KFC fried chicken recipe with easy step by step photos. Traditional fried chicken is the epitome of comfort food, but its appeal and history go far beyond the way we know it today. Although its origins are evident in other cultures such as Scotland, Korea and China, we typically associate fried chicken with the American South. What is universally true about it is that it is deeply satisfying.
KFC fried chicken
There are a wide range of restaurants that offer fried chicken on their menus. From KFC and Chick-fil-a to upscale trendy restaurants, there is a bit of a trend that can satisfy the cravings of fried chicken lovers in a variety of settings and price points.
But that is not to say that making fried chicken at home is out of your grasp. It is certainly a worthwhile endeavor for those who want that crunchy exterior that yields to its juicy, tender interior with all of the flavor and texture that we have come to expect.
While enjoying fried chicken at a restaurant can be really delicious, what you really miss is the flexibility of creating a dish that caters to your own tastes. Making KFC fried chicken at home allows you the opportunity to customize it to suit your preferences.
The major benefit to frying chicken at home is the freedom to choose the oil, chicken & seasoning of your liking.
In the end, you will no doubt find that your effort was certainly worth it when you finally roll up your sleeves, dive into that fried chicken, and taste what comfort food is all about.
1. Choosing chicken: For starters, you can choose what kind of chicken you prefer. Be it boneless thighs, or a whole bird that is cut into pieces, you can be selective. Most people love fried drumsticks. But you can also use chicken breasts & thighs.
White meat, dark, or an assortment of the two can please your own tastes, as well as your guests’. The point here is to use what works for you. For this recipe you will need 500 grams of chicken of your choice.
2. Brining: Next is the decision to brine or not to brine. The benefit of using a buttermilk brine is that it tenderizes the chicken and adds moisture while contributing a pleasing kiss of acidity.
While skipping this step is an option, a soak in buttermilk for at least 4 hours will take your fried chicken to new heights which is certainly worth the extra planning.
To make the butter milk, add ½ cup plain yogurt to a bowl and whisk it with 1 cup water. Add about ¼ teaspoon salt & give a good mix. You can also add some crushed black pepper if you like.
3. Rinse chicken and add it here. Cover the bowl with a cling wrap and refrigerate 4 hours to overnight. Overnight gives best results. I do not suggest skipping this as the chicken won’t cook through properly without brining.
4. When you are ready to make the fried chicken prepare the crumbs for coating. To a bowl add, 1 cup bread crumbs or panko crumbs. I used ¼ teaspoon allspice & ½ teaspoon red chilli powder or paprika. These are optional and you may add any other seasoning if you prefer here.
5. Break an egg to a bowl and separate the white.
6. Remove the chicken pieces one after the other from the buttermilk and add them a large mixing bowl. Or drain the buttermilk from the chicken. We don’t want the buttermilk here.
How you chose to bread the chicken is another way to create the fried chicken you are craving. Keeping it really neutral with just salt and pepper is absolutely fine, though adding a mix of herbs and spices will give it something truly special. Even a touch of cayenne pepper for some extra kick would please some tastes.
7. My recipe uses all of the below seasonings. You may adjust to suit your taste. Add the following to the chicken.
- 1 teaspoon red chilli powder
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon mixed herbs (oregano, thyme, basil)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¾ tablespoon garlic powder (or crushed garlic)
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon allspice (or 1 tsp garam masala). Rub the chicken well with all this seasoning for 2 to 3 mins.
Then add 2 tablespoons cornstarch and mix everything well to coat the chicken with the flour.
How to make kfc fried chicken
8. Pour the egg white to the chicken and 3 to 4 tablespoons buttermilk. Mix well. Chicken must be moist enough to hold the bread crumbs at the next stage. Pick up each piece of chicken & roll them in the bread crumbs.
9. Press down each piece of chicken so the bread crumbs stick to the chicken well. Set aside for at least 10 minutes. A better way is to place these on a wired rack.
Selecting a neutral oil with a high smoke point is key here so vegetable, canola, or peanut oil are all good options. You want to steer clear of olive oil, due to its lower smoke point, as well as its tendency to transfer its flavor to whatever you are cooking.
You want the chicken to be the star of the show here, so no added flavor from oil is best.
10. Heat oil of your choice in a heavy bottom deep pan. Check if the oil is hot enough. Then gently shake off the excess bread crumbs and add the breaded chicken to the hot oil. Fry till golden & crisp at medium high temperature. The oil should be hot enough and the flame at medium high.
