Kel’s Famous Crunchy Fried Chicken

Kel's Cafe Crunchy Fried chicken

I decided to learn how to fry chicken and make homemade gravy while I was still in high school. I was dating Ted, who later turned out to be my ex-husband. His mom, Geraldine, made some of the best fried chicken I’ve ever had, to this day. She used an electric fryer and as much as I tried to duplicate her recipe, I couldn’t get it exactly right. My Dad made really good fried chicken as well, and he used cast-iron skillets instead of electric fryers. I couldn’t replicate his recipe either, so I decided to take some of the techniques from both of them and come up with my own signature dish. And that I did.

By the time I was in college, I had a recipe that I was quite pleased with. I bought a cast-iron skillet that I used just for frying chicken and still have to this day (I have my Dad’s skillets, too!) Unlike my Dad and Geraldine, I decided to marinate my chicken in buttermilk at least 6-8 hours before frying. Buttermilk is a natural tenderizer and helps to make the chicken nice and juicy. I also added crushed cornflakes to my flour mixture, which gives the chicken extra crunch.

Three essentials for Ke's fried chicken

This was one of my most requested dishes for several years, until the age monster made so many of us watch our fried food intake. But every now and then, I love to get out my cast-iron skillets and fry up a batch of this wonderful comfort food. National Fried Chicken Day is July 6th — a great reason to give this a try, or make some for your Fourth of July celebration. You’ll be glad you did!

Ingredients (1 whole chicken)

Kel's Crunchy Fried Chicken ingredients

  • 1 whole chicken, cut up (breasts, wings, thighs and legs)
  • 1 pint low-fat buttermilk
  • 2 ½ cups cornflakes
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • Seasoned salt to taste (I used 1 ½ tablespoon)
  • Black pepper to taste (I used 2 tablespoons
  • Vegetable or canola oil for frying

Preparation

Wash the chicken pieces and pat dry. Save the giblets for another use (maybe for your gravy if you are making some.)

Place the chicken in a large container or plastic bag and coat with the buttermilk. Refrigerate for 6-8 hours, or preferably overnight.

Marinade chicken in buttermilk

When you are ready to fry the chicken, remove it from the fridge and place it in a large colander, shaking off any excess buttermilk.

Place the cornflake in a large plastic bag and crush them by hand or with a rolling pin (either way is quite therapeutic – it depends on whether you want to squeeze or smash.)

Crush cornflakes

Add the flour, salt and pepper to the bag and shake it until the ingredients are mixed well.

In a couple of cast iron skillets, heat the oil to medium-high. You want about an inch of oil in each skillet.

Beat the eggs (I add a little bit of seasoned salt and pepper to them.) Dip each piece of chicken in the egg mixture.

Dip chicken in egg mixture

Place the chicken in the cornflake/flour mixture, and coat well. Shake off any excess flour. Place the chicken in the skillet, making sure you do not overcrowd the pan.

Place chicken in skillet

Turn after 10 minutes or so, checking to make sure the chicken is not getting too brown (if that’s the case, reduce the heat some.) Chicken should reach an internal temperature of 160-165 degrees.

Brown chicken on both sides

I remove these from the pan and place on brown paper bags, because that’s what my Dad used to do.

Chicken on paper bags

Once some of the oil is absorbed, I move the chicken to a plate line with paper towels to absorb even more grease.

Kel's crunchy fried chicken

This chicken is awesome with mashed potatoes and homemade gravy (that’s another post) and a salad or other green veggie. Or, make it to take tailgating with potato salad and deviled eggs. Or just eat it cold as a late night snack – you’ll love it any way you serve it!

Let's eat fried chicken

Bon appétit!

Eat, drink and be merry!

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