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These crispy Fried Chicken Thighs have a golden, crunchy breading with a juicy flavorful center. This easy chicken recipe is sure to become a family favorite after your first bite!

This fried chicken recipe goes great with classic sides like Classic Macaroni Salad or Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes!

an overhead image of the best and juiciest fried chicken on a white plate with lemon wedges and chopped chives beside it

How to Make the Best Fried Chicken Thighs

Fried chicken might seem like an intimidating dish to make but you won’t believe how easy it comes together. Follow these 3 simple steps and you’ll get the most delicious juicy and crispy chicken thighs ever!

While we are using chicken thighs today, this recipe will work for chicken breasts, drumsticks and even wings. The amount of frying time will vary so I recommend using a meat thermometer to test doneness. Any cut of chicken should register 165 degrees F on a digital thermometer. Read my Meat Temperature Chart for more information.

Recipe Walk-Through

How to Fry Chicken Thighs

See the recipe card below for full, detailed instructions

Pour a good amount of oil into a deep pot, preferably one with a heavy bottom like a cast iron or dutch oven. Bring it to medium heat and fry the chicken thighs until golden brown. Then finish them off in the oven as instructed in the recipe card below.

an overhead image of crispy fried chicken thighs cooling on a wire rack

Buttermilk Marinade 

This is where all the delicious flavor comes in. All you need to do here is pour the buttermilk with the spices in a bowl and let the chicken marinate for about 4 hours. Buttermilk also keeps your chicken moist, making it incredibly juicy with every bite.

an overhead photo of chicken thighs being dipped into buttermilk with the flour breading mixture in a bowl beside it

The Breading

The “breading” is actually just a seasoned flour mixture that combined with the skin get nice and crispy when dipped into the hot oil and fried.

  • When making the flour coating you want to make sure to use only dried spices here (so dried onion, dried garlic, cayenne, paprika, salt, and pepper). Avoid fresh spices because they will burn during frying.
  • After your chicken has marinated, make sure to tap off the extra buttermilk and thoroughly coat them in the flour mixture (do this one at a time).

Serving Suggestions

Fried Chicken is a classic picnic staple or Sunday dinner favorite. When I make fried chicken thighs for dinner, I make it a hearty meal served with Make Ahead Mashed PotatoesGarlic Green Beans and Homemade Biscuits.

These crispy fried chicken thighs are perfect for potlucks and picnics because they are delicious hot or cold. Serve with classic American sides like Frito Corn SaladFruit SaladRed Potato Salad, Green Bean Salad and Cornbread Casserole.

Fried Chicken Tips

  • Let it rest – One of the most common methods to keep the breading from falling off of fried chicken is by letting it rest on a baking sheet so that the breading sticks to the chicken better. 
  • Dust and pat – Make sure to dust off the extra buttermilk and flour when dredging the chicken. And lightly pat the chicken after you’ve dusted off the extra flour.
  • Don’t overcrowd – When frying the chicken you want to make sure the pot is not overcrowded. Overcrowding will cause the temperature to drop and you won’t get that beautiful golden crunchy exterior. And having too many chicken thighs can cause you to accidentally knock off the breading when flipping the one next to it.
  • Best oil for frying chicken – Whenever you’re frying any kind of meat, you want to make sure to use a high smoke point oil. My favorite is corn oil since it’s affordable and tasty. But you can also use vegetable oil, avocado oil, peanut oil, and safflower oil. 

Storage Tips

The Best Way to Store and Reheat Fried Chicken

Fridge: Store leftover fried chicken in an airtight container or plastic bag. They will remain fresh for 3-4 days.

Freezer: Cool chicken completely and store in an airtight container or freezer bag. For best quality, use within 4 months of freezing. Thaw completely overnight in the fridge and follow the instructions below to reheat.

Reheat: The best way to reheat fried chicken is in the oven. Take the chicken out of the fridge and let it sit on the counter for 20 minutes before reheating. Place chicken pieces on a wire rack over a baking sheet and bake at 400℉ for about 15-20 minutes. The higher heat will help retain the crispiness.