Temperature: Optimal oil temperature here is right around 350 F degrees. Hotter than that, and you will risk burning the exterior before the chicken is thoroughly cooked.
11. Once done, remove them to a kitchen towel and leave for 30 seconds. Then immediately move to a wired rack so they remain crisp for longer. If the chicken is not cooked through, you may refry them on a medium heat.
Enjoy fried chicken with your favorite dip or ketchup.
Equipment for fried chicken
The great news is that you really do not need any special equipment when making fried chicken at home. In terms of equipment, here are a few things I would strongly recommend:
- A large, deep pan or Dutch oven (4-6 quart) helps to retain the temperature of oil consistently while frying. However you can also use a heavy bottom regular deep pan like the way I have used.
- If you are a beginner, an instant read thermometer is key for determining doneness of the chicken.
- A large rack for draining the chicken when it comes out of the oil will help retain that crunchy exterior you worked so hard to achieve.
Air fryer fried chicken
For those health-conscious cooks who crave fried chicken, but want to steer clear of deep frying, an air fryer may be the ticket. Bear in mind that an air fryer really is not a fryer at all, but rather, a small convection oven that circulates hot air with the use of a fan.
This dry heat method has been known to create crisp results with a golden brown crust. The key here is to use perforated parchment sheets to line the air fryer basket and spray the surface of the chicken with an oil spray.
I would recommend cooking at about 375 F (190 C) degrees, depending on your machine’s suggestions, and about 25 minutes depending on size. To determine doneness, always check the temperature with an instant read thermometer and make sure you cook it to 165 degrees.
Baking KFC chicken
Alternately, baking your breaded chicken in the oven will deliver tasty results, but with slightly less crunch. In this case, start by preparing your baking pan with a generous coating of oil.
Place your chicken on the pan, skin side down, and bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes, depending on size of your chicken, turning once at the halfway point.
What you will end up with is really tasty breaded chicken that will satisfy the likes of more healthy eaters.
Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )
- 500 grams chicken drumsticks or fillets (½ kg)
- 1½ cup buttermilk (or ½ cup plain yogurt)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
For crispy coating
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch (white corn flour)
- 1 egg white
- 1 cup bread crumbs (or panko crumbs)
- 2 to 3 cups Oil for deep frying
Seasoning (or 1½ tbsp cajun spice mix)
- ½ teaspoon Salt (adjust to taste)
- 1 teaspoon red chilli powder (or paprika)
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper (pepper powder)
- ¼ teaspoon allspice (or 1 tsp garam masala)
- ¾ tablespoon garlic powder (1 tbsp ginger garlic paste)
- 1 teaspoon onion powder (optional)
- 1 teaspoon mixed herbs (oregano, thyme, basil)
Preparation – Brine chicken
- Pour buttermilk to a bowl. If you do not have it, add ½ yogurt to a bowl and pour 1 cup water. Whisk it well with ¼ tsp salt.
- Immerse the cleaned chicken into the buttermilk. Cover and refrigerate overnight or at least for 4 hours. This makes the chicken turn tender and soft.
How to make crispy fried chicken
- When you are ready to fry the chicken, break an egg and separate the egg white to a bowl.
- To another wide bowl add bread crumbs. Set aside.
- Drain buttermilk from the chicken completely. Add all the seasoning and rub well for 2 to 3 mins. Then sprinkle corn starch and mix it.
- Pour the egg white and 3 to 4 tablespoons buttermilk. Mix well. Chicken has to be moist at this stage so it can hold the bread crumbs at the next stage.
- Pick up each chicken piece and roll it in the bread crumbs. Press down the bread crumbs to stick to the chicken well.
- Place it on the wired rack. Repeat the same with all the chicken pieces. Rest for at least 10 mins before you fry.
- Pour oil to a heavy bottom pan. Heat it on a medium flame.
- Check if the oil is hot enough. Drop a small portion of the wet mixture to the hot oil. If it rises without browning then the temperature is right. If you have thermometer you can check. It has to be 350 F or 175 C.
- Gently shake off the excess crumbs from the chicken if any. Gently slide the chicken one after the other to hot oil. You can fry about 2 to 3 pieces in one batch.
- Fry them on a medium heat till golden & crisp. If the flame is too high, it gets browned without getting cooked inside. Keep stirring or rotate the pieces after every few minutes.
- When golden and crisp remove the chicken to a wired rack.
- Serve fried chicken hot with ketchup or your favorite dip.
Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.
For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips above the recipe card.
NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)
© Swasthi’s Recipes
This post was first published in November 2014. Updated and republished in January 2021.