Fried chicken is an essential part of my husband’s annual birthday feast. This may be the best version I’ve ever made. Not only was the meat incredibly tender from the lemony and garlicky brine, the seasoning in the crispy coating was super delicious as well. Fabulous.
The recipe was first published in Food and Wine in 2007 and then updated and re-published as a staff-favorite recipe in 2022. It was contributed by Thomas Keller who serves it every other Monday at his restaurant Ad Hoc in Napa Valley. The recipe was adapted from his book Ad Hoc at Home.
I adapted the recipe by modifying the method and proportions, and by substituting boneless, skinless chicken thighs for bone-in chicken pieces. I brined the chicken the day that I fried it. I also used a countertop electric skillet to more easily maintain an even cooking temperature- absolutely life changing. (Thank you to my Mother-in-Law for giving it to me!)
I made 15 chicken thighs- enough to have leftovers for days. That’s how we like to extend birthday celebrations in my house. 🙂 I included instructions on how to successfully re-heat the chicken below.
10 to 15 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and patted dry
For the Seasoned Flour & To Finish the Dish:
3 cups (about 12.75 oz) all-purpose flour
2 T garlic powder
2 T onion powder
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp kosher salt, divided
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper, divided
2 cups whole buttermilk
about 2 quarts canola or peanut oil, for frying
fresh rosemary and thyme sprigs, for garnish
fine sea salt or ground fleur de sel, for garnish
To Brine the Chicken:
In a large bowl, combine the water and salt; stir until dissolved.
Pour the salt water into a 2 gallon zip-top bag inside a large pot. (I used a stainless pasta pot.) Add the honey, bay leaves, garlic, peppercorns, thyme, parsley, and lemon halves; stir to combine.
Add the trimmed boneless, skinless chicken thighs, being sure they’re completely submerged; seal the bag. Refrigerate for 10 to 12 hours. (Do not refrigerate for longer than 12 hours or the chicken may become too salty.)
Remove chicken thighs from the brine and pat dry with paper towels. Scrape off any herbs or peppercorns stuck to the meat. Discard the brine.
Let the chicken stand until it comes to room temperature, about 30 to 45 minutes.
To Coat and Cook the Chicken:
Fill a 12-inch electric skillet with about 2 quarts of oil; heat to 320-325 degrees. (Alternatively, fill a large pot with oil to a depth of 2 inches; heat over medium to medium-high to 320 degrees.)
Set a wire rack over a foil and paper towel-lined, rimmed, baking sheet. Reserve for cooked chicken.
Line a second rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Reserve for raw chicken.
In a large bowl, whisk the flour, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, cayenne, 1 teaspoon of kosher salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Divide the mixture between two glass pie dishes (about 1 1/2 cups each).
Put the buttermilk in a large, shallow bowl. Season with remaining 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper.
Working with one chicken thigh at a time, dip the chicken in the first bowl of flour; turn to coat and pat off excess. Dip into buttermilk, letting excess drip back into the bowl. Dip into the second dish of the flour mixture.
Transfer the coated chicken to the baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat with remaining pieces. (I continued to do this while simultaneously starting to cook some of the chicken thighs.)
Carefully lower the chicken thighs into the hot oil, adjusting the heat as needed to maintain a temperature of 320 degrees. (I cooked 3 thighs at a time.)
Cook for 2 minutes, and the carefully turn over using tongs, continuing to cook and turn as needed for even browning. (I had 1 set of tongs for transferring the raw chicken and 1 set of tongs to turn the chicken while cooking.)
The chicken is cooked when it is a deep golden brown, very crisp, and an instant read thermometer inserted in the thickest portion reads 165 degrees, about 9 minutes total.
Transfer the cooked chicken to the prepared wire rack set over the lined baking sheet. Let it rest while you fry the remaining chicken pieces. Sprinkle with fine sea salt to taste, if desired.
Transfer the fried chicken to a platter, garnish with the herb sprigs or chopped herbs. (Alternatively, the rosemary and thyme can be cooked in the hot oil for a few seconds before being used as a garnish.)
Serve hot or at room temperature.
The original recipe recommends cooking chicken breasts and wings at 340 degrees, if using instead of thighs or drumsticks.
If using bone-in skin-on chicken (the best meat-to-crust ratio is achieved using 2 1/2 to 3 pound whole chickens), let the pieces rest skin-side up. Modify the cooking time as needed to reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees (about 12 minutes for thighs and drumsticks, 7 minutes for breasts, and 6 minutes for wings).
