Chicken Fried Chicken

Prep 10 mins
Cook 20 mins
Total 30 mins

When it comes to comfort food, crispy Chicken Fried Chicken with homemade gravy is the best of the best. The whole family will absolutely adore this dinner, and it only takes about 30 minutes to throw together!

Plate of fried chicken with mashed potatoes.

Easy Chicken Fried Chicken Recipe

Chicken Fried Chicken is seriously one of my favorite dinners on the planet. Just looking at that crispy golden chicken, smothered in gravy, makes my mouth water!

What makes this recipe better than regular pan-cooked or oven-roasted chicken? To name a couple things, the extra crunch in each juicy bite thanks to a secret ingredient — saltine crackers!! — and the GRAVY!

This Chicken Fried Chicken is totally magical… especially with a huge helping of mashed potatoes on the side. It’s classic southern comfort food that always hits the spot. I also love that it only takes about 30 minutes to put on the table, making it a great quick dinner option!

Fried chicken with gravy.

What Does Chicken Fried Mean?

The name ‘chicken fried chicken’ comes from chicken fried steak, which is steak breaded with seasoned flour (or cracker crumbs) in the same way fried chicken is. Replace the steak with chicken breast, though, and you get chicken fried chicken!

Note, when you chicken fry something, it basically means that you marinate, batter, and then fry it. And that is exactly what we do with this chicken fried chicken, except we add a delicious white gravy made with the drippings left in the pan.

Ingredients for chicken fried chicken.

Recipe Ingredients

Ready to enjoy this crispy crunchy chicken? Here’s what you’ll need to get started:

For the Fried Chicken:

  • Chicken Breasts: this recipe uses 2 large chicken breasts to serve 4 people.
  • Saltine Crackers: make sure they are thoroughly crushed. You can also use ritz crackers!
  • Black Pepper
  • White Pepper
  • Paprika
  • Onion Powder
  • Buttermilk: or you can use whole milk and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice in a pinch, but real buttermilk is best.
  • Vegetable Oil: for frying, 3/4 – 1 cup should be enough.

For the Gravy:

  • Reserved Pan Drippings: make sure to save at least 1/4 cup!
  • All Purpose Flour
  • Whole Milk
  • Salt and Pepper: to taste.
Chicken breast in buttermilk.

How to Make Chicken Fried Chicken

Once you have everything you need, the process is pretty simple. Mix the seasonings and the crushed crackers together for the breading, and prep the buttermilk for dipping. Then you dip and bread the chicken, fry it, and keep it warm in the oven until you’re ready to eat!

Mix Seasonings and Crackers: In a wide brimmed bowl, combined crushed saltine crackers, black pepper, white pepper, paprika and onion powder. Set aside.

Pour Buttermilk: In a second wide brimmed bowl, place buttermilk in bowl or combine lemon juice and milk in bowl and let sit for 5 minutes.

Cut Chicken Breasts: Slice each chicken breast in half, lengthwise to create thin sliced chicken breasts (you will have 4 chicken breasts total when done). Tenderize chicken breasts: place chicken breasts in a ziplock bag and pound with a meat tenderizer until 1/2 inch thick.

Breaded chicken in a frying pan.

Bread Chicken: Dip chicken breasts into the milk mixture and then directly into the saltine cracker mixture. Set aside.

Fry Chicken: In a large heavy bottomed skillet (or cast iron skillet), heat oil over medium-high heat. Carefully place the chicken breasts in the oil and cook for about 4-5 minutes per side or until the chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165°F and the coating is golden brown.

Keep Chicken Warm in the Oven: Remove chicken and drain on paper towel lined plate, repeat with all chicken. Place cooked chicken in warm oven (about 200-degrees) to keep warm until the rest of the chicken is done and you are ready to serve.

Crispy fried chicken in a pan.

How to Make Homemade Gravy

Making the gravy is just as easy! Using the grease from the frying pan, a little milk, and a little flour, this creamy homemade gravy comes together in no time.

Mix Flour and Grease: To make your gravy, drain off excess grease from pan, leaving 1/4 cup. Whisk in flour, whisking until flour is absorbed and cook for 30 seconds.

Add Milk: Slowly add in your milk whisking constantly, over medium heat, until thickened then stir in salt and pepper to desired taste. Pour gravy over chicken when serving.

Plate of chicken fried chicken with mashed potatoes.

