The Southern Fried Chicken Recipes We're Always Craving

Mama's Fried Chicken
Photo: Southern Living

To put it in simple terms: Fried chicken is a crunchy, crispy, heavenly delight. Southerners are practically born knowing fried chicken and how it should look, taste, and smell—and we also know there's more than one way to make it taste just as good as Mama's. These favorite fried chicken recipes are to be made over and over again, from our most simple recipes to the ones with all the bells and whistles. For a truly Southern take on fried chicken, fry up a batch of Mama's Fried Chicken—simply seasoned with salt and pepper and soak in buttermilk. It's the definition of "Don't mess with a good thing." From there, renditions are endless and equally crispy—from a batch that's brined with sweet tea to one that's covered in pepper gravy. Too busy to deep-fry? Try one of our oven-fried chicken recipes that get all of the texture of deep-frying with half the hassle (and oil!). We even included a few surprises, like chicken biscuits, chicken and waffles, and crunchy chicken salad. These aren't just like your mama's, but they come with a flair all their own. However you sizzle it, these fried chicken recipes will have you savoring every golden, extra crispy bite of this classic Southern food.

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Buttermilk-Soaked, Bacon-Fried Chicken in Gravy

Buttermilk-Soaked, Bacon-Fried Chicken in Gravy
John Lee

Recipe: Buttermilk-Soaked, Bacon-Fried Chicken in Gravy

Fried chicken doesn't get much more indulgent than this gravy-laden dish.

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Cajun Fried Chicken

Cajun Fried Chicken
Will Dickey Prop Stylist: Missie Crawford Food Stylist: Erin Merha

Recipe: Cajun Fried Chicken

With this recipe, it's all in good taste. Simply add (or subtract) the desired amount of Cajun seasoning and hot sauce to suit your preferences.

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Homemade Fried Chicken Sandwich

Fried Chicken Sandwich
Photographer: Jennifer Causey Food Stylist: Rishon Hanners Prop Stylist: Christina Daley

Recipe: Homemade Fried Chicken Sandwich

We might venture to say that this recipe will rival a certain well-known chicken sandwich.

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Pam Lolley's Crispy Chicken with Rice and Pan Gravy

Pam Lolley’s Crispy Chicken with Rice and Pan Gravy
Hector Manuel Sanchez

Recipe: Pam Lolley's Crispy Chicken with Rice and Pan Gravy

You won't find a tastier weeknight chicken dinner than this recipe. (And you can quote us on that.)

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Fried Chicken Sliders with Pimiento Cheese

Fried Chicken Sliders with Pimiento Cheese
Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Heather Chadduck Hillegas; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe: Fried Chicken Sliders with Pimiento Cheese

Serve a double header of Southern favorites and you'll be the queen of the cookout.

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Crispy Oven-Fried Drumsticks

Crispy Oven-fried Drumsticks
Ralph Anderson

Recipe: Crispy Oven-Fried Drumsticks

We'd like two buckets, please. In this recipe, you'll find a satisfyingly crunchy texture.

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Lighter Pan-Fried Chicken with Green Beans and Tomatoes

Lighter Pan-Fried Chicken with Green Beans and Tomatoes
Stephen DeVries, Prop Styling: Missie Neville Crawford; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Recipe: Lighter Pan-Fried Chicken with Green Beans and Tomatoes

Meet your new everyday fried chicken. This crispy, golden chicken is done with a quick pan-fry rather than a deep fry, making it slightly less heavy than the traditional fried stuff.

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Sweet Tea-Brined Fried Chicken

Sweet Tea-Brined Fried Chicken
Hector Sanchez

Recipe: Sweet Tea-Brined Fried Chicken

This recipe is a marriage of Southern favorites. A salty-sweet brine of brown sugar and freshly brewed tea infuses this picnic-perfect chicken with juicy flavor before frying.

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How To Make Mama's Fried Chicken

Recipe: Mama's Fried Chicken

Our most shared fried chicken recipe of all time, this Southern classic is perfectly crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. This recipe will take you back to the days when your mother used to fry her famous chicken. Soak your chicken in buttermilk at least two hours before frying. We promise–it'll be nothing short of finger-lickin'-good, sheer Southern comfort.

Enjoying a heaping helping of Mama's Fried Chicken will be reminiscent of your childhood when Mama would tell you to play in the yard with your siblings after Sunday church while she prepared the meal. No doubt, it would be complete with mashed potatoes, collard greens, and mac & cheese. There isn't any other dish as quintessentially Southern.

