 pounds each, cut into serving pieces)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup milk
  • Vegetable shortening for frying or canola or peanut oil
  • 1 tablespoon bacon drippings

How to Make It

  1. In a heavy brown paper bag or large food storage bag, combine the flour and salt and pepper; shake to blend well. Pour the milk into a wide shallow bowl.
  2. Heat 2 to 3 inches of shortening or canola oil in a deep heavy skillet over medium heat.  Add the bacon drippings. When a drop of water spatters when it hits the hot oil, dip some of the chicken pieces into the milk then place in the bag and shake to coat evenly. The fat should register about 340 F if you're using a thermometer.
  1. Arrange the chicken pieces in the fat, making sure not to overcrowd. Fry the chicken until outside is golden brown and crisp, about 15 to 20 minutes, turning once to brown both sides. Reduce heat to 350 F and fry until cooked through golden brown, about 15 minutes longer. Turn once.
  2. Drain chicken on brown paper or paper towels, adding a little more shortening and bacon grease if necessary, setting or regulating the temperature as for the first batch.
  3. Transfer the chicken to a large platter for serving.
  4. Note: The best way to check for doneness is to use an instant-read thermometer. Chicken should be cooked to at least 165 F.  If you don't have a thermometer prick the chicken with a fork. The juices should run clear with no pink.