Copycat Church’s Fried Chicken

I must say, I have never had Church’s Fried Chicken… I don’t even know where there is a Church’s near me. lol Anyway, so many people e-mail me about this recipe, so I had to post it. I tried it last night and it was definitely the best fried chicken I’ve ever made at home. I served it with some homemade mashed potatoes and my Mom made her famous green bean casserole. I’d love to hear some feedback from some of you who have been to Church’s.

1 Tbs sugar
1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
3 tsp seasoned salt
2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup biscuit mix
1 envelope Italian dressing mix
1 envelope onion soup mix
1 Chicken (Cut into Pieces)
2 eggs, mix with
1/4 cup cold water
1 cup corn oil (for frying)

Combine first set of ingredients in a 4-cup bowl. Mix to blend the ingredients thoroughly.

Dip the chicken pieces in egg mixture and then into dry coating mix and repeat so each piece is double coated.

Pre-heat the oil in a heavy skillet. Brown pieces skin-side down for 4 to 6 minutes. Use medium high heat.

Turn and brown underside of pieces a few minutes. Transfer to an oiled or Pam-sprayed pan. Cover with foil, sealing it on only 3 sides of pan.

Bake at 350F for about 45 to 50 minutes. Remove foil, then Bake another 5 minutes until the coating is crisp.

87 thoughts on “Copycat Church’s Fried Chicken

  1. Jen says:

    what is a “church’s bar”????

    as mentioned in the song: “fried chicken song” on youtube

  2. Shade change says:

    That’s all well and good but could anyone tell me how to make church’s chicken jalapeno bombers.. please the franchise left my country and I’ve developed an almost like pregnant craving for the dam things

  3. Bob T says:

    I was store Manager for Church’s back in the early 90’s before Al Copeland of Popeye’s bought out the company. I worked close to corporate headquarters in San Antonio. Church’s Chicken today is nothing like it was before Al Copeland bought the Company. He changed out the receipe for a “dry mix” Spoke about this with one of the VP’s at the test kitchen in San Antonio. I thought it sounded like a mistake but of course said nothing. ORIGINAL recipe called for receiving whole chicken between 2 to 3 pounds in whole. Chicken would be marinated for 18 hours in 100 gallon vats. Salt would be added (I’m leaving out exact details) along with seasonings. After marinating for 18 hours, the chicken would be cut up in the store and panned.

    Pre batter mix would be made in pans of water. Water would be refrigerated for 12 hours before use. To cook chicken, chicken would be imersed in pre batter mix and then rolled in flour mix. When cooking chicken the old way, the aroma would bring in folks for blocks. The new way is a laugh. Bill Church had it perfected. Al Copeland destroyed Church’s with his grand ideas — rubbish……
    I’ve always made the same receipe at the house which identical to the old way……

    I still have a case of the old spicy sprinkle at the house after all this time. I forgot about it!!!!

    Bob T

  4. Donna says:

    I’m from the South an theres nothing better than fried chicken to us. My Dad was in the business all of his life, so he taught me a few things on frying chicken. The salt and water as we call it is a brine, you put enough salt in the water for it to taste like real salty water, like you have sallowed a mouth full of ocean then soak in the frige for 30 minutes up to overnight, then rinse off. The brine helps the chicken to stay moist especially white meat. He always told me to deep fry my chicken and that when it was done it would float to the top. Hope this helps someone out on the chicken recipe.


    I was just surfing on the internet for different recipes, and I ran across this one and it sound really good. I have to drive at least 30miles to get to Churches here where I live. THANKS Im glad I was surfing the internet…… Keep the recipes going THE DIRTY SOUTH FROM THE MOTER CITY……..

  6. Joe S says:

    The Secret to Church’s Chicken is they marinate the chicken overnight in seasoning+salt for 24 hours .
    Also they Keep the batter at 38 degrees .To kep keep from being greasy you must completley coat each piece twice and dont allow the grease to decrease in tempature …. Have a great Day Joe R&D dept

  7. Phaw Khrua says:

    LOL! Funny, Road Dawg. I found this site trying to find a recipe for Church’s Creamy Jalapeño Sauce.

    Not sure if that’s available in the U.S.-based Church’s Chicken, but it is at the ones in Puerto Rico and Honduras and they use it to make a delicious sandwich they call the “Pancho Sandwich.” It’s fried, boneless chicken breast, the Creamy Jalapeño Sauce, minced red onions, a slice of cheese, a few crispy tortilla chips, tomato and lettuce. I’m hoping to make that sandwich at home, but I need to be able to make the sauce first.

    So, ChefTom (or anyone else), do you have, or can you figure out the Church’s Chicken Creamy Jalapeño Sauce recipe?

