Beer-Battered Buttermilk Fried Chicken


This is the quintessential recipe for crispy-on-the-outside, juicy-on-the-inside fried chicken.

Beer-Battered Buttermilk Fried Chicken
Photo: © Tina Rupp
Active Time:
1 hrs
Total Time:
3 hrs
6 servings

Allow two to four hours for the chicken to soak in the buttermilk mixture, which imparts tangy flavor while tenderizing the meat. Thanks to the carbonation in the beer, the resulting crust is especially crunchy and flaky.


Buttermilk Soak

  • 3 cups buttermilk

  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt

  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper

  • 4 pounds medium chicken wings, thighs, breasts, and drumsticks

Beer Batter

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 2 teaspoons onion powder

  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder

  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper

  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt

  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

  • 18 ounces dry, crisp beer such as lager or pilsner (2 1/4 cups)

  • Vegetable oil, for frying


  1. In a large bowl, combine the buttermilk with the salt, black pepper, and cayenne. Add the chicken and turn to coat. Let stand at room temperature for 2 hours or refrigerate for 4 hours.

  2. In a large bowl, whisk the flour with the onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne, salt, and black pepper. Whisk in the beer to make a thin batter.

  3. Drain the chicken and thoroughly pat dry with paper towels. Transfer the chicken to the batter, turning to coat.

  4. In a large, deep skillet, heat 1 inch of oil to 350°F. Set a rack over a baking sheet and line the rack with paper towels. Lift the chicken from the bowl, letting the excess batter drip back into the bowl. Fry the chicken in batches at 315°F, turning once, until golden and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part registers 160°F; about 18 minutes for wings and 20 minutes for thighs, breasts, and drumsticks. Transfer the fried chicken to the rack and let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Make ahead

The fried chicken can be kept at room temperature for up to 4 hours.

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