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Mammy's Pan-Fried Chicken

Serves 4 to 6

This is my Pennsylvania Dutch grandmother's recipe for pan-fried chicken. Adding some water and covering the chicken while it is cooking results in a slightly crisp, but almost gooey texture. The pan drippings can be used to make a gravy. I am certain that Mammy always used lard or, in later years, shortening for frying. I used to use shortening because lard is difficult to find, but now I use healthier canola oil and the chicken is equally delicious. See the variation below for an alternate cooking method.


Put flour on plate or in bowl; add salt and pepper and combine well. Coat chicken pieces with flour mixture; shake off excess. Meanwhile, heat large frying pan over medium-high. Add enough oil to generously cover the bottom of the pan, about 1/4 inch. Continue to heat until oil is hot, but not smoking. Add chicken pieces, skin side down. Fry on each side until golden brown. Reduce heat to medium. Add a little water to the pan, just enough to slightly cover the bottom. Cover and continue cooking for about 35 minutes, turning pieces several times. The water should evaporate before turning. This allows for additional browning. Add a little water after each turn. When chicken is done and the juices run clear, allow any water left in pan to evaporate. Remove chicken from pan, make gravy if desired, and serve.

Variation: Brown chicken as above, place in a baking dish and cover. Bake in a preheated 400° F oven for 40-45 minutes. This results in a somewhat drier meat for those who prefer it that way. That was the way my father liked it, so my mother put his in the oven and finished the remainder on the stovetop for the rest of the family.