Are you curious about the secret to this decadent recipe? It's the buttermilk. Soaking the chicken in buttermilk for at least two hours before frying will ensure the dish is perfectly golden on the outside and tender on the inside. Of course, don't forget to make chicken and waffles with the leftovers on Monday morning!

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Fried Chicken Biscuits with Rosemary Hot Honey

Fried Chicken Biscuits with Rosemary Hot Honey
Skyler Burt

Recipe: Fried Chicken Biscuits with Rosemary Hot Honey

We don't put this lightly: These chicken biscuits will make you fall in love. The rosemary-infused hot honey is Cupid's final blow.

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Buttermilk Chicken Tenders with Roasted Potatoes and Green Beans

Buttermilk Chicken Tenders with Roasted Potatoes and Green Beans
Greg DuPree

Recipe: Buttermilk Chicken Tenders with Roasted Potatoes and Green Beans

One thing we know for sure: Buttermilk makes everything taste better. Biscuits, pancakes, and fried chicken...the list goes on.

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"Man Catching" Fried Chicken with Honey-Pecan Glaze

"Man Catching” Fried Chicken with Honey-Pecan Glaze
Photo by Erin Adams

Recipe: "Man Catching" Fried Chicken with Honey-Pecan Glaze

From the kitchen of Leah Stacey, Montgomery, Alabama: "I borrowed the recipe name from a former First Lady of Alabama who claimed her fried chicken had such powers."

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Oven-Fried Chicken Salad with Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

Oven-Fried Chicken Salad with Buttermilk Ranch Dressing
Jennifer Causey; Prop Styling: Christine Keely; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Recipe: Oven-Fried Chicken Salad with Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

This might be the only salad we want to eat as a dinner main. Ever. The chicken tenders taste like fried chicken—but with much less grease and mess.

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Crispy Oven-Fried Chicken Cutlets with Roasted Broccoli

Crispy Oven-Fried Chicken Cutlets with Roasted Broccoli
Hector Manuel Sanchez

Recipe: Crispy Oven-Fried Chicken Cutlets with Roasted Broccoli

A mixture of melted butter and Dijon mustard makes a flavorful dredging base before your chicken gets coated in crushed cornflakes and panko for maximum crunch.

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Buttermilk Chicken and Waffles

Buttermilk Chicken and Waffles
Jennifer Davick

Recipe: Buttermilk Chicken and Waffles

This bite-size recipe is perfect for a party, at any time of the day. Bonus: It makes it so easy for a big crowd to serve themselves.

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Hot Sauce Fried Chicken with Pickled Okra Slaw

Hot Sauce Fried Chicken with Pickled Okra Slaw
Photo: Jennifer Davick; Styling: Buffy Hargett

Recipe: Hot Sauce Fried Chicken with Pickled Okra Slaw

If your mouth isn't already watering, an extra drizzle of hot sauce might do the trick.

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Oven-Fried Chicken with Spring Salad

Oven-Fried Chicken with Spring Salad
Greg DuPree; Prop Styling: Lindsey Lower; Food Styling: Chelsea Zimmer

Recipe: Oven-Fried Chicken with Spring Salad

This oven-frying method is simple enough to make fried chicken a reality even on the busiest weeknight.

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Fried Chicken Bites

Fried Chicken Bites
Jennifer Davick

Recipe: Fried Chicken Bites

These fried chicken nuggets with a slightly spicy kick are great dipped in honey mustard or ranch dressing.

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Pecan-Crusted Chicken and Tortellini with Herbed Butter Sauce

Pecan-Crusted Chicken and Tortellini with Herbed Butter Sauce
Jennifer Davick

Recipe: Pecan-Crusted Chicken and Tortellini with Herbed Butter Sauce

You'll love every nutty, buttery bite of this chicken dinner—and that's a guarantee. Grab a few packages of cheese tortellini, and you're set in half an hour.

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Crunchy Chicken-Peanut Chopped Salad

Crunchy Chicken-Peanut Chopped Salad
Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Christine Keely; Food Styling: Tina Bell Stamos

Recipe: Crunchy Chicken-Peanut Chopped Salad

Consider this recipe as a fresh spin on the much-loved Asian cold salad—but made even heartier with chicken tenders. The recipe calls for deli-fried chicken, but we suggest using the easy oven-frying method from our Oven-Fried Chicken Salad.

