Southern Fried Chicken with Cream Gravy

This is truly one of the rock stars of Southern cooking, and it’s a dish that people in the South like to talk about. This is a typical fried-chicken recipe, but there are many, many variations. You’ll even find a few great cookbooks devoted to fried chicken from the South and other areas of the country.

Serves: 8Hands-on: 1 hourTotal: 1 hourDifficulty: Medium

Serves: 8


  • 2 cups canola oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 1⁄2 cups plus 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1 Tbsp. plus 1⁄4 tsp. salt, divided
  • 2 1⁄2 tsp. ground black pepper, divided
  • 1⁄2 tsp. paprika
  • 5 lbs. bone-in chicken pieces (breasts, thighs, wings, legs)
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup half-and-half


  • Heat oil in a large, deep skillet with a heavy bottom and a cover. The oil is ready when it registers 350°F. Watch carefully for overheating.
  • Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together eggs and milk. Combine 2 1⁄2 cups flour, 1 tablespoon salt, 2 teaspoons pepper, and paprika in a large food storage bag. Dip a few chicken pieces in milk mixture, then drop into bag and shake gently to coat thoroughly.
  • Working with about 4 pieces of chicken at a time, place in hot oil. Cover and fry for 5 minutes. Uncover, fry for 5 more minutes on that side, then turn and fry the other side for about 10 minutes. Depending on thickness and whether meat is white or dark, the time could vary a bit. White meat generally takes less time. Check a few pieces of chicken by cutting into meat to see if juices run clear. Remove chicken to a plate lined with paper towels to drain and keep warm. Repeat with remaining chicken pieces.
  • Carefully pour all but 2 tablespoons of the oil into a metal bowl or another pan; set it aside to cool before discarding. Place the skillet over medium heat; stir in remaining 2 tablespoons flour, stirring up browned bits in the bottom of the skillet. Cook flour and oil for about 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Gradually stir in chicken broth and half-and-half. Cook gravy mixture, stirring constantly, until thickened and bubbly. Season gravy with remaining salt and pepper. If desired, strain before serving with fried chicken.