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Southern Fried Chicken Recipe (Without Buttermilk)

  • Author: cooks with soul
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Brine: 4 hours
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour (excluding brine)
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x
  • Category: main course
  • Method: deep frying
  • Cuisine: southern, soul food


Discover the secret to perfect Southern fried chicken with our soulful recipe—crispy, golden, and full of flavor! Skip the buttermilk soak and embrace a salt, sugar, and water brine for juiciness. Our blend of flour, cornstarch, and seasonings guarantees an irresistibly crispy coating every time.


  • 1 whole chicken (6 pounds, cut up; or 8 pieces of your favorite cuts of chicken)
  • Neutral oil for frying (e.g. peanut oil, vegetable oil, canola oil)


Seasoned Flour

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup corn starch
  • 1 tablespoon granulated garlic (if using garlic powder, use a little bit less)
  • 1 tablespoon granulated onion (if using onion powder, use a little bit less)
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon seasoned salt
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika

Egg Wash

  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons water


Brine Chicken

  1. Bring 4 cups water water to a boil in a pot.
  2. In the same pot, add 1/4 cup kosher salt and 1/4 cup sugar to the boiling water. Stir until completely dissolved.
  3. Remove the pot from heat and let the brine cool slightly.
  4. Add 4 cups ice ice to the pot, stirring until the ice is mostly melted, and the brine reaches room temperature.
  5. Place chicken pieces in a large bowl, container, or resealable plastic bag.
  6. Pour the brine over chicken, ensuring they are fully submerged. If using a bag, remove excess air before sealing.
  7. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight for maximum flavor absorption.
  8. Before cooking, remove chicken from the brine, rinse, and pat the pieces dry with paper towels, Then, proceed with dredge and fry instructions.

Dredge in Egg Wash & Seasoned Flour

  1. Put flour, cornstarch, granulated garlic, granulated onion, pepper, seasoned salt, and paprika in a large bowl and whisk ingredients to combine. Alternatively, add ingredients to a brown paper bag and toss to combine. Set aside.
  2. Crack the eggs into a large mixing bowl, add 3 tablespoons of water, and whisk them together. Set aside.
  3. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Remove chicken from the brine. Don’t forget to rinse and pat dry with paper towels. Dip chicken into the egg wash, ensuring that each piece is well coated. The egg wash helps the flour adhere to the chicken and creates a crispy coating during frying.
  4. Once chicken is coated with the egg wash, dredge it in the seasoned flour mixture, pressing the flour onto chicken to create a textured coating. Rest the battered chicken on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper for 3-5 minutes.

Deep Fry

  1. Fill a large deep skillet or Dutch oven with enough cooking oil to submerge chicken pieces (about 2 1/2 to 3 inches). Heat over medium heat to around 360°F (182°C) to 365°F (185°C). Meanwhile, preheat the oven to the lowest temperature (this if an optional step if you want to keep the cooked chicken warm while frying in batches).
  2. Carefully place the coated chicken pieces into the hot oil. Fry until it is golden brown and cooked through. Be sure to fry in batches to prevent overcrowding and temperature drop. The internal temperature of the chicken should reach 165°F (74°C). This takes about 8-10 minutes for white meat and 12-14 minutes for dark meat.
  3. Once cooked, use tongs or a slotted spoon to remove it from the oil and place it on a wire rack set over a sheet pan to drain any excess oil. Let the fried chicken rest for a few minutes before serving. Enjoy your crispy and delicious Southern fried chicken!


Special Equipment: Deep Frying Thermometer

Keywords: fried chicken, southern fried chicken, fried chicken recipe without buttermilk