Crispy Fried Chicken Breast

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Perfectly crispy fried chicken breast in 4 simple steps, including top tips, FAQs, storage, and reheating info, for the best tender-in-the-middle, flavorful, crispy buttermilk fried chicken every time! Perfect for enjoying hot or cold at potlucks, picnics, cookouts, game days, and more!

Three pieces of fried chicken

If you want to ditch the fast-food restaurants but still enjoy super crispy fried chicken breast at home (aka comfort food at its best), then it’s the perfect time to learn how to cook fried chicken. This buttermilk chicken breast is super tender and juicy in the middle with a perfectly crispy coating for finger-licking good chicken the entire family will love.

While there is no lack of fried breaded chicken breast recipes online, this method relies on all the top tips I’ve learned to make delicious Southern-style buttermilk fried chicken in a flavorful smoky, spicy batter for the best fried chicken recipes. In fact, I’ve used a combination of both a simple spiced marinade and dry batter for premium flavor and texture with layers of flavor.

Plus, you don’t even need a deep-fat fryer. Instead, a thermometer and saucepan or skillet are more than enough for this recipe. Want to enjoy chicken in more ways? Check out my recipes for whole roast chicken, chicken shawarma, or baked chicken breasts!

Two pieces of fried chicken

Homemade Fried Chicken Ingredients

While the ingredients list isn’t minimal, you only need simple, easy-to-find, and pantry-friendly ingredients for this corn starch fried chicken.

  • Chicken breasts: I use boneless skinless chicken breasts, but you can use skin-on chicken, too.

Chicken Marinade

  • Seasonings: You’ll need a combination of several spices for this flavorful battered fried chicken, including:
    • Paprika (regular or smoked)
    • Garlic powder
    • Chili powder (or cayenne pepper – adjust the amount to preference)
    • Dried oregano
    • Black pepper
    • Salt

Experiment with seasonings for different flavors. I.e., dried basil, onion powder, Italian seasoning, Cajun seasoning, etc. You can even use pre-blended spice mixes from a grocery store.

  • Buttermilk: The acidity in buttermilk helps to make for super tender deep fried chicken breast. If you don’t have buttermilk, you could make a buttermilk alternative (using milk and lemon juice).
  • Eggs: Will help maintain moisture in the deep-fried chicken breast and add some richness from the yolk flavor.
Ingredients for fried chicken

The Fried Chicken Batter

  • Seasonings: You’ll use the same as the above (1/2 for marinade and ½ for batter).
  • Flour: Regular all-purpose flour works fine. Use a gluten-free all-purpose flour blend if necessary.
  • Cornstarch: This will help to make a super crispy fried chicken batter recipe. Potato starch could also work as a substitute.
  • Baking powder: Baking powder helps to draw out excess moisture from the surface of the chicken for crispier, browner, battered chicken. It also creates little air bubbles for a fluffier, crispy crust. If you don’t have it, omit it (don’t replace it with baking soda).

Best Oil for Frying Chicken

When deep frying, avoid oils with a low smoking point, like olive oil, or ones with a strong flavor. My top recommendations for this crispy fried chicken recipe are vegetable oil, canola oil, or peanut oil. Lard will also work.

How to Make Fried Chicken Breast

The first step is to slice the chicken breasts in half lengthwise for thinner pieces. If they are uneven, use a mallet to flatten one or both until even.

I find these thinner pieces much more manageable within sandwiches, burgers, etc. Note that the thickness of the chicken will affect the cooking time.

Steps for cutting chicken breasts

Marinate the Chicken

In a small bowl, combine all the spices (except the salt), then add half of the seasoning blend to a large dish (large enough to fit your chicken pieces).

Mixing spices

Add the buttermilk, egg, and 1 tsp of salt to the dish, whisk well and then place the prepared chicken breasts into the marinade.

Allow the chicken to marinate covered in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, up to 6 hours total.

How long to marinate chicken? If your marinade contains an acid, I recommend up to 4-6 hours for the best flavor and texture and no longer. If it doesn’t contain an acid, you can leave it to marinate for up to 24 hours. Marinating chicken for too long can break down the meat and cause mushiness.