A close up image of crispy fried chicken on a white plate with fresh rosemary behind it

More Delicious Chicken Recipes

Recipe
A plate of fried chicken thighs

Fried Chicken Thighs

4.83 from 75 votes
These crispy fried chicken thighs have a golden and crunchy breading and a juicy flavorful center. This easy chicken recipe will become a family favorite!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 2 hours 10 minutes
Servings 8

Ingredients
  

For the buttermilk marinade

  • 1 pint Buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 2 teaspoon Garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon Onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Black pepper
  • 1/2 Cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Paprika
  • 3 pounds Bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs

For the flour breading

  • 2 cups All-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Paprika
  • Corn oil for frying
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Instructions
 

Marinate

  • Pat the chicken thighs dry with a paper towel.
  • In a large bowl add the buttermilk, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and paprika. Whisk together until well combined.
  • Place the chicken thighs into the buttermilk mixture and submerge them for about 30 minutes or up to 4 hours (the longer, the better).

Dredge

  • Meanwhile, make the flour dredge by combining all-purpose flour, salt, pepper, and paprika in a large bowl.
  • Dredge the chicken thighs into the flour mixture and gently shake off any excess. Place them on a baking sheet to rest for about 30 minutes. This will give an adequate amount of time for the flour coating to adhere to the chicken thighs.

Fry and Finish in the Oven

  • Preheat your oven to 380℉. Place a wire rack over a baking sheet and set aside.
  • Fill a large, heavy-bottomed pot with a few inches of corn oil and place over medium-high heat. Bring to 350℉ (use a deep-fry thermometer for accuracy)
  • Fry chicken thighs for several minutes, until golden brown on both sides. Place them on the wire rack over the baking sheet.
  • Place the baking sheet in the preheated oven for 40 minutes or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165℉. I highly recommend checking for doneness with a meat thermometer.
  • Let cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Nutrition

Calories: 529.65kcalCarbohydrates: 28.64gProtein: 33.03gFat: 30.61gSaturated Fat: 8.81gCholesterol: 173.2mgSodium: 630.71mgPotassium: 492.33mgFiber: 1.17gSugar: 3.28gVitamin A: 502.54IUVitamin C: 0.46mgCalcium: 87.9mgIron: 2.74mg

Nutritional Disclaimer Kristin Maxwell of “Yellow Bliss Road” is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. For accurate calorie counts and other nutritional values, we recommend running the ingredients through your preferred online nutritional calculator. Calories and other nutritional values can vary depending on which brands were used.

Dina

Dina is a self-taught cook and photographer based in Washington. She spends most of her time keeping up with her two little girls along with developing wholesome and easy recipes for her food blog, Simply Home Cooked.

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Comments

  1. RB says:

    This is a good recipe, if you plan ahead with the time needed. I only marinated for one hour, and had to fake the buttermilk with milk/lemon juice. I used about a half inch of avocado oil for frying. My 6 thighs were quite large so I baked at 375 for 30 minutes. They came out at 165 degrees on the thermometer and skins were very dark brown. Still crunchy but just shy of burned. They tasted very moist and juicy. I would do it again, but lower the heat to 350 (maybe my oven runs hot). This is an easier recipe than just frying the chicken on the stove! Definitely a keeper. My husband loved them, and he usually is the one frying them only on the stove.

    1. Kristin says:

      Awesome feedback RB! Thanks for stopping by to share.

  2. Skittles says:

    I come from a family that loves fried foods, but I am never the one cooking. The recipe was easy to follow, which I did. My goodness the chicken was tender and juicy inside and crispy golden brown on the outside. Finishing off in the oven worked well. The chicken was a hit !

    1. Kristin says:

      That’s awesome Skittles! Thanks for stopping by.

  3. Jim says:

    Can you fry the chicken thighs in Crisco Shortning?

    1. Kristin Maxwell says:

      I haven’t used it, but yes you can.

  4. kc says:

    I’m sad the directions weren’t more clear that i was supposed to bake them ON the wire rack. For a first time fried chicken maker that would have been good to know. My thighs stuck to my baking sheet and i lost my fried coating. Tastes great though !

