Alton Brown's Buttermilk Fried Chicken

Alton Brown’s Buttermilk Fried Chicken

The crust on Alton Brown’s Buttermilk Fried Chicken will really amaze you. Not only is it nice and crusty but Alton adds great seasonings also! It’s adapted from his Good Eats show.


Great tasting fried chicken! Alton’s technique of applying the seasonings keeps them from getting lost in the flour, but trapped just underneath the crust!

This will surely go into ‘my favorites’ cookbook!

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Alton Brown's Buttermilk Fried Chicken
Prep Time
25 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Marinating Time
12 hrs
Total Time
12 hrs 55 mins

Alton Brown's Buttermilk Fried Chicken is absolutely the best fried chicken I've ever eaten!

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Alton Brown's Buttermilk Fried Chicken
Servings: 4
Calories: 365 kcal
  • 1 broiler-fryer chicken cut into 8 pieces
  • 2 cups low-fat buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons Hungarian paprika
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup flour for dredging
  • vegetable shortening for frying
  1. Place the chicken pieces into a plastic container and cover with buttermilk. Cover and refrigerate for 12-24 hours .
  2. Drain the chicken in a colander.
  3. Combine the salt, paprika, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper. Liberally season chicken with this mixture.
  4. Then, dredge the chicken in the flour and shake off the excess (by seasoning before you flour, you trap the seasoning under the flour coating, and you use a lot less seasoning than if you tried to put it in the flour and hope it catches on the chicken).
  5. Melt enough shortening (over low heat) to come just 1/8-inch up the side of a 12-inch cast iron skillet or heavy fry pan.
  6. Once the shortening liquefies raise heat to 325 degrees F. Do not allow oil to go over 325 degrees F.
  7. Place the chicken skin side down into the pan. Put the thighs in the center (they take longer to cook and can use the extra center heat), and breast and legs around the edge of the pan. The oil should come half way up the pan once the chicken is added.
  8. Cook the chicken until golden brown on each side, approximately 10-12 minutes per side. The internal temperature should be right around 180 degrees. (Be careful to monitor shortening temperature every few minutes).
Recipe Notes

Drain the chicken on a rack over a sheet pan, NOT on paper towels or brown paper bags which just cause the chicken to soak in their own oil.


If you need to hold the chicken before serving, cover loosely with foil but avoid holding in a warm oven, especially if it's a gas oven, which is very moist and will ruin your beautiful chicken crust!



Tips And Tidbits About Alton Brown’s Buttermilk Fried Chicken.

These are tips for most any fried chicken recipe. Not just Alton Browns Buttermilk Fried Chicken!

Set up a “dredging station” to minimize mess and make cleanup easy. Put your ingredients and mixtures into large shallow bowls or baking dishes. Then work in one direction (left to right, for example), moving from seasoned flour to egg batter over to bread crumbs/panko/coating mixture.

Have one “wet hand” and one “dry hand” — and use your “wet” hand to transfer chicken from the wet mixture to the coating bowl.

Gently shake off the excess flour and place the coated chicken on the parchment- or wax paper-lined baking sheet.

Before easing the coated chicken pieces into hot fat, allow them to rest, which will give the coating a chance to adhere. (Do this step in the refrigerator if you won’t be frying the chicken within half an hour.)

Up Next:

Thai-Grilled Chicken Thighs


Be sure to Follow Foodgasm Recipes on Pinterest for more great recipes!

Recipe based on one by Gay Gilmore
Photo by KK – Chef #426156