Maryland Fried Chicken with Cream Gravy

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes

    4 to 6


Appears in

The Glory of Southern Cooking

The Glory of Southern Cooking

By James Villas

Published 2007

  • About

Although Maryland fried chicken is a totally different culinary concept from traditional Southern fried chicken, it certainly qualifies as one of the classic glories of our cookery. Actually, it’s not “fried chicken” at all, since the pieces are just lightly browned before being simmered in liquid and served covered with a cream gravy. When, how, and why the dish evolved remains a secret of history, but it is true that Marylanders have always argued about whether the gravy should be poured over the chicken or served in a sauceboat, and that they’ve always eaten the dish with Maryland Beaten Biscuits. Although not meaning to buck tradition, I must confess that sometimes I’ve made this gravy with buttermilk instead of half-and-half, and love it.


  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • One 3- to 3½-pound chicken, cut into serving pieces
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 cup half-and-half


In a paper bag, combine the 1 cup of flour, salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper and shake till well blended. Pour the milk into a shallow bowl, dip the chicken pieces in the milk, then shake them in the paper bag to coat evenly, tapping off excess flour.

In a large, heavy skillet, heat about ½ inch of oil over moderately high heat, add the chicken, cover, and fry till golden, about 5 minutes on each side, turning the pieces with tongs. Uncover and continue to fry till the pