Rosemary-Brined Buttermilk Fried Chicken

Rosemary-Brined Buttermilk Fried Chicken

Normally I try to bring you easy recipes that come together quickly and easily. However, this recipe takes a quite bit of time to make, and I’ve been hesitant to share it because I wasn’t sure if you wanted to take the time and try to make it.

But something happened recently that completely changed my mind. The other day, while I was catching up with my books, book-marked Internet articles and magazines, I kept stumbling across fried chicken recipes and articles. And I made a few interesting discoveries.

For example, in one article a very well known chef indicated that people no longer make fried chicken at home. I was skeptical. How can that be? I asked myself. There’s nothing more American than fried chicken.

Of course, there’s the supermarket fried chicken which, by the way, is not bad at all.  There are also many restaurants that serve it. But do people no longer cook fried chicken at home?

I decided to do a Google search to find out. Guess what? There are 18,800,000 results when you Google fried chicken recipe. Yes, we are still making fried chicken at home!

So, if you are a fried chicken lover like me, here is a good recipe. This is not a recipe that you can put together quickly, as it requires an 8-to-24 hour brine. But that brine  makes this the most tasty fried chicken you can imagine, and of course, you still have to do the prep work of dredging, frying, etc. But I promise you that every single minute you spend on this recipe will be worth it.

This fried chicken is great for feeding a big crowd, of if you need a make-ahead recipe, it’s also perfect for your next picnic.  And it’s great as leftovers the next day. Just warm it up in your oven, and it will taste like it just came out of the fryer.

Rosemary-Brined Buttermilk Fried Chicken


Rosemary-Brined Buttermilk Fried Chicken




  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, smashed with the flat side of a knife
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 3 branches rosemary, each 4 to 5 inches long
  • 4 1/2 cups water
  • 1 lemon, halved


Fried Chicken


  • 8 chicken legs, drumsticks and thighs separated
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breast , sliced in half
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons fine sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • Oil for deep-frying


Make the brine sauté the onion and garlic in the oil in a medium saucepan over medium hight heat.  Cook about 4 minutes or until translucent, add kosher salt and the rosemary and cook to heat it, 30 seconds.   Add the water and lemon, squeezing the juice into the water (make sure to remove any seeds). Bring the water to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the salt. Remove from the heat and let the brine cool. Refrigerate until chilled.

Place all the chicken in a large container and pour the cooled brine and aromatics.  Cover and refrigerate for 8 to 24 hours, shake the container occasionally to redistribute the brine and the chicken.

When you are ready to cook remove the chicken from the brine, rinse under cold water, pat dry, and set on a rack or on paper towels.

In a large bowl whisk the flour, black pepper, paprika, sea salt, cayenne, and baking powder.  Divide this mixture between two bowls. Pour the buttermilk into a third bowl.

Set a rack on a baking sheet/tray. Dredge the chicken in the flour, shake off the excess, and set the dusted pieces on the rack. Dip the pieces in the buttermilk, then dredge them aggressively in the second bowl of flour and return them to the rack.

Fill a large skillet or deep frying pan with oil.  Heat to 350°F/180°C.  Add chicken pieces (make sure not to overcrowd your pan). Cook the chicken, turning the pieces a few times, until they are cooked through, about 12 to 15 minutes depending on their size. Remove from oil and drain on paper towels, allow them to rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.


Adapted from Ruhlman’s Twenty by Michael Ruhlman

Rosemary-Brined Buttermilk Fried Chicken


Rosemary-Brined Buttermilk Fried Chicken