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The Best Southern Chicken Fried Chicken

This chicken fried chicken is authentically southern with well-seasoned tender crispy breading making this very remeniscent of a Sunday dinner at grandma's house. The gravy is incredible and worth drizzling over everything on your plate! Serve with buttery mashed potatoes and your favorite sides like green beans, peas, corn, biscuits, etc.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: dinner, Main Course
Cuisine: American, southern
Keyword: chicken recipe, fried chicken, southern cooking
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Mallory Austin

Ingredients

Chicken Fried Chicken

  • 6-8 thinly sliced chicken breasts or thinly pound regular breasts Bell & Evans is my fave
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried onion flakes or onion powder works too
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 1/2 cup whole milk do not use buttermilk, it will soften breading
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce
  • peanut oil for frying (vegetable oil works too) I use one quart in a cast iron skillet

Pepper Gravy

  • 3 tablespoons reserved oil from frying with pan bits
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cup whole milk
  • 1-2 teaspoons salt add in increments to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning optional
  • 1-2 teaspoons white pepper and fresh ground pepper to taste

Serve With:

  • biscuits, mashed potatoes, green beans, corn, peas, etc.

Instructions

  • In a shallow dish whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and dry seasonings. In a second shallow dish whisk together milk, eggs, and hot sauce until smooth.
  • In a cast iron skillet or fry-safe pan/pot on stove over medium-medium high, heat oil (a few inches deep) until it reaches about 350 degrees. Dredge the chicken while it comes up to temp.
  • Flour-egg-flour: Fully coat each chicken breast in the flour mixture, dip into the egg mixture (not letting it drip off first), than back into the flour mixture. Allow excess egg mix to transfer to the flour dish, making sure to press down flour to get stuck on the chicken real good. Put finished pieces on a foil/parchment lined baking sheet.
  • Place chicken in hot oil and fry on each side 3-5 minutes until golden brown, remove and drain directly on a cooling rack atop a papertowel lined baking sheet. Do not place directly on paper towels as it will make chicken soggy. (Place chicken tray in the oven at 200 degrees if you want to keep it warm while you prep gravy and finish up side items.)
  • To make your gravy, in a saucepan add oil + pan bits, butter and heat on medium, stir in your flour until absorbed and cook for about 1 minute (it'll bubble slightly).
  • Slowly add in your milk whisking to blend and heat until thickened then stir in seasonings until it's nice and seasoned. This part is very important as all the flavor is in the salt, pepper and poultry seasoning. **
  • To serve, plate your chicken and pour spoonfuls of gravy directly over each piece (and over the potatoes if serving).

Notes

If you have a poultry seasoning you love to use, you can use that in the flour mixture and in the gravy in lieu of the paprika, garlic powder, etc. I LOVE the Chicken Fried Steak seasoning from Savory Spice and I use this in my recipe. Once I plate the chicken and pour the gravy over, I will sprinkle just a pinch on top before serving. It adds an extra kick of flavor!!
I usually recommend using a candy thermometer when deep frying. In this instance, I feel it's pretty intuitive to pan-fry chicken. Just make sure your oil isn't smoking and you keep it between medium-medium high heat throughout the process. 
It is extremely important that you make sure your gravy is well-seasoned. A bland, milky tasting gravy is just a few sprinkles of seasoning away from incredible gravy. So make sure to taste test it as you add your seasonings until it's perfect to your taste.