IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Michael Symon's Fried Chicken

Michael Symon's Fried Chicken + Sicilian Cauliflower + Broccoli Rabe
Michael Symon's Fried Chicken + Sicilian Cauliflower + Broccoli RabeNathan Congleton / TODAY


  • 1 whole chicken, cut in to 10 pieces (2 legs, 2 thighs, 2 wings, 2 breasts-each cut in half)
  • Canola oil, for frying
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 gallon water, divided
  • 1 small bundle thyme springs
  • 1 small bundle rosemary sprigs
  • 6 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 shallots, peeled and finely sliced
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup vodka

Chef notes

What's not to love about fried chicken? It's the perfect comfort food and this recipe adds some unexpected flavors with fresh herbs, aromatic shallots and sweet brown sugar.

Technique tip: Using vodka in the batter allows the chicken to get extremely crispy as it evaporates when cooking.

Swap option: Use your favorite cut of chicken for the recipe, all boneless thighs is a good swap.


For the brine:

Add the salt and brown sugar to 4 cups of warm water and whisk to dissolve. Add the remaining 12 cups of room temperature/cold water and add the remaining ingredients. Submerge the chicken pieces in the brine and refrigerate overnight.

For the coating:

The next day remove the chicken to a draining rack and discard the brine. Whisk together the cornstarch and baking powder then dredge the chicken pieces in the coating, returning them back to the rack. Allow the chicken to sit in the coating for 2 hours, or up to overnight.

For the batter:


Heat a pot of oil for frying to 350°F.


Whisk together the batter ingredients and set aside. When the oil is heated, coat each piece of chicken in the batter, letting any excess drip off. Gently place each piece of chicken in the oil, being careful not to overcrowd the pot. You may need to fry in 2 batches.


Fry until golden brown and crispy and the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 160°F, about 15 minutes.