To reheat leftover fried chicken do not be tempted to use a microwave! Reheat uncovered, placed on a wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet in a 400 degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes.
Ha! Milk Street Magazine published these two flavor-packed dishes on the same page so I served them together. We ate the chicken and rice with roasted cauliflower. Delicious. 🙂
The avocado-cilantro sauce was amazing and would compliment any meat or chicken. It was inspired by a standard accompaniment to grilled meats in Venezuela called guasacaca. The recipe was adapted from Milk Street Magazine, contributed by Courtney Hill.
The rice was inspired by an everyday dish in Pakistan and India called jeera (or zeera) rice. The recipe was adapted from Made in India by Meera Sodha, via Milk Street Magazine, contributed by Dimitri Demopolous. The original recipe notes that it is ideal for pairing with any roasted or grilled vegetables or meat as well as with curries or dal.
To prepare these dishes together, I began by making the rice dish. While the rice cooked and rested, I prepared the chicken and the sauce.
For the Chicken & Avocado-Cilantro Sauce:
Yield: Serves 6
2 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 10) OR 3 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs OR breasts OR a combination, trimmed and patted dry
4 T extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
2 ripe avocados, halved, pitted and peeled
1 1/2 cups lightly packed cilantro OR flat-leaf parsley, plus extra chopped, to serve
1 jalapeño chili, stemmed and seeded
1/2 medium white or yellow onion, roughly chopped
3 T white vinegar
optional garnish: Lime wedges OR crumbled queso fresco OR chopped pickled jalapeños OR a combination
Heat the oven to 425°F with a rack in the middle position and another rack in the highest position. (I set my oven to convection roast.)
On a foil or parchment paper-lined rimmed baking sheet, toss the chicken with 2 tablespoons of the oil, then season with salt and pepper. (Using foil is a better choice if broiling the skinless meat after roasting.)
If using skinless meat, arrange thighs “skin side down” and roast about 10 minutes. Flip over and roast an additional 5 minutes. Remove pan from oven and adjust oven to the broil setting.
Place pan on the top rack and broil to finish browning the meat, an additional 2 to 3 minutes. Meat should reach an internal temperature of 165. (Alternatively, if using skin-on, bone-in meat: Arrange skin side up and roast until the thickest part of the breast (if using) reaches about 160°F and the thickest part of the largest thigh (if using) reaches about 175°F, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes.)
Meanwhile, in a food processor, combine the avocados, cilantro, jalapeño, onion, vinegar, remaining 2 tablespoons oil and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Process until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. (I used a Vitamix which made the sauce incredibly creamy.)
Transfer the chicken to a platter and pour over any accumulated juices. (If serving with cumin rice, plate chicken over the rice and pour over any accumulated juices.)
Sprinkle with chopped cilantro (or other optional garnishes listed above) and serve with the sauce.
For the Cumin Rice with Caramelized Onions:
Yield: Serves 6
3 T ghee OR salted butter, cut into 3 pieces, divided
2 medium yellow onions, halved and thinly sliced
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 cardamom pods
1 1/2 cups basmati rice, rinsed and drained
chopped fresh cilantro, to serve, optional
In a large saucepan over medium-high, melt the ghee. (I used a 4-quart stainless steel pot.)
Add the onions and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally to start and more often once browning begins, until the onions are deeply caramelized, 10 to 15 minutes; reduce the heat if the onions brown very unevenly or too quickly.
Meanwhile, rinse the rice. Drain and set aside.
Add the cumin seeds and cardamom pods to the browned onions; cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Stir in the rice, 2 cups water and 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a simmer over medium-high, then reduce to low, cover and cook without stirring until the rice has absorbed the liquid, 15 to 18 minutes.
Remove from the heat and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes.
Using a fork, fluff the rice; remove and discard the cardamom. Taste and season with salt and pepper. If desired, serve sprinkled with cilantro.
I have two wonderful chicken and rice dishes to share. This dish was part of The New York Times’ List of The Best of 2022- I’m surprised that I missed it when it was first published. It was fresh, delicious, and can be enjoyed in every season. I prepared the chicken in a cast iron skillet on the stove, but it could also be grilled in warmer weather.
The recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Ali Slagle. I omitted the olives and modified the method and proportions. I served the chicken over white Basmati rice with the cucumber salad and roasted broccoli on the side. Great.
