Sarah Savoy’s Fried Chicken

Author, chef and musician Sarah Savoy and her classic fried chicken recipe
Here is Sarah Savoy’s recipe for Fried Chicken from her book The Savoy Kitchen – A Family History of Cajun Food. It’s a real American – and Cajun – classic.

“There are many things I often just assume people know how to do because I grew up doing them, and I’m often surprised when people say, ‘Oh my goodness, how did you make this [insert any ordinary dish here, like fried chicken, meatloaf, etc.]?’

So let me just toss in this one random soul food comfort meal. Serve it up with mashed potatoes, a side of corn macque choux and maybe some biscuits and gravy. To stop it being a complete carb overload, smothered okra is also great with fried chicken.”


  • 1 whole chicken, jointed into 10 pieces
  • 500ml buttermilk
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • A dash of hot sauce (or more to taste)
  • 300g plain flour
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • cayenne
  • vegetable oil for frying


Put the chicken pieces in a bowl with the buttermilk and add the dry mustard, thyme and a dash of hot sauce. Season the chicken with salt, black pepper and cayenne and mis well, then leave it in the fridge for at least one and a half hours, turning the pieces every thirty minutes.

Pour off as much of the buttermilk as you can, then mix the flour in with the chicken pieces to coat them. The batter will be very sticky and moist.

Frying Your Chicken

Preheat the oven to 150ºC. Fill a deep, heavy-bottomed skillet with enough oil to cover the largest piece of chicken and heat the oil until it’s hot but not smoking. Working in batches, place the chicken pieces in the oil and fry on each side for at least eight minutes or until the juices run clear when you pierce near the bone with a small, sharp knife. Thighs take the longest – up to twenty minutes a side. Once cooked, remove the pieces, drain them on a bed of paper towels and transfer to the oven for only as long as it takes you to cook the other pieces.


While you’ve got the oil hot, why not mix up a batch of hush puppies to eat with the chicken? Mix up 240g cornmeal, 110g flour, 1/2 tsp bicarb, 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp salt, half a small onion (finely chopped), 250ml milk or buttermilk and an egg. Throw in some chopped jalapeños or crab meat if you have any and drop the batter by tablespoons into the hot oil. Fry on all sides until golden brown and drain on paper towels.


You can either fry the chicken wings as well, or freeze them to make hot wings another day.

Buy The Savoy Kitchen – A Family History of Cajun Food here