With a delicious ranch dressing and buttermilk coating that delivers tender and moist chicken underneath a crunchy and tasty skin, this easy and fuss-free southern fried chicken recipe is a family tradition.
Today I’m going to show you how we make my beloved southern fried chicken recipe. Every Southerner has one of these recipes in their back pocket.
Mine is a little bit different. It’s oven-fried chicken but not how most folks expect it. You see, the chicken is baked to resemble being fried. Yep, this fried chicken recipe is going to blow your mind, because today we’re frying the chicken, in oil, in your oven.
The beauty of this is that once you bread your chicken in a delicious combination of ranch dressing and buttermilk, it is pretty much a hands-off process. So rather than watching over a frying pan, you can be free to set the table, pick up the house a bit, or drink a nice glass of iced tea. The end result is perfect southern fried chicken that’s tender and moist on the inside but wrapped in the most crunchy and tasty skin imaginable. Pair it with your favorite southern sides and you have a winning southern supper!
Susie Braund, my mother’s friend who is known for her kindness, passed on this cooking method, and from the moment Mama told me about it I couldn’t wait to try it. I think you’ll enjoy it too!
P.S. If you’re looking for a great chicken finger recipe that will have teenagers and other assorted children staking out your house for supper, check out my chicken planks recipe by clicking here.
- Bone-in skin-on chicken (can be or legs)
- Buttermilk (any kind of milk will do)
- Ranch dressing (I used this to season the flour)
- Equipment: A deep cast iron skillet (a cast iron dutch oven will also work)
How to Make Southern Fried Chicken
Before we get started (and this is VERY important) put about a 1/2-inch of oil in the bottom of your skillet and place that in the oven. Turn the oven to 450 so that the oil is heating up as the oven heats up.
Why is hot oil important?
Hot oil is crucial for frying chicken because if your oil temperature is hot enough, it sears the breading as soon as contact is made and creates an instant coating. If your oil isn’t hot enough, your chicken pieces end up soaking up far more oil, ending with greasy chicken.
Place your flour in a shallow dish and season it.
I’m using two packages of ranch dressing mix but you can just use salt and pepper if you like. This is totally up to you.
Stir that up.
Pour some buttermilk into your other baking dish and get ready to dredge.
Place chicken in the milk first…
then the breading mixture…
then the milk again…
And finally, the once more.
This double-dipping method makes your final southern fried chicken so much more delicious (trust me).
You can, of course, just dip it in milk once and seasoned flour once if you want.
Repeat this process with the . Here are all of our breaded pieces on a gorgeous platter I found at an antique mall.
Take your hot, hot, hot skillet with the hot, hot, hot oil in it out of the oven with good protection for yourself and carefully put your chicken pieces in it.
They will begin to bubble and sizzle as soon as they get in there. Try not to let them touch but do what you gotta do.
I ended up not being able to fit all of my chicken in this photo so I’m doing two batches.
Place this in the oven and “” for 40 minutes and go do whatever it is you’d rather be doing.
After 40 minutes, carefully remove the skillet from the oven, turn all of the pieces over, and place it back in the oven for 15 minutes.
by placing each on a paper towel-lined plate.
Now I know some of y’all are looking at that cooking time and thinking “Christy is crazy.” Well of course I’m crazy, but that is beside the point entirely. The chicken you see pictured was cooked at that exact amount of time at 450 and was gooder than gold (that’s a Southern saying). Enjoy this southern fried chicken recipe, folks!
Please note: Mama wants me to let you know that I did wash the platter before I put the cooked chicken on it since I used it for the raw chicken as well. Thanks for looking out for us, Mama!
Store chicken leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. For best results, reheat either in the oven or air fryer.
- Now, all you need to make fried chicken is flour, salt, and black pepper. You do not have to use ranch dressing mix to season your flour if you don’t want to. If you’d rather just use plain flour, add about a tablespoon of salt and a 1/2 tablespoon of black pepper to two cups of flour and stir. That’s all you need. Of course, more or less salt and pepper to suit your taste.
- It is important that you know the accurate temperature of your oven for this recipe. Over time, ovens may not be accurate. A way to test this is to buy a simple oven thermometer on the kitchen gadget aisle for a few dollars. Preheat your oven with the thermometer in it and then see if the thermometer and the oven agree on temperature and adjust accordingly.
- If you only have self-rising flour, that will work fine. Just increase or decrease the amount depending on how many pieces of chicken you use.
- Any kind of milk will do. Once again, you may need to add more or less depending on how many pieces of chicken you use.
- The best oil for frying includes vegetable oil, canola oil, or peanut oil.
- Want extra heat? Mix two tablespoons of hot sauce with the buttermilk.
What else can I use to season the flour?
The main purpose of this post is to show you this fuss-free method of frying chicken so feel free to use your favorite breading recipe or try mine. I happened to use the ranch dressing mix this time but I usually do it a different way each time, depending on my mood. I am a big fan of garlic powder, paprika (or ), and parsley in my flour along with salt and pepper. Other simple seasoning options include and .
Should I brine my chicken beforehand?
A lot of recipes will tell you to brine your chicken before you fry it. I don’t for several reasons.
- I don’t want to.
- Typically, I don’t usually plan my meals far enough in advance.
- I don’t have time. When I’m ready to cook supper, I’m ready right then and I generally don’t lollygag around in the kitchen hours beforehand looking for something to do.
- I can’t stand the thought of wasting buttermilk (what a lot of folks brine it in).
- Granny didn’t do it.
- See #1.
Having said this, if you prefer to brine your chicken I think that is awesome and I salute you. Do it your way. Soak the chicken pieces in a buttermilk marinade in the fridge for at least six hours (or overnight) to make the flour stick better.
What do you serve with this southern fried chicken recipe?
You can serve your fried chicken with a variety of different sides. Options include mashed potato, creamed corn, mac and cheese, coleslaw, cornbread, parmesan oven fries, buttermilk biscuits, green beans, or potato salad.
You may also like these chicken recipes:
- 3-4 pounds bone-in skin-on chicken pieces such as breasts, legs, or leg quarters
- oil for frying
- 2 cups all-purpose flour*
- 1-2 packages ranch dressing mix*
- 1-2 cups buttermilk*
- Pour the oil to a depth of 1/4 - 1/2 an inch into a deep cast-iron skillet or dutch oven. Place in the oven and preheat to 450. It is very important that your skillet be in your oven while it preheats.oil for frying
- In a shallow dish, stir together flour and seasonings (either ranch dressing mix, salt and pepper, or seasonings of your choice).2 cups all-purpose flour*, 1-2 packages ranch dressing mix*
- In another shallow baking dish, pour about 1/4-inch of milk.1-2 cups buttermilk*
- Dip each chicken piece in the milk to coat all sides, then into the flour mixture, then milk again, and flour mixture again. Place on a platter when done.3-4 pounds bone-in skin-on chicken pieces such as breasts, legs, or leg quarters
- Five minutes after the oven is preheated, remove your skillet and carefully, (using tongs) place each piece of chicken in the skillet, positioning so that they don't touch.
- Return to oven for 40 minutes. Remove from oven, use tongs to flip each piece of chicken over, and return to oven for 15 minutes more.
- Remove chicken and place on a paper towel-lined platter. Enjoy hot or cold.
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