Better Than KFC? How To Fry The Crispiest, Juiciest Chicken.

One of the most beloved simple dishes has many would be cooks stammered. The coating and frying is what makes this dish so intimidating. But we have a sure fire way to beat the heat and make it just as good as KFC or Swiss Chalet.

Basket of fried chicken.
There is one thing that this chicken has over all the others you can pick up all over town. You made it yourself. Spend $10 - $12 bucks instead of the thirty plus at a restaurant or KFC. You can make chicken just as juicy, tender, and crispy as any of those other joints pal. This is the step-by-step guide for making the very best fried chicken at home.

Plan accordingly for this undertaking as it could wrap you up for at least a couple hours. However, getting this down to a science is possible, making large BBQ's or dinner parties your playground. Here are the six essential things you need to know about frying this crisp, juicy chicken at home. Also, we are not opposed to trying the fried chicken at some of the local establisments because they are good and could be a good measuring stick to compare how far you've come in your own skills Below are some of the spots we recommend.

  1. Buy Chicken
  2. Salt Overnight
  3. Spice Heavily
  4. Prepace Batter
  5. Use a Deep Pot
  6. Thermometers a Must
  • The French Fryer
  • Daytona's
  • Montana's
  • Island Spice Jerk House
  • Bight Restaurant & Bar
Uncooked chicken being breaded.
Several spices in a bowl seperated evenly.
Cook measuring oil from a jug into spoon with waiting bowl of other ingredients.
Pieces of chicken being dipped in a bowl of batter.
Deep pan with a thermometer and cooking oil inside.
Piece of chicken being cooked in oil being lifted out of pan.

Following the below tips will culminate in a plate of the best wings you have ever made. Now its time for your guests to approve or not, but we think they will be pleasantly surprised. The step by step intructions can be found here as well. By using the tips and instructions KFC and Swiss Chalet will be wondering where you are.


  • 8 pieces bone-in chicken pieces (about 4 pounds total), preferably 4 drumsticks and 4 thighs
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt, divided
  • 3 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons ground white pepper
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon celery salt
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon ground mustard
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 2 tablespoons vodka or other neutral spirit
  • 2 quarts peanut or vegetable oil, for deep frying

How To Make

  1. Salt the chicken. Place the chicken pieces on a baking sheet and sprinkle all over with 1 tablespoon of the salt. Set aside at room temperature for 30 minutes or refrigerate overnight.
  2. Make the seasoning blend. Combine the paprika, white pepper, garlic powder, ginger, celery salt, black pepper, mustard, thyme, basil, and oregano in a large bowl.
  3. Season the chicken. Coat the chicken all over with half of the seasoning mixture (about 1/2 cup).
  4. Set up a dredging station. Add the flour, cornstarch, and remaining 1 tablespoon salt to the remaining spice mixture in the bowl and whisk to combine; set aside. Place the buttermilk, egg whites, and alcohol in a medium bowl and whisk to combine. Fit a wire rack over a second rimmed baking sheet.
  5. Dredge the chicken. Working with 1 piece of chicken at a time, dip in the buttermilk mixture to completely coat, then place in the flour mixture (don't worry about letting any excess buttermilk drain off the chicken first). Shake the flour bowl as needed to completely coat the chicken, then use your fingers to press the flour coating onto the chicken.
  6. Set the coating. Place the coated chicken on the rack and repeat dredging the remaining chicken. Set aside at room temperature for at least 10 minutes and up to 30 minutes while you set up for frying and heat the oil.
  7. Set up for frying. Place the oil in a large Dutch oven, attach a candy or deep-fry thermometer, and heat over medium-high heat until the oil is 350°F, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, wash and dry the empty baking sheet the chicken was seasoned on. Line this baking sheet with paper towels and fit with a second wire cooling rack; this will be your cooling station.
  8. Fry the chicken. Place 3 pieces of the chicken in the oil and fry, using tongs to rotate the pieces every 3 to 4 minutes and adjusting the heat as needed to maintain 325°F, until golden-brown with an internal temperature of 165°F (check by inserting a probe thermometer into the thickest part of the chicken without touching bone), 12 to 15 minutes.
  9. Cool the chicken. Transfer the chicken to the rack on the second baking sheet. Make sure the oil comes back up to 350°F before frying the remaining chicken in 2 more batches. Let cool at least 10 minutes before serving.

Six steps to the perfect fried chicken.

Keep the time to a minimum by only buying the parts of the chicken you like. Avoid breast as they take longer than the legs and thighs. Everyone wants a drumstick when it comes to fried chicken anyways.

Dry brine (meaning salt) the chicken itself first. You can do this overnight in the fridge or for just 30 minutes before coating and frying the chicken at room temperature. This salting step is critical for moist, flavorful chicken, as it gives the chicken direct contact with the salt. This helps to tenderize it, but also infuses it with flavor.

Last year, KFC’s secret spiced blend was reportedly leaked to the public via the Chicago Tribune. KFC uses a lot of spices and a large amount of them. Mix the seasoning blend together while the chicken is sitting salted, then put half of the seasoning on the chicken and the other half in the flour coating. Remember that the fat from frying is going to mellow some of the spice flavor and that some of the spices will be left behind in the coating process, so don’t be afraid at the large volume of spice here.

The egg white addition is a trick from a tempura recipe. Add bourbon or vodka and cornstarch in flour for frying. These seemingly unrelated ingredients come together to make a super-crispy coating on the chicken full of ripples, nooks, and flakes — all the good things we love on fried chicken. Here is what each one does in the batter. Egg white adds structure in the form of protein. It also helps the flour coating stick to the chicken. Use whole eggs and you’ll have a softer crust because of the yolks’ fat content. Alcohol evaporates quickly in the frying oil. This sets the coating and creates flaky layers. Cornstarch in the flour makes the crust crispier. Cornstarch weakens the all-purpose flour’s protein just enough to make the coating tender.

I know that a cast iron skillet is the icon for Southern fried foods, but its shallow depth makes a mess (and is a fire hazard if you aren’t careful) when frying. Use a deep pot instead for frying. The high sides keep splatter to a minimum, while its heft helps to regulate the oil’s temperature as chicken pieces go in and out.

Use a deep-fry or candy thermometer for the oil and a probe thermometer to monitor the chicken’s internal temperature. You’ll notice that the oil drops in temperature as chicken pieces are added to the pot. You’ll need to monitor the temperature by adjusting the heat as you fry. The probe thermometer will guarantee that you have juicy chicken that is properly cooked. You can’t just rely on the chicken’s golden-brown coating to determine doneness, as the spice mixture will brown pretty quickly before the chicken is cooked. The chicken should reach an internal temperature of 165°F in the thickest part of each piece; make sure the thermometer’s not touching bone when taking the temperature for the most accurate reading.