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Fried Chicken Without Buttermilk

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.

Pieces of fried chicken without buttermilk

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, or Maryland Fried Chicken!

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.

Some of the links below are affiliate links, which means that if you choose to make a purchase, I will earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.

20% of all profits are donated to a women’s shelter to support the fight against domestic violence.

What you need

10 inch skillet – preferably cast iron
Dry measuring cups and spoons
Bowls
Tongs
Cooling rack

How to eat fried chicken

Fried chicken is most commonly eaten with mashed potatoes and gravy, biscuits, cornbread for a starch.

As for veggies, green beans, black eyed peas, okra, corn, collared greens, or cole slaw are common.

How to Dredge Chicken

Double Handed

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.

Bag Technique

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).

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.”

Troubleshooting

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.

Yield: 8 servings

Southern Fried Chicken without Buttermilk

Pieces of fried chicken without buttermilk

This recipe comes to you all the way from the Deep South. It doesn't call for buttermilk or lard, making it a tinny bit healthier, if you can ever call Southern Fried Chicken healthy...

Ingredients

  • 1 whole chicken or 4 leg quarters, cut
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (130 grams)
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • Oil

Instructions

  1. In a mixing bowl, whisk the flour, salt, and pepper. In a separate mixing bowl, place and beat the eggs.
  2. Take a piece and dredge it in the flour. Shake off the excess and dip it in the egg. Let the egg drip off and coat one more time in flour. Set aside and repeat with the rest of the pieces.
  3. Fill the bottom of the skillet with oil and heat. You know the oil is ready when you throw some flour into it and it sizzles or it reaches 350°F.
  4. When hot, add a few pieces of chicken at a time to the oil until the pan is full.  
  5. Lower the flame to medium or medium-high. Fry until the bottom is golden brown, then turn over.
  6. Once both sides are cooked, remove and place on a cooling rack until cool enough to eat.

Notes

Instead of one whole chicken, I like to use about four chicken legs cut in half.

Recommended Products

Some of the links below are affiliate links, which means that if you choose to make a purchase, I will earn a small commission. This commission comes at no additional cost to you.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 509Total Fat: 25gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 276mgSodium: 999mgCarbohydrates: 13gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 55g

Did you make this recipe?

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Edwina

Thursday 13th of August 2020

I've been teaching my 17 year old son to cook for several years now and he decided he wanted to try his hand at fried chicken. Now, when my mother used to fry chicken it usually came out bloody near the bones and since she taught me to fry chicken, mine usually turned out bloody near the bone too! So, we went looking for a recipe for him to try. We found yours and since I have a very picky stomach and can't eat a lot of salt, we followed your recipe with half the salt and pepper but added italian seasoning, we also did the egg and flour a third time since we like a thicker crust. The fried chicken turned out beautifully, no blood near the bones and the crust nicely browned! We just had it the night before last and my son is practically demanding to make it again tonight, lol.

ElissaBeth

Thursday 13th of August 2020

I'm so happy to hear that! Thank you for sharing :)

Nichole

Tuesday 30th of June 2020

Great recipe! I used whole legs, which is just what I had. But next time I would use small chicken thighs to get the right ratio of meat/skin. I used a cast iron skillet with peanut oil and a candy thermometer to monitor the temp. I'm from Virginia, and this reminded me of my mom's fried chicken which she made in an electric skillet, but with just flour, egg, and seasoning as it's done here. Thanks for sharing!

ElissaBeth

Tuesday 30th of June 2020

I'm so glad to hear it :)

Kelly Sanders

Sunday 26th of April 2020

This sounds like chicken fried steak...I never thought to do that. Only instead of a whole chicken or chicken legs I'm going to use chicken tenders...I can't wait for dinner tonight!

Alexandra West

Friday 27th of March 2020

9 year old: "this is better than KFC" Need I say more? :-) Excellent recipe. Followed exactly. We have 1 lactose intolerant person in the family, and the buttermilk wasnt missed at all by the rest of us! Perfect and super simple* *Only thing that may help some of us newbies is more guidance on the oil temps/time to cook for those of us who are trying chicken for first time... I'll try here. Know this is wildly variable, but I think going on the low side of medium temp is a better proxy than oil temp? 375 burned my first batch. I used corn oil (which is all that the store had left! Thanks coronavirus...) in a 10" cast iron skillet. Used large bone in chicken thighs. Triple dredged only because after I left them sit a bit after 2nd dredge the egg soaked up the 2and layer so dipped a 3rd time in the flour mix. Ended up with perfectly browned and cooked on the inside when I dropped the temp on my power burner to level 3 (glass top), which is medium-low. Medium and 375 degrees burnt them and I had to re-fry them in the lower temp oil to get the insides to 165 degrees. Also, I kept them warm in a 200 degree oven on cooling rack as suggested.

Anyway, hope these oil temp notes helps any first timers out there like me who arent using a deep fryer or air fryer.

ElissaBeth

Sunday 29th of March 2020

Aw I'm so glad to get such a rave review from your child! I'm also very glad to hear that the rest of the family enjoyed it as well :)

In the post it actually tells you that the oil temperature should be 350F. I left this out of the recipe itself because I didn't want people who didn't have a thermometer to feel they can't make it.

mari

Monday 23rd of March 2020

I became skeptical once you said NOT to clean my chicken. A hard pass on this recipe!

ElissaBeth

Monday 30th of March 2020

I never wrote in the post not to clean your chicken, I wrote that the FDA recommends against it because it spreads the bacteria. However, I agree that you should "hard pass" on this recipe since you prefer not to follow kitchen safety protocols and you'd be working with hot oil.

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