I know there are certain foods that I really shouldn’t mess with, one of them being fried chicken. And after all these years of cooking, last week was the very first time that I made real buttermilk fried chicken without tinkering, gourmetizing or ethnic-tizin’ with funky ingredients like panko, garam masala, five spice or corn flakes. Just fried chicken straight up. And it’s all thanks to my good friend Ree of The Pioneer Woman, who just came out with her very first cookbook called The Pioneer Woman Cookbook: Recipes from an Accidental Country Girl.
One of the best parts of blogging is the sisterhood bond that blossoms between us gals. Ree is one of my bloggah-sistahs who will bring over a bunch of cheap single-serve generic wine from the corner market in a brown baggie and chocolate candy to our hotel room and giggle until the late hours with the gals. I love that we’re both on our book tours at the same time, me takin’ on the big cities of the two coasts and she taking her entire family to blanket the middle of the U.S.
If you are lucky enough to be near any of the cities that Ree and family will stop at, please do go seek her out. She’s loving, genuine and I promise she’ll make you giggle too.
I promised Ree that I wouldn’t ethnic-tize her fried chicken and she promised me she wouldn’t try to country-tize my Chinese Broccoli and Beef when she cooked from my book! I’m proud to say that despite all the temptations of my spice drawer, I kept true to my word.
How to make Buttermilk Fried Chicken
After mixing the flour with the spices, pour in the buttermilk and milk mixture. Use a fork to stir it up a bit until it’s a crumbly, shaggy mess. Shaggy is good. Shaggy means maximum crisp, crunch and happy times.
Now take a piece of buttermilk-soaked chicken and cover it in that flour mixture. Notice I didn’t say “dip” – you want to press that flour into that chicken good! More flour = more happiness.
Heat up your oil and in goes the chicken, just a few pieces at a time so that it’s not overcrowded.
Now cover the pan up. I’m soooo cowboy. I own a Lodge!
Fry for a few minutes, uncover and remove the fried chicken to a baking rack sitting on top of a baking sheet. Once all your chicken is fried, let it bake in the oven to finish cooking.
Do you now see how shaggy = the highest form of enlightenment? This is Buttermilk Fried Chicken, unplugged, unaltered, unethnic-tized, ungourmet’d
Directly after the buttermilk fried chicken dinner, Andrew and Nathan wrote Ree a little note:
Dear Mrs. Pioneer Woman,
We love your buttermilk fried chicken. If you have any openings at the The Pioneer Woman Ranch, we will come work for you if you feed us fried chicken every day.
We aren’t cowboys, but we sure learn fast. I think we have the right skills and in fact our lives are very much the same as yours.
You wrestle cattle. We wrestle and beat up each other:
We can brush your horsies like we brush our friend’s pet pot-bellied pig, Wilbur.
We’ll even scoop porch poop for you. We scoop poop from our hermit crab tank.
And if Oklahoma is anywhere near the ocean, we can even catch dinner.
BIG HUGS & LOVE,
ANDREW AND NATHAN
Um, uh, okay, that letter actually worked.
Pioneer Woman's Buttermilk Fried Chicken Recipe
- 2 cut-up fryer chickens
- 1 quart plus 1/4 cup buttermilk, divided
- 5 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons seasoned salt (like Lawry's)
- 2 teaspoons black pepper
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/4 cup milk
- canola or vegetable oil for frying
- In a large bowl (or 2 freezer bags) add the chicken with only 1 quart of the buttermilk. Refrigerate overnight. When ready to fry, remove chicken from bowl and let sit on counter for 30 minutes to take chill off.
- Preheat oven to 350F. Stir together the flour, seasoned salt, pepper, thyme, paprika and cayenne in a very large bowl. In a small bowl combine the remaining 1/4 cup buttermilk and the milk. Pour the milk mixture into the flour and use a fork to mix until little lumps throughout.
- Heat 1 1/2 inches of oil in a deep skillet or dutch oven over medium high heat to 365F. Working in batches, thoroughly coat each buttermilk-soaked chicken piece with the breading, pressing to adhere the breading. Add the chicken to the oil 3-4 pieces at a time. Cover pan and fry 5-7 minutes, checking to make sure chicken isn't getting too brown. Turn, cover and cook additional 3-5 minutes more. Monitor temperature of oil to make sure chicken doesn't burn. Keep in mind chicken will finish cooking in oven.
- Place chicken on baking sheet and continue frying rest of chicken. When done, bake the chicken for 20 minutes, until chicken cooked through.
I usually like all of her recipes but this one was not good, to dry. Will go back to my Mom’s!!
Delicious ! I cnjoyed making this !!!