  8. Phaw Khrua says:

    Here’s what I’ve tried for the Creamy Jalapeño Sauce, so far:

    In a blender, purée together 1 cup mayonnaise, 3 seeded and diced jalapeño peppers, 1 diced Roma tomato (minus the stem end, of course), 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

    The last time I was at Church’s, I had them include some extra Creamy Jalapeño Sauce on the side, with my order, so I brought that home and kept tasting that as I developed the mixture I mentioned above. It’s pretty close, but not exactly the same and I’m debating if (and how much) garlic to add, as well as whether to add a bit of lime juice. Even so, what I outlined above is delicious and worth trying. Perhaps someone else could start with that and fine tune it a bit.

    Road Dawg, I wonder if the sauce for which you are looking is actually the same as this one for which I am looking. Maybe, with some lime juice added, my concoction is pretty close to what you seek. If you try it, please post your reaction here.

  9. Road Dawg says:

    The Church’s Chicken jalapeño-lime sauce they serve here in Saint Louis, MO is more of a thick vinaigrette. I’m doing some experimenting with little luck. The counter rep called it chili-lime, but the menu sign calls it jalapeño-lime. Call it what you want, but I’m addicted & in desparate need of help. Thanks ; )

  10. TINA says:

    Hello!! this recipe is good. Very tasty.
    Thanks for the tips.. By the way, it doesn’t taste like church’s chicken they are better.
    Gardena CA.

  11. RAfia says:

    Oh man, love oven jerk chicken. I enjoy resting the little dears on a wire rack in the roasting pan. This way the bottom gets crispy as well. Also a fan of using spray olive oil on the crust before it hits the oven. .

  12. lashaunda says:

    I am so glad that i read the comments in this forum. The “ex” employee’s helped me out a bunch. I was almost thinking about using my vacation time to work @ church’s, (just kidding). I grew up in Alaska but we had a church’s up their but I’m Hebrew and have to prepare all of my meals my self. Even tho I LOVE to cook I hate it when I can’t duplicate a meal that I had before the no restaurant era. I tried the recipe and would have rather it been called some other name not Church’s. This recipe is deplicated @ various websites and should be titled Italian Onion fried chicken. Whoever made this recipe is very creative but it could use a little tweeking. Look @ it this way, you wont be having big exectives from church’s threatening you any time soon.

  13. Brenda says:

    Makes sense now why ”Churches” has gone “down the tubes” since the owner of Popeyes took it over. I knew it didn’t taste the same as it did in the past. It is dry and the only places you can get TRUE Churches chicken is at the old Churches chicken places, and not at those Combo gas-convenience store spots. I will try the brine with cold water/salt..makes sense & the buttermilk/flour route with salt on the meat as soon as it comes out of the fryer. Floating th chicken shows that it is done sounds good too, but all these italian spices etc is a JOKE people…don’t waste your time or $$.

  14. Blanca says:

    Brenda, it depends on the combo joint. Ours is run by someone who used to run a straight up Church’s from before the buy-out. Corporate would probably hang him if they knew he was STILL making old-style chicken. He won’t share the seasoning secret, but gave me a few tips.

    1) WASH chicken after cutting and trimming up to make eight pieces. He uses shears to cut out the backbone, btw.
    2) In a large container, mix 2 quarts water, 1/2 to 2/3 cup of salt, 2 tablespoons sugar and 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar. stir to combine. Put chicken in a large non-reactive covered container with enough of the brine to cover the chicken by an inch or two. Refrigerate for at least 12 and no more than 24 hours.
    3) Take chicken out and place on racks while you make the dip.
    4) So far as he will tell me, the dip is 1/2 buttermilk, plus one or two eggs, a few drops of Tabasco and enough water as to make it the consistency of cream.
    5) Here is the part I am still working on: seasoning. I know there is salt, black AND red pepper, garlic and onion powders as well as celery salt (I think). He adds whatever the seasonings are to 1 1/2 cups of flour for the coating.
    6) The coating process is simple but devious. Flour, dip and recoat the chicken in flour. Return the pieces to the rack and put in the fridge for 15 minutes. Remove, dip and flour again.
    7) Deep fry chicken in batches in 350 degree oil (for 16 to 18 minutes or till golden and juices run clear. Allow to rest 10 minutes before consuming. (It will still be hot.)

    He also makes his own poppers. The halved and cleaned peppers get fried for 1 minute, are cooled and then filled, battered (same dip and flour recipes) and fried golden.

