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Sweet Tea Fried Chicken Recipe

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Sweet tea fried chicken recipe is a delicious summer picnic recipe. Pieces of chicken are marinated in a sweet tea and buttermilk brine and then fried up.

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Make southern fried chicken with a sweet tea brine! Pieces of bone in or boneless chicken are marinated in a sweet tea and buttermilk brine and then fried up crispy and crunchy.  Sweet tea fried chicken recipe is a delicious summer picnic recipe.

It’s finally officially summer!  The start to our summer has been crazy busy and I’m looking forward to some slower summer days ahead.

One thing my family loves to do is take a drive up the mountain near our home to enjoy some hiking and a picnic in the cooler mountain air.  But packing sandwiches and chips can get boring.

Every once in a while I like to surprise my family with a picnic of fried chicken.  It’s perfect to eat chilled and goes well with any kind of summer salad and of course, a big glass of iced sweet tea.

This summer I decided to mix things up by adding sweet tea to the fried chicken marinade.  I picked up a box of my favorite tea – Bigelow Tea – at Walmart to make a batch of sweet tea concentrate and make some fried chicken.

Sweet Tea

The only Bigelow black tea I could find was Earl Grey.  I’ve made sweet tea with Earl Grey before and really liked it so I went with it but you can use your favorite Bigelow black tea.  I think Bigelow’s Constant Comment would make an excellent iced tea.

sweet tea

Start by making a sweet tea concentrate.  You can make big batch of the concentrate and it will last for a few weeks, thanks to the baking soda in it.

sweet tea

I store my concentrate in a mason jar in the fridge.  To make iced sweet tea to drink, just mix equal parts of the concentrate and water and some ice.

Making sweet tea is quick and easy with a jar of concentrate ready to go.

sweet tea

I would make the fried chicken a day before your picnic.  It takes some time to marinate and cook – but it’s worth it!   I actually started the chicken marinating in the morning, cooked it around lunch time and then we ate it for dinner so it is possible to do in one day if you are organized.


sweet tea

I used all bone in chicken thighs because they cook up quicker than breasts.  Legs work great as do chicken tenderloins.  The tenderloins cook up even quicker, too.

Dredge the chicken in the flour and corn starch mix and then submerging it in the buttermilk and sweet tea marinade.  Let the chicken soak in the buttermilk and sweet tea goodness for at least 3 hours, but you can let them sit overnight as well.

sweet tea

When you are ready to fry the chicken, heat up your oil over medium high heat until it’s good and hot.  Coat the chicken again in the flour and corn starch mix.  Fry for 8-10 minutes on each side (or 16-20 minutes total) or until the chicken is cooked through.

The thighs took a good 10 minutes to cook.  Watch the temp on your oil and turn it down a little if the chicken starts to burn.   Don’t crowd the pan when frying, either.

I did a batch of 3 and then of 4 thighs.   I like fried chicken cold so I let it get nice and cold and serve it out of the cooler on our picnic.

sweet tea

If you’d like to take some sweet iced tea to drink, just mix up a jar full (half water and half concentrate) and put on a lid.  Throw them in the cooler with your chicken, add some cucumber salad and you’re all set to go.

sweet tea

I loved the sweetness and tea flavor that the sweet tea added to our fried chicken.  It was a delicious and fun way to enjoy iced tea this summer!


Sweet Tea Fried Chicken Recipe

Make southern fried chicken with a sweet tea brine! Pieces of bone in or boneless chicken are marinated in a sweet tea and buttermilk brine and then fried up crispy and crunchy.  Sweet tea fried chicken recipe is a delicious summer picnic recipe.

