Fried Chicken Thighs

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.

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.

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, tap off the extra buttermilk and thoroughly coat it into the flour mixture (do this one at a time).

How to fry chicken

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

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. 

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

Storage and Reheating

Fridge: Store leftover fried chicken in an airtight container or plastic bag. They will remain fresh for 3-4 days. The best way to reheat fried chicken is by placing the pieces on a baking sheet and baking at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 20 minutes. The higher heat will help retain the crispiness.

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

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 Creamy Walnut ColeslawFruit SaladLemon Herb Red Potato Salad, Bacon Green Bean Salad and Creamy Cornbread Casserole.

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

Eat more chicken!


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A plate of fried chicken thighs

Fried Chicken Thighs

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 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Total Time 2 hrs 10 mins
Course Dinner, Main Course, Main Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 8
Calories 529.65kcal

Ingredients
  

For the buttermilk marinade

  • 1 pint Buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon dried garlic
  • 1 teaspoon dried onion
  • 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

Instructions
 

Marinate the chicken thighs

  • Rinse and pat the chicken thighs dry with a paper towel.
  • In a large bowl add the buttermilk, salt, dried garlic, dried onion, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and paprika. Then give it a good whisk.
  • Now place the chicken thighs into the buttermilk marinade and submerged them for about 30 minutes and up to 4 hours (the longer, the better).

Make the flour coating

  • Meanwhile make the flour dredge by combing all-purpose flour, salt, pepper, and paprika in a large bowl.
  • Now dredge the chicken thighs into the flour mixture and 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 the chicken and finish off in the oven

  • Now bring a few inches of corn oil in a heavy-bottomed pot to medium heat (350 degrees F). Now fry the chicken thighs until golden brown on both sides. Then place them on a wire rack with a baking sheet beneath.
  • Now finish the chicken thighs in the oven at 380 degrees for 40 minutes or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. I highly recommend checking for doneness with a meat thermometer.

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
Keyword fried chicken thighs

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. 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.

  2. 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!!

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

  4. 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!

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

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

  7. 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!?

  8. 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!

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

  10. 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. 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!

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

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

    1. 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 =)