This is an old post but Pioneer Woman was on today when she made this so I HAD to look up the recipe. I’ve been making fried chicken the traditional way, flour, egg mixture, and seasoned flour but this recipe takes the cake! So easy, flavorful, and the crispiest breading you can imagine!
I made this tonight and it was delicious. Crispy outside and juicy inside. I do agree with a couple of comments. 1. Chicken did need less frying time but you can really just judge by the browning of the chicken. 2. Next time I will salt and pepper before buttermilk bath. It was my first time frying chicken and I feel pretty darn proud of myself thanks to this recipe!
Thank you Kristin!
Can I fry the chicken, and bake it later?
You can also use plain yogurt if buttermilk is not available.
This looks AMAZING Jaden! Buttermilk isn’t available here in Greece, can we do the vinegar-milk trick that creates a similar result?
Thanx for the wonderful recipe!
Panos and Mirella.
Hi Panos & Mirella – absolutely. We use the little trick all the time for buttermilk also 🙂
Greece?? Use yogurt!!
I have failed previous bmilk recipes but its all about temp and
Timing just used a deep fryer for
8 min and marinated 14 hrs used
Toaster oven to finish.
Perfectly crunchy very good!
Some people just do stuff haphazard and fail no surprise !
I just made this tonight for dinner and it was not good at all. The breading just tasted like flour and the chicken wasn’t cooked on the inside. Lots of work, smelled good but ended up having pizza for dinner instead.
The absolute worst fried chicken recipe ever written. This is not the pioneer women’s recipe and if it was she needs to try something different. Going back to my mother in laws recipe was far more complex but at least I don’t ever throw out food, like I did with this one. Perhaps wall paper paste might be more to its use.
I made this buttermilk chicken and My husband love it,I loved how easy it was to make.
Looks yummy! Will have to try this out!
I made this and it was perfect, followed the recipe exactly.
I’ve made this recipe twice now. Hands down the best fried chicken acorrding to my family, and I agree!
My first attempt at fried chicken and this was an epic fail. I agree with the above posts it browned up way faster than the 5-7 minutes, tried to adjust the temp but then the breading kept falling off into the oil Even after I baked my chicken it still wasn’t done. Not sure it was worth all the work. The is my first pioneer woman recipe failure…
I made this last night but was disappointed- the breading was nowhere as beautiful as the ones pictured here! Whazzup with that? I’m a pretty good chicken fryer if I do say so myself. This was just…eh. I’ll go back to my normal dredge, egg wash, batter-fry method.
I made this for dinner tonight with the intention of eating it over a few days. It is delicious! I found the cooking times to be fairly accurate, but I kept a close eye on it. Also, I think next time I will add salt and pepper directly to the chicken to give the meat more flavor. Thanks, Ree!
I made this the other day and I can see how people might get burned chicken.
I kept a close watch on my pieces in the fryer and took them out after about 2-3 minutes, not 5-7. The oil was so hot (electric fryer, so moderated temperature) that the breading cooked up much faster than the recipe said it would.
Just take it out when it gets a nice pretty light golden brown, then bake according to the directions. Perfect fried chicken.
Oh this is my weakness!! I may have to be bad and make this 🙂
I agree with Buffalo. Exactly what she said. Very disappointed in this recipe. I usually love Pioneer Woman’s recipes but not this one.
I did not have good look with this recipe. I followed it exactly and the chicken burned on the outside. Plus I just didn’t think this had great flavor or was worth all the work. Next time I’ll just get a bucket of KFC.
My way is similar. If you let the chicken sit in the seasoned flour or on a cooling rack for half an hour before frying, the flour absorbs the buttermilk batter, so the breading will adhere to the chicken a lot better, and you get a thicker, crispier coating of breading. 🙂
I don’t even use seasoned salt, thyme, or paprika. I use plain Celtic sea salt, fresh ground black pepper, and a bit of cayenne, and I add some crushed garlic to the buttermilk the night before. It’s very simple and very good.
I use a recipe very close to this except I omit all the spices and use a packet of Ranch dressing mix. Mmmmm….my family loves the seasoning blend! Very flavorful:-)
Great job on the chicken! It looks just right. As always, your boys are adorable.
Jaden–I made the beef with broccoli recipe that Ree shared on here site. It was excellent (and so fast!). Thank you. I plan on getting your book!
Festive and beautiful, as always.This was very delightful dish and it is one of my favourite too.Done a good effort in sharing a gorgeous and delicious recipe for us.
This recipe is incomplete. I think you forgot a few steps.
well crap! you’re right. some reason step 3 and 4 disappeared! fixed now…
Jaden, I just met Ree at her book signing here in Denver. Are you coming to Denver? I would love for you to sign my book and meet you. I’ve been a fan for some time. I’ve been frying chicken for about 43 years. I think you did a heck of a job. Looks just like the way we Okie’s do it.
that is such a cute letter! even hubby was cracking up on that. …looking forward to trying this recipe!
