Buttermilk Fried Chicken Recipe

As a Mid-West boy at heart, fried chicken was always one of my favorites.  On many Sundays, our family would take a drive out to a country restaurant that was actually a farm, where we as kids would pet the animal while we waited for our table to be ready. The meal was always served family style, with such standards as cole slaw, corn fritters and, of course, apple pie for dessert.

Ever since, I have been attempting to perfect a fried chicken recipe that would come close to the chicken dinnersI remember from Peoria. There is nothing particularly ethnic about this recipe. It simply is the result of about 40 years of chicken experimentation.





  • 1 (3 pound) free range frying chicken, cut into pieces
    2 cups buttermilk or soymilk (if kosher is required)
    6 cloves garlic, smashed
    1 large onion, chopped coarsely
    1 cup finely chopped mixed fresh herbs (parsley, tarragon, thyme)
    ½ teaspoon paprika
    2 Tablespoons of Louisiana hot sauce
    1 ½ cups flour
    ½ cup of white corn meal
    ¼ teaspoon garlic salt
    ¼ teaspoon onion salt
    ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
    Salt and pepper
    3 cups solid vegetable shortening




  • Marinate the chicken in buttermilk or soy milk with garlic, onions, herbs, paprika, and hot sauce.
    Refrigerate overnight or at least 8 hours.
    Drain in colander, leaving some herbs on chicken. In a large paper grocery bag, mix flour and corn meal with remaining seasonings.
    Meanwhile, heat 3 cups shortening in cast iron pan until 350º F.
    Place chicken pieces in bag with flour and shake, let sit 1 minute, then shake again.
    Add chicken to hot pan and fry on 1 side for about 12 minutes, then turn and cook for another 12 minutes.
    Drain on paper towels.

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 8 hours 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 35 minutes

About Rabbi Michael Sternfield

Michael Sternfield has been a Reform rabbi for 40 years, most recently serving at Chicago Sinai Congregation from 1995 until 2013. He served for 20 years as spiritual leader of Congregation Beth Israel in San Diego, and briefly as the leader of the Durban, South Africa Progressive Jewish Congregation during South Africa’s historic transition to multi-racial democracy. He is now based in Los Angeles, California.