The Best Fried Chicken in Every State
Winner winner, chicken dinner! From traditional to anything-but-ordinary, these are the spots serving the best fried chicken recipe in each state.
Mama’s on Dauphin, Mobile
Bird’s the word in ‘Bama. And at this Dauphin diner, they know that behind every great piece of chicken is an even better brine. The chicken marinates overnight in a blend containing bay leaves, garlic and seasoning salt, which adds a serious punch of flavor to the end result.
The Lucky Wishbone, Anchorage
Chances are you don’t think of fried chicken when you think of Alaska. But the Lucky Wishbone, an Anchorage institution since 1955, will prove you wrong. The state’s oldest single-family-owned restaurant is famous for “The Pop” which has a breast, thigh, leg, wing and back.
Bonus: The chicken is flown in fresh, never frozen.
Mrs. White’s Golden Rule Cafe, Phoenix
It’s been featured on Food Network’s Best Thing I Ever Ate so you know this spot lives up to its name—aka the fried chicken is a gorgeous golden hue only true soul food enthusiasts can master. Make sure you save room for the peach cobbler at the end.
Myrtie Mae’s, Eureka Springs
The first thing out of your mouth when the waitress comes to your table better be “Ozark Fried Chicken.” It’s what makes Myrtie Mae’s so popular…and for good reason. The three tender pieces you’ll get might be simple (no spice or heat) but when it comes to fried chicken, less can definitely be more.
Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles, Hollywood
No one does this hearty breakfast dish better than Roscoe’s—even former President Obama (among many other famous folks) is a fan! In fact, you’ll see “Obama’s Special” on the menu: three crispy wings on top of a giant waffle.
Can’t make it to Hollywood? Try our 4-ingredient chicken and waffles.
The Post Brewing Co., Denver
Can fried chicken be gluten-free? The crew at The Post Brewing Co. say abso-“cluckin'”-lutely. After hours of research and spreadsheets on the perfect batter-to-chicken ratio (seriously), they’ve nailed it with their brine, buttermilk and seasoning process.
Lettie’s Kitchen, Hockessin
“Broasted” is the new fried at this Delaware diner. Their unique way of deep frying the chicken in a pressure cooker keeps it crisp on the outside while moist on the inside—and you’ll skip the extra oil that often comes with the territory.
Move over Kentucky Fried Chicken… there’s a different KFC in town: Korean Fried Chicken. Double fried and wood-fired, the spicy poultry dish on the menu at KYU (pronounced “Q”) offers the best of both worlds: less grease and more crunch.
Cafe Sunflower, Atlanta
Vegans and vegetarians rejoice: You can chow down on America’s favorite finger-licking meal, too! At this award-winning restaurant, treat yourself to a waffle topped with fried chicken seitan and of course, a dollop of vegan whipped cream.
Side Street Inn, Honolulu
For a taste of true island fare, order the spicy garlic chicken, tossed in an Asian-inspired sweet and sour sauce. Forget the traditional side of a biscuit—instead, pair your chicken with Side Street Inn’s signature fried rice made with char siu, sausage, bacon and veggies.
Chick-fil-A sandwiches have nothing on the “Chicken in a Biscuit” at Juniper. You’ll definitely need the steak knife that’s served with this brunch beauty—it’s fried chicken, bacon, egg and white cheddar between two halves of a biscuit and smothered in sausage gravy.
Honey Butter Fried Chicken, Chicago
Consider this “craft comfort food,” aka an upscale version of your favorite fried chicken dinner. Spread the glistening ball of honey butter all over your piping hot poultry and honeycomb corn muffins for a meal that takes finger licking to a new level.
The Eagle, Indianapolis
Spice up your life with the black pepper encrusted drumettes at The Eagle in Indy. And if that isn’t enough heat for you, dip your meaty pieces into the hot pepper honey that comes in a pitcher with your order.
Harold’s Chicken, Iowa City
Harold’s is all about fried chicken at its finest. It’s meaty, hearty and full of flavors from paprika to hot pepper to parsley. Bonus: When you order a basket at the counter, your pieces come atop a slice of white toast nestled next to a bed of fries and soaked in mild sauce.
Krispys Fried Chicken and Seafood, Wichita
Imagine plump pieces of chicken fried to golden perfection—that’s what you’ll find at Krispys where each order is prepared fresh on the spot. Breaded with flavorful seasoned flour and often served atop a fluffy waffle, it’s well worth the wait.