Steps for marinating chicken

How to Make Batter for Fried Chicken Breast

Combine the baking powder, 1 tsp salt, cornstarch, flour, and the remainder of the seasoning mix in a large shallow bowl or plate and mix well. This makes a “dry” batter.

Once the chicken has marinated, allow it to return to room temperature and dip into the flour cornstarch mixture one piece of chicken at a time. Coat well, firmly pressing the seasoned flour into the chicken to ensure it adheres well.

Steps for breading chicken

How to Fry Chicken Breast

First, prepare the pan by adding several inches of oil to a large heavy-bottomed saucepan/Dutch oven (or use a deep-fat fryer) and heating it over medium heat until it reaches 350ºF/176ºC (up to 375ºF/190ºC maximum).

Carefully lower the chicken (just 3-4 pieces, depending on the size of the pan) into the hot oil using a slotted spoon or tongs.

How Long To Fry Chicken Breast

The time to fry chicken will depend on the thickness of the pieces and whether they’re boneless or bone-in. This recipe takes just 4-5 minutes in oil when the pieces are fully submerged (no need to flip them).

Steps for frying chicken

How long to cook fried chicken depends on its thickness. If you leave the pieces whole (not halved lengthwise), they’ll take 10-14 minutes. Bone in chicken can take up to double the time, so monitor it carefully.

To check the buttermilk fried chicken is ready, insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the chicken. It should have an internal temperature of 165º/74ºC to be safe to eat.

Allow the chicken to rest for 5 minutes before serving. Season with additional salt and pepper if preferred.

Freshly made fried chicken

How to Serve Fried Chicken

There are plenty of side dishes to enjoy with this delicious crispy buttermilk chicken breast, including:

You can also eat cold fried chicken. Though the skin will be softer, some actually prefer it this way. Simply chop it up and enjoy the buttermilk fried chicken with leafy green salad, pasta salads, and more!

Sandwich with fried chicken

FAQs

Can we substitute all-purpose flour with corn starch?

Cornstarch fried chicken breast is great for achieving a super puffy, crackly, crispy coating with added golden brown color. A 50/50 combination of cornstarch and all-purpose flour mixture will be crunchy and beautifully brown. Though using 100% all-purpose flour or starch also works.

What is the best oil temp for frying chicken?

The ideal is between 350-375ºF/176-190ºC. Too cold, you’ll end up with a soggy, oil-laden mess. Too hot, and it may smoke and cause burned chicken on the outside and raw inside.
If you don’t have a thermometer, you can test the correct temperature by dipping the end of a wooden spoon or chopstick into the oil. When it starts to bubble around the wood steadily but not vigorously, the oil is ready.

Why is my fried chicken dry?

Rubbery or dry chicken is due to overcooking the chicken.

Does this method work for chicken thighs, legs, and wings?

Thighs and legs will fry similarly to thick fried chicken breast (12-18 minutes at around 350ºF/176ºC). But chicken wings will take less (8-11 minutes) at around 350-375ºF/176-190ºC.
To ensure they’re properly cooked, an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken (avoid touching bone if there is any) should read 165 degrees F /74ºC.

Top Tips For Perfectly Crispy Fried Chicken

If you’re looking for fried chicken breast with a perfectly crisp outer shell and tender, juicy middle every single time, here are a few top tips to follow.

  • Always brine or marinate the chicken: Either method tenderizes the meat, keeping it juicy. Marinating also adds depth of flavor to the fried chicken.
  • Use batter: A well-made batter means a super crispy fried chicken breast recipe. This can be a wet or dry batter.
  • Don’t overcrowd the chicken: It will reduce the oil temperature and lead to a soggy fried chicken recipe easy. Instead, fry it in batches.
  • Ensure the oil is at the right temperature: Keep an instant-read thermometer nearby to monitor the temperature and adjust it if needed. It shouldn’t go below 325ºF/163ºC.
  • Allow the chicken to drain correctly: Ditch paper towels, which can cause steaming and soggy fried chicken. Instead, set the fried chicken on a wire rack, allowing air to circulate. To keep it warm, tent the cooling rack loosely in foil and/or pop them in a low oven (200ºF/95ºC).

