Millie Peartree's Fried Chicken

Fried Chicken with Hot Honey

byMillie Peartree
Total 3 hours (includes chilling time)
Active 60 mins
Makes 6 servings
Get ready to impress your friends and family. This recipe is sure to put a smile on your face. As all good things take time and care, this recipe is a little bit of a “labor of love.” Make sure you set aside about an hour and a half of prep work and around an hour of cook time. It serves 6 people, maybe 4 if you're hungry!
TIP: We use cold water in the brine, so we don’t risk cooking the chicken.
Special Equipment
a large Dutch oven and deep-fry or candy thermometer
Special Equipment
a large Dutch oven and deep-fry or candy thermometer
Lemon & Thyme Brine
  • 4 cups cold water
  • 1/4 cup fine salt
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Sprigs thyme
  • 1 lemon, sliced into rounds
  • 4 pounds bone-in chicken (split breasts halved crosswise, drumsticks and thighs not separated), trimmed
Fried Chicken
  • 1 1/2 cups cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage leaves
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
  • 12 cups canola, peanut or vegetable oil, for frying
Buttermilk Dredge
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • Zest of 1 lemon
Hot Honey
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • Side salad, for serving
  • Hot sauce, for serving
    1. For the lemon & thyme brine: In a large baking dish, combine 4 cups of cold water and the fine salt, bay leaves, thyme, and lemon slices. Add the chicken, submerge it in the brine, cover, and refrigerate for 1 hour.
    2. For the fried chicken: In a large bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and flour. Add the black pepper, baking powder, cayenne, garlic powder, paprika, dried sage leaves, and kosher salt and whisk together. Set aside.
    3. For the buttermilk dredge: Prepare your dredging station with a baking sheet.
    4. Drain the chicken from the brine mixture and return it to the baking dish. Crack the eggs directly over the chicken and add the buttermilk and lemon zest for additional brightness. Use your hands or tongs to coat the chicken completely in the mixture.
    5. NOTE: Here’s the secret to crunchy, crispy chicken. Add about 1/4 cup of your buttermilk-egg mixture to the flour mixture and combine with a fork to get shaggy pieces of flour.
    6. Then working in batches, remove pieces of chicken from the buttermilk mixture. Shake off any excess buttermilk and dredge in the seasoned flour mixture. Transfer to your prepared sheet pan.
    7. Refrigerate the chicken for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours to allow the coating to set properly.
    8. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven or large deep pot over high heat until it reaches 375°F on a deep-fry thermometer.
    9. Working in batches, fry 3 to 4 pieces of chicken in the oil until deep golden brown and fully cooked (165°F on an instant-read thermometer), 12 to 20 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken pieces.
    10. For the hot honey: While the chicken is frying, prepare the hot honey. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, combine the honey, cayenne pepper, and salt. Stir frequently until warmed through and the honey has thinned to a syrup consistency. Set aside.
    11. Transfer the cooked chicken to a second sheet tray lined with paper towels to drain excess oil. Season the chicken with kosher salt while warm. Make sure to bring the oil temperature back up to 375°F before cooking your next batch of chicken. Repeat this process until all the chicken is cooked.
    12. Serve the fried chicken with salad and hot honey or your favorite hot sauce.