Tips for the Best Fried Chicken

Looking for tips on how to make the best fried chicken? Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • For More Flavorful Chicken: Marinate the chicken in buttermilk for up to 8 hours. I like to toss my chicken in the buttermilk in the morning and then it’s ready that night for dinner.
  • Use a Deep Fryer: If you have a fryer in your kitchen, you can skip the skillet and use that instead.
  • Substitute Breading Ideas: A mix of flour and cornstarch with seasonings will also result in crispy chicken.
  • Definitely Tenderize the Meat: Pounding the chicken breast with a meat tenderizer will ensure that the chicken cooks all the way through when you fry it and that it is tender!
  • Keep Chicken Warm in the Oven: While making the gravy, keep the already-fried chicken warm in the oven (heat it to 200°F) to keep it extra crispy!
Fried chicken with homemade gravy.

What Goes With This Recipe?

Now that you have this delicious chicken, what should you serve it with? Try out some of the following ideas!

  • Mashed Potatoes: Or, if you’re looking for something a little healthier, Mashed Cauliflower! These are always a must with gravy on top!
  • Mac and Cheese: Go all out and treat yourself, you deserve it!
  • Baked Beans: A side of beans with bacon bits is always a great addition to a meal.
  • Vegetables: like green beans, corn, broccoli, etc.

How to Store and Reheat Leftovers

Chicken Fried Chicken is best served fresh while it is still crispy out of the oven. Any leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for 2-3 days, but will be much less crispy.

As for reheating leftovers, you can microwave the chicken if you’re in a rush, but I highly recommend popping it back in the oven for a couple of minutes if you’ve got the time!

Bite of fried chicken on a fork.

This Chicken Fried Chicken recipe is a favorite cheat night meal around here. The chicken is tender, flavorful and perfect once smothered in the white country gravy. I may no longer live in my home state of Texas, but I always feel closer to home when I whip up a plate of Chicken Fried Chicken!

If you try out this Southern classic, please let me know if you enjoy this recipe in the comments below. You can even leave a photo in the comments to show how it turns out for you at home!

Yield: 4 servings

Chicken Fried Chicken

Plate of fried chicken with mashed potatoes.

Are you on the lookout for the best chicken dinner? Then this Chicken Fried Chicken recipe is absolutely for you! With crispy breading and flavorful, thick gravy, everybody will be asking for seconds!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

For the Fried Chicken:

  • 2 large chicken breasts
  • 2 sleeves finely crushed saltine crackers
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 cup buttermilk (or whole milk and 1 tablespoon lemon juice)
  • 3/4 -1 cup vegetable oil for frying

For the Gravy:

  • 1/4 cup reserved pan drippings
  • 1/3 all purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

1. In a wide brimmed bowl, combined crushed saltine crackers, black pepper, white pepper, paprika and onion powder. Set aside. In a second wide brimmed bowl, place buttermilk in bowl or combine lemon juice and milk in bowl and let sit for 5 minutes.

Bowls of seasonings and crushed crackers for Chicken Fried Chicken coating

2. Slice each chicken breasts in half, lengthwise to create thin sliced chicken breasts (you will have 4 chicken breasts total when done). Tenderize chicken breasts: place chicken breasts in a ziplock bag and pound with a meat tenderizer until1/2 inch thick.

3. Dip chicken breasts into the milk mixture and then directly into the saltine cracker mixture. Set aside.

4. In a large heavy bottomed skillet (or cast iron skillet), heat oil over medium-high heat. Carefully place the chicken breasts in the oil and cook for about 4-5 minutes per side or until the chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165°F and the coating is golden brown.

5. Remove chicken and drain on paper towel lined plate, repeat with all chicken. Place cooked chicken in warm oven (about 200-degrees) to keep warm until the rest of the chicken is done and you are ready to serve.

6. To make your gravy, drain off excess grease from pan, leaving 1/4 cup. Whisk in flour, whisking until flour is absorbed and cook for 30 seconds.

7. Slowly add in your milk whisking constantly, over medium heat, until thickened then stir in salt and pepper to desired taste. Pour gravy over chicken when serving.

Chicken Fried Chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy on a plate

Notes

Note: For best flavor, you can also marinate the chicken in buttermilk for up to 8 hours if you have the time!

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 604Total Fat: 48gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 39gCholesterol: 66mgSodium: 295mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 1gSugar: 9gProtein: 26g

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Welcome!

Jessica
I'm a trial & error, self taught, sugar addict who thankfully learned how to survive in the kitchen! I am also a wife, mama of 3.
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