More Delicious Recipes

If you try this easy crispy fried chicken recipe, I’d love to hear your thoughts/questions below. Also, I’d appreciate a recipe card rating below, and feel free to tag me in your recipe recreations on Instagram @Alphafoodie!

Crispy Fried Chicken Breast

4.99 from 56 votes
By: Samira
Perfectly crispy fried chicken breast in 4 simple steps, including top tips, FAQs, storage, and reheating info, for the best tender-in-the-middle, flavorful, crispy buttermilk fried chicken every time! Perfect for enjoying hot or cold at potlucks, picnics, cookouts, game days, and more!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 4 minutes
Total Time: 44 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients 
 

  • 13 oz chicken breast 2 pieces skinless and boneless; use skin-on if preferred; bone-in chciken requires longer to cook
  • 1 Tbsp paprika
  • 1/2 Tbsp black pepper
  • 1.5 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 3.7 oz flour 1 cup; or a gluten-free all-purpose flour
  • 1.3 oz cornstarch 1/3 cup
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp salt divided
  • 6 cups vegetable or canola oil for frying – adjust the amount based on the size of your pot

Instructions 

  • Slice the chicken breasts in half lengthwise for thinner pieces. If they are uneven, use a mallet to flatten one or both until even.
    I find these thinner pieces much more manageable within sandwiches, burgers, etc. Note that the thickness of the chicken will affect the cooking time of the homemade fried chicken.

Marinate the Chicken

  • In a small bowl, combine all the spices (except the salt), then add half of the seasoning blend to a large dish (large enough to fit your chicken pieces).
  • Add the buttermilk, egg, and 1 tsp of salt to the dish, whisk well and then place the prepared chicken breasts into the marinade.
  • Allow the chicken to marinate covered in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, up to 6 hours total.
    How long to marinate chicken? If your marinade contains an acid, I recommend up to 4-6 hours for the best flavor and texture and no longer. If it doesn’t contain an acid, you can leave it to marinate for up to 24 hours. Marinating chicken for too long can break down the meat and cause mushiness.

Prepare the Dry Batter

  • Combine the baking powder, 1 tsp salt, cornstarch, flour, and the remainder of the seasoning mix in a large shallow bowl or plate and mix well. This makes a "dry" batter.
  • Once the chicken has marinated, allow it to return to room temperature and dip into the flour cornstarch mixture one piece of chicken at a time. Coat well, firmly pressing the seasoned flour into the chicken to ensure it stays on while frying.

Fry the Chicken Breast

  • Add several inches of oil to a large heavy-bottomed saucepan/Dutch oven (or use a deep-fat fryer) and heat it over medium heat until it reaches 350ºF/176ºC (up to 375ºF/190ºC maximum).
  • Carefully lower the chicken (just 3-4 pieces, depending on the size of the pan) into the hot oil using a slotted spoon or tongs.
  • The time to fry chicken will depend on the thickness of the pieces and whether they’re boneless or bone-in. This recipe takes just 4-5 minutes in oil when the pieces are fully submerged (no need to flip them).
    If you're shallow frying them with an inch or so of oil, you'll need to flip the pieces when the underside is crispy and add an extra few minutes to the cooking time for crispy fried chicken breast.
    If you leave the pieces whole (not halved lengthwise), they'll take 10-14 minutes. Bone in chicken can take up to double the time, so monitor it carefully.
  • To check the chicken is ready, insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the chicken. It should have an internal temperature of 165ºF/74ºC to be safe to eat.
    Allow the chicken to rest for 5 minutes before serving. Season with additional salt and pepper if preferred.

Storage Instructions

  • The deep-fried chicken breast will always be crispiest directly from the fryer. However, you can still store it for later and reheat it in a way that brings back some of the crispiness (see the Notes below).
    Store: Either store the chicken in shallow, airtight containers or wrap tightly with foil and store in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Make sure to store it within 2 hours of cooking it.
    Never leave the chicken out for longer than 2 hours at room temperature.
    Freeze: Spread the crisp fried chicken breast across a tray, not touching, and freeze solid. Then transfer to a Ziplock bag and freeze for up to 4 months.

