Mama’s Fried Chicken

Mama’s Fried Chicken: A Classic Southern Delight

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If you’re craving comfort food that’s crispy, juicy, and bursting with flavor, look no further than Mama’s Fried Chicken. This classic Southern dish is a beloved favorite for good reason – it’s simple, satisfying, and oh-so-delicious. In this ultimate guide, we’ll walk you through the steps to create mouthwatering fried chicken just like Mama used to make. From ingredients and instructions to cook notes, variations, and even keto and low-carb versions, we’ve got you covered. Get ready to indulge in a taste of nostalgia with this iconic recipe!


  • 1 (3- to 4-pound) whole chicken, cut into pieces
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons pepper
  • 3 to 4 cups buttermilk
  • 3 to 4 cups self-rising flour
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • Vegetable oil for frying


  1. Brine the Chicken: In a large bowl, combine the chicken pieces, 2 teaspoons of salt, and 1 teaspoon of pepper. Pour enough buttermilk over the chicken to fully submerge it. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  2. Prepare the Dredge: In a separate bowl, mix the self-rising flour, remaining salt and pepper, paprika, and garlic powder. This will be your dredging mixture.
  3. Coat the Chicken: Remove the chicken from the buttermilk brine and let any excess drip off. Dredge each piece in the flour mixture, making sure to coat it thoroughly.
  4. Rest the Chicken: Place the coated chicken pieces on a wire rack set over a baking sheet. Let them sit for 15-20 minutes to allow the coating to set.
  5. Heat the Oil: In a large cast-iron skillet or Dutch oven, heat vegetable oil to 350°F (175°C). You’ll need enough oil to submerge the chicken pieces halfway.
  6. Fry the Chicken: Carefully add the chicken pieces to the hot oil, working in batches if necessary to avoid overcrowding the skillet. Fry for 12-15 minutes, turning occasionally, until the chicken is golden brown and cooked through.
  7. Drain and Serve: Use tongs to transfer the fried chicken to a wire rack or paper towel-lined plate to drain excess oil. Let it rest for a few minutes before serving.
  8. Enjoy: Serve Mama’s Fried Chicken hot and crispy, alongside your favorite sides like mashed potatoes, coleslaw, and biscuits. Get ready to savor every delicious bite!

Cook Notes and Variations

  • Brining: Brining the chicken in buttermilk adds flavor and helps keep the meat juicy. For extra tenderness, you can brine the chicken for up to 24 hours.
  • Seasoning: Feel free to adjust the seasonings in the flour mixture to suit your taste. You can add herbs like thyme or rosemary for extra flavor.
  • Double Dredge: For an extra crispy coating, you can double dredge the chicken by dipping it back into the buttermilk and flour mixture before frying.
  • Baked Version: If you prefer a healthier alternative, you can bake the chicken in the oven instead of frying. Simply place the coated chicken on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake at 400°F (200°C) for 35-40 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked through.

Keto and Low-Carb Versions

For those following a keto or low-carb diet, here’s how you can adapt this recipe:

  • Almond Flour Coating: Replace the self-rising flour with almond flour or a combination of almond flour and grated Parmesan cheese for a keto-friendly coating.
  • Frying Oil: Use keto-friendly oils like coconut oil or avocado oil for frying.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Can I use boneless chicken for this recipe?

A: While bone-in chicken pieces are traditional for fried chicken, you can certainly use boneless chicken breasts or thighs if you prefer. Just adjust the cooking time accordingly as boneless cuts may cook faster.

Q: How do I know when the chicken is cooked through?

A: The best way to ensure that the chicken is cooked through is to use a meat thermometer. Insert it into the thickest part of the chicken – the internal temperature should reach 165°F (75°C).

Q: Can I make fried chicken ahead of time?

A: While fried chicken is best enjoyed fresh and hot, you can make it ahead of time and reheat it in the oven to maintain crispiness. Place the fried chicken on a baking sheet and bake at 350°F (175°C) for 10-15 minutes, or until heated through.

Q: What can I do with leftover fried chicken?

A: Leftover fried chicken is delicious sliced and served cold in sandwiches or salads, or reheated and enjoyed alongside your favorite sides.

Mama’s Fried Chicken is a timeless classic that never fails to delight. With its golden crispy coating and juicy, flavorful meat, it’s the ultimate comfort food that’s perfect for any occasion. Whether you’re cooking for a family dinner, hosting a backyard barbecue, or simply craving a taste of home, this iconic recipe is sure to satisfy. So gather your ingredients, fire up the stove, and get ready to enjoy the irresistible taste of Mama’s Fried Chicken!

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