Can’t wait to try this…but is the post is missing a few steps? It ends after the buttermilk-flour step.
Oh my this looks so good! To be honest, I don’t think I’ve ever had fried chicken before (it’s not hugely popular up here in Canada unless it comes from that chain restaurant) but I’m certainly willing to try it now. I need a Lodge though, I think.
Aw..you made me think of my mom’s fried chicken. She is full blooded Italian, but her fried-chicken is all American, and probably (maybe nearly) just as good as this, which looks like the best fried chicken I’ve ever seen. My mom, would say, “oh really, let’s have a cook off.” She’s 74 and cooks every day from scratch.
Oh man, you’re making me crave KFC now. I know, I know it’s probably a poor substitute for the real thing, but I’m lazy…
PS – You have some goodlooking boys!
Those are amazing pictures! Your boys are too cute. Can you believe I have never made buttermilk chicken, I am in my mother’s rut with the egg batter and cajun seasonings, but I am doing this this week, no more putting it off! I love the baking tip, people have asked me over and aver how to ensure fried meats are done, because they always have pink fried meats, and for the life of me, I couldn’t explain how to fix it, or know what they are doing wrong. This is a perfect fix, I use the baking after frying for naked hot wings, but never thought to apply it to fried chicken.
You are so funny, I love the note to Pioneer Woman! 😛
This chicken looks absolutely heart stoppingly good – I shall be cooking it this week. Thanks to both you and Ree for giving us such wonderful recipes (your broccoli beef noodles were so good that I made it twice in a week, hehe).
Mmm I can’t wait to try this. I’ve never made fried chicken, but yours looks so great I’m convinced I can do it 🙂
And by the way, even though it’s blurred I could make out the Shock Top bottle – awesome beer!!
I miss fried chicken! I’d have to convert the recipe gluten-free (aka tinker) which would be shameful, eh? But this looks so amazing. I’m so totally going to see Ree at her book signing when she comes to Dallas, just marked my calendar!
Having just discover both of you ladies, I feel sure I will soon be making both this fried chicken and your beef and broccoli. Those are two of my favorite dishes. Thanks for inspiring.
@ Deanna: If your chicken is greasy it’s probably because the oil isn’t hot enough. You neat a big vat of oil and it has to be super hot! But be careful. 🙂
My dad makes awesome fried chicken. I miss it so much, sometimes I think I might give up vegetarianism just to have it once again. Thanks for sharing this recipe… it’s a classic.
Bless their little hearts. If you come to Chicgao you have to check out Harolds fried chicken. But you chicken via Ree looks amazing.
Alrighty.. I have always been afraid to fry anything after I accidently splashed a tiny smidge of grease on my child years ago. He was fine, but man.. grease popping everywhere. So, my hubby recently suggested I try to fry chicken. Maybe with your help and Ree’s step by step.. I should be okay. Well maybe.
Oh, also went to her book signing and watched from afar! Line was huge.. will have to catch her again in another OK town!
Love the note to Ree! I just got her cookbook the other day and think I know exactly which recipe to start with – I’ve had such a craving for fried chicken lately, I’ve almost (gasp!) been tempted to go to KFC!
This looks so ridiculously good that I’m hungry all over again. Damn you!
(Luckily, it’s easy to make fried chicken gluten-free. We just have to use different flours. Oh Danny, can you start frying up some chicken….)
This looks wonderful!
New and funky is usually fun and interesting but the tried and true is also well worthwhile! There is lots to be learned from these traditional recipes.
i heart fried chicken! my daddy makes them with flour and sticky rice flour!
Guuuurl! You just made me hungry. I love me some good comfort food. Pass the mac and cheese along with that chicken and I am set. Especially when it’s cold outside. That’s why I did a crazy thing like sign up for a marathon. It’s the only way I could get through the winter months without gaining a gagillion pounds. LOVE the photo of the boys. Especially Nathan in his hoodie. Too cute.
Ps … You inspired me to experiment with “salts.” So tonight … when we grilled … I used “smoked salt” on our steaks. I know. I know. That’s really exotic and stepping outside of the box for me. But you’d be proud that I AM experimenting with some “espresso salt” with a breakfast recipe. ;o)
That first biting into the chicken picture reminds me of Calvin from the old Cavlin and Hobbes carton.
That chicken looks fabulous! I love how you work your family into your blog so well, it’s precious. Looking forward to meeting you in Seattle! 🙂
awe, what great looking kids, I just may have to check our your book also.
