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How to fry chicken at home to satisfy your cravings

National Fried Chicken Day is celebrated every July 6th, but if you missed out, there’s no need to wait until next year to feast on crispy, indulgent fried chicken. With their succulent dark meat and handy shape, drumsticks are a family-favorite choice for making fried chicken at home. Whether you’re using your air fryer, a deep-fat fryer, or even your oven, here’s what you need to make delicious, juicy fried chicken drumsticks yourself.

How to make fried chicken drumsticks

Fried chicken ingredients

Everyone has a preferred method of preparing and frying chicken, but you’ll want these essential ingredients for almost any fried chicken recipe:

  • Chicken drumsticks are easy to cook and delicious. You can save money by breaking down a whole chicken instead of buying pre-cut drumsticks.
  • The mild acid of buttermilk helps tenderize chicken. Let your chicken soak in a buttermilk mixture for at least one hour or overnight.
  • Spices such as garlic powder, paprika, and ground pepper add flavor, depth and smokiness. Experiment with your favorites to customize your fried chicken’s flavor profile. Mix them in with your buttermilk brine to let the chicken absorb their flavors.
  • It’s optional, but adding a dash of hot sauce or cayenne pepper to your marinade can give it some heat.
  • Flour is a necessity for a craggy, crispy crust. Mix extra spices into your flour for an extra punch of flavor. You can also add some cornstarch for a crispier coating.
  • Lard is the traditional fat of choice for frying chicken, but you can also use peanut, canola or vegetable oil.

Stovetop fried chicken

You don’t need any special equipment to make fried chicken on your range. Use a deep frying pan, saucepan or Dutch oven. These vessels have taller sides to protect your kitchen — and your skin — from splashing oil.

Be prepared to turn your drumsticks to make sure they’re fully cooked on all sides. You may also want a candy or deep-fry thermometer to make sure your oil is at the proper temperature. Additionally, you’ll need instant-read food thermometer to gauge the chicken’s doneness. Since the crispy coating on fried chicken turns golden faster than the chicken meat can cook, it’s better to use a thermometer than rely on appearance to ensure safe cooking. The safe internal temperature for chicken is 165 degrees.

How to make fried chicken in a deep fryer

If you love fried food, a home deep fryer can be a game-changer thanks to its ability to regulate the oil temperature. Deep fryers also come in a variety of sizes so you can make enough fried chicken for a party or just enough for yourself.

In both pan-frying and deep-frying, make sure not to fry too much chicken at once or the oil temperature will drop and make cooking uneven. Cook your drumsticks in batches to give the oil time to return to the proper temperature.

How to make fried chicken in an air fryer

Air fryers have become popular over the last few years for their ability to cook healthier “fried” food. Chicken fried in an air fryer won’t have the traditional crunchy crust associated with classic fried chicken, but it comes close. With just some cooking spray and seasonings, you can get flavorful, crispy “fried” chicken that’s healthier and quicker to prep. Some air fryers even have a setting specifically for fried chicken to streamline the process.

How to make oven-fried chicken

Baking drumsticks in the oven is another way to get the flavors of fried chicken in a healthier package. It’s also less messy since you don’t have to worry about oil splatters. After dredging your chicken in your buttermilk mixture and flour, simply bake the drumsticks at 425 degrees for about 30 minutes. Turn the drumsticks halfway through to ensure they cook evenly.

What you need to make fried chicken drumsticks at home

T-fal Deep Fryer with Basket

T-fal Deep Fryer with Basket

This dependable, roomy deep fat fryer can accommodate roughly 2.5 pounds of food with its 3.5-liter oil capacity. It features an oil filtration system for storage and cost savings. Plus, most of its components are dishwasher-safe.

Sold by Amazon

Taylor Precision Products Deep Fry Thermometer

Taylor Precision Products Deep Fry Thermometer

This large stainless-steel thermometer boasts a temperature range of 100 degrees to 400 degrees. The 12-inch probe is easy to read so you can adjust your temperature as needed, and the thermometer clips securely to the side of the pot.

Sold by Amazon

OXO Good Grips 16-Inch Locking Tongs

OXO Good Grips 16-inch Locking Tongs

The scalloped edge on these well-made tongs help you get a better grip on large pieces of food such as drumsticks. The 16-inch length keeps hands a safe distance from hot oil. They feature a nonslip handle and lock for storage.

Sold by Amazon

Lodge 12-Inch Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet

Lodge 12-inch Seasoned Cast-iron Skillet

Use this cast-iron skillet from a trusted brand to fry chicken, bake cornbread, saute sides and more. Cast-iron is a useful material for frying because of how well it distributes heat. This skillet comes with a silicone handle holder to protect your hands.

Sold by Amazon and Kohl’s

Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron 5.5-Quart Dutch Oven

Le Creuset Enameled Cast-iron 5.5-quart Dutch Oven

An enameled cast-iron Dutch oven such as this one can help make deep-frying chicken safer thanks to its high sides and even heating. This one features time-tested construction and a beautifully colored enamel coating that resists staining, chipping, and cracking.

Sold by Sur la Table, Macy’s and Amazon

Anolon Advanced Bakeware 10-Inch by 16-Inch Cooling Grid

Anolon Advanced Bakeware 10-inch by 16-inch Cooling Grid

When your fried drumsticks come out of the pan or fryer, place them on this nonstick wire grid to help them cool down faster. The grid keeps food from falling through and the steel construction resists warping.

Sold by Macy’s and Amazon

Ninja 4-Quart Air Fryer

Ninja 4-quart Air Fryer

Cook up to 2 pounds of chicken with up to 75% less fat than deep frying. Its ceramic-coated crisper plate helps fried chicken come out crunchier. This air fryer features multiple dishwasher-safe components for easy cleanup.

Sold by Macy’s, Kohl’s and Amazon


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