Cajun Fried Chicken

It's time to spice up Mama's fried chicken recipe with a little Cajun seasoning.

Cajun Fried Chicken
Photo: Will Dickey Prop Stylist: Missie Crawford Food Stylist: Erin Merha
Active Time:
45 mins
Total Time:
12 hrs 45 mins

Don't worry: This Cajun fried chicken recipe isn't overly spicy. If you like it that way, simply add more hot sauce and Cajun seasoning to fit your taste. You need just a handful of ingredients to add a kick to your chicken dinner.

If you're looking for homemade fried chicken with crispy skin and juicy meat, our Test Kitchen could not stop raving about this Cajun recipe. One Test Kitchen Professional said this "crunchy, tender, slightly spicy fried chicken" would be their "new go-to recipe," and we have a feeling it will be yours, too. "I sent the leftovers to my son where he works, and they called wanting to know if I would start a business frying this kind of chicken," said another Test Kitchen Pro. One difference you'll notice that sets our recipe apart from others is the frying temperature. The reason? "You see a lot of recipes that call for frying the chicken at 350°, but I prefer to go a little slower at 325°, which I think makes it juicier and doesn't brown quite as fast," said a Test Kitchen Professional. Well that's all the convincing we need! The only possible thing that's missing from this Cajun fried chicken recipe? All of our favorite cookout sides, of course.


  • 1 quart whole buttermilk

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons hot sauce

  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 tsp. kosher salt, divided

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper, divided

  • 1 (4- to 5-lb.) whole chicken, cut into pieces

  • 2 cups (about 8 1/2 oz.) all-purpose flour

  • 1/4 cup cornstarch

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning (such as Slap Ya Mama)

  • Vegetable oil, for frying


  1. Whisk together buttermilk, hot sauce, 1 tablespoon of the salt, and 1 teaspoon of the pepper in a large bowl. Pat chicken pieces dry; cut breasts in half, and cut off and discard wing tips. Place chicken pieces in buttermilk mixture (make sure pieces are completely submerged). Cover and refrigerate at least 12 hours or up to 1 day.

  2. Place a large wire rack on a large baking sheet. Whisk together flour, cornstarch, Cajun seasoning, and remaining 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a medium bowl. Divide flour mixture between 2 large Ziplock plastic freezer bags. Working with a few pieces at a time, remove chicken from buttermilk mixture, letting any excess drip off. Drop chicken into flour mixture; seal bags, and shake thoroughly to coat. Remove chicken pieces; shake off excess flour, and place on rack. Repeat until all chicken pieces are coated. Let chicken rest on rack 30 minutes.

  3. Pour oil to a depth of 1 1/2 inches into a large cast-iron Dutch oven; heat over medium to 325°F. Fry chicken, in batches, in hot oil until browned and done, 15 to 22 minutes, turning occasionally. (A meat thermometer inserted into thickest part should read 160°F for white meat and 165°F for dark meat.) Drain chicken on a wire rack over paper towels. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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