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Skillet "Buttermilk" Fried Chicken

(Updated Recipe)

Recipe and photography by Bev Davis.


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Posted February 7, 2017

Editor's Note (February 26, 2017) :  Added new photos and cooking tips. 

Buttermilk chicken fried in a cast iron skillet is da BEST!  Years ago, an older lady who was a superb cook, taught me to soak chicken

in buttermilk at least 30 minutes before frying.  Makes it moist and full of flavor.  The crusts cooks to a nice golden brown.  

I prefer frying in a cast iron pan because it holds heat.  Lodge Manufacturing provided the lovely cast iron pan used for this recipe.  I've never used a thermometer to determine the vegetable oil's temperature.  When it's heated to sizzling hot (not smoking), I add the flour-coated chicken.  Thickness determines cooking time.  Thin pieces take less time than thicker pieces.  After frying until golden brown on one side, flip over and fry another 3 to 5 minutes (or longer depending on thickness).  Then, pierce each piece with a fork.  White-meat chicken will be solid white.  Dark-meat chicken will have a solid color (not translucent).  Remove from skillet.  Drain on paper towels.  For this recipe, which is easily doubled, use large chicken breasts or boneless small pieces.   


4 chicken breasts or 2 cups of boneless chicken pieces

3/4 cup buttermilk

salt and ground black pepper to taste

cayenne pepper (optional)

onion powder (optional)

1-1/2 cups self-rising white flour, sifted

vegetable oil


Remove skin from chicken.  Rinse.  Pat dry with paper towel.  Place in large plastic food storage bag.  Add buttermilk.  Close bag.  Gently turn or shake to coat both sides.   Place in refrigerator for 30 minutes.  Remove chicken.  Discard bag. Season with salt, ground black pepper, cayenne pepper (if using) and onion powder (if using).  Add flour to another large plastic food storage bag.  Season with a little ground black pepper.  Shake bag.  Add chicken.  Shake until both sides are evenly coated.  Set aside. 

Pour oil in a 10" cast iron skillet until 1/2 full.  Heat oil over low heat until sizzling hot.  Watch carefully to prevent smoking

Carefully add chicken to hot oil.  Fry until edges turn golden brown.  Flip over to continue cooking.  Here's the tricky part.  Thickness determines cooking time. As a general rule, after flipping, fry until golden brown.  Then, pierce with a fork to check the inside.  If it's solid white (breast), remove from skillet.  Drain on paper towels.  Serve hot.