Picnic Fried Chicken Recipe
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Picnic Fried Chicken Recipe

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4.5 14 16
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For our family, it's not a picnic unless there's fried chicken! Chicken, deviled eggs and potato salad are all musts for a picnic as far as my husband is concerned. This is a "Golden Oldie" recipe for me—I've used it any number of times. —Edna Hoffman, Hebron, Indiana
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 30 min. + marinating Cook: 40 min.
MAKES:6 servings
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 30 min. + marinating Cook: 40 min.
MAKES: 6 servings


  • 1 broiler/fryer chicken (3 pounds), cut up
  • 3/4 to 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1-1/2 to 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground sage
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground thyme
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
  • Oil for frying

Nutritional Facts

5 ounces cooked chicken: 623 calories, 40g fat (7g saturated fat), 106mg cholesterol, 748mg sodium, 26g carbohydrate (2g sugars, 1g fiber), 38g protein.


  1. Pat chicken pieces with paper towels; place in large flat dish. Pour buttermilk over chicken; cover, and allow to soak at least 1 hour or overnight in refrigerator.
  2. Combine coating ingredients in large resealable plastic bag. Add chicken pieces, one at a time, and shake to coat well. Lay coated pieces on waxed paper for 15 minutes to allow coating to dry (will cling better in frying).
  3. In an electric skillet or deep fryer, heat 1/2 inch oil to 350°-360°. Fry chicken, several pieces at a time, for about 3 minutes on each side. Reduce heat to 325°; cook chicken, turning occasionally, for 25-35 minutes or until juices run clear and chicken is tender. Remove to paper towels and keep warm. Yield: 6 servings.

Test Kitchen Tips
  • Acidic buttermilk tenderizes the chicken, but plain yogurt will work, too.
  • For a crispy coating that stays put after frying, allow excess buttermilk to drip off before coating chicken in the flour mixture.
  • To keep fried chicken crunchy, we recommend storing it on a wire rack. No more soggy bottoms!
  • Originally published as Country Fried Chicken in Reminisce March/April 1991, p37

    Full-Bodied White Wine

    Enjoy this recipe with a full-bodied white wine such as Chardonnay or Viognier.

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    Ruffshse User ID: 4225266 256536
    Reviewed Nov. 8, 2016

    "Had good flavor but the coating did not stay on very well. I let it sit for 15 min like the recipe said."

    carolynstowers User ID: 4001197 243645
    Reviewed Feb. 11, 2016

    "I'm from the south and every Sunday my mother would prepare a fresh chicken from the yard for dinner. I think the butter milk soak gave the chicken the flavor of fresh never frozen taste. It's just a matter of taste I preferred organic frozen chicken. The soak made the skin firm on the outside and soft on the inside. I make great tasting chicken and I think I will stay with my own recipe."

    rubydoo008 User ID: 5748313 15507
    Reviewed Oct. 5, 2013

    "I added a bit of cajun seasoning with it. A batch of fresh buttermilk biscuits, now that is cooking!"

    VirginaCA User ID: 1405374 17020
    Reviewed Aug. 18, 2013

    "I forgot to say in my 1st review that I put the coating mixture in 2 separate bags as it tends to get a little "gloppy" after the first 5 pieces. I put the coated chicken on a wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil. When it has finished cooking, I put it on a clean wire rack over clean foil as it drains the grease off better than paper towels."

    VirginaCA User ID: 1405374 41705
    Reviewed Aug. 18, 2013

    "I've made this recipe twice (I don't fry chicken very often) and my husband goes wild over it. I use a deep heavy skillet and cover it, with the lid ajar, for the first 5 minutes; then uncover and cook for 5 to 7 minutes longer. I also season the buttermilk with salt & pepper."

    lisa53202 User ID: 1079567 17979
    Reviewed Apr. 30, 2013

    "We enjoyed this delicious fried chicken, and I will definitely make it again. Thanks!"

    Sandytmd User ID: 7133421 42906
    Reviewed Feb. 11, 2013

    "This is a fantastic recipie. in addition to seasoning the coating for the chicken, i also seasoned the individual pieces of chicken prior to soaking the pieces in buttermilk overnight. If you like your chicken flavorful i would recommend seasoning the chicken as well."

    mollymay4 User ID: 6481847 14068
    Reviewed Dec. 21, 2012

    "This is truly "picnic fried chicken"! The flavor is wonderful. I just used a chicken frying pan on a gas stove and it came out perfect! It's time consuming as frying chicken always is but well worth the effort!"

    mem381 User ID: 6068967 44559
    Reviewed Aug. 2, 2012

    "I just made this chicken last night and it was perfect! It was actually the first time I had ever made homemade fried chicken and I was so glad it went over well and I could add it to my recipe collection. The only thing I did different from the recipe was I was 2.5 lbs of chicken legs instead of a full fryer. I also only cooked each leg for about 5 mins on each side and they were still done all the way through and nice and golden. I didn't have an oil Thermometor so I just had my stove top on about medium high (7 out of 8 setting) to heat it up, then took it down to about 5-6 out of 8 setting. Next time I will try to cook it a little longer on each side just to make sure there is no blood in the center of the bones and maybe add some chili powder and reduce the flour to 1 and 1/4 cup to have a better spice to flour ratio."

    Louise.Hooper User ID: 1042332 71608
    Reviewed Oct. 1, 2011

    "I have this cooking at the moment. Looks fantastic. I'm thrilled to finally have a good fried chicken recipe!"

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