Buttermilk Fried Chicken

A buttermilk marinade spiked with hot sauce, thyme and garlic makes this fried chicken flavorful and juicy.
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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 8 hr 40 min (includes overnight brining)
  • Active: 25 min
  • Yield: 6
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4 cups buttermilk

2 tablespoons hot sauce

2 tablespoons dried thyme

3 cloves garlic, smashed

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

6 bone-in skin-on chicken thighs, legs or a mix of the two

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons paprika

Vegetable or peanut oil, for frying


  1. Whisk the buttermilk, hot sauce, thyme, garlic, 2 tablespoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl. Add the chicken pieces, turn to coat, cover the bowl and refrigerate overnight.
  2. Whisk the flour, paprika and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper in a large bowl. Drain the chicken. Coat the chicken pieces in the flour mixture, shake off any excess and lay on a piece of parchment or wax paper.
  3. Set a wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet. Fill a large skillet (cast iron preferred) with 3/4-inch of oil. Heat over medium-high heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 340 degrees F. Working in batches, add the chicken skin side down, and cook, turning once, until the chicken is well browned on the outside and no longer pink near the bone, about 25 minutes total. The temperature of the oil will drop when the chicken is added to the skillet. Adjust the heat as the chicken cooks to maintain it around 250 degrees F. Transfer the cooked chicken to the prepared baking sheet. Serve hot or at room temperature.