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A platter of buttermilk fried chicken on a table.

Buttermilk Fried Chicken

Perfectly seasoned and brined in buttermilk then crispy fried in healthier coconut oil makes the best classic fried chicken you'll ever eat.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 5 people
Calories 394kcal
Author Rachel Ballard


  • 10-inch cast iron skillet


For the buttermilk marinade

  • 1 3 pound whole chicken cut up or pre-cut, bone in and skin on
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

For dredging the chicken


  • Place the cut up chicken pieces in a 9x13 baking dish.
  • Pour over the buttermilk, 2 teaspoons of salt and pepper. Turn the chicken over in the buttermilk so the meat and skin are down in the buttermilk.
  • Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours but overnight is even better.
  • When you're ready to fry, heat a 10" cast iron skillet with the coconut oil over medium high heat while you bread the chicken. (Don't forget it's heating!) Add the flour, remaining salt and pepper to a bowl, zip lock bag or paper bag.
  • Make sure the chicken pieces are thoroughly coated in the buttermilk and then place them 2 or 3 at a time in the flour, pressing very firmly to make the flour stick. Transfer the chicken to you work surface for 3 to 5 minutes so the breading can really stick to the chicken.
  • Make sure your oil is between 325 and 350 degrees. You can test this by dropping the corner of a piece of chicken in to the oil. It should sizzle immediately but not smoke. If it just sits there or barely bubbles your oil is not hot enough. Just wait about 5 minutes and try again.
  • When the chicken pieces bubble vigorously, add no more than 4 pieces of chicken to the skillet skin side down first. Adjust your heat as needed to keep the chicken gently cooking on about medium/medium low heat, turning each piece every 2 minutes. Turn the pieces up on their ends as needed so the chicken browns all around.
  • Cook each piece until they reach 160 degrees (about 15 to 18 minutes total). Use a meat thermometer to check the temperature if you are unsure.
  • Transfer the cooked chicken to a cooling rack and cook the remainder in batches. Serve warm or cold.


Note 1: Sea salt is much less salty than regular table salt. If you are using another type of salt (like table salt) use half as much. 
Note 2: Choose refined coconut oil for frying instead of vegetable oil. Refined doesn't taste like coconuts and has a high enough smoke point to handle frying. It's also healthier than vegetable and less inflammatory to your body. 


Serving: 2pieces | Calories: 394kcal | Carbohydrates: 43g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Cholesterol: 11mg | Sodium: 2428mg | Potassium: 183mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 158IU | Calcium: 118mg | Iron: 2mg