Gourmet Recipes for One is a resource of simple, delicious recipes that focus on cooking for one. Single-serving recipes are featured as well as ideas and inspiration for achieving a well-balanced lifestyle.

fried chicken

A few weeks ago, I made my first batch of homemade fried chicken. While the chicken came out great, I adjusted the spice level in the batter to give it a bit more flavor and a touch more heat. The chicken was really moist and the outside was everything I had hoped it would be: crispy and completely finger-licking good.

Surprisingly, if you’ve never made it before, it’s really easy. I’m not a big fan of fried food but there is nothing like good old-fashioned fried chicken and this recipe is just that. For my recipe, I used a cast iron pan because they hold in the heat really well and provide you with a nice even heat. If you use one, there are a few good things to know about cast iron pans. If one hasn’t been passed down to you in your family, don’t worry, they are really easy to find at most kitchen stores. Be sure to season the pan by rubbing it with vegetable oil and “cooking” the pan in the oven for 1 hour at 400°F or over medium-high heat on the stove until just smoking. Allow the pan to cool and then wipe it out with a clean dish towel. Never wash the pan with soap, or in the dishwasher. The best way to clean them is with warm water and a gentle sponge. If food gets stuck on the pan, clean with a little water and a nice, stiff brush. Heat the cleaned pan on top of the stove to thoroughly dry out all the water and use a kitchen towel to rub it with a light oil to coat it.

Now, back to the chicken. I chose to brine my chicken first to help hold in as much moisture as I could while frying it. I used a traditional brine of water, salt and sugar which seemed to work really well. It kept the chicken moist while the outside was perfectly crispy. The result was a great batch of perfectly golden fried chicken. Here’s my recipe:

fried chicken

For this recipe, I used all chicken breasts, simply because I prefer white meat to dark but this recipe works well with either, just be sure to adjust the cooking time if using smaller pieces of chicken (dark meat also needs to cook longer than white meat so add that to the pan first if using it).

For brine
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon salt

Water, enough to cover chicken
2 bone-in chicken breasts, cut in half

2 cups flour
1 tablespoon cayenne
Salt, tot taste
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cups buttermilk
1 tablespoon hot sauce, or to taste
Vegetable or canola oil, for frying

1. Place sugar, salt and water in a re-sealable bag. Add chicken and seal up bag. Refrigerate for about 2 hours.
2. In a shallow bowl, combine flour and cayenne and season with salt and pepper.
3. In another shallow bowl, combine buttermilk and hot sauce (more if you like a lot of heat).

4. Drain chicken and pat dry each piece really well. Dredge one piece of chicken in flour, shaking off excess, then into buttermilk and then back into flour mixture. Shake off excess and set aside. Repeat with remaining chicken pieces.
5. Place a cast iron pan over medium-high heat and add about 3 inches of oil to pan, filling no more than halfway up side of pan. When oil is ready you can test it by adding a small crumb of the flour mixture to see if it starts to bubble. Working in batches (if necessary), add chicken pieces to oil, making sure not to overcrowd pan. Cook on one side for 10-15 minutes, flip and continue cooking for another 10-15 minutes until chicken is golden brown and cooked through. Remove chicken with a slotted spoon and transfer to a wire rack to drain and cool slightly. Season with salt and pepper and serve warm.

Makes 4 pieces.


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