Yield: 6 servings
2 cups plain whole milk Greek yogurt
6 garlic cloves, finely grated or pushed through a garlic press
Kosher salt (Diamond Crystal)
freshly ground black pepper
1 1/4 tsp dried oregano or mint
2 1/2 to 3 pounds (about 10) boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and patted dry
1 1/2 pounds cucumbers (preferably Japanese, Persian or mini, seedless cucumbers)
1 pound ripe tomatoes (I used grape tomatoes, halved)
2 T extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
4 ounces feta, crumbled (about 3/4 cup)
1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and halved (I omitted them)
white or brown Basmati rice, for serving, optional (I used 2 cups of rice with 1 tsp salt)
If serving chicken over rice, prepare the rice according to the package directions. (I used a rice cooker.)
In a large bowl, stir together the yogurt and garlic; season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer 1/2 cup of the yogurt to a medium bowl and reserve.
Coat the chicken: To the large bowl, add the oregano and stir to combine. Season the chicken all over with 2 teaspoons salt and a few grinds of pepper. Add the chicken to the large bowl and turn to coat; set aside.
Start the salad: Smash the cucumbers with the side of your knife until craggy and split. Rip into 1-inch pieces and transfer to a colander placed in the sink. Slice or chop the tomatoes into bite-size pieces. Add to the cucumbers along with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. (It may seem like a lot of salt, but most will drain away.) Toss to combine and leave to drain.
In a large nonstick or well-seasoned cast-iron skillet, heat the olive oil over medium. (I used a 12-inch cast iron skillet.)
Scrape excess marinade off the chicken, then cook the chicken in batches, adding oil to the pan if necessary, until it’s well browned and releases from the pan, 5 to 7 minutes. Use a splatter screen! Flip and cook until cooked through, another 5 to 7 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Transfer to plates to rest. (For grilling info, see Tip.)
To the medium bowl of yogurt, add the feta and mash with a fork until a chunky paste forms.
Shake the cucumbers and tomatoes to get rid of any excess moisture. Add to the feta yogurt along with the olives (if using) and stir until coated. The balance is dependent on your produce and feta, so season to taste with salt and pepper until flavors are vivid.
Serve the chicken over rice with the cucumber-feta salad on the side.
Tip: To grill the chicken: Heat a grill to medium and clean and grease the grates. Grill the chicken over direct heat until it’s well browned and releases from the grates, 5 to 7 minutes. Flip and cook until cooked through, another 5 to 7 minutes. (For a gas grill, close the lid between flips.)
This is an upgraded version of the classic comfort food sandwich. The incorporation of Korean red chili paste, gochujang, added the perfect amount of heat.
The recipe was adapted from Bon Appétit, contributed by Hana Asbrink. I used ground turkey and modified the proportions. It was a great one-pot meal. Messy and tasty. 🙂
Yield: 6 servings
1 T canola oil
1 lb. ground turkey or ground beef (ideally 20% fat)
1 1/2 tsp Diamond Crystal or 3/4 tsp Morton kosher salt, divided, plus more
freshly ground black pepper
1 medium green bell pepper, ribs and seeds removed, chopped
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
10 garlic cloves, finely grated or pushed through a garlic press
3 T gochujang (I used Trader Joe’s)
2 T ketchup
1 T soy sauce
1 T Worcestershire sauce
1 T dark brown sugar
1 tsp yellow mustard
1 15-oz. can tomato sauce
1 T balsamic vinegar
6 potato rolls
Kosher dill spears and potato chips, for serving, recommended but optional
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high. (I used a 12-inch stainless steel sauté pan.)
Add ground meat, spreading out in a single layer; sprinkle with 1 tsp Diamond Crystal or 1/2 tsp Morton kosher salt and season with freshly ground pepper. Cook, undisturbed, until a light brown crust forms underneath, about 3 minutes.
Continue to cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon, until almost completely brown all the way through, about 3 minutes more.
Push meat to one side of pan. Reduce heat to medium and add chopped bell pepper, onion, chopped, grated garlic cloves, and 1/2 tsp Diamond Crystal or 1/4 tsp Morton kosher salt; season with pepper.
Cook, stirring often, until vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes.
Stir in gochujang, ketchup, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, dark brown sugar, and yellow mustard.
Add one 15-oz. can tomato sauce and 1/4 cup water and stir again to combine.
Bring to a simmer and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring and scraping up any brown bits, until thick and saucy, 10–12 minutes.
Remove mixture from heat and stir in balsamic vinegar; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Spoon saucy meat mixture onto potato rolls. Serve with kosher dill spears and potato chips, as desired.
