Geoffrey Zakarian's Southern Fried Chicken

By Geoffrey Zakarian 

Serves 4 to 6


2 tablespoons old bay seasoning, plus extra for finishing

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon onion powder

1 tablespoon mustard powder

1 tablespoon ground cumin

½ tablespoon cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon dried oregano

2 tablespoons Kosher salt

1 each 3.5-4lb chicken, cut into 10 pieces bone in (including breast)

2 cups buttermilk

2 ½ cups flour, AP

As needed canola oil


In a large bowl, combine the spices and salt. Remove half the mixture and set aside.

Combine the chicken with the buttermilk, along with a tablespoon of the spice mix, and allow the chicken to marinate for 8-24 hours.

Place the flour in the large bowl. Combine thoroughly and set aside.

When ready to cook, remove one piece of chicken from the buttermilk, and add to the dry mixture. Coat with the other hand (keeping a dry and wet hand) and place the chicken onto a rack once coated thoroughly. Repeat with all pieces. Allow the chicken to sit for 30-45 minutes before frying to temper and also form a crust.

Add the canola oil to a large cast iron pan, ½” up the sides. Bring the oil to 375F on an instant read thermometer. This is because the temperature will drop when the chicken is added.

Add the chicken to the pan and begin to fry. The oil should come up half to two-thirds up the chicken. Do your best to keep the oil around 340-350F. After about 6 minutes, flip the chicken, and continue to cook. The total cook time will be between 11-14 minutes, depending on the size of your chicken. The internal temperature closest to the bone should be 160F.

Drain the chicken on a rack and season with the reserved spice mixture.