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The Best Ever Fried Chicken

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The fast-food restaurant wars are back! Only this time, it’s not to crown the best hamburger, it’s all about the best chicken sandwich.

According to QSR, roughly 65 percent of the U.S. population ordered a breaded chicken sandwich from a quick-service restaurant in the last six months.  

Perhaps due to a frantic news cycle, around restaurants and across the country in general, it appears we’ve reached a lull in the chicken sandwich wars. But don’t expect that to last.

In Danny Klein’s April 2021 article, the reason brands jumped into the fray in the fall and winter of 2019 and over the duration of 2020, isn’t complicated. Ever since Popeyes’ August 2019 launch, quick-serves fixated on replicating its viral success. Even fast-food behemoth MacDonalds entered the wars with its chicken sandwich and saw a sizable boost in traffic in their restaurants.

I know people have definite favorites. Some love Popeye’s, while others head to Chick-Fil-A. There are a few new faces like the Florida-based PDQ, which recently opened a location in Farmingdale, New York.

While the fast-food chicken sandwiches are good, there is nothing like homemade fried chicken. There are countless recipes that all claim to be the best. As for this home cook, I prefer my grandmother’s recipe, but I am always up for a challenge. So, when a recipe says Best Ever Fried Chicken, I have to put it to the test.

The Woman’s Day recipe has all the essentials of southern cooking, buttermilk, and spices. However, the difference is in how the chicken is coated. The recipe works for a 10-piece chicken assortment or for the revered chicken breast. Not to mention when you make it home, you can add the spices you like. What’s not to like.

Is it the best ever fried chicken, no, but it is pretty good. You should give it a whirl.

Best Ever Fried Chicken Woman’s Day Recipe


1/4 cup sugar

2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced 

6 cups low-fat buttermilk, divided 

4 tbsp. celery seeds, divided 

Kosher salt and pepper

1 whole chicken (5 to 6 pounds), cut into 10 pieces

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. cayenne

4 cups peanut or canola oil, for frying 

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In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, garlic, 4 cups buttermilk, 2 Tbsp celery seeds, and 1/2 cup salt. Add chicken and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour. 

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together flour, cayenne, 1 tsp salt, 1 Tbsp pepper, and remaining 2 Tbsp celery seeds. 

Attach a deep-fry thermometer to a large Dutch oven and heat oil on medium to 325°F. Place remaining 2 cups buttermilk in a second bowl. Working with a couple of pieces at a time, remove chicken from marinade, letting excess drip off. Coat in flour, shaking off excess, then coat in buttermilk and in flour once more. Shake off excess flour and add chicken to oil. 

Fry chicken until golden brown and cooked through, 4 to 10 minutes depending on piece. Repeat with remaining chicken, adjusting heat to keep oil between 300°F and 325°F.

PER SERVING: 485 calories, 27.5 g fat (6.5 g saturated fat), 37 g protein, 1,005 mg sodium, 21 g carbs, 1 g fiber


WD TEST KITCHEN TIP: Dip chicken in marinade and flour twice before frying for a shatteringly crisp crust. Switch it up by adding sugar, salt, and other seasonings to the buttermilk marinade. Remember, the temperature of the oils changes when the chicken is added. Be sure to temp the oil between batches to make sure it stays at 325-degrees.

Resources Woman’s Day magazine

QSR Magazine

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