Yield: 4-6

Sweet Tea Fried Chicken

Sweet Tea Fried Chicken
Prep Time 3 hours
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 4 hours


  • [u][b]Sweet Tea Concentrate[/b][/u]
  • 2 cups water
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 6 Bigelow tea bags
  • pinch of baking soda

[u]Fried Chicken[/u]

  • 11/4 cups flour
  • 2/3 cups corn starch
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 3 pounds chicken pieces
  • 3 cups buttermilk
  • 1 cup sweet tea concentrate
  • Oil for frying


  1. To make the sweet tea concentrate:
  2. Bring water to a boil. Steep tea bags in the water for 10 minutes. Remove tea bags and stir in sugar and baking soda until sugar is dissolved. Allow to cool completely. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  3. To make the chicken:
  4. Whisk together flour, corn starch, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Scoop out 1 1/4 cups of the mixture and set aside.
  5. In a large bowl mix together buttermilk and sweet tea concentrate.
  6. Dredge chicken pieces in the flour mixture and then submerge the chicken in the buttermilk mixture. Repeat with all the chicken pieces. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight.
  7. When ready to fry the chicken, heat about 1" of oil over medium high heat in a large frying pan.
  8. Place reserved flour mixture into a pie pan.
  9. When oil is hot, remove chicken, one piece at a time and dredge again in the flour mixture. Fry for 8-10 minutes on each side of the chicken or until chicken is cooked through.
  10. Repeat for remaining chicken pieces making sure not to crowd the pan.


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  • Liz
    May 25, 2016

    Thank you Camille. Nice chicken recipe.

  • Scarlet
    July 5, 2015

    This looks like the perfect southern summertime dish! Thank you for sharing it!

  • Kathleen
    June 29, 2015

    That chicken looks perfect for a picnic, easy to handle and yummy to eat. Thanks for bringing sweet tea fried chicken to the #HomeMattersParty

  • Lou Lou Girls
    June 29, 2015

    This looks so amazing! I can’t wait to try it. Pinned and tweeted! Thanks for being a part of our party. I hope to see you, tonight at 7 pm. Lou Lou Girls

  • Heather
    June 28, 2015

    I am always afraid of frying chicken but this seems worth the venture! Wowsers……Thank you for linking up with #SmallVictoriesSundayLinkup 6/21/15

  • Karly
    June 28, 2015

    This looks incredibly delicious! The perfect dinner actually. Thanks for linking up with What’s Cookin’ Wednesday!

  • Jess
    June 24, 2015

    Fried chicken is the ultimate comfort food! This looks divine – I love the flavours!

  • Sarah R.
    June 23, 2015

    Wow!! I’ve never heard of this before!!! But I’m a South Carolinian and sweet tea is our JAM so this is right up my alley. Thanks for linking up at Snickerdoodle Sunday- can’t wait to see your latest and greatest this weekend. 🙂

    Sarah (Sadie Seasongoods)

  • Jennie
    June 23, 2015

    I am trying this! I’m completely open to trying odd-sounding liquids with meat ever since I discovered A&W root beer is the secret to great pulled pork.
    Pinned immediately.
    Thanks for sharing,
    p.s. Dropping by from LouLou Girls Fabulous Party #64.

  • Bill
    July 18, 2014

    Hi Camille,

    We have cooked with tea before and we love it but never with sweet tea and not with Fried Chicken. Thanks for sharing this one!

  • Miz Helen
    July 15, 2014

    This is awesome Fried Chicken, I can’t wait to try it! Hope you are have a great week and thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

    • Camille
      July 15, 2014

      It was amazing! Have a great week!

  • Swathi
    July 12, 2014

    This fried chicken recipe looks delicious lovely idea to use tea. Thanks for sharing with Hearth and Soul blog hop. pinning it.

  • Antionette Blake
    July 11, 2014

    A very interesting recipe, thanks for sharing again at the #WWDParty!

    • Camille
      July 13, 2014

      Thank you, Antionette! It’s delicious!

  • Joanne
    June 28, 2014

    Your chicken looks so good! Thanks for the tasty recipe.

    • Camille
      July 2, 2014

      Thanks, Joanne! I just made this again – about a week later – it was so good!

  • Wow, this looks good! Thanks for the yummy recipe…it is definitely added to my summer meals list. I bet your family loves this dish paired with Bigelow iced tea on a picnic! #client