Serious Heat: Spicy Fried Chicken

Serious Heat

Andrea Lynn, senior editor of Chile Pepper magazine, shares thoughts and observations from the fiery food world.


Whether it's coated in a blend of chile powders or bathed in a combination of buttermilk and hot sauce, fiery fried chicken has become a force to be reckoned with. Slowly but surely, spicy fried chicken is coming into its own all across the country. (Bojangles', Chick-fil-A's Spicy Chicken, etc.) And this Southern gal—who is serious about both fried chicken and spice—is always looking to cook up fried chicken to quench both these needs.

Here are three things I know about making a good batch of spicy fried chicken:

  • Call me biased, but I'm more of a dark meat fan. I think it's much easier to create succulent fried chicken using dark meat, opposed to white meat, which can dry out more quickly.
  • For a spicier creation, either marinate the chicken in a spice rub, like the recipe below, or add spices to buttermilk, soaking the chicken in that mixture overnight.
  • Add a few tablespoons of a spice rub to the flour coating of the fried chicken for just a tinge of heat.

For this recipe, I marinated the chicken in a spice rub for 24 hours before frying it. It results in crunchy-coated Southern fried chicken with undertones of spice from the meat.

How do you spice up fried chicken?