  5. Christina M says:

    Has this been done without the oven step. I’m currently without one

    1. Kristin Maxwell says:

      That would be an important step to ensure that the chicken is fully cooked. It’s possible that it could be fully cooked with just the frying, but sometimes frying isn’t enough and you don’t want to burn the outside.

  6. Kimberly Kellems says:

    This was fantastic! Easy to follow! Thank you!

    1. Kristin says:

      You are so welcome Kimberly! Thanks for stopping by.

  7. Lisa says:

    Loved this recipe! My husband says it was better than a local well-known restaurant’s fried chicken!

    1. Kristin Maxwell says:

      High praise – thank you!

  8. Wayne says:

    This recipe caught my eye because the seasoning was so close to one I have been using for about 20 or so years. But the resting after the flowering was not something I did in the past. I will admit I used my two big cast iron skillets with only about 1/4 inch oil. If you are skilled at this type of frying it works beautifully. Finished in the oven until internal temp was 165. Fantastic recipe, and even an old dog learned a few new tricks.
    Well done Kristin, Thank you!

    1. Kristin says:

      You are so welcome Wayne! Fantastic feedback, thanks for stopping by.

  9. Karen Martin says:

    I’m planning to make this chicken recipe with thighs and drumsticks for a picnic this week. I will make the day before and then serve it cold at the picnic. Do you have any experience on what this chicken will be like if served cold? I can’t imagine it will be as crispy as if served right away, but will it still be good? Thanks.

    1. Kristin Maxwell says:

      Hi Karen, No it won’t be crispy once refrigerated, but it will still taste good. I would try and keep the breading from getting too thick.

  10. Ellen says:

    You deserve some kind of award for this recipe. I am so dang impressed that I could cry! I’ve attempted many ‘fried chicken’ recipes before and none were to the standard I was expecting. This one was foolproof. I followed your recipe to a T. I fried the chicken in Canola Oil (I am in Australia) and made sure the oil was at 190degCelcius before adding the chicken, fried for around 2-3mins each side before putting into oven. I also used boneless skinless chicken thighs. Huge thumbs up from my family of five. Thankyou so much.

    1. Kristin says:

      You are so welcome Ellen! Awesome feedback! Thank you for the kind words.

    2. Kristin says:

      You are so welcome Ellen! Thanks for stopping by.

  11. Vaderstar66 says:

    Isn’t 10 mins prep time and 1 hour cook time 1hr 10 mins?

    Where does the 2hrs 10mins come from

    1. Kristin Maxwell says:

      If you read through the recipe, there are two times that you let the chicken marinate or rest. Those two 30-minute periods add up to one hour. Hence the total time of 2 hours and 10 minutes. The recipe card doesn’t have a place to add that additional time period.

  12. Ferg says:

    I made this recipe exactly as written and the thighs definitely were crispy. However in my oven 380 degrees for 40 minutes was too hot, the coating was overdone. Next time I will try 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

    1. Kristin says:

      Love the feedback Ferg! Thanks for stopping by.

  13. Foodie says:

    If you fry your chicken thighs right there is no need to put them in the oven just saying

    1. Kristin Maxwell says:

      Feel free to share your recipe.

    2. Hannah S. says:

      Well guess what?? Some people just ain’t born perfect like you. I know it’s such a shame and makes life so hard for you. I’m trying this tonight :). I love being imperfect.

  14. Debbie says:

    I like to fry chicken ahead of time and serve it at room temperature. Will the chicken thighs stay crispy if I prepare them according to your recipe and just allow them to sit out on a platter for about an hour or so?

    1. Kristin Maxwell says:

      They will probably still be crispy, but not as crispy as if you served them fresh.

  15. Betty says:

    So I usually cook wings or drumsticks in my own mix and deep fry till cooked, but I’m cooking for a large group today so the oven taking over my duty sounds great, My question is approximately how long do u fry before oven, I know you say golden in color is that just for the crisp of the skin? And the oven does most of the cooking of the meat under the skin

    1. Kristin Maxwell says:

      Hi Betty, It’s tough to give an exact time because there are many variables. The skin should be golden brown and not too dark. It can take anywhere from 5-10 minutes to get them golden fried on both sides. Then finish them in the oven. My method takes a little time but it’s totally worth it!

