Cracker Barrel Southern Fried Chicken

Cracker Barrel Southern Fried Chicken is crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. Buttermilk and seasoned flour give this fried chicken a special flavor. Enjoy this easy recipe for the ultimate comfort food. Who doesn’t love crispy chicken? 

overhead view of homemade Cracker Barrel fried chicken in a basket.

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Crispy Fried Chicken Recipe

Cracker Barrel isn’t a fancy restaurant, but they sure do home-style southern cooking the right way. On the menu, you’ll find all the classics like chicken and dumplings and country fried steak, but it is the southern fried chicken platter that keeps the folks coming back.

The combination of the dish’s tangy buttermilk breading and the sweetness of the warm honey is so addicting that it’s hard to get enough. Now you can make it any time you want at home with this Cracker Barrel Southern Fried Chicken recipe.

Don’t Get Beaten by the Breading

It’s the traditional buttermilk double breading that gives this chicken the perfect amount of flavor and crunch while still letting the taste of the meat shine through. But getting the breading process right isn’t easy, and if things go wrong, you’ll end up with patchy chicken and a messy kitchen.

Make things easier by organizing everything you need before you start breading. For convenience and to cut down on drips, try dividing the seasoned flour into two separate bowls, and do the same with the buttermilk mixture. Your chicken breading assembly line should be chicken, seasoned flour, buttermilk mixture, seasoned flour, buttermilk mixture, and finally, a wire rack on top of a pan.

The best way to bread chicken is by using the wet-hand/dry-hand method. That means using one hand for flouring and the other for dipping the chicken into the buttermilk mixture. If you follow this method, you won’t wind up with a battered hand along with your battered chicken.

The Secret of Frying Chicken Correctly

Making really amazing fried chicken requires getting three things right. These are the fat, the temperature, and the time. Master all of them, and you can churn out perfectly cooked chicken every time.

Lard is the classic fat for frying chicken. It’s hard to beat the taste of chicken fried in lard, but these days health often trumps flavor, so most cooks use other types of oils. The key is to select an oil that has a neutral taste and can handle the heat. Peanut or canola oil are good choices.

Maintaining a constant temperature is the key to delicious and safe fried chicken, so always use a thermometer. Heavy cast-iron cookware is excellent at holding steady heat, so use it if you can. To prevent the oil from cooling down too much, never fry cold chicken straight from the fridge or overcrowd the pot.

No one wants to eat undercooked chicken, and getting the cooking time right is essential. Depending on the size of the chicken part, it should take between 12 – 18 minutes to cook. Never serve fried chicken without checking the temperature with a meat thermometer. You are looking for a temperature of at least 165°F.

Fried Chicken Recipe Ingredients

Here’s a list of what you need:

  • Whole chicken – cut up
  • All-purpose flour
  • Salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • Buttermilk
  • Water
  • Vegetable oil or peanut oil for frying
Cracker Barrel fried chicken ingredients on a tray.

How to Make Cracker Barrel Southern Fried Chicken

  1. Pour enough oil into a deep fryer or large pot like a Dutch oven to be 3 to 4 inches deep. Heat the oil over medium-high heat to 350°F.
  2. Combine flour, salt, and pepper in a large bowl.
seasoned flour in a bowl.
  1. Combine buttermilk and water in a separate bowl using a whisk or spoon.
  2. Pat the chicken pieces dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Dip the chicken pieces into the flour mixture and shake off excess.
  4. Dip flour-coated chicken pieces into buttermilk and shake off excess.
  5. Dip the piece of chicken again in the flour.
  6. Place the breaded chicken on a wire rack over a baking sheet.
breaded chicken pieces on a wire rack.
  1. Let the breaded chicken set for at least 5 minutes.
  2. Deep fry the chicken in two or three batches. About 15 to 18 minutes for white meat chicken breast and chicken thighs. About 12 to 13 minutes for dark meat (wings, drumsticks, and legs). The chicken should have a nice golden brown color and the juices run clear.
  3. Drain the fried chicken on a clean wire rack over a baking sheet.
homemade Cracker Barrel fried chicken pieces in a basket

Recipe Variations

Add spices for additional flavor:

  • Cayenne pepper for heat.
  • Garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika for an extra savory touch.
  • Oregano and thyme for a touch of herbs.

What to serve with Southern Fried Chicken

You aren’t going to serve chicken alone, here are some side dishes that will help you round out your meal. Some sides that we love to serve with Southern fried chicken are green beans, mashed potatoes, buttermilk biscuits, and buttered corn.

Serving and Storing Cracker Barrel Southern Fried Chicken

  • Don’t forget the honey. Fried chicken is great on its own, but add a drizzle of honey on top and turn it into something extraordinary. If you never tried honey on your fried chicken, you don’t know what you are missing.
  • Serve with hot sauce on the side for those who enjoy their fried chicken with a kick of heat.
  • Serve plenty of homemade biscuits. Great southern fried chicken needs amazingly flaky biscuits on the side. So, you’ll definitely want to bake a batch or two of Cracker Barrel Biscuits.
  • Store any chicken leftovers in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to five days. Reheat by wrapping the chicken loosely in aluminum foil and cooking for 20 minutes in a 400-degree oven.

You can find more Cracker Barrel recipes on YouTube!

a basket of homemade Cracker Barrel fried chicken

Love Cracker Barrel? Try these copycat recipes!

Check out more of my easy chicken recipes for dinner and the best Cracker Barrel recipes here on CopyKat!

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overhead view of homemade Cracker Barrel fried chicken in a basket.

Cracker Barrel Southern Fried Chicken

You can make Cracker Barrel Southern Fried Chicken at home with this easy copycat recipe.
4.96 from 21 votes
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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Cracker Barrel Fried Chicken, Cracker Barrel Recipes, Fried Chicken
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 433kcal


  • oil for frying
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 3 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 3 cups buttermilk
  • 3/4 cups water
  • 1 whole chicken cut up


  • Pour 3 to 4 inches of oil into a deep fryer or large pot and heat the oil to 350 degrees.
  • Prepare seasoned flour by combining the flour, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Stir to combine well.
  • In another bowl mix together the buttermilk and water.
  • Pat the chicken pieces dry and season them with salt and pepper.
  • Dip chicken pieces into the flour and shake off the excess flour.
  • Dip flour-coated chicken pieces into the buttermilk and shake off the excess.
  • Dredge the chicken again in the seasoned flour.
  • Place the breaded chicken on a wire rack resting on a baking sheet.
  • Allow the breading to set up for at least 5 minutes. This helps to set the breaded chicken.
  • Cook the chicken in two or three batches. The chicken will take about 15 to 18 minutes to cook for the breasts and thighs. The wings and legs will take about 12 to 13 minutes to cook.
  • Drain the fried chicken on a clean wire rack on top of a baking sheet.



Calories: 433kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 81mg | Sodium: 1035mg | Potassium: 362mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 286IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 126mg | Iron: 3mg

About Stephanie Manley

I recreate your favorite restaurant recipes, so you can prepare these dishes at home. I help you cook dinner, and serve up dishes you know your family will love. You can find most of the ingredients for all of the recipes in your local grocery store.

Stephanie is the author of's Dining Out in the Home, and's Dining Out in the Home 2.

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