Cast Iron Crispy Fried Chicken

March 30, 2019

One of the best ways to season a cast iron pan is to fry things with it, and a great recipe to use to instantly season the pan is fried chicken.

Fried chicken recipe flavors vary somewhat- for this recipe I’ve used a buttermilk marinade for the chicken, and a mix of cayenne and paprika in my flour breading.

I’ve found that there are two tricks to increase the crispiness of the chicken, and I’ve used both in this recipe- I dredge the chicken through the alternating egg flour mixtures twice to increase the amount of breading that sticks to each piece of chicken. Then I actually fry the chicken twice, once at 325 to reach the proper internal temperature, and then a second fry at a slightly higher oil temperature.

I find the hardest part of this recipe is maintaining the temperature of the vegetable shortening/oil as you add the cold pieces of chicken, so I recommend the use of an instant-read meat thermometer.

  • 8 servings
  • 10 mins
  • 20 mins
  • 30 mins
  • Ingredients

    • 2 cups vegetable shortening
    • 1 chicken, cut into 8 serving pieces
    • 2 cups buttermilk
    • 1 cup flour
    • 2 eggs
    • 1/4 cup milk
    • 2 tablespoons paprika
    • 2 tablespoons salt
    • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
    • 1 teaspoon cayenne



    1. The day before you want to serve the chicken, place the chicken pieces into a large ziploc bag and cover with buttermilk. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours, preferably overnight.
    2. Melt shortening in a cast iron skillet on low heat. It should come up 1/3 of an inch up the side of the skillet. Use the Meat Thermometer to measure the temperature of the oil, and allow it to come to 325 degrees.
    3. In one large bowl mix the flour, salt, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and paprika.
    4. In a second bowl, mix the eggs and milk.
    5. Drain the chicken in a colander.
    6. Taking chicken pieces individually starting with the legs and thighs, dredge them by dipping them to coat in the eggs and then rolling in the flour mixture.
    7. Do the dredge twice, and then place each piece individually into the heated oil- use the meat thermometer as you add pieces of chicken and adjust the heat accordingly as the temperature of the oil will drop as you add the pieces of cold chicken.
    8. After about 5 minutes, use tongs to rotate the chicken pieces so they cook evenly.
    9. You want to allow each piece of chicken to cook for about 10 to 12 minutes. Use the meat thermometer to measure the internal temperature of the thickest part of each piece of chicken- you want it to read about 1r580 degrees Fahrenheit.
    10. As each piece reaches the desired temperature, transfer it to the wire rack to rest.
    11. When all pieces of chicken have been fried, increase the temperature of the oil in the skillet to 350 degrees and fry each piece for another 2-3 minutes.
    12. Allow to rest on the wire rack to drip excess oil and then serve hot.

    This recipe was adapted from:

      Written by Will Chiong who lives and works in New York building useful things.