Buttermilk Pan-Fried Chicken with Honey

by Mary Sacks

Pan-Fry Chicken in Frying Pan

This recipe might call for buttermilk. But you can make your own with ingredients you already have.


  • 3½ lb. chicken, cut into 10 pieces (breasts halved)
  • 1½ tsp. kosher salt, divided
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • ½ tsp. onion powder
  • ¾ tsp. cayenne powder
  • ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1½ cups buttermilk
  • extra-virgin olive oil, for frying
  • 6 fresh rosemary sprigs
  • honey, for serving (optional)


  • Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and sprinkle both sides with ½ teaspoon of salt. Let the chicken come to room temperature (about 25 minutes).
  • In a large bowl, combine the flour, garlic and onion powders, cayenne, black pepper and the remaining teaspoon salt. Pour the buttermilk into another medium bowl.
  • Dredge the chicken in the flour mixture, making sure each piece is completely coated, then dip into the buttermilk. Now dredge once more in the flour mixture. Place on a rimmed sheet pan lined with a wire rack.
  • Fill a large, heavy-bottomed, high-sided pot or a Dutch oven with ¾ inch of oil and place over medium heat (and no higher than medium). Heat the oil until a deep-fry thermometer reads 325°F. If you don’t have a thermometer, test the oil by sprinkling in a little flour – it should sizzle immediately.
  • Carefully add the chicken to the pot skin-side down without overcrowding (you will most likely have to cook in batches). Fry the chicken, turning occasionally, for 12-18 minutes, until golden brown and crisp, and cooked through (you can cut into the thickest part of the thigh near the bone to make sure it’s no longer pink – the dark meat will take the longest). The oil should maintain rapid but in-control bubbles and the oil temperature should stay around 325°F, so adjust the heat as necessary. Let the chicken drain on a paper towel-lined plate.
  • Fry the rosemary sprigs in the hot oil for about 30 seconds, or until crisp.
  • Serve the chicken hot or cold with the fried rosemary. Drizzle with honey if you like.

Food for Thought


  • 2 to 3

Mary Sacks
Mary Sacks


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