Our Readers’ Favorite Fried Chicken Recipe
The best version of this Southern classic is also one of the simplest.
Simply seasoned, with a thin, crisp coating and tender, juicy meat, the fried chicken from Charleston, South Carolina’s recently shuttered Martha Lou’s Kitchen (RIP) is some of the best we’ve tasted. The recipe has been a reader favorite since it first appeared in our pages in 2011, and now making the dish is a true tribute to the 37-year-old institution. (For more of the comfort food classic, check out all of our fried chicken recipes.)
- Neutral oil, for frying (peanut or canola)
- 4 cups (1¼ lb.) all-purpose flour
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups whole milk
- 2 large eggs
- Two (3–4 lb.) whole chickens, cut into 6 pieces each (breasts, wings, and legs)
- Pour oil into a large, deep, heavy-bottomed pot fitted with a deep-fry thermometer to a depth of 3 inches. Set the pot over medium-high heat to preheat while you bread the chicken. When the oil reaches 325°F, regulate the heat to maintain that temperature.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the milk and eggs and set aside. To a second large bowl, add the flour and season generously with salt and black pepper and set aside.
- Dip the chicken pieces in the milk mixture, then dredge in the flour mixture, shaking off any excess. Place the pieces on a large platter or baking sheet and set by the stove. Line a second large platter or baking sheet with paper towels and set that by the stove as well.
- Working in batches of 2 or 3 pieces at a time, fry the chicken, turning occasionally, until the meat is cooked through and the breading is dark golden brown, about 15 minutes for white meat, and 20 minutes for dark meat. Using a spider skimmer or heat-resistant tongs, carefully transfer the cooked chicken to the lined platter to drain while you continue cooking the rest of the pieces. Let cool for at least 5 minutes before serving.