This chicken and noodle stir-fry dish, tallarín saltado, is a classic Peruvian dish. According to Milk Street, simple stir-fry dishes like this are a staple of the Chinese-influenced cuisine known as chifa. Chifa cuisine combines South American and East Asian flavors and ingredients.
This recipe was adapted from Milk Street, contributed by Malcolm Jackson. Jackson uses balsamic vinegar in place of the more traditional red wine vinegar and substitutes a jalapeño or Fresno chile for the ají amarillo chile that would be used in Peru. The dish was fresh, fast and fabulous. We loved it!
We ate the stir-fry with roasted broccoli- a strange combination- but it was ultimately a nice compliment. 🙂
Yield: Serves 6
12 ounces spaghetti (I used whole wheat)
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 1/2 T oyster sauce
3 T light soy sauce
3 T balsamic vinegar
4 T grapeseed oil or other neutral oil
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 5), trimmed and cut into 3/4 strips
1 large red onion, halved and sliced into 1/2-inch wedges
6-7 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 large red, yellow, or orange bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and thinly sliced
1 Fresno or jalapeño chile, stemmed, halved, and thinly sliced lengthwise
freshly squeezed juice of 1 lime, plus wedges to serve
1/4 cup plus 2 T lightly packed fresh cilantro leaves
In a large saucepan, bring 2 quarts water to a boil. Meanwhile, prep all remaining ingredients.
Add the pasta and 1 tablespoon salt to the boiling water; cook, stirring occasionally, until just shy of al dente. Reserve about 1 cup of the cooking water, then drain. (I cooked my pasta for 5 minutes.)
In a small bowl, stir together the oyster sauce, soy sauce and vinegar; set aside.
In a 14-inch skillet over medium-high, heat the oil until barely smoking. (I used a stainless steel skillet.)
Add the chicken, onion, and garlic, distributing the ingredients evenly, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook, without stirring, until the chicken is well browned on the bottom and releases easily from the pan, about 4 to 5 minutes. (See Tip)
Add the oyster sauce mixture and cook, stirring and scraping up any browned bits, until the sauce is syrupy, 2 to 3 minutes.
Add the bell pepper and chile; cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 2 minutes.
Add the pasta and stir to combine. Add 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water and cook, tossing constantly, until the noodles are al dente, 2 to 3 minutes.
Off heat, stir in the lime juice. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
Place half of the stir-fry in a serving bowl and sprinkle with half of the cilantro. Repeat with the remaining stir-fry and cilantro. Serve with lime wedges on the side, as desired.
Tip: Don’t stir the chicken too soon after adding it to the skillet. Left undisturbed, it forms a fond, or browned bits that stick to the skillet. The dish’s flavor develops when the oyster sauce mixture deglazes that fond. After adding the pasta water, stir vigorously; this helps the sauce come together.
I love an amazing sauce. In this dish, the creamy and velvety yogurt-herb sauce is used as both the marinade and the condiment served with the finished meal. Yogurt-based marinades always result in such tender meat- delicious!
This recipe was adapted from the Bon Appétit “healthyish” issue, contributed by Shilpa Uskokovic. The original recipe also suggests serving the sauce with meatballs, zucchini fritters, roasted mushrooms, or turkey burgers.
I served the chicken with roasted potatoes and broccoli- which were also both delicious drizzled with the creamy chimichurri sauce.
Yield: Serves 4 to 6
For the Marinade & Sauce:
9 large garlic cloves
2 1/2 cups (packed) cilantro leaves with tender stems
2 cups (packed) parsley leaves with tender stems
4 T red wine vinegar
1 T plus 1 tsp Diamond Crystal or 2 1/4 tsp Morton kosher salt
2 tsp Diamond Crystal or 1 1/4 tsp Morton kosher salt
roasted broccoli and potatoes, for serving, optional
To Make the Sauce:
Pulse garlic cloves, cilantro, parsley, red wine vinegar, salt, dried oregano, red pepper flakes, and 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) extra-virgin olive oil in a food processor until combined and herbs are very finely chopped but not puréed.
Transfer mixture to a medium bowl and add the Greek yogurt and remaining 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil. Whisk vigorously until emulsified (makes about 2 1/2 cups).
Do ahead: Sauce can be made 3 days ahead. Cover and chill. Whisk just before using.
To Make the Chicken & To Assemble:
Place the chicken, backbone removed, patted dry, breast side up, on a cutting board; open up against surface as much as possible. Using your palms, press firmly on breastbone to flatten breast (you may hear a crack).
Transfer chicken to a large bowl and rub all over with salt and 3/4 cup yogurt-herb sauce.