  15. Maggie says:

    Can anyone tell me the brand of Jalapeno’s that Churche’s uses. I’ve tried every brand I can find and nothing compares. I’ve even tried making my own, but always comes out to vinegary.If any one has any info about this please, please let me know, I’ll dance at your wedding.

  16. Mika says:

    How can someone that never had Church’s Chicken post the recipe?
    I’ve been eating Church’s for over 30 yrs. This recipe is not even close. I’ve tried it several times. Church’s chicken is deep fried not oven baked. Althought this recipe is good, it’s better to me deep fried. But it’s just not as good as, or close to the Original..

  17. terrie mendez says:

    Love love love churches chicken …nothing and o mean nothing comes close to their chicken period! We drive 187 miles one way 3-4 times a year and buy loads to bring home and freeze till the next trip. My question is does anyone know what brand of Jalepenos they use? We love those things but so far have had no luck finding them in area supermarkets…HELP!!!!

  18. Maggie says:

    I haven’t found the exact brand of Jalapeno’s they use at Churches, but these are close. The Brand is SanMarco’s in a can. They are a little hotter, but have a great taste. They also have pickled carrots in with the Jalapeno’s that are to die for.

  19. David Duik says:

    Delicious Recipe!

    I have a homemade version for a number of KFC recipes among them the most famous finger licking good fried chicken and also the crispy-luscious, mouth watering buttermilk chicken recipe. While making the recipes one can fill the moist, crunchy and tasty chicken ever made. Visit my website…


  20. Southern Belle says:

    Just by looking @ it, I can tell it is too spicy. You’ll just have to do some research, find a TRUE CHURCHES, not one of those in a gas station. One that stands by itself, and then go for it. It is good.

  21. Shalori says:

    Yummm .. Hi.. Where I live there is NO Churches. I cannot just go to one unless I hop a plane, so IF anyone has a recipe that’s at least close to Churches please, let me know.

  22. ozzy1963 says:

    Im trying this reciepe tomorrow im going to soak my chicken overnight in iced salted using sea salt because it tasts better and its better for you. Thank you chef tom for this reciepe. Keep em comming.

  23. Tom says:

    Ate at a Church’s in Alice,Texas this afternoon. I asked for white pieces (3-piece pack) and got three fairly large items. As I pulled the wing off, nibbled the skin off the neck, twisted out the top half of the thigh and ate what appears to be half of an old cut of breast (keel), I was wondering if it was chicken or iguana… A single piece that has neck, wing, thigh and breast meat? Still, tasty as always due to the soak and spiced batter. 200 calories per piece.

  24. Amanda Seelbach says:

    This recipe was awesome!! It was so good my hubby emailed it to his sister. Lol But I soaked my chicken in salt water for a few hours too. Just a tip though, you might want to put something in the bottom of the pan to keep the chicken from sitting in it’s own juices and getting soggy. This is definitely a new family favorite though!!!

  25. confussed cook says:

    Churches deep fries their chicken some of the dry ingredients sound like common sense i will be trying to reproduce the spicier spicy chicken using some of the ingredient listed but not all and adding some of my own. I will be deep frying it NOT BAKING!!!!

  26. Helen says:

    Maybe, just maybe different restaurants are doing different things! I live in Columbus, Ohio and the Churches here, briefly soak the chicken in this milky substance then flours the chicken once before immediately throwing it into the fryer vats. I know this because there’s a window for everyone to watch them cook!

  27. cheffh says:

    This is an awesome recipe.Really enjoyed this variety recipe. Just log on to my site and try some of my recipes as well. Please don’t forget to post your comments.

  28. Laura F. says:

    The old Church’s chicken, the spicy version – smelled like chicken soup – celery, etc. and was great, never too spicy, extra crunchy and crispy. Man, it was good! Late ’70’s, early 80’s. Nothing like today, and waaaaaay better than Popeyes.

  29. Pat L. says:

    I agree this copycat recipe is just a shot in the dark. No way Italian dressing mix and onion soup mix should be in this recipe. We had a Church’s chicken in Rdg. PA back in the late eighties early nineties. There you could also see them make their chicken. Blanca and Bob are closest to the original recipe. The one thing I really remember was being told the chicken, batter must be cold. Don’t do yourself a disservice and waste your money on all the unnecessary ingredients. Once you have eaten Church’s, you’ll understand!

  30. Linda Wright says:

    for anyone interested in the churches creamy jalapeno sauce, ken’s dressings has an jalapeno ranch which is dead on… the only problem is I haven’t been able to find it in stores but the company does have it in gallon jugs. I haven’t called the company to see if they will sell retail but haven’t did it yet… you may have to have a restaurant to get it or maybe someplace like GFS (gordan food service) can order it for you…but trust me its awesome just like churches

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