Country Fried Chicken

This Southern-style Country Fried Chicken is easy to make with chicken breasts and staple ingredients! Serve it with gravy and mashed potatoes for an old fashioned comfort food that your family will love!

Be sure to serve this with mashed potatoes, buttermilk biscuits, and gravy, and try my Chicken Fried Steak recipe next!

A plate with Country Fried Chicken over mashed potatoes with green beans and gravy.

Country Fried Chicken

“Did you get this from a restaurant mama?” –My four year old.

And that, right there, says it all. 😁 If there’s anything that’s worth mastering in the kitchen, it’s a SOLID Fried Chicken Recipe. Serve this with mashed potatoes, gravy, and buttermilk biscuits, and you’ll be in heaven. (Maybe a little green bean casserole on the side?)

Let’s get into it. Check out all the info you need on how to master this recipe:

Ingredients

The bottom of this post also contains recipe card with ingredients and full instructions.

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 ½ cups vegetable oil

Buttermilk Marinade

  • 2 cups buttermilk, see below for substitutions
  • 2 large eggs, whisked
  • 3 teaspoons salt

Breading

  • 1 ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup breadcrumbs, plain or Italian
  • 2 ½ teaspoons seasoned salt
  • ¾ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 ½ teaspoon black pepper

How to Make It

Cover each chicken breast with saran wrap. Use a meat tenderizer and pound the chicken flat, about 1/2 inch thick. (See section below on why I highly recommend that you do this step. It’s worth the time.)

A chicken breast before and after pounding it.

Pat the chicken completely dry. Combine the whisked eggs, salt, and buttermilk. Add the chicken and marinade for 1-2 hours, (or overnight). The longer it marinates, the more tender it will be. (See section below on why the Buttermilk plays such an important role and for substitution options.)

Transfer the chicken to the breading mix. Flip it over several times and work the breading into all of the nooks and crannies until it’s completely dry and coated.

*Don’t bread all of the chicken at once. Prepare each piece right before you’re ready to fry it.

Chicken being marinated in buttermilk and tossed in breading mix for Country Fried Chicken.

Add enough oil to cover the chicken by half and heat it to 350°. Add the chicken and cook for 4-5 minutes per side. Once the outside edge begins to brown up nicely, carefully flip with a thin spatula. (See tools section below for what I use to flip.)

Once browned on each side, carefully transfer to a wire cooling rack and allow excess oil to drip out from the bottom. This prevents the bottom from getting soggy.

A piece of Country Fried Chicken before and after being fried.

PRO Tip: Check out my Chicken Fried Steak recipe if you prefer to serve this with white gravy!

Tenderizing The Chicken

Pounding the chicken is the most time consuming step. Although you could save time by cutting the chicken into thinner slices instead, I recommend tenderizing it for the following reasons:

  • It makes the chicken super tender.
  • It creates more texture on the outside of the chicken so you can work more breading into the crevices. That’s what gives it that Country Fried Chicken texture and crunch. (vs. something like Chicken Milanese.)
  • It cooks evenly and more quickly.
  • Chicken plumps up when it cooks, so pounding it thin will allow it to expand more when cooked and still have that nice, thin, restaurant-quality look and feel.

Why Soak Chicken in Buttermilk?

  • It enhances the tenderness and flavor of the chicken, as it contains enzymes that help break down the protein fibers.
  • It helps the breading to stick to the chicken much better by providing grip.
  • It has fat and acids that help break down the outer skin which results in a crispier outer crust.

Buttermilk Substitutes

  • ½ cup milk + 1 ½ cups sour cream
  • 4 tablespoons milk + enough plain yogurt to make 2 cups.
  • 2 tablespoon white vinegar + enough milk to make 2 cups. Let sit for 5-10 minutes.
  • 2 tablespoon lemon juice + enough milk to make 2 cups. Let sit for 10 minutes. It’ll look curdled. Stir to combine.

What to Serve With Country Fried Chicken

Storage

Store in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

Tools I Use for This Recipe

(Amazon Affiliate links).

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Country Fried Chicken over mashed potatoes with a slice cut into it and gravy on top.

 

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Crispy Country Fried Chicken Topped with gravy over a pile of mashed potatoes.

Country Fried Chicken

5 from 1 vote
Country Fried Chicken is an old fashioned comfort food that's easy to make with chicken breasts and staple ingredients! Serve this with gravy and mashed potatoes for a simple dinner idea for the family.

Ingredients

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 ½ cups vegetable oil

Buttermilk Marinade

  • 2 cups buttermilk, see notes for substitutions
  • 2 large eggs, whisked
  • 3 teaspoons salt

Breading

  • 1 ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup breadcrumbs, plain or Italian
  • 2 ½ teaspoons seasoned salt
  • ¾ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 ½ teaspoon black pepper

Instructions

Prep Work

  • Cover each chicken breast with saran wrap. Use a meat tenderizer and pound the chicken flat, about 1/2 inch thick.
  • Pat the chicken completely dry. Combine the whisked eggs, salt, and buttermilk. Add the chicken and marinade for 1-2 hours, (or overnight). The longer it marinades, the more tender it will be.
  • When the chicken is nearly done marinating, prepare your mashed potatoes and keep warm while the chicken fries.
  • Combine ingredients for chicken gravy or brown gravy in a small skillet ahead of time. When the last piece of chicken is frying, bring the gravy to a boil and thicken with cornstarch + water as instructed in the recipe.

Cooking Instructions

  • Transfer the marinated chicken to the breading mix. Flip it over several times and work the breading into all of the little nooks and crannies until it's completely dry and coated.
  • *Don't bread all of the chicken at once. Prepare each piece right before you're ready to fry it.
  • Add enough oil to a skillet to cover the chicken by half and heat it to 350°. Use a cast iron skillet if possible as it conducts heat the best for frying.
  • Carefully add the chicken and cook for 4-5 minutes per side, once the outside edges begin to brown up nicely, carefully flip with a thin spatula
  • Once browned on each side, carefully transfer to a wire cooling rack and allow excess oil to drip out from the bottom. This prevents the bottom from getting soggy.
  • Repeat for all chicken breasts and serve with mashed potatoes and gravy!

Notes

Buttermilk Substitutes

  • ½ cup milk + 1 ½ cups sour cream
  • 4 tablespoons milk + enough plain yogurt to make 2 cups.
  • 2 tablespoon white vinegar + enough milk to make 2 cups. Let sit for 5-10 minutes.
  • 2 tablespoon lemon juice + enough milk to make 2 cups. Let sit for 10 minutes. It'll look curdled. Stir to combine.

What to Serve This With:

Creamy Mashed PotatoesChicken GravyBrown GravyMushroom GravyButtermilk BiscuitsCorn CasseroleGreen Bean CasseroleRoasted Carrots | More 

Nutrition

Calories: 348kcal, Carbohydrates: 14g, Protein: 27g, Fat: 20g, Saturated Fat: 14g, Cholesterol: 82mg, Sodium: 555mg, Potassium: 460mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 190IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 34mg, Iron: 1mg