Cover and chill at least 2 hours and, preferably, up to 12 hours (no need to bring to room temperature before roasting).
Place a rack in middle of oven; preheat to 375°. (I set my oven to convection roast.)
Transfer chicken to a wire rack set inside a large parchment paper-lined, rimmed baking sheet; spread any marinade left in large bowl over skin.
Roast chicken, rotating baking sheet halfway through, until skin is deep golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of a thigh registers 165°, 50–60 minutes. (I used the oven probe and then confirmed the internal temperature with a separate thermometer.) (I roasted the potatoes in the same oven.)
Let rest 10 minutes. (This is a good time to roast additional vegetables.) Cut into pieces and transfer chicken to a platter.
If it has separated, whisk remaining sauce in medium bowl; drizzle chicken with sauce and serve remaining sauce at the table.
I have another tasty cast iron skillet dish to share. I made this one-pot (skillet) chicken pot pie for our Valentine’s Day dinner. ❤
This recipe was adapted from epicurious.com, contributed by Sahara Henry-Bohoskey. I loved how the biscuit topping was crumbled and scattered over the top. The filling bubbled over and oozed over the sides of the pan- I was very happy that I placed the skillet on a baking sheet in the oven! Next time I would garnish each serving with fresh herbs to add a pop of color.
The original recipe notes that 1/4 cup of aged cheddar or one teaspoon of dried thyme, parsley, or rosemary could be added to the biscuit topping, if desired.
Yield: 8 servings
For the Biscuit Topping:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp Diamond Crystal or 1/4 tsp Morton kosher salt
6 T chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup plus 2 T heavy cream
For the Filling & To Assemble:
1 T vegetable oil (I used canola oil)
1 1/4 to 1 lbs skinless, boneless chicken thighs (about 4 or 5)
1 tsp Diamond Crystal or 1/2 tsp Morton kosher salt, divided, plus more
2 T unsalted butter, divided
1 small or 1/2 large yellow onion, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 medium carrot, scrubbed, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 medium (5–8 oz) waxy potato (such as red), cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 celery stalks, any leaves coarsely chopped and reserved, cut on a diagonal into 1/2-inch pieces
4 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus more
2 T all-purpose flour
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken stock or water
1/2 cup heavy cream, plus more for brushing
1/2 cup fresh or frozen peas
flaky sea salt
fresh parsley, for garnish, optional
To Make the Biscuit Topping:
Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl to combine.
Add chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces, and toss to coat.
Work in butter with your fingers or a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
Add heavy cream and stir with a fork until a shaggy dough forms and no dry bits of flour remain.
Chill 20 minutes. Do ahead: Dough can be made 2 days ahead. Cover tightly and keep chilled.
To Make the Filling & To Assemble:
Place a rack in middle of oven; preheat to 450°. (I set my oven to true convection.)
Heat oil in a 10″ cast-iron skillet over medium-high.
Pat the chicken with paper towels to dry. Season both sides with salt.
Arrange chicken thighs in pan in a single layer and cook, undisturbed, until golden brown underneath, 5–7 minutes. Turn over and cook until almost cooked through, about 4 minutes. (Chicken will finish cooking through in the oven.)
Transfer to a cutting board; let cool slightly, then cut into 1-inch pieces. Reserve any accumulated liquid.
Reduce heat to medium and melt butter in pan (no need to clean).
Add chopped onion, carrot, and salt; stir to coat. Cook, stirring often, until onion is translucent, about 3 minutes.
Add chopped potato, celery, garlic, thyme, pepper, and remaining tablespoon of unsalted butter. Cook, stirring, 1 minute.
Add flour and stir to coat vegetables. Cook, stirring often, until flour coating is golden and nutty-smelling, about 3 minutes.
Add white wine, scraping up any browned bits from bottom of pan. Bring to a boil and cook until wine is reduced by half, about 1 minute.
Add chicken stock or water and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover pan, and cook until mixture is thickened a bit, about 4 to 6 minutes.
Uncover pan and stir chicken and any accumulated juices, coarsely chopped celery leaves (if using), heavy cream, and peas into filling.
Taste and season with more kosher salt if needed.
Scatter pieces of dough over filling. Brush with cream and season with pepper and flaky sea salt.
Place skillet on a parchment paper-lined rimmed baking sheet to catch any drips and transfer to oven.
Bake until biscuits are golden brown and filling is bubbling, 20 to 30 minutes.
Let cool slightly before serving. Garnish with parsley, if desired.