  16. Richard M says:

    You said in the directions to put a couple of inches of oil into the frying pan, so
    I put 1 & 1/2 inches of oil in an 11 inch cast iron frying pan and ALL of the flour coating Washed off of every piece of chicken and burned in only 3 minutes on low!
    Your recipe stinks!
    Not only that, but it ruined $13 of chicken and a quart of oil wasted!!

    1. Kristin Maxwell says:

      First, it says a FEW inches, which is at least double what you used. Second, it says to use a heavy-bottomed POT, not a skillet. Third, it’s Christmas, learn how to read a recipe and don’t be a jerk.

      1. Becky says:

        Thanks for this recipe, made this twice now. Very good especially because I had never fried bone in skin on chicken before. Do you have suggestions for the fry and oven time when using drumsticks in place of the thighs?

    2. Cooking says:

      Richard the oil should cover the chicken completely. Also she said a deep enough pan it should be deep enough for the chicken to float in the oil once it’s done. The oil should be very hot before droping the meat in. If your oil is burning in 3 minutes on low it’s not the right oil sounds like olive oil or butter.

  17. Kayla says:

    Do i need to do the oven part or can i just fry them all the way through?

    1. Kristin Maxwell says:

      Hi Kayla! You can choose to fry them all the way through, but you run the risk of them burning. The two-step process helps to ensure that they are nice and golden and crispy and still cook all the way through.

  18. TamTam says:

    Hi – you have ‘dried garlic’ and ‘dried onion’ .. do you mean garlic and onion powder or are you referring to something else?

    1. Kristin Maxwell says:

      Hi! It’s garlic powder and onion powder. I updated the recipe to clear up confusion.

  19. Amy Olson says:

    Can you do this with drumsticks as well to make sure they’re fully cooked? Any modifications? Thank you in advance

    1. Kristin Maxwell says:

      With drumsticks the time if likely going to be the same or similar.

  20. Pat says:

    Holy Moley! This is the greatest chicken recipe EVER! I had some huge thighs that disappeared ever so fast! Thank you! In my generational recipe box!

    1. Kristin says:

      You are so welcome Pat! Thanks for the awesome feedback.

  21. Raymond A Brown says:

    Sounds Great I certainly want to give it a try!
    Thanks for posting this wonderful recipe

    1. Kristin says:

      You are so welcome! Thanks for stopping by Raymond!

  22. Christine says:

    I’m excited to try this. Approximately how many minutes do you fry on each side? Also when you put the chicken in the oven is it 350 or 375 degrees. The instructions say 380 and I don’t have that setting on my oven. Thanks in advance

    1. Kristin Maxwell says:

      Hi Christine, you’ll fry the thighs until they are golden brown and crispy. Depending on the heat of your oil this could take anywhere from 3-6 minutes per side. Just fry until it’s golden and not too dark – you probably won’t need as long on the second side.

  23. Amy Davis says:

    Anxious to try these, but all I have is boneless thighs…How would the directions change, based on that?

    1. Kristin Maxwell says:

      Hi Amy, Fry them until the internal temp is 165. If the outside is getting too dark, finish them in the oven. The only that changes is the time.

  24. Fran says:

    I cook and clean for an elderly man and he asked me to fry some chicken. Ok….I grill chicken and I bake chicken but I am clueless about frying chicken. This recipe is AMAZING! I’ve even applied it to the Bear chops he asked me to cook and believe it or not I used it to fry fresh trout (added a little thyme). Thank you for sharing such a great recipe

    1. Kristin Maxwell says:

      That’s awesome, so glad you enjoyed the recipe!

  25. Justin says:

    Do I need to cover the chicken once put into oven to keep breading from burning? How long can the chicken set in the fridge after breaded before its considered “too long”? Thanks on advance

    1. Kristin Maxwell says:

      No you do not need to cover the chicken. If the breaded chicken is cooked it can be refrigerated for up to 3-4 days in an airtight container. Uncooked and breaded, no more than 12 hours, tightly covered.

