Are you ready for your new FAVORITE recipe? It’s simple. It’s delicious. It’s juicy. It’s none other than cast iron buttermilk fried chicken.

Cast iron fried chicken legs and thighs resting in the skillet on a hot pad.

Deep frying in cast iron: should I do it?

You’re probably already thinking; cast iron skillets for frying. Really?

Cast irons are great for frying since they hold their heat much better than others, such as aluminum and stainless steel skillets and pots.

Therefore, you will get more even heating using a cast iron skillet when frying.

In fact, cast irons are great for all types of stovetop recipes, from homemade meatballs and venison medallions to smothered pork steaks.

So just give making buttermilk fried chicken in cast iron a shot; you won’t be disappointed.

Cast iron fried chicken

Growing up, fried chicken was far from a staple. In fact, my only memories of indulging in such tastiness were once a year during our annual family reunion.

Since then, fried chicken has only been a memory for me; I mean real fried chicken; thighs, drumsticks, and wings.

We are talking a thick, golden crispy breading, rich, juicy chicken, the lingering flavors…ok, I need to take a break and make some more fried chicken.

Buttermilk fried chicken in a cast iron skillet with crispy breading.

Although, of course, those frozen breaded chicken tenders that you throw in the oven are good, they are nothing compared to the real thing.

So when making this recipe, I was sure of two things: The chicken is getting fried in a cast iron skillet, and I wanted it to be simple. (as simple as it can be when it comes to frying).

Cast iron fried chicken recipe

Ingredients

  • Chicken thighs or drumsticks (or both 🙂
  • Buttermilk
  • Hot sauce
  • Flour
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Paprika
  • Salt and pepper

*complete ingredient list in the recipe card below.

Instructions

1. Choose the oil you want to use. I use coconut oil almost exclusively in all my recipes. It has a high smoke point and actually has many health benefits as well.

2. Get that cast iron skillet piping hot before adding in any chicken. I was able to fry my chicken using just a cup of oil. And honestly, you could probably get away with using even less.

3. In one bowl, combine the buttermilk and hot sauce.

4. In a second bowl, mix the flour with your choice of spices (or use the ones I have recommended).

5. Soak the chicken in the liquid for one hour ahead of time.

6. Dredge the chicken through the flour, and carefully place it into the skillet. Be careful, as it will sizzle, and the oil may splatter.

7. Cook until the internal temperature has reached 165°F, flipping once. Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Notes: You can skip the one-hour marinade and just run the chicken through the buttermilk right before dredging through the flour to save time if needed.

Cast iron buttermilk fried chicken frying on the stove.

Tips for a crispy breading on your fried chicken

I like to keep it simple and don’t do a lot to make the breading extra crispy.

But that is just me. Feel free to experiment on your own and let me know what variations you made to this buttermilk fried chicken breading in the comments below.

  • First and foremost, a piping hot skillet with piping hot oil is critical to the crispiness’s success!
  • Always pat dry the meat before breading. Even though I don’t recommend rinsing the chicken before we start making it, they will still have some liquid from the packaging process.
  • Don’t overcoat the breading. Perhaps this sounds counterintuitive, but trust me, it’s for the best.
  • Do not overcrowd the skillet. Too much chicken added at one time can lower the temp of the oil, crushing our chances for a crispy exterior.
  • AND lastly, try adding a touch of baking soda or cornstarch to the breading for extra, extra crispy chicken. (or breadcrumbs, as I use in my fried meatball recipe)
  • Ok, for real now, this is the last tip. Try double-frying the chicken. I’ve done it before and love the way they turn out. But I don’t like the extra time it takes to make it that way.
Crispy fried chicken on a white plate with mashed potatoes and corn.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does chicken take to fry in a cast iron skillet?

Fry chicken legs for about 7-10 minutes per side. Fry chicken thighs for 10-12 minutes per side. And always check the internal temperature with an instant thermometer before consuming.

Why is buttermilk used in fried chicken?

Buttermilk is used in fried chicken for several reasons. It helps tenderize the chicken, resulting in a moist and juicy texture. It also imparts a subtle tangy flavor and helps the coating adhere to the chicken, creating a crispy crust.

What oil is best for frying cast iron chicken?

Vegetable oil, canola oil, or peanut oil, are the most popular frying oils. These oils can withstand high heat without burning, ensuring a crispy exterior and properly cooked chicken. However, my favorite oil for frying is coconut oil.

Should I fry chicken in a cast iron skillet?

While frying chicken in a cast iron skillet may not be the most popular choice, it is a good option because of its ability to distribute heat evenly. Just make sure to monitor the temperature and adjust accordingly for consistent and delicious results.

How do I tell when buttermilk fried chicken is cooked through?

The chicken is done when the internal temperature has reached 165°F, and the meat is no longer pink. Use an instant thermometer on the thickest part of the chicken without touching the bone.

Can I reheat cast iron fried chicken?

Yes. For the best results, spread them out in a cast iron skillet and heat up in a 350°F oven until warmed through.

Kick things up a notch with these southern fried pork chops!

Wrapping up

I hope you try this cast iron buttermilk fried chicken. If you enjoy it as much as we do, leave a comment or review below; I love to hear from you!

After you try this recipe, check out some of my other favorites.

Fried chicken.

Cast Iron Buttermilk Fried Chicken

Laura Ascher
A simple recipe for crispy fried chicken.
4.60 from 15 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 16 minutes
Additional Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 21 minutes
Course Main Dishes
Cuisine American
Servings 8
Calories 785 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 8-10 Chicken thighs and drumsticks
  • 1 cup of coconut oil or your preferred frying oil
  • 3 cups of buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup of Louisiana hot sauce or your favorite hot sauce
  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon of pink Himalayan salt
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh cracked pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of paprika
  • 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper

Instructions
 

  • Combine buttermilk and hot sauce in a small mixing bowl. Soak chicken in the mixture for at least 1 hr.
  • In a separate bowl, mix together all dry ingredients.
  • Heat the oil on the stovetop in a 12" cast iron skillet to 350°F
  • Dredge the chicken in the dry ingredients, and shake off any excess flour.
  • Carefully place the chicken in the skillet with the thighs in the center since they will take the longest to cook. Be careful, as it may sizzle, and the oil will splatter.
  • Allow to cook for 8-10 minutes on each side for drumsticks and 10-12 minutes per side for the thighs.

Notes

Chicken is ready when an internal temperature of 165°F has been reached, and the meat is no longer pink.
You can skip the one-hour marinade and just run the chicken through the buttermilk right before dredging through the flour to save time if needed.

Nutrition

Serving: 1ozCalories: 785kcalCarbohydrates: 30gProtein: 47gFat: 54gSaturated Fat: 30gPolyunsaturated Fat: 21gCholesterol: 226mgSodium: 1055mgFiber: 1gSugar: 5g
Keyword buttermilk fried chicken, cast iron fried chicken
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This website provides approximate nutrition information based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands, measuring methods and portion sizes per household. We recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer.

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4.60 from 15 votes (15 ratings without comment)

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