We love making Pan-Fried Chicken Legs with super crispy skin! This crispy and tender chicken recipe is a total winner, no buttermilk needed.

I grew up on fried chicken as a kid! We always pan fried our chicken and kept it simple. No buttermilk, no breadcrumbs and minimal fuss. I have memories of my Dad taking his electric skillet outside to fry the chicken, so the house wouldn’t smell like grease! We would eat our fried chicken with piles of mashed potatoes and this delicious coleslaw recipe. It was always one of my favorite family meals!

a close up photo of pan fried chicken drumsticks draining on paper towels

There’s a benefit to using just one cut of chicken. When you fry a whole chicken, the different pieces need drastically different fry times. These drumsticks have the same cooking time, which takes a lot of the guesswork out of it!

Making fried chicken can be a chore. But, making these Fried Chicken Drumsticks is a breeze!

Ingredients for Pan Fried Chicken Coating

Why Pan Fry?

Well, if you don’t have a deep fryer, pan frying is the easy choice! But I like to pan fry because it’s a bit nostalgic for me, but I also like that it requires less oil. We don’t fry too much food, so I don’t like to keep large vats of oil on hand.

Deep frying is certainly quicker, but I will choose to pan fry any day for the best results!

Spices for Pan Fried Chicken

What oil is best for pan frying?

For this recipe, you’ll need to heat the oil substantially and have it sustain that heat for 30 minutes or more. Although you may be tempted to use olive oil for it’s health benefits, it is not the best choice for frying due to it’s low smoke point.

Pan Fried Chicken Legs Recipe


For pan frying, I recommend using a neutral oil with a high smoke point, like peanut oil or canola oil.

You’ll also need a heavy pan, and I recommend investing in a splatter screen, too. The grease that pops out of the skillet is no joke, and the splatter screen helps keep it contained!

Easy Pan Fried Chicken Legs Recipe


Once fried, you can keep your chicken legs warm in the oven, covered in aluminum foil.

To store in the fridge, place in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Fried chicken is best reheated in the oven. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes at 325 degrees Fahrenheit, until heated through.

Once your chicken is fried and drains for a bit on some paper towels, it’s ready to eat! You can enjoy it plain (my favorite) with a few dashes of hot sauce or toss it in your favorite buffalo sauce or barbecue sauce. Your choice!

Pan Fried Chicken Legs Recipe

Pan Fried Chicken Legs

Yield: Serves 4-5
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Additional Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 32 minutes

These pan fried chicken legs use simple ingredients and are ready in about 30 minutes!


  • 2 pounds chicken legs
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon chili powder
  • 1.5 cups vegetable oil, for frying


  1. Bring the chicken pieces out of the refrigerator and allow to rest on the counter for 20 minutes to remove the chill and bring the chicken closer to room temperature.
  2. To a cast iron pan, Dutch oven or non-stick 12-inch skillet, add oil. Heat oil over medium-high heat to the temperature of 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. Prepare the chicken legs by thoroughly patting dry with paper towels.
  4. In a large bowl or large Ziploc bag mix together the dry ingredients; flour, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, chili powder and paprika.
  5. Dip chicken into seasoned flour mixture and roll to coat.
  6. Lay each chicken leg carefully down into the hot oil using tongs.
  7. Let the chicken cook, flipping every 3-4 minutes, for 10-12 minutes or until the thickest part of the chicken registers 165 degrees Fahrenheit, and the outside of the chicken legs are golden brown. Depending on the size of the chicken legs, you may need a little more or less time.
  8. Remove chicken from oil and and allow to rest on a paper-towel lined plate for about 5 minutes to drain any excess oil and cool slightly before eating.


When frying, it's best to leave space in between the chicken so the oil can bubble up the side of each chicken piece. You may need to fry in batches to avoid over crowding the pan.

I like to re-check my oil temperature between each batch. You may need to let the oil re-heat a bit to come back up to temperature.

Nutrition Information
Yield 5 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 1011Total Fat 82gSaturated Fat 9gTrans Fat 2gUnsaturated Fat 67gCholesterol 230mgSodium 289mgCarbohydrates 21gFiber 1gSugar 0gProtein 47g

The nutrition for this recipe is calculated by an app and may be incorrect.

Did you make this recipe?

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