The Parkette, Lexington
There’s no shortage of amazing fried chicken in the Bluegrass State. But the one that stands out is what many have dubbed the REAL Kentucky Fried Chicken: the legendary lard-fried pieces from The Parkette. They’re the best kind of greasy—you won’t want to put ’em down.
Willie Mae’s Scotch House, New Orleans
According to the Food Network and the Travel Channel, this isn’t just the best fried chicken in Louisiana…it’s the best in the whole country. Seasoned solely with salt and pepper, the skin is stuff of fast-food fantasies: a deep golden color and tantalizingly crispy texture.
Figgy’s Takeout, Portland
Time to get messy. At Figgy’s Takeout in Portland, the chicken—which is antibiotic- and cage-free—is so juicy, you’ll need all the napkins you can get. Opt for a whole bird or go with the A.A. Ron Sandwich, which is chicken layered with mashed potatoes and gravy on a buttermilk biscuit.
This definitely is not your mama’s fried chicken. But Ekiben’s Asian fusion take on it is equally exquisite (super crunchy skin included). The “Neighborhood Bird” bento box comes with a Taiwanese curry fried chicken thigh on a steamed bun with spicy mayo and pickles.
Be prepared to wait in line at Cutty’s. Once a month, the husband-and-wife-owned eatery opens for “Super Cluckin’ Sunday,” where the only thing on the menu is the buttermilk fried chicken sandwich topped with ranch, BBQ sauce and sweet onion with a side of housemade chips. Get there early—they sell out fast!
Eastside Fish Fry & Grill, Lansing
Take Guy Fieri’s word for it: This Michigan grill knows how to do a bird justice. After sitting in a secret spice dry rub for 48 hours, what’s known in the area as “crack chicken” is deep-fried to order. If you’re feeling exotic, try the fried frog legs…they taste like chicken!
Revival, St. Paul
We’re drooling over the chicken at this popular Minnesota joint where the birds are marinaded for three days before being fried in lard. The end result? A crispy exterior that clings to the chicken, letting the full-bodied flavors shine through.
Old Country Store, Lorman
The only thing better than fried chicken is a fried chicken buffet. You’ll find it at this off-the-beaten-path restaurant, where the battered birds are stuff of legends. (Seriously, founder Arthur Davis has been dubbed the King of Chicken.) Alton Brown even described it as the best fried chicken he’s ever had in his life.
Roost Fried Chicken, Bozeman
Discover a piece (pun intended) of the South at this Bozeman restaurant which uses a family recipe that came all the way from Tennessee. Don’t miss their unique “fried chicken on a stick,” a crave-worthy, crunchy bite topped with a buttery biscuit.
Time Out, Omaha
Chances are that you’ll want to eat every last bit of flavorful fried chicken on your plate at this Midwestern must-visit. And you actually can! The breasts are deboned before frying so you get a huge chunk of juicy meat just waiting to be devoured.
Blue Ribbon Fried Chicken, Summerlin
Spend 20 years perfecting your breading’s spice blend (hint: it includes basil, parsley, thyme, garlic, paprika, salt and a pinch of cayenne) then dredge your chicken through egg whites and matzo meal for extra crunch, and you’re bound to end up with a finger-licking good meal.
The Puritan Backroom, Manchester
It’s been rumored that The Puritan Backroom is the birthplace of the chicken tender. One bite and you’ll know why—the strips are lightly battered and piping hot. Dip them into homemade sweet and sour sauce, which is served on the side.
Chicken Supreme, Paterson
“Always fresh, never frozen” is the motto at this Jersey joint. Each hunk of meat (seriously, the pieces are BIG!) is coated in crispy breading that gives way to a mouthful of juicy goodness inside.
Nexus Brewery, Albuquerque
Chicken and waffles are a match made in brunch heaven. And at this brewery, they’re famous for their New-Mexico-meets-soul-food version of the classic combo. You’ll be handed a savory cornbread waffle topped with crunchy fresh chicken (don’t forget the cracklings!) and drizzled with butter pecan syrup.
Pies ‘n’ Thighs, Brooklyn
The name says it all: You’ll chow down on crackling fried chicken pieces followed by sinfully sweet housemade pies at this hidden gem. One ingredient that’s definitely not lacking on the chicken or in the desserts? So. Much. Butter. (Trust us, it’s delicious.)
