This kosher southern fried chicken recipe hails from the deep south! It is made without buttermilk but still has a perfect flaky golden crust, tender juicy meat, and couldn’t be easier to make!
Serve it with a side of mashed potatoes and gravy, cornbread and green beans, corn, cole slaw, or collard greens for a good old southern meal.
When I was first given this recipe, brought to you all the way from Georgia, I admit I was a little skeptical. I was glad to see that there was no buttermilk, but only salt and pepper for seasoning?
I decided to make two batches. One with a mix of seasoning and one that held true to the original recipe.
In both cases every bite was juicy and the crust was crispy. However, I was surprised to find that I liked the original recipe better. The pure flavor was even more delicious warmed up. This is officially my new favorite chicken recipe!
At least as important as the seasoning is double dredging the chicken. Do not skip this step. The second layer keeps the chicken from over cooking and incredibly juicy when you bite into it.
Southern Fried Chicken is traditionally made in a cast iron skillet, and I love cast iron.
If you don’t have cast iron, that’s fine. I’ve used other frying pans to make this recipe and they worked fine.
If you like this recipe, you won’t want to miss:
- Southern Fried Chicken Wings
- Cornflake Fried Chicken
- Maryland Fried Chicken
- Fried Chicken Strips without Buttermilk
I’d like to give a huge thank you to Tim Parker for this recipe!
History of Southern Fried Chicken
Like many Southern foods, fried chicken can trace its origins to Scots-Irish immigrants and slaves of West African descent.
Fried chicken was commonly associated with the poor who couldn’t afford beef or pork. Unlike the English who baked or boiled their chicken, the Scottish chose to pan-fry their chicken for better flavor.
When introduced to the American South, it became a staple. However, like traditional Scottish cuisine, it was not seasoned.
When West-Africans were brought to the American South as slaves, fried chicken began to change. The slaves who were put to work in the kitchen began seasoning the chicken, enriching the flavor.
Soon, fried chicken became a way for enslaved and segregated women to earn money since they were allowed to keep chickens. However, for their community, due to cost, fried chicken was reserved for special occasions as it had been in Africa.
In fact, for some, fried chicken is still among the top choices for “Sunday dinner” as well as holidays such as the 4th of July and other gatherings.
After the abolition of slavery, due to segregation barring Blacks from restaurants, fried chicken remained popular in the Black communities. This is because it traveled well in hot weather in an era before refrigeration.
Over the generations though, fried chicken became known as a general Southern dish as it is today.
Personally, I consider mildly seasoned fried chicken Southern Food and more seasoned fried chicken as Soul Food.
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What you need
How to eat fried chicken
Fried chicken is most commonly eaten with:
As for veggies, green beans, black eyed peas, okra, corn, collared greens, or cole slaw are common.
How to Dredge Chicken
Use one hand to dip the chicken in the egg and the other to roll it in flour. By using both hands, you avoid getting thick layers of batter on your fingers known as “club hand.”
The worst part of it is when you touch the chicken, it will pull off the flour, leaving balled spots.
If you start to notice one of your hands getting a little tick with flour, press your hands together and rub it over the flour bowl.
The little bits of flour that fall off into the bowl add texture to the chicken.
Place the flour in a bag. For the first layer, you can throw in a bunch of pieces together. Then, shake them off and dip each piece in one by one.
Let the excess egg drip off and then re-coat with flour one at a time in the bag. Shake off any excess flour and fry.
A Word on Oil
When frying chicken, the temperature of the oil is important. If it’s too cold, the chicken will be oily.
On the other hand, if the oil is too hot, the crust will fall off. With a thermometer, it should be about 350°F or 175°C to 375°F or 190°C degrees.
If you don’t have a thermometer, when the oil seems hot, drop a little flour into the oil. If the flour sizzles and floats on the top, it’s hot enough.
To make sure it’s not too hot, keep it around medium-low and adjust as needed.
Gluten Free Option
For a gluten-free alternative, use corn starch or potato starch instead of flour. They both fry very nicely.
IS KOSHER CHICKEN BETTER?
Yes and no. It is not necessarily healthier as far as bacteria is concerned, since bacteria can only safely be killed with heat.
What is better is that kosher animals are kept in better conditions than not kosher animals due to strict kosher health requirements of the animals. They are also killed in arguably more human conditions.
Also, the salting process used to remove blood from the animal is also believed to provide better quality meat.
Kosher poultry and meat are salted to remove blood which is forbidden to be consumed according to Jewish law. This is said to create a sort of quick dry brine.
While I’ve only eaten kosher meat so I cannot compare, I’ve been told by non-Jews who do not keep kosher that they’ve noticed that kosher chicken is of superior quality to cook with.
SHOULD YOU WASH CHICKEN?
No. According to the USDA washing meat or poultry in water spreads bacteria throughout the kitchen.
Water can splash bacteria up to 3 feet surrounding your sink, including onto countertops, other food, towels, and you (i.e. cross contamination).
A study done by Drexel University shows that it is best to move meat and poultry directly from package to pan. The heat from cooking will kill any bacteria that may be present.
One exception would be if there are bone fragments or residue from giblets, as in a roasting chicken. In that case, feel free to rinse if you like. However, make sure you wipe down your sink afterwards.
HOW TO DEFROST CHICKEN
IN THE FRIDGE
This method is the most highly recommended. Chicken typically takes a full day to thaw. Once thawed, the poultry can remain in the refrigerator for a day or two before cooking.
IN COLD WATER
This should take two to three hours. Submerge your sealed chicken in a pot or bowl full of cold water. Change out the water every 30 minutes or so.
Do not use warm or hot water. It is unhealthy to do so. It can start cooking your chicken, and doesn’t evenly.
IS IT SAFE TO REFREEZE RAW CHICKEN
If you have extra raw chicken that you didn’t use but want to refreeze, you can as long as it was thawed in the fridge.
According to the USDA, “food thawed in the refrigerator is safe to refreeze without cooking.” However, you do lose quality when refreezing previously defrosted meat.
Every time you defrost meat, it loses moisture through thawing which also leads to a loss in flavor. To compensate for this, marinate the meat to add more flavor and juice.”
The USDA also says not to “refreeze any foods left outside the refrigerator longer than 2 hours; 1 hour in temperatures above 90 °F.”
The most likely thing to go wrong with your fried chicken is that it comes out not fully cooked on the inside. This happens when you fry it at too high a temperature.
This is happens if you decide to triple dredge them instead of the instructed two dredge method. The reason for this is because you now have one more layer for the heat to try to get through.
If this happens, don’t worry, there is a quick fix. Just pop your chicken in the oven at 350°F or 175°C for little (the time will depend on how under-cooked it is) and let it finish.
HOW TO STORE
Place cooled chicken in an airtight container or wrap in heavy-duty aluminum foil or plastic wrap. Store in the fridge for up to 4 days.
HOW TO FREEZE
Freeze leftovers within 3-4 days. Place cooled chicken in an airtight container or resealable freezer bag. Freeze for up to 4 months. After that, it is safe to eat. However the quality begins to degrade.
HOW TO REHEAT
For best results heat in the oven or easy fryer. The fryer gives the best results, but it is also more likely to break the crust exterior.