Ina Garten’s Foolproof Buttermilk Fried Chicken Is Perfectly Crispy Every Time

Ina Garten found the perfect method for making fried chicken that’s crispy every time and it’s so delicious. The Barefoot Contessa’s marinade and “double-dip” method for breading the chicken make all the difference.

Ina Garten wears a bright blue shirt and cooks with Stephen Colbert who is seen drizzling oil
Ina Garten | Scott Kowalchyk/CBS via Getty Images

Ina Garten’s buttermilk fried chicken is ‘foolproof’

Garten demonstrated how to make her buttermilk fried chicken recipe on an episode of Barefoot Contessa. She called the recipe “foolproof.”

“There are very few things that are more American than fried chicken,” she explained. She took three boneless chicken breasts and pounded them to a half-inch thickness so they cooked evenly.

“I was actually looking for a really good fried chicken recipe when I came across the Shake Shack recipe in their book. I have to tell you — it’s the best,” she said. “There are two things that make their fried chicken really good. The first one is the marinade. And it really gets into the meat so it flavors it. And the second one is the crust. They do a double-dipped crust and it makes it really crisp.”

For the marinade, Garten stirred together buttermilk, shallots, garlic cloves, jalapeno, salt, and pepper. “Actually the acidity in the buttermilk tenderizes the chicken,” she explained.

Before placing the chicken in the marinade, Garten cut the chicken breasts in half.  “The thing about the marinade is you want to be sure that you marinate it for long enough so the flavor gets into the chicken,” the Food Network host explained. “So that’s about 8 hours. But not too long — I think more than 24 hours, it tends to break down a little bit.”

“This is going to be the best fried chicken anybody ever had,” Garten promised.

The ‘Barefoot Contessa’ star uses a double-dipping method

Garten shared how her double-dipping method ensures the chicken comes out crispy. When the chicken was finished marinating in the refrigerator, she made the coating. She stirred together flour, baking powder, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, celery salt, salt, and pepper. “It’s going to make a really kind of light, spicy, crispy coating,” she explained.

“This is the most flavorful chicken you can possibly imagine,” Garten added.

She took each piece of chicken and placed it into the flour to coat it. “And this is the trick,” Garten said. “Put it back in the marinade and then back in the flour. This is what’s gonna make the coating so crispy.”

Garten heated two inches of canola oil in a big pot to 350 degrees. She placed three pieces of chicken in the hot oil. “You don’t want to crowd them,” she explained.

The Barefoot Contessa star cooked the chicken for 2 ½ minutes on the first side, turned it over, and cooked it for another 2 ½ minutes.

Garten has an easy trick for keeping the chicken crispy

The Barefoot Contessa star shared an easy trick to keep the chicken crispy when making frying it in batches. She removed the chicken from the oil and placed it on a baking rack set over a sheet pan. Then she put it in a 250 degree Fahrenheit oven to keep it hot while she worked on the next batch.

When it was done, she asked, “Is this the best looking fried chicken you ever saw or what? I have some friends who come to dinner all the time and I made this for them. And they said it was the best dinner I’ve ever made. I thought, ‘Should I take that as a compliment or not?’ But I took it as a compliment.”

After placing the chicken on a platter, she sprinkled it with salt. “I would say that is all-American fried chicken. It’s the best.”

The full recipe is available on the Food Network website.

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