Tonya Holland's Buttermilk Fried Chicken

In honor of Black history month, I prepared this following dish for this month's Chef Spotlight dinner where we highlight African American chefs. This recipe comes from Tanya Holland.

Tonya is a Food Network host who offers an irresistible collection of updated soul food recipes. This "new" cuisine, while maintaining its ethnic roots, uses a wide range of fresh, healthy, and seasonal ingredients. Her specialty New Soul Cooking is captured in her cookbook which stretches the repertoire of African-American cuisine by combining this traditional style of cooking with global flavors and cooking techniques from the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, Asia, South America, and the American Southwest. Holland recognizes that today's cook is interested in new and innovative presentation ideas. New Soul Cooking reflects the fact that many African-Americans share the heritage of Brazil, the Caribbean, the American South, and of course Africa. The book draws upon the Diaspora of African culture using the spice trade route as a guide. Through informative headnotes and delicious recipes, Holland demonstrates how flavors of East Indian, Native American, European, and Chinese food fused with Caribbean, Cajun, and Creole dishes to create the concept of "soul food." ~

Buttermilk Fried Chicken
recipe adapted from Tanya Holland

1 (3 pound) fryer, cut into pieces
2 cups buttermilk
6 cloves garlic, smashed
1 large onion, sliced
1 cup chopped mixed fresh herbs (parsley, tarragon, thyme)
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 cups flour (I used whole wheat flour)
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon onion salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper
3 cups solid vegetable shortening

Soak chicken in buttermilk with garlic, onions, herbs, paprika, and cayenne pepper. Refrigerate overnight or at least 8 hours. Drain in colander, leaving some herbs on chicken.

In a large paper grocery bag, mix flour with seasonings.

Meanwhile, heat 3 cups shortening in cast iron pan until 350 degrees.

Place chicken pieces in bag with flour and shake, let sit 1 minute, then shake again.

Add chicken to hot pan and fry on 1 side for 20 minutes, then turn to finish.


  1. Hi Joelen

    Are you sure the cooking time is right for this chicken recipe, 20 minutes is a long time to cook chicken only on one side.

  2. That doesn't look like any fried chicken I've ever seen.