Cast Iron Buttermilk Fried Chicken

By Chef Geoffrey Zakarian

Just for insiders, Chef Geoffrey Zakarian shares his recipe for Cast Iron Buttermilk Fried Chicken, an instant classic, marinated and seasoned to perfection. The perfect complement may surprise you—a Cava Brut sparkling wine, like our La Fea or Toro Loco, is the perfect pairing, so add a little pizzazz to this elevated comfort food dish.

Yields: 4 servings

Cooking Time: 15 Minutes


½ cup Old Bay Seasoning, plus extra for finishing

2 tablespoons garlic powder

2 tablespoons paprika

2 tablespoons Kosher salt

1 3½-4 pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces bone in (including breast)

1 quart buttermilk

4 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups canola oil

8 sprigs thyme


In a small bowl, combine the old bay, garlic, paprika, and salt.

Add the chicken to a large freezer bag. Add half of the seasoning, along with the buttermilk. Allow the chicken to marinate for 36 hours.

Remove the chicken from the fridge and allow to temper for 1 hour in a bowl, along with the buttermilk.

Place the flour in a large bowl along with the remaining spice mixture. Combine thoroughly.

Remove one piece of chicken from the bag, and add to the dry mixture. Coat with the other hand (keeping a dry and wet hand), and place the chicken on to a rack once coated thoroughly. Repeat with all pieces. Allow the chicken to sit for 30 minutes before frying.

Add the canola oil to the 12” Cast Iron Skillet, and bring to 390°F on an instant read thermometer. This is because the temperature will drop when the chicken is added.

Add the chicken to the 12” Cast Iron Skillet, and begin to fry. The oil should come up 1/2-2/3 up the chicken. Do your best to keep the oil around 340°-350°F. After about 6 minutes, flip the chicken, and continue to cook. The total cook time will be between 12-15 minutes, depending on the size of your chicken. In the last 30 seconds, add the fresh thyme and fry with the chicken.

Drain the chicken and the garnishing herbs on top paper towels and season with additional Old Bay Seasoning.