  26. travis says:

    Hi there – new to cooking. I melted some butter and put it in the milk = buttermilk? Also, what is the rationale behind frying just to brown and then putting in oven? Why not just keep frying? Is it just healthier, or is there a reason (not critiquing, just asking, Im clueless! lol)

    making your buttermilk chicken tonite, up here in the Yukon Territory (Canada)

    cheers!

    1. Kristin Maxwell says:

      Hi Tavis, Welcome to the world of cooking – feel free to ask as many questions as you have! Buttermilk is actually a thickened sour milk; there isn’t any butter in it. If you don’t have any, you can make it with milk and vinegar – How to Make Buttermilk

      For the chicken, it takes awhile to cook thighs, and if you were to just keep frying them they could end up getting too dark before they are fully cooked. So you fry them until the outside is golden and crispy, and then finish them off in the oven. Enjoy!

  27. Annabella Silva Roy says:

    Great recipe! Will definitely make again

    1. Kristin says:

      That’s awesome Annabella! Thanks for stopping by.

  28. Cathy Davison says:

    I have fried chicken over 30+ years. Always hit and miss with doneness. This is an EXCELLENT recipe for ensuring crispy, cooked through chicken thighs. I followed the recipe as written! The thighs are delicious out of the oven and just as tasty when warmed up the next day. The recipe has been printed and placed in my recipe binder…a go to entrée. Thanks for an easy, yummy recipe

    1. Kristin says:

      Fantastic feedback Cathy! Thank you so much for stopping by.

  29. Liz Streithorst says:

    I didn’t have buttermilk so I used plain Dannon yogurt which was already in the fridge. I did everything else exactly. The chicken was tender, juicy and crisp. Perfection.

    1. Kristin says:

      Love the feedback Liz! Thanks for stopping by.

  30. Nicole says:

    Making it again within a weeks time!

    1. Kristin says:

      Nice! Thanks for stopping by Nicole.
      K

  31. Sylvia Griffin says:

    Thanks! It was great.

    1. Kristin says:

      Thank you for stopping by Sylvia.

  32. Charlotte White says:

    Pardon my ignorance but the chicken thighs are with the skins, right? Haven’t tried recipe yet.

    1. Kristin Maxwell says:

      Yes, bone-in and skin-on. Enjoy!

  33. Maria says:

    Trying this recipe for the first time. Husband & I are very lactose intolerant. I’m marinating with all the ingredients but using water instead of the buttermilk.

    1. Kristin says:

      Love the feedback Maria! Thanks for stopping by.

  34. Nancy says:

    Made this last night, you made it very easy in your explanations of what to do and why. Excellent recipe.
    First time for me ever to fry chicken in oil….I’ve always just baked. What a difference in crunch! Loved it!!

    1. Kristin says:

      Love the feedback Nancy! Thanks for stopping by.

  35. D Hedrick says:

    I really liked the recipe but half my chicken thighs I added Nashville hot seasoning in the flour mixture.

  36. Summer Bible says:

    Wonderful recipe! Very flavorful chicken, I only marinated 45 minutes, i’m sure it would be even better the longer I marinated. My only comment for other cooks would be to cook the chicken for 25 minutes in the oven and then check for doneness. I checked at 25 and it was perfect. Another thing I would do differently would be to turn it halfway through, the chicken was a bit soggy on the bottom since the juices were running, but the top was perfectly crunchy and delicious!

    1. Kristin says:

      Fantastic feedback! Thank you for stopping by.

  37. Kathleen Wright says:

    This was AMAZING! My guy, who isn’t usually a fan of fried chicken loved it! I used Greek yogurt and whole milk in place of the buttermilk, and WOW did marinating make a difference! I cut the thighs in half to cut down on the time needed in the oven (bonus of more of that lovely crispy on the outside). I highly recommend this recipe!!!

    1. Kristin says:

      Fantastic feedback Kathleen! Thank you so much for stopping by.

  38. Linda says:

    Sounds great – your print recipe isn’t working.

