Whole Fried Chicken

By Marcus Samuelsson |

This recipe for Whole Fried Chicken is a favorite at Red Rooster and was featured on CBS Sunday Morning on November 22nd 2015 when Marcus sat down to chat about his story with Jane Pauley.

Prep Details

Servings: 4


1 gallon water

1 cup coarse kosher salt

1 whole chicken (3 ½ lbs.)

4 cups buttermilk

1 ½ cups coconut milk

2 garlic cloves minced

2 Tablespoons smoked paprika

4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup semolina flour

4 Tablespoons cornstarch

2 Tablespoons freshly ground white pepper

Peanut oil for frying


Put 8 cups water and the salt in a saucepan over high heat and bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the salt. Pour into a large container, add the remaining 8 cups of water, and cool to room temperature. Add the chicken, cover, and refrigerate for 1 1/2 hours. Drain.

Whisk the buttermilk, coconut milk, garlic, and paprika in a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Submerge the chicken in the marinade, cover, and refrigerate overnight.

Pour the peanut oil into the turkey fryer. Heat to 360º F.

Coat the chicken while the oil heats. Put the flour, semolina, cornstarch and pepper into a bowl and whisk to combine. Let any excess marinade drip off the chicken, then roll in the flour coating, packing it on. Place on a rack set over a baking sheet. If the coating looks damp, roll it in the flour again.

Fry until the chicken is a rich brown and has an internal temperature of 165º F, about 10 minutes per batch. Keep an eye on the heat and adjust to keep the oil between 350 and 375º F. Drain on a rack set over a baking sheet.