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When you fry chicken...

Does the batter stay pretty pale yellow for awhile, and then turn brown slowly? Or does it kind of turn a medium brown within the first minute of cooking, and then stay that way?

I did everything I was supposed to: soaked the chicken in buttermilk overnight, let the whole tub sit out for about an hour so the chicken wasn't freezing cold, tossed the pieces in flour, and put into oil heated to 350 degrees (about an inch or so of it).

By about the three minute mark, the chicken was so brown bits of it were black. As in, completely inedible. I cooked the other side, took the whole thing out, let it sit out to cool for five minutes, and of course cut into a bloody center.

What am I doing wrong? My oil was new, I didn't let the oil go over 375 or under325. Should I try putting the chicken in when the oil is at 325 or 340? I know I shouldn't go much lower.

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  1. Product fried in milk/buttermilk based breading/batters will brown faster than other types...Next time wipe/rinse/dry off the buttermilk before going into the flour...Then let the chicken rest for 10 minutes...then flour again before frying ~~~ I drop chicken at 375*...it will quickly drop into the 340*-350* range depending on your stove, and its recovery time. Keep the temperature up in this range to avoid the chicken being greasy....Also you may want to skip the buttermilk bath, (sometime) and instead try brining the chicken for a few hours prior to frying....Use the same double flour/breading method. HTH


    1. I prefer shortening, but the same rules should apply to oil.

      This is what I do.
      350 degrees to start at 1/2 inch depth at least.

      Once you add the chicken, the temp will drop to 275 or 300, which is just fine. Don't let temp drop below 275 or the chicken will get greasy.

      Let it fry for about 10-15 minutes covered (will vary depending on size of chicken, but should be golden brown), flip and cook the other side uncovered for about 5-10 minutes. (The last bit of frying time without the cover makes the chicken nice and crispy.)

      1 Reply
      1. re: ipsedixit

        hey! when i did deep-frying butermilk fried chicken according to the recipe of thomas keller, i added chciekn into the oil right after dredged and seasoned it with flour mixture.
        and then suprisingly oil temps spike up quite more than normal temp that is instructed in the cookbook. eventually my buttermilk(duplicated) fried chicken was more browny than the photos of ad hoc freid chicken. i used as much oil as bit less than 2 quarts for one singl chiken pieces. and i visit other bloggers site about making this buttermilk fried chiken. suprisingly all the photos bloggers took and demonstrated look pretty deep browny. is this because commercial restaurant use larger amount of oil for frying their food such as chciekn?

      2. When applying the crust to the chicken, make sure to get rid of as much excess flour as possible. Give it a good shake.

        What kind of cooking vessel are you using to fry the chicken?

        1 Reply
        1. re: taiwanesesmalleats

          I agree with ispend, If you maintain a constant temp of 350* your chicken will get way to dark before the center cooks. Fried chicken takes time and the right temp. The chicken will not be greasy at the lower temp. as long as it stays around 275 to 300.

        2. Ok, you're pan frying, not deep frying. Nothing wrong with that, but when you pan fry the chicken pieces are in contact with the bottom of the skillet, so you need to consider how high the burner is set in addition to the temp of the oil. It all depends on your stove, the type of skillet or pot you use and who knows what else, but I've also found that pan fried chicken can easily end up charred on the outside and undercooked inside. In fact, I only deep fry now, as I find it comes out more evenly cooked and less greasy than pan frying.

          But if you want to pan fry, consider this: if the oil got to 375, the pan was way hotter. Probably hot enough to char the chicken on the bottom side in less than a minute. Go easier on the heat next time. Put the chicken in at 350 and try to keep the temp around 300-325 . You might want to adjust based on your own experience, but that's a good rule of thumb for pan or deep frying chicken.

          1. I just fried chicken tonight. I have finally setled on a method that works for me. I dip the chicken in beaten egg and then into seasoned flour. I am currently into seasoning the flour with Old Bay although I have experimented with all different seasonings. If I have time, I will refrigerate before frying. I use a cast iron skillet and heat the oil to about 325*. I brown the chicken turning once until it is my desired color and then I finish in a 350* oven for about 25 minutes. It comes out perfectly every time.

            2 Replies
            1. re: baseballfan

              Do you put the skillet with the oil into the oven, or remove the chicken and bake it on a pan or a rack in a pan?

              1. re: greygarious

                I remove the chicken from the skillet and bake on a baking sheet. I cook the breasts meaty side up so that they don't get too greasy.

            2. Hi Pei,
              I use an electric skillet and I drop the chicken at 350. I usually just brine and shake in seasoned flour(the times I've done buttermilk it seemed to cook a little uneven). I let it rest after the shake for about 20 minutes because the coating sticks better. The chicken does stay pale yellow for a while and the other side gets golden but not burnt at all-I usually turn mine 3 or 4 times and give it between 5-7 minutes each time. Works perfect for me every time.

              1. Don't give up and don't resort to deep frying. Pan frying is the way to ensure the perfect crust. You were right to start at 350 with chicken that had rested, but it should have fallen to 300-325 when cooking and cook no higher than 325. One person mentioned 270 - my experience is that this is a bit low and will result in a slightly greasy bird.

                But I always brine in buttermilk and that is not your problem. I wouldn't wipe off the buttermilk, because you need the flour mixture to stick to the chicken. Also, make sure you are using a heavy pan - cast iron is the best for maintaining a constant temperature.

                A couple of other items: make sure not to use sweeteners in your brine or in your flour mixture - honey, brown sugar and the like will burn your crust. And on another note, let the chicken rest at least 20 minutes after flouring to ensure that it is dry (otherwise, the crust will be gummy).

                Finally, resist the temptation to fry your chicken and finish in the oven, especially a gas oven, which can lead to a slightly funky taste and it will also make your crust slightly less crisp.

                1 Reply
                1. re: BRB

                  Thanks, everyone.

                  To all those who suggest letting the chicken rest for 20 minutes after being floured: does anyone know why this works? It's very counterintuitive to me that after sitting and soaking up some liquid, the flour would actually fry up drier and less gummy than flour that is still dry just after being put on the chicken.

                  I'll definitely try letting the chicken rest next time, I'm just curious about the physics that makes it work better than frying right away.