You have me laughing so hard I think I might cry! Oh, and YUM!!
Right on! Fried chicken is always a treat 🙂
The fried chicken looks freaking delicious, reminds me KFC, my favourite junk food chain…!
I recently heard you on the radio talking about your blog and advertising and I was hoping you could share how you got the advertisers to begin with. Our website has around 200,000 page views per month but we don’t have any ads on it and we would love to change that!
Thanks for you help:)
I love you Jaden! thanks for sharing again another mouth-watering recipe. I love love your new site and congrats on your book. looking forward to getting it soon and start making my family happy again. You’re a great role model 🙂 Tooties….
I have to admit, real fried chicken is on my short list of recipes I’m afraid to try. Maybe it’s the giant vat of hot oil, I don’t know. But seeing how amazing yours turned out has given me courage! Maybe next weekend…
But – it looks like the recipe might be incomplete? I don’t see anything about the oil temperature for frying. Help! My deep-frying-averse brain needs more intel. 😉
LOL nice post Jaden! I’ve tried it, but will now definitely! YUMMMM
I’ve never tried making fried chicken…whenever I’ve had homemade fried chicken its turned out greasy. I will have to try this. There is a fryer chicken sitting in my freezer.
Yum!! This looks delicious & the post was wonderful as always =D.
Love this morning’s post! It is such an exciting time for both you and Ree and its been great following both your journey! Congrats Jaden.. can’t wait to see you next week!!
Ahhh, I love fried chicken. Just love it. Thanks for posting today; it was cute and made me laugh.
I expect those boys to be deposited on my doorstep no later than Saturday morning.
Your boys are ridiculously adorable!! I’ve got post it notes tagged on both cookbooks of all the things I want to make thus turning both cookbooks into Post It note holders.
And the single serve wines were the best I ever tasted because of the company it was shared with!!!
You crack me up! I am deeply wishing that you would come make this for me (or Ree, you can come on over any time, too!). I have a fear of frying…but man, I love fried chicken.
Jaden, you are so funny! What a nice tribute to PW! Your boys letter was darling, as are they!! Congratulations on your new book! Best Wishes!
I just ordered your cookbook, and now I’ll have to get Ree’s, too!
Oh my gosh, your boys are so precious! I can’t wait to get a copy of yalls’ cookbooks.
You really did Ree proud! What a great post – great pictures, great-looking food, and such heart-felt words. From someone clearly outside of the “big-time blogger” community, it’s really neat to watch all of you guys become friends and cook “together”.
So next up – an ethnic-tized version? Can’t wait to see Ree’s Chinese broccoli and beef!
Your photos are so great! I love this post- brought a big ole smile to my exhausted face 😀
My first visit – gorgeous pics and those children… just divine!!!
Making my mouth water and my eyes smile – you guys sound like so much fun… who knows? You may make me enjoy my kitchen yet…
Oh Jaden, I love it! This looks so fabulous, I’m sure Ree would agree! YUM!
Gorgeous photos, Jaden!
I received my copy of Ree’s cookbook yesterday, and it is beautiful! Congratulations to both of you! 🙂
Ohhhh, that looks sooooo goood! I have only made homemade fried chicken a handful of times. Which is a crying shame considering I’m from the Deep South and that’s like a staple food around here. I had better hide these pics from my husband or he will want fried chicken – right now -at 7:30 in the morning. For breakfast.
You are the only person I have ever met that can take a gorgeous picture of fried chicken. I tried and tried to get a decent one for the fried chicken recipe I posted on my site a while back…and finally ended up taking pictures of my chicken salt and pepper shakers. Sigh. Between you are Ree I am sure this is the most delicious chicken on the face of the earth — congrats to you both on the cookbooks!!!
I love the photos of your boys. Lodge that’s the way to cook chicken. I have a variation of this chicken that is oven fried. I will be posting later this semester when my classes get to the poultry unit. Still waiting for my cookbook. It is slow to get to Borders. Thanks for the post.
I just got a box yesterday from Amazon with your cookbook in it and PW’s. I can’t tell you how happy it made me. To see my name in a cookbook just thrilled me! It was an honor to be a tester.
Aw, I love it- mmmm fried chicken is one of those comfort food things! Yum! My grandmother from Georgia used to eat that ALL the time. She lived to be 98, too. When ever I think of fried chicken or fudge sauce or biscuits I think of her. No, she didn’t eat all that as a mixture… that was just some of the food she was known for cookin’ up. Grandmas rock. So does fried chicken. Great post- love the similarities ya made with the boys and living on the ranch!
Oh Jaden, you are so so funny. If Ree doesn’t take your boys, I’ll take ’em. I’ll cook them whatever they want. They ARE so handy.