    1. Kristin Maxwell says:

      Hi Linda, I tested both print buttons from two different sources and they are working for me. I recommend trying to reboot the device you’re using, checking for updates or printing from another source.

      1. Linda says:

        Thank you for checking – still doesn’t work for me. I’ve never had this issue before. Just copied the webpage into WORD.

        1. Kristin Maxwell says:

          Strange! It could be that your printer has an update to perform?

  39. Lissa says:

    Could I skip frying these and bake them the whole time?

  40. Jacque Taylor says:

    Can you use boneless skinless chicken thighs

    1. Kristin Maxwell says:

      You can, but the chicken will cook must faster.

  41. Kim says:

    Can this be modified to where we fry the entire time? I need a good recipe for dinner tonight but I’m short on time with work and not having a wire rack?

    1. Kristin Maxwell says:

      Frying the pieces the whole time cold result in burning the outside. Without a rack you could put the chicken directly on foil.

  42. Sue says:

    Great recipe! Make buttermilk with any milk. Add a tablespoon or so of an acid, like lemon juice, vinegar. Been done like that successfully forever!?

    1. Kristin says:

      Nice! Thanks for the awesome feedback Sue.

  43. Ann Insillio says:

    Aloha from Hawaii Dina.I am always looking for new and delicious,and easy fried chicken recipies.This recipie fits the bill.Made it today for dinner it was a hit.I substituted,whole milk for buttermilk which I did not have,worked out fine,saved this recipie,because it’s a keeper.Well have a great day,and be safe,Aloha from Hawaii!

    1. Kristin says:

      That’s awesome Ann all the way from Hawaii! Thank you for sharing.

  44. Jenny says:

    What a great recipe, so clearly explained and detailed. Trying it tonight as a ‘Fakeaway’ tea for our our family. Thank you

    1. Kristin says:

      You are so welcome Jenny! Thanks for stopping by.

  45. Debbie says:

    I came across this recipe while searching how to get completely done fried chicken thighs without getting overly browned coating. I hadn’t thought of frying and finishing them off in the oven. Quick question before making these. Above says marinade for 4 hours but in the recipe it says 30 minutes. How long is it?

    1. Kristin Maxwell says:

      Hi Debbie, I’m so sorry for the delayed response. I was following up with the writer of this recipe and post. You should soak in buttermilk at least 30 minutes, but up to 4 hours. Hope that helps!

  46. Theresa says:

    Best chicken hands down!!!!

    1. Kristin says:

      Thank you Theresa!

  47. Tina Marie Allen says:

    Can I use boneless skinless thighs

    1. Kristin Maxwell says:

      You can use boneless chicken, it won’t take as long to cook though.

      1. Ryan says:

        Suggested bake time reduction on the boneless?

        1. Kristin Maxwell says:

          Boneless would probably cook in about 20 minutes and wouldn’t need oven time.

        2. Christine says:

          I used boneless skinless thighs and followed the recipe. Fries for abt 4-5 minutes each and followed with baking for 15. Perfect!

  48. Ceeste says:

    Is the chicken still crispy after you bake it?

    1. Kristin Maxwell says:

      The skin gets crispier in the oven as it bakes.

  49. Heidi says:

    Didn’t have buttermilk, so I used egg, milk and ranch dressing instead of buttermilk! Other then that followed the recipe! Awesome!

    1. Kristin Maxwell says:

      Oh that sounds awesome!

    2. Stefanie says:

      Quick hint! If you put 1 tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice for every 1 cup of regular milk and let sit for 5 mins it turns to buttermilk =)

      1. Deb says:

        And you can do this for banana bread too!

  50. Ed says:

    Is 350 deg. The proper temp. For frying?

    1. Kristin Maxwell says:

      Yes, 350 degrees F.

  51. Blonde says:

    Best chicken ever. I used chicken breast and it was great.

    1. Kristin says:

      Nice! Thanks for stopping by.

  52. Colla says:

    Hi once in the oven do you cover with foil to keep the Chicken from drying out?

    1. Kristin Maxwell says:

      No, the breading will help to keep it moist and juicy.