Once you’ve brined fried chicken, you’ll never cook it any other way. Brining is an easy way to ensure your chicken is juicy and has tons of flavor.
I’m just going to come out and say it: I am OBSESSED with this brined fried chicken. I’ve made plenty of fried chicken in my life. I’ve marinated it in buttermilk. I have brined and oven fried it. I’ve made it spicy. I have slathered it with garlic. I’ve even marinated it in curry yogurt. But this friends, this fried chicken right here, is my favorite by far. It is succulent, crispy fried chicken perfection.
Ryan even loved it. He said “This fried chicken is really good” and proceeded to eat a couple helpings. That may not sound like much but trust me it is because Ryan is not a fried chicken fan. Like at all. Crazy man.
I also made this for some friends who were visiting last week and they couldn’t stop talking about how good it was while they were eating it. That’s always a good sign.
I’ve made it twice in two weeks. And I’ll probably make it again this week because I can’t stop thinking about it.
That is also a good sign.
The definition of brining is to “Soak in or saturate with salty water”. Basically, it’s osmosis. While the meat marinates in the brine, it retains some of the water and salt. The salt helps soften the proteins in the meat. Food52 has a great article on How to Brine Meat and Why You Should Bother, if you want to learn a bit more about the technique.
Yes, it takes time to brine chicken. Four hours to be exact. But it is beyond worth it. The meat is simply succulent. And my favorite new frying technique that I tried with this Garlic Fried Chicken, helps the meat cook perfectly while allowing the skin to stay perfectly golden brown.
STEP #1: First you start by making a brine. The brine in this recipe is composed of water, salt, brown sugar, summer savory (which is my favorite herb, but thyme can be substituted in a pinch) and granulated garlic. To make it, simply combine half of the water, the salt, sugar and seasonings and cook just until sugar and salt dissolve. Then add the remaining cold water to the brine and allow it to come to room temperature.
STEP 2: Once it comes to room temperature, place the chicken in a resealable plastic bag, pour the brine over the top, seal and refrigerate for at least 2 hours but not more than four.
DES’ TIP: Using a non-reactive container is essential when brining. Reactive metal containers will react with the brine and leave a metallic taste on your food. Non-reactive containers include: resealable plastic bags, plastic containers, ceramic, glass and stainless steel.
STEP 3: After the chicken has brined, you want to rinse it to get all the extra salt off. Then pat the chicken dry with paper towels.
My personal secret, in addition to brining, is the technique in which I cook the fried chicken. And I figured I’d share it with you because, everyone needs the perfect fried chicken in their life right??
For the longest time whenever I’d make fried chicken, I’d have the issue that it’d be practically burnt on the outside before it was cooked through on the inside. Not anymore.
The technique I use for making the perfect fried chicken is to cook it in a cast iron skillet covered for 7 minutes. Turn it and then cook covered for another 7 minutes. Then maybe 3 or 4 more minutes uncovered just to get the color that I want. By covering the chicken while it cooks, it ensures that both the inside and outside will be done at the same time. It’s that easy!
I’ve said perfect a lot in this post. I can’t help it. This Brined Fried Chicken. Is. Perfect.
It’s perfect for Sunday supper alongside some homemade mashed potatoes and roasted green beans.
It’s perfect for picnics and midnight snacks too. And don’t forget to spoon some Alabama White Sauce over the top for a twist!
Just make it, you’ll see.
Note: Post originally published in 2014. Updated with new photos, tips and a video in 2020.
SargonFebruary 5, 2023 at 7:19 am
Why can’t it be brined overnight?
DesereeFebruary 5, 2023 at 4:53 pm
Hi Sargon! Because these chicken pieces are so small (as opposed to say a turkey that you might brine for Thanksgiving) if you brine them for too long you run the risk of the texture of the meat being a bit mushy.
NatalieJanuary 30, 2023 at 11:36 pm
Wow. I read all the reviews and had to try it for myself. This is the best chicken I personally have ever cooked. I’m so impressed with your recipe. Tha nk tou!!
DesereeFebruary 1, 2023 at 9:45 pm
Wow! such a great compliment!! You are so welcome :)
TimNovember 11, 2022 at 3:11 pm
Yea, looks delicious, but I don’t see any benefits to doubling the cooking method. I’ve been frying chicken over 40 years and my chicken is dead on crispy. Brining is great, I just don’t think about it sometimes. After rinsing and patting dry, a coating of seasoned ap flour is all that’s needed for crispy wings. I’m not being critical, I’m sure they are delicious but why fry twice.
DesereeNovember 11, 2022 at 4:55 pm
Hi Tim! This chicken isn’t really fried twice. It’s simply fried for 7 minutes then turned and cooked for another 7 minutes. They aren’t “Deep fried” so the oil doesn’t cover them while it’s cooking. Does that make sense? Thank you for your question!!
WibiAugust 28, 2022 at 12:15 pm
This method makes a very tasty fried chicken
DesereeAugust 28, 2022 at 4:42 pm
So happy to hear you enjoyed it, Wibi!
