Memphis’s Southern Fried Chicken


  • 1 whole fresh chicken
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh finely ground black pepper
  • Peanut oil (for deep-frying)


Rinse chicken under cold water. Pat dry with paper towels. Cut chicken into 9 pieces (2 legs, 2 thighs, 2 breasts, 2 wings, and 1 or 2 pieces from the back). Combine the flour, salt, and pepper in a large paper bag.

Add enough oil to a 2-inch-deep cast iron skillet to come 2/3 up sides of skillet (about 2 cups of oil). Heat oil over medium-high heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 350 degrees F. Add 2 chicken pieces to flour mixture in bag; fold the bag to enclose. Shake until chicken is well-coated. Transfer coated chicken pieces to rack. Repeat with remaining chicken pieces.

Using tongs, carefully add chicken legs and thighs to hot oil. Fry until chicken is golden on the outside, and chicken is cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer fried chicken to clean dry towels on the rack to drain. Repeat with remaining breast, wing, and back pieces (breasts will be done in about 3 minutes per side). Sprinkle fried chicken with salt and pepper. Transfer to a platter and serve immediately.


For a crispier crust, mix 2 large eggs with 1 tablespoon water in a large bowl. Add the chicken pieces and soak them before coating with flour mixture.

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