Mama Dips, Chapel Hill
In the pecking order of Southern soul food, this Chapel Hill landmark comes out on top. Don’t expect any frills or fancy ingredients: A little black pepper and some shortening is all Mama herself needed to whip up some of the best fried chicken you’ll ever eat.
Go for the groceries, stay for the fried chicken. That should be the motto of Hornbacher’s, a regional supermarket that’s known more for delicious poultry that’s freshly breaded and fried. Convenience meets comfort food in the best—and juiciest—way possible.
Belgrade Gardens, Barberton
What better place to sink your teeth into the crispiest, crunchiest chicken than the “Fried Chicken Capital of the World”? Belgrade Gardens not only lives up to its city’s nickname with its juicy pieces (the owner was the first to serve the chicken back), it also offers a hot relish for dipping unlike anything we’ve tasted.
Country cooking’s done right at the oldest bar in Oklahoma. Pan-fried in a cast-iron skillet, the chicken (which you can only order as a whole, not half) is picture-perfect and succulent enough to clean straight off the bone. P.S.: The sides—fried okra and white toast—are just as tasty.
The Woodsman Tavern, Portland
Few things say “family meal” more than a bucket of old-fashioned fried chicken. Which is exactly what you’ll get at this Portland establishment, run by a former Top Chef finalist. Each piece is coated in an onion and paprika flour blend that’s balanced by the honey drizzle at the end.
Federal Donuts, Philadelphia
Fried chicken has a new best friend: the doughnut. (Sorry, waffles!) Snag the sweet and savory duo at this Philly shop where you’ll walk away with a succulent twice-fried breast, thigh and drumstick with a homemade honey cake doughnut on the side.
The first rule of flawless fried chicken? Don’t season the breading. At least that’s what chef Ashley Faulkner believes—and what makes her signature chicken so well-known in the area. She uses some of the pickle brine in the flour mixture for extra flavor and flakiness.
Yogi Bears Honey Fried Chicken, Hartsville
One word: thick. That’s the best way to describe the crust of this famous fried chicken, which tastes even better dipped in syrupy honey. It’s heavy, too, because the extra-dense exterior keeps all of the savory juices trapped inside.
The Keg, Sioux Falls
Frying one piece of chicken at a time is what The Keg prides itself on, making every bite as mouthwateringly tender and crispy as possible. And while you can order everything from the breast to the thigh, you’ll definitely want to get a plate of their famous chicken gizzards.
Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack, Nashville
In Music City, you don’t get fried chicken… you get Nashville Hot Chicken! If you think you can handle the heat, head to Prince’s, the place where it all began. Just make sure you order a cold soda and creamy coleslaw to soothe your burning mouth afterwards.
People go crazy over the Elvis Green Chile Fried Chicken at Chuy’s (which has now become a national chain). Smothered in spicy green chile sauce and cheddar cheese, the chicken itself gets its crunchy coating from one special secret ingredient: Lay’s potato chips.
Chicken Charlie’s, Burlington
The next time you have a hankering for fast food fried chicken, pop into Chicken Charlie’s. Their tender birds are the right amount of greasy to satisfy your craving—and we’ve heard their Cajun-spiced chicken is just like what you’d find in the deep South.
Put some South in your mouth at this historic hotel where you’ll find all-you-can-eat piles of glistening fried chicken. The breading is light enough to add that crackling texture while still allowing the juicy meat to really steal the show.
Heaven Sent Fried Chicken, Seattle
Are the breaded birds at this Northern chain really sent from above? No… but they definitely taste like they are. With meat so tender it almost melts in your mouth, you’ll understand why chef Ezell Stephens was flown to Chicago to make his famous fried chicken for Oprah herself.
Bluegrass Kitchen, Charleston
For a supper (that’s dinner in West Virginia speak) as wild and wonderful as the state itself, stop in for the pickle-brined fried chicken at Bluegrass. The salty exterior is balanced by the drizzle of sweet honey on top.
You can feel good about ripping into this farm-to-table fried chicken sourced from local pastures. They offer a Midwestern take on the Nashville Hot Chicken, bringing it to you on a thick waffle with a pot of maple syrup to soothe the heat of the cayenne butter.
Bodega, Jackson Hole
Yes, it’s from a food truck. But the chicken sandwiches from Bodega are everything you’ve dreamed of. Choose from one of six fried chicken sandwich options, each featuring a hand-cut piece of meat soaked in buttermilk, breaded and not just fried…but triple fried.