Extra-Crunchy Fried Chicken

There's no arguing the point: Making even the simplest fried chicken is a kitchen production. So when you do go through the trouble, the recipe had better deliver. With a quick buttermilk brine to season the meat, keep it moist, and tenderize it, and with a simple coating of buttermilk-moistened flour that fries up to a deeply bronzed, crisp, and crunchy crust, this recipe will please the cook and diners alike.

Although it's not uncommon for fried chicken to be deep-fried, here we use the shallow-frying technique, but because the chicken cooks in a fair amount of fat, we call on a Dutch oven as the cooking vessel rather than a skillet. With the chicken parts only partially submerged in oil, the cooking time is longer than if they were fully submerged, but this suits slow-cooking bone-in chicken pieces just fine. Covering the pot during the first half of cooking helps ensure that the interior meat will be done at the same time as the exterior crust.

If you have leftovers, they crisp up and reheat nicely—heat them in a 375-degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes.

Total Cooking Time: 120

Preparation Time: 30

Active Cooking Time: 60

Make Ahead: Serve immediately

Yield: 4 servings

Difficulty: Intermediate

Core Equipment

The right tool can make or break a recipe. At America's Test Kitchen, we test kitchen equipment in search of brands that offer the best value and performance. Since we accept no advertising, our ratings are unbiased. Check out our recommended products for the equipment you'll need in this course.
  • All-Clad Stainless 8-Quart Stockpot

    While this pan runs a little hot, it produced "golden and gorgeous" fond. Starred in the french-fry test, with rapid recovery of c... read more
  • Amco Houseworks Professional Performance 4-Piece Measuring Cup Set

    This stainless steel set measured with near-perfect accuracy and offered moderate weight, great balance, and long, level, clearly m... read more
  • Pyrex 2-Cup Measuring Cup

    The unbeatable traditional version of the Pyrex Liquid Measuring Cup is back on the market. read more
  • Cuisipro Stainless Steel Measuring Spoons Set

    Comfortable and accurate with long handles, this set nests nicely. The rim of each spoon is flush with the handle so it is easy to s... read more
  • OXO Good Grips 12-Inch Locking Tongs

    Missed a perfect score only because one picky tester thought the pincers bruised cooked asparagus—a minor complaint. Class valedic... read more
  • CIA Bakeware 12-Inch x 17-Inch Cooling Rack

    Fit perfectly inside a standard 18- by 13-inch rimmed baking sheet, offering extra support with a central brace and six feet rather ... read more
  • Wear-Ever Half Size Heavy Duty Sheet Pan (13 gauge) by Vollrath (formerly Lincoln Foodservice)

    "Perfect" cookies, oven fries, and jellyroll in this "flawless" pan. Pork produced "lots of fat but no worries about spilling—pan is... read more
  • Masamoto VG-10 Gyutou, 8.2"

    “Feels fantastic when you pick it up: comfortable, light, ready.” “A dream” for cutting up chicken and dicing onion, with its “very ... read more

All purchases fulfilled by Amazon.com. Prices subject to change.