Video

Notes

  • Always brine or marinate the chicken: Either method tenderizes the meat, keeping it juicy. Marinating also adds depth of flavor to the fried chicken.
  • Use batter: A well-made batter means a super crispy fried chicken breast recipe. This can be a wet or dry batter.
  • Don’t overcrowd the chicken: It will reduce the oil temperature and lead to a soggy fried chicken recipe. Instead, fry it in batches.
  • Ensure the oil is at the right temperature: Keep an instant-read thermometer nearby to monitor the temperature and adjust it if needed. It shouldn’t go below 325ºF/163ºC.
  • Allow the chicken to drain correctly: Ditch paper towels, which can cause steaming and soggy fried chicken. Instead, set the buttermilk fried chicken on a wire rack, allowing air to circulate. To keep it warm, tent the cooling rack loosely in foil and/or pop them in a low oven (200ºF/95ºC).
How to reheat fried chicken to make it crispy again?
Avoid cooking methods that lead to foods becoming soft/soggy (like microwave cooking). Instead, I recommend first allowing the fried chicken to come to room temperature and then oven baking it.
  • Reheat it for 15-20 minutes at 350ºF/175ºC on a rack rather than a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet to allow for airflow.
  • Alternatively, try 5-7 minutes in an air fryer at 375ºF/190ºC, flipping halfway.
  • If you’re reheating it from frozen, allow it to cook in the oven for 15-18 minutes at 450ºF/230ºC.
Alternatively, remove the chicken from the fridge and allow it to come to room temperature, then re-fry it until it is crispy. Be careful not to overcook the crispy chicken breast.
Check the blog post for more tips, serving recommentdations and asnwers to top FAQs!
Course: Main
Cuisine: American, Southern
Freezer friendly: 4 Months
Shelf life: 3-4 Days

Nutrition

Calories: 293kcal, Carbohydrates: 34g, Protein: 26g, Fat: 6g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 2g, Trans Fat: 0.01g, Cholesterol: 105mg, Sodium: 1465mg, Potassium: 522mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 1125IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 145mg, Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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Recipe Rating




14 Comments

  1. Eggman says:

    What in God’s name is happening with that red egg?

    1. Support @ Alphafoodie says:

      Free-range chicken eggs have a brighter yolk – so delicious too 🙂

  2. Wendy Bertsch says:

    5 stars
    Easy and juicy,

    1. Support @ Alphafoodie says:

      Thanks so much, Wendy. Glad you liked it!

  3. Jan B. says:

    5 stars
    Love it!
    Made changes as follows:
    (1) Used regular milk & hot sauce to marinade the chicken.
    (2) Mixed all the dry ingredients together.
    The chicken was tender & the breading delicious.
    Thank you.

    1. Support @ Alphafoodie says:

      Glad you liked it, Jan. Thanks for sharing your tips!

  4. Key says:

    Where are the measurements for the dry ingredients (baking powder, cornstarch, and flour)?

    1. Support @ Alphafoodie says:

      Hi Key,
      All the ingredients with their exact measurements are listed in the recipe card at the bottom of the post. Once you open the post page, on top there is a button “Jump to recipe” which will take you directly to the recipe card (no need to scroll). I hope this helps.

  5. Amy Matis says:

    4 stars
    Everyone Loved this chicken!!! Thank you! Very easy to follow and turned our beautifully – like a restaurant !

    1. Support @ Alphafoodie says:

      Thank you so much for your comment, Amy!

  6. Marissa says:

    5 stars
    This recipe changed my LIFE! I followed it last night and made fried chicken strips for wraps and my family and I were in awe. It is the most delicious, beautiful, authentic fried chicken I have ever made at home. I’ve tried quite a few recipes that never quite make the mark. This is it. The one I will memorize and make forever. Thank you AlphaFoodie!

    1. Support @ Alphafoodie says:

      Thank you so much for your comment, Marissa. Glad you all loved it! <3

  7. Paul says:

    Hi Samira

    Can this recipe be adapted for an Air Fryer ?

    Thanks

    1. Support @ Alphafoodie says:

      Hi Paul,
      I’ve never tried but I’ve seen others make it in the Air Fryer. Though it can be crispy, it will still be different from frying it. You can follow the same steps for preparing the chicken, then preheat the Air Frier to 360º and bake for 20-30 minutes, flipping halfway. Let me know how it goes if you give the Air Fryer a go! 🙂