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Mama’s Fried Chicken

Recipe from Southern Living Home Cooking Basics: A Complete Illustrated Guide to Southern Cooking

Mama's Fried Chicken (Southern Living Home Cooking)

Cooks&Books&Recipes Editors, on Mama’s Fried Chicken:

As many of y’all know, I spent my formative food years in the South. What many of y’all don’t know is that while I was in high school, my part-time job for 1-2 years was frying chicken. Yes, I worked at a fast-food fried-chicken restaurant. But I’m not talking about KFC or even Popeye’s. This was a local chain in Louisiana. If you wanted to work there (and I did, because my dad said I needed to get a summer job immediately, and he didn’t care where, and I didn’t have many options), you were required to learn the total restaurant operations, starting with learning how to cook all of the food, in the back kitchen.

I’m not going to give away all of their (and now, my) secrets on how to make the BEST fried chicken, but I will tell you that this recipe includes at least one. Hint: see the part about chilling? That is critical.

Southern Living Home Cooking cookbook

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Mama's Fried Chicken

Yield: 4-6 servings

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 3 hours


  • 1 (3- to 4-lb.) whole chicken, cut into pieces
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • Self-rising flour
  • Vegetable oil


  1. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Place chicken in a shallow dish or zip-top plastic freezer bag, and add buttermilk. Cover or seal, and chill at least 2 hours.
  2. Remove chicken from buttermilk, discarding buttermilk. Dredge chicken in flour.
  3. Pour oil to a depth of 1 1/2 inches in a deep skillet or Dutch oven; heat to 360°. Add chicken, a few pieces at a time; cover and cook 6 minutes. Uncover chicken, and cook 9 minutes. Turn chicken; cover and cook 6 minutes. Uncover and cook 5 to 9 minutes, turning chicken the last 3 minutes for even browning, if necessary. Drain on paper towels.

© 2012 Oxmoor House
Reprinted with permission from Southern Living Home Cooking Basics: A Complete Illustrated Guide to Southern Cooking, by the Editors of Southern Living Magazine

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