BobMay 10, 2022 at 1:15 pm
Des, I’ve tried dozens of chicken recipes over the years… and used several types of fryers, oven baking, air fryers etc. This is the BEST fried chicken I’ve ever had! I did use thyme as i couldn’t find savory, and added onion powder + cayenne to the brine. I added cayenne and white pepper to the flour too. Thank you!
DesereeMay 12, 2022 at 9:17 pm
Bob, that is such a great compliment!! I am SO happy to hear that. I’m going to add cayenne next time!
GinaFebruary 20, 2022 at 1:46 pm
“Once you’ve brined chicken, you’ll never cook it any other way.” Ain’t that the truth! This really is the perfect fried chicken.
DesereeFebruary 22, 2022 at 11:25 am
Thank you, Gina! I am so happy you enjoyed it!!
Christopher MooreNovember 10, 2021 at 3:02 pm
Perfect. I kinda figured that,but so many recipes call for different temps so just had to ask.
DesereeNovember 10, 2021 at 9:02 pm
Christopher mooreNovember 10, 2021 at 6:04 am
Maybe I over looked it, but what temperature do you use for the oil?
DesereeNovember 10, 2021 at 12:44 pm
Hi Christopher! Heat the oil to 350 degrees. I also like to make sure that the oil reheats to 350 degrees after each batch if I am cooking the chicken in batches. :)
JennSeptember 27, 2021 at 11:09 am
This came out so good! Thank you for this excellent recipe! I added some onion powder and black pepper to the brine and subbed GF all purpose flower for flour and also subbed thyme since I didn’t have summer savory. Otherwise I followed as written. So proud of how it turned out. My family loved it!
DesereeSeptember 27, 2021 at 9:18 pm
Jen, I am so happy to hear that you enjoyed this!! You are welcome! I am also happy to know that you can make it GF by using gluten free flour, thank you for sharing that :)
Benjie CadalmanApril 9, 2021 at 7:14 am
Thanks a lot for sharing with us, in line with this
I get an idea on how to do to start a small business,
Once again thank you so much, God bless you more…
Rhonda LukerNovember 12, 2020 at 8:52 am
Question please…I use skinless breast. Will I get the same results!
DesereeNovember 12, 2020 at 10:12 am
Hi Rhonda! It probably won’t be as crispy because there isn’t any skin but you will still get a great flavor, as brining helps with that!
Dorothy MejiaJune 1, 2020 at 2:56 pm
Can you grill instead of fry??
DesereeJune 2, 2020 at 9:31 am
Toni RomeroFebruary 5, 2020 at 7:25 pm
Why do you people leave 5 stars without trying it smh
MarvaOctober 31, 2019 at 1:00 am
What is dried summer savory?
DesereeOctober 31, 2019 at 8:37 am
Hi Marva! Summer savory is a peppery herb. It can usually be found in the spice section, I know Spice Islands carries it. It tastes a lot like thyme. If you can’t find it, you can substitute thyme instead. :)
BradMarch 4, 2019 at 7:04 pm
Folks are leaving 5 star reviews and saying “oh, I gotta try this recipe!” For folks leaving 5 stars without ever trying it, let me say it’s no foul in this case. I noticed when I rarely fry chicken, it doesn’t have the salty, herb flavor that restaurant fried chicken has. So I looked up a brine to try and found this recipe. OF COURSE I had to add stuff to the brine like onion powder, sage, black pepper, cayenne, two bay leaves and cumin. It’s impossible for me to make chicken, in any form, and not add those spices. Also I wanted to feel special. None the less, brine was great. But the best part, for me at least, was the lid and timing trick. For the 1st time in my life, after asking all different walks of life including sweet old ladies to beer chugging bikers and achieving no real results, I now can make perfect fried chicken! Thanks so much for filling us in!
EileenFebruary 27, 2019 at 12:54 pm
How long do you brine the chicken in the bag?
DesereeFebruary 27, 2019 at 3:56 pm
I usually brine at least 2 hours but not more than 4 :)
JoFebruary 25, 2019 at 2:23 am
I always make fried chicken after soaking it in brine. Oh the flavours…. is the best. Chicken looks sooo tempting
Amanda MasonFebruary 24, 2019 at 5:16 pm
I’m loving the technique of this recipe! I’m from the south and I’ve never brined my chicken before I fried it but I’m going to try it now! Looks delish!
Kiki JohnsonFebruary 24, 2019 at 2:04 pm
You are right! Everyone should have the perfect fried chicken recipe! I love your method and will definitely try it next time as I have had the odd case of burnt outsides and raw insides as well. Thanks so much for sharing
MonicaFebruary 24, 2019 at 10:21 am
Brining really is such a great and underused technique! I’ve never tried it for fried chicken but it is SO GOOD!
NatalieFebruary 24, 2019 at 8:54 am
Oh wow this looks so delicious. Look at that crusty top. I never used this method to make fried chicken. SOunds easy and super flavorful. I must give it a try.
LaurenFebruary 23, 2019 at 1:43 pm
I always brine my turkey for thanksgiving but never think to do it for smaller cuts! This crispy fried chicken will be so tender and flavorful!
DeniseFebruary 21, 2019 at 9:44 am
That fried chicken looks amazing! I can see why its your favorite. I want to try your brine, it sounds really good!
GloriaFebruary 20, 2019 at 1:29 pm
Now, this looks like some crispy chicken. I bet the brine makes it so moist too. We never buy fried chicken, but this I know my family would love for dinner.
AnnaFebruary 20, 2019 at 7:53 am
I’ve never tried brining but absolutely love the sound and the look of it! Can’t wait to give this recipe a go, I just know my other half will go crazy for it!
AnnaFebruary 19, 2019 at 8:29 pm
This needs to happen for dinner soon! Looks yummy!
AbeerFebruary 19, 2019 at 11:36 am
I love how crispy this fried chicken is! I should try your recipe!
eat good 4 lifeFebruary 19, 2019 at 10:26 am
Wow, a must try. This recipe looks like the authentic stuff.
CathyFebruary 19, 2019 at 7:32 am
I bet that brine makes this sooooo juicy and flavorful! What a great idea!
SandiFebruary 19, 2019 at 7:23 am
I never thought to brine the chicken first. I love this way to add flavor.
Elaine BenoitFebruary 19, 2019 at 5:23 am
How unique! I’ve never had brined fried chicken! It looks delicious and fun. I must try it soon as you make it so easy to make!
Chrissie BakerFebruary 18, 2019 at 11:29 pm
This fried chicken is the best!!! Am making it again this weekend. Definitely a keeper…
SherriFebruary 18, 2019 at 1:33 pm
I’ve never had brined fried chicken before, but it sure looks pretty amazing! I will have to give it a try! Thanks for all the great tips for brining!
DeeFebruary 18, 2019 at 11:30 am
This fried chicken sounds absolutely fantastic! Incredibly tasty
Michelle WynnFebruary 7, 2019 at 6:58 pm
I tried this recipe – even went online to get summer savory and I can attest that this is a good recipe. I did make a couple of changes – 1/4 cup of salt, a little more garlic powder, and I put my floured chicken back in the frig for an hour before frying because it comes out crispier that way, but all in all, I really liked the recipe and it is very easy to make.
DesereeFebruary 8, 2019 at 12:08 pm
Michelle- I am so happy you like it! And I LOVE the tip about putting the floured chicken int the fridge, I need to try that next time!
G McDanielJanuary 19, 2019 at 3:46 pm
I’m sure this is delicious fried chicken, but 7120 mg of sodium is out of the ballpark for someone trying to keep blood pressure normal.
DesereeJanuary 19, 2019 at 5:26 pm
Ack! Thank you for catching that. I think my nutrition calculator is a bit off on this. Not taking into account that it’s a brine.
surati IveyDecember 19, 2018 at 9:31 pm
You say you cover the chicken while cooking in a cast iron pan. But is the finished dish CRISP ?
DesereeDecember 20, 2018 at 1:22 pm
It is! I tend to cook it for a couple more minutes after I remove the lid to get it the color I want but have never had an issue with it not being crispy! :)
sakinahSeptember 8, 2018 at 3:58 am
tried this last weekend at home to so delicious and easy
DesereeSeptember 8, 2018 at 9:21 pm
So happy to hear that Sakinah! It’s one of our favorite dinners!
TheresaSeptember 3, 2018 at 9:52 am
What is dried summer savory??
DesereeSeptember 3, 2018 at 11:22 am
Hi Theresa! Dried Summer Savory is an herb that you should be able find in the spice section of your grocery store. I know spice islands carries it. If you can’t thyme is a great substitute. They both have a peppery taste. http://spiceislands.com/products/summer-savory
Toni | Boulder LocavoreAugust 31, 2018 at 2:50 pm
My kids will surely love this! Great to try for dinner tonight!
Katerina @ diethood .comAugust 31, 2018 at 4:29 am
This looks fantastic!! I bet it tastes amazing!
Mahy ElaminAugust 31, 2018 at 2:36 am
Oh my gosh I love fried chicken!!! Is good food and this looks like one of the BEST! Love the unique flavors in this recipe! YUM!
Brandy @ Nutmeg NannyAugust 30, 2018 at 6:41 pm
This looks amazing! Thanks for this!
Jocelyn (Grandbaby Cakes)August 30, 2018 at 6:02 pm
I love a good brine! It gives chicken so much flavor.
DemeterAugust 30, 2018 at 4:46 pm
You really nailed the crispiness of this chicken! Wow!
AmandaAugust 30, 2018 at 2:31 pm
I absolutely love this idea ! Thank you for sharing !
JocelynAugust 15, 2014 at 9:55 pm
I’ll have to try this recipe out for my family. We’re always looking for the perfect fried chicken! :) Yours looks awesome!
KimberlyAugust 7, 2014 at 10:24 am
Oh my goodness … I love fried chicken, and yours looks perfect! Crunchy and delicious … just the way I like it!