Mama's Fried Chicken


Mama's Fried Chicken can't be beat. If you're looking to learn how to make the best Southern fried chicken around, just ask Mama.

4 to 6 servings

Behold: our most shared fried chicken recipe of all time. Fried chicken is, put quite simply, a decadent delight when done right, and this recipe will take you back to the days when your mother used to fry her famous chicken for Sunday dinner. This Southern classic, Mama's Fried Chicken, is simple in its perfection. Crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. Are you curious about the secret to this decadent recipe? It's the buttermilk. Make sure to soak your chicken in buttermilk for at least two hours before frying. It's the trick to serving fried breasts, drumsticks, and thighs that are perfectly golden on the outside and tender on the inside. Once finished frying, we promise that it'll be nothing short of sheer Southern comfort. So skip that bucket of fast-food fried chicken and remember what it's like to eat "real" fried chicken. That's where our best fried chicken recipe below can help.

Mama's Fried Chicken

Southern Living


  • 1 (3- to 4-pound) whole chicken, cut into pieces

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon pepper

  • 2 cups buttermilk

  • Self-rising flour

  • Vegetable oil


  1. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Place chicken in a shallow dish or zip-top plastic bag, and add buttermilk. Cover or seal, and chill at least 2 hours.

  2. Remove chicken from buttermilk, discarding buttermilk. Dredge chicken in flour.

  3. Pour oil to a depth of 1 1/2 inches in a deep skillet or Dutch oven; heat to 360°. Add chicken, a few pieces at a time; cover and cook 6 minutes. Uncover chicken, and cook 9 minutes. Turn chicken; cover and cook 6 minutes. Uncover and cook 5 to 9 minutes, turning chicken the last 3 minutes for even browning, if necessary. Drain on paper towels.

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