Fried Chicken

Total Time:
3 hr 10 min
3 hr
10 min

4 servings

  • For the spice blend:
  • 1/4 cup berbere spice mix or mild chile powder (such as ancho chile powder)
  • 1/4 cup hot smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons celery salt
  • 2 tablespoons freshly ground white pepper
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • Kosher salt
  • For the chicken:
  • Kosher salt
  • 4 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 4 skin-on chicken drumsticks (about 1 pound)
  • 1 quart buttermilk
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk
  • 6 cloves garlic (2 minced, 4 unpeeled)
  • Peanut or canola oil, for frying
  • 2 to 3 sprigs rosemary
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup semolina flour
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground white pepper
  • Make the spice blend: Combine the berbere, paprika, celery salt, white pepper, cumin, garlic powder and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt in a bowl.

  • Brine the chicken: Stir 1 cup salt and 8 cups cold water in a large bowl until the salt dissolves. Add the chicken to the brine, cover and refrigerate 1 hour, 30 minutes. Remove the chicken from the brine and pat dry.

  • Marinate the chicken: Whisk the buttermilk, coconut milk, minced garlic cloves and 1 tablespoon of the prepared spice blend in a large bowl. (Reserve the remaining spice blend for sprinkling.) Submerge the chicken in the marinade; cover and refrigerate overnight.

  • Heat the oil: Remove the chicken from the refrigerator and let it almost come to room temperature, about 1 hour. Fill a large cast-iron skillet about halfway with peanut oil; add the rosemary and whole garlic cloves. Heat over medium-high heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 360 degrees F, or until a pinch of flour added to the oil sizzles and rises to the surface.

  • Bread the chicken: While the oil heats, mix the all-purpose flour, semolina flour, cornstarch and white pepper on a baking sheet.

  • Remove the chicken from the marinade with tongs, letting the excess drip off.

  • Roll the chicken in the flour mixture to coat thoroughly, then sprinkle more of the flour mixture on top.

  • Fry the chicken: Shake off any excess flour from the chicken, then, using tongs, carefully lower each piece into the hot oil. Fry, turning occasionally, until just cooked through, about 7 minutes. (Reduce the heat to medium if the crust starts to brown too quickly.) Transfer to a rack and let rest, 10 minutes. Discard the garlic cloves and rosemary.

  • Fry again: Reheat the oil until a deep-fry thermometer registers 375 degrees F to 380 degrees F. Fry the chicken again, this time in 2 batches to avoid crowding the pan, until the breading is crisp and deep golden brown, about 1 minute.

  • Season the chicken: Transfer the chicken to the rack to cool slightly, and sprinkle with the reserved spice blend.

  • Keep the fried chicken warm in a 250 degrees F oven for up to 1 hour before serving, or let cool and pack for a picnic.

  • Photograph by Christopher Testani

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    This recipe is featured in:

    Labor Day