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Crispy Chicken Cutlets with Blistered Tomatoes

Crispy Chicken Cutlets with Blistered Tomatoes
Caitlin Bensel; Prop Styling: Claire Spollen; Food Styling: Anna Hampton

Recipe: Crispy Chicken Cutlets with Blistered Tomatoes

We'll make this modern twist on chicken piccata any day. It has the traditional sauce made from butter, lemon juice, capers, and white wine, but gets a burst of summery flavor from blistered tomatoes.

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Pan-Fried Chicken-and-Ham Parmesan

Top-Rated Main Dishes: Pan-Fried Chicken-and-Ham Parmesan
Beth Dreiling Hontzas; Styling: Rose Nguyen

Recipe: Pan-Fried Chicken-and-Ham-Parmesan

When you need a quick family meal, look no further than this 30-minute meal. Serve over some pasta flavored with garlic and herbs.

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Chicken Fried Chicken

Peppery Chicken Fried Chicken
Southern Living

Recipe: Peppery Chicken Fried Chicken

Serve this ultimate Southern dish at your next dinner party, and you'll be sure to get plenty of compliments.

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Pimiento Cheese-Stuffed Fried Chicken

Pimiento Cheese-Stuffed Fried Chicken
Southern Living

Recipe: Pimiento Cheese-Stuffed Fried Chicken

This award-winning recipe takes ordinary fried chicken up a notch by melting pimiento cheese inside the chicken breasts.

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Oven-Fried "Everything" Chicken Drumettes

Oven-Fried “Everything” Chicken Drumettes
Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Chelsea Zimmer; Prop Styling: Christina Daley

Recipe: Oven-Fried "Everything" Chicken Drumettes

Adorable, hand-held, and bite-sized, our Chicken Drumettes are the fun finger food that will score big at your next party.

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Crispy Buttermilk Fried Chicken

Crispy Buttermilk Fried Chicken
Food & Wine

Recipe: Crispy Buttermilk Fried Chicken

A little cayenne pepper kicks the creamy richness of the buttermilk.

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Crunchy Pan-Fried Chicken

Crunchy Pan-Fried Chicken
Southern Living

Recipe: Crunchy Pan-Fried Chicken

The crispy, golden exterior is guaranteed to be irresistible. Our secret? A mixture of breadcrumbs and cornmeal.

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Fried Chicken Tacos With Buttermilk-Jalapeño Sauce

Fried Chicken Tacos with Buttermilk-Jalapeño Sauce
Iain Bagwell; Styling: Buffy Hargett Miller

Recipe: Fried Chicken Tacos With Buttermilk-Jalapeño Sauce

It's supper made easy by picking up your favorite chicken tenders and then running home to whip up this simple (but delicious!) Buttermilk-Jalapeño Sauce. With the help of some ranch dressing, this creamy condiment pulls together even the quickest of dinners.

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Spicy Curried Fried Chicken

Spicy Curried Fried Chicken

Recipe: Spicy Curried Fried Chicken

Try a new rendition on the well-loved Southern dish with a sprinkling of sesame seeds and garam masala, plus a soak in Spicy Yogurt Marinade and a dunk into the mango sauce.

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Mom's Fried Chicken

Mom's Fried Chicken

Recipe: Mom's Fried Chicken

As we say around these parts, Mama knows best—and that applies to fried chicken, too.

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Easy Southern Fried Chicken

Easy Southern Fried Chicken
Southern Living

Recipe: Easy Southern Fried Chicken

New to the fried chicken game? Try this easy recipe that even a beginner is sure to nail. It'll be on its way to your recipe tin in no time.

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Instant Pot Fried Chicken

Instant Pot Fried Chicken
Photography: Caitlin Bensel, Prop Styling: Audrey Davis, Food Styling: Rishon Hanners

Recipe: Instant Pot Fried Chicken

Yes, you read that right. Use your Instant Pot to make this crispy, juicy, tender fried chicken and you'll never look back.

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Pinewood Fried Chicken

Mee McCormick’s Pinewood Fried Chicken
Johnny Autry; Prop and Food Styling: Charlotte L. Autry

Recipe: Pinewood Fried Chicken

Mee McCormick's fried chicken recipe is one for the books. It's one of the most popular dishes on the menu of her restaurant, Pinewood Kitchen & Mercantile in Nunnelly, Tennessee.

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Fried Chicken Salad with Basil-Buttermilk Dressing

Fried Chicken Salad with Basil-Buttermilk Dressing
Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Rishon Hanners; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis

Recipe: Fried Chicken Salad with Basil-Buttermilk Dressing

Lighten up your usual fried chicken by throwing it into this fresh basil salad—bland and boring salad who?

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