Pan-frying uses a small amount of fat, as opposed to deep-frying, which uses much more. Chicken cooked this way finishes juicy and flavorful, with a browned, crunchy exterior that is not at all greasy. To provide a barrier between the food and the cooking fat, pan-fried foods are usually coated in flour, then in a liquid such as milk, then again in either flour or bread crumbs, or just dipped in liquid and floured. These layers add texture, flavor, and color.
Temperature control makes the difference between pan-fried chicken that is browned and chicken that is burnt or unevenly cooked. For the best results, select a skillet with a heavy bottom that is responsive to changes in temperature, retains heat, and conducts it evenly. The pan should be large enough so you can cook a number of pieces in it at a time, with a handle that stays cool and is comfortable to hold. For safety, always turn the handle away from you so that you donít accidentally knock against it and spill the hot fat.
Coating Chicken Pieces
First dredge the chicken in flour so that the liquid has something to adhere to. Pour the buttermilk or other liquid into a pie plate and dip the flour-coated chicken in the buttermilk, then again in the flour mixture.
Adding Chicken Pieces to Oil
Add the oil to the skillet and set the temperature to medium. When the fat is hot, place the coated chicken pieces in the pan with tongs and cook until the first side is evenly browned, about 15 minutes.
Turning Chicken in Skillet
Once the pieces are nicely browned on one side, turn them to brown the other side. Reduce the heat to medium low and cook until the chicken is tender.