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Brined Fried Chicken

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.

Brine Fried Chicken on a white plate on a cutting board with blue striped towel.

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.

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’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.

What is brining?

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.

How to brine chicken:

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.

Pouring brine over chicken.

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.

Chicken in a brine in a resealable plastic bag.

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.

Patting dry brined chicken with a paper towel.

The secret to frying the perfect fried chicken:

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??

Fried chicken frying in a black cast iron skillet.

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!

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’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.

Summer Savory Fried Chicken
Other Brined Chicken Recipes:

Dill Pickle Chicken Wings

Popcorn Chicken

Brined Fried Chicken Recipe

Serves 8 Prep Time: Cook Time:
4.8 based on 28 reviews


  • 2 quarts cool water
  • 1/2 cup plus 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons dried summer savory
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 8 chicken drumsticks



Combine 1 quart water, 1/2 cup of kosher salt, brown sugar, 3 tablespoons summer savory and garlic powder together in a large pot. Heat over medium heat until salt and sugar dissolve.


Pour in remaining quart of cool water. Allow brine to come to room temperature.


Place chicken pieces in a gallon size bag. Pour brine over the chicken. Seal and refrigerate for at least 2 hours but not more than 4. You can also complete this step in a non-reactive bowl with a lid.


Rinse and pat dry the chicken.


Combine flour remaining summer savory and salt together in a bag. Place chicken in bag and toss to coat. Allow to set for 15 minutes.


Turn oven to warm setting. Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place a cooling rack over the top.


Heat 1 - 1 1/2 inches of oil in a 12 inch skillet over medium heat. Once the oil is hot lay 4 pieces of chicken in the oil, skin side down, and cover for 6 - 7 minutes or until browned. Turn the chicken and cook another 6 - 7 minutes. Remove the lid and cook an additional 2 minutes or until it is golden brown. Use tongs or a slotted spoon to transfer the chicken to the prepared cooling rack. Place in the warmed oven to keep warm while you cook the remaining chicken.


Once finished with the second batch, transfer all chicken to a serving platter, sprinkle lightly with salt and serve.


Nutrition facts not guaranteed.

Nutrition information

Amount per serving: 8 servings
Calories: 696 , Total Fat: 57.5g , Saturated Fat: 4.8g , Cholesterol: 40mg , Sodium: 7120mg , Carbohydrates: 29.7g , Fiber: 1.6g , Sugar: 4.6g , Protein: 16.1g

Leave a Comment

  • Reply
    September 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!

    • Reply
      September 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 :)

  • Reply
    Benjie Cadalman
    April 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…

  • Reply
    Rhonda Luker
    November 12, 2020 at 8:52 am

    Question please…I use skinless breast. Will I get the same results!

    • Reply
      November 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!

  • Reply
    Dorothy Mejia
    June 1, 2020 at 2:56 pm

    Can you grill instead of fry??

  • Reply
    Toni Romero
    February 5, 2020 at 7:25 pm

    Why do you people leave 5 stars without trying it smh

  • Reply
    October 31, 2019 at 1:00 am

    What is dried summer savory?

    • Reply
      October 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. :)

  • Reply
    March 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!

  • Reply
    February 27, 2019 at 12:54 pm

    How long do you brine the chicken in the bag?

    • Reply
      February 27, 2019 at 3:56 pm

      I usually brine at least 2 hours but not more than 4 :)

  • Reply
    February 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

  • Reply
    Amanda Mason
    February 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!

  • Reply
    Kiki Johnson
    February 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

  • Reply
    February 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!

  • Reply
    February 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.

  • Reply
    February 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!

  • Reply
    February 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!

  • Reply
    February 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.

  • Reply
    February 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!

  • Reply
    February 19, 2019 at 8:29 pm

    This needs to happen for dinner soon! Looks yummy!

  • Reply
    February 19, 2019 at 11:36 am

    I love how crispy this fried chicken is! I should try your recipe!

  • Reply
    eat good 4 life
    February 19, 2019 at 10:26 am

    Wow, a must try. This recipe looks like the authentic stuff.

  • Reply
    February 19, 2019 at 7:32 am

    I bet that brine makes this sooooo juicy and flavorful! What a great idea!

  • Reply
    February 19, 2019 at 7:23 am

    I never thought to brine the chicken first. I love this way to add flavor.

  • Reply
    Elaine Benoit
    February 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!

  • Reply
    Chrissie Baker
    February 18, 2019 at 11:29 pm

    This fried chicken is the best!!! Am making it again this weekend. Definitely a keeper…

  • Reply
    February 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!

  • Reply
    February 18, 2019 at 11:30 am

    This fried chicken sounds absolutely fantastic! Incredibly tasty

  • Reply
    Michelle Wynn
    February 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.

    • Reply
      February 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!

  • Reply
    G McDaniel
    January 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.

    • Reply
      January 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.

  • Reply
    surati Ivey
    December 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 ?

    • Reply
      December 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! :)

  • Reply
    September 8, 2018 at 3:58 am

    tried this last weekend at home to so delicious and easy

    • Reply
      September 8, 2018 at 9:21 pm

      So happy to hear that Sakinah! It’s one of our favorite dinners!

  • Reply
    September 3, 2018 at 9:52 am

    What is dried summer savory??

    • Reply
      September 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.

  • Reply
    Toni | Boulder Locavore
    August 31, 2018 at 2:50 pm

    My kids will surely love this! Great to try for dinner tonight!

  • Reply
    Katerina @ diethood .com
    August 31, 2018 at 4:29 am

    This looks fantastic!! I bet it tastes amazing!

  • Reply
    Mahy Elamin
    August 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!

  • Reply
    Brandy @ Nutmeg Nanny
    August 30, 2018 at 6:41 pm

    This looks amazing! Thanks for this!

  • Reply
    Jocelyn (Grandbaby Cakes)
    August 30, 2018 at 6:02 pm

    I love a good brine! It gives chicken so much flavor.

  • Reply
    August 30, 2018 at 4:46 pm

    You really nailed the crispiness of this chicken! Wow!

  • Reply
    August 30, 2018 at 2:31 pm

    I absolutely love this idea ! Thank you for sharing !

  • Reply
    August 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!

  • Reply
    August 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!

  • Des

    Hey! I'm Des!

    Welcome to Life’s Ambrosia where Dinner is served and memories are made. Here you will find over 1000 tried and true recipes for every possible occasion. In the last 10 years, this blog has helped millions of families put dinner on the table and create food memories. Let me help you too.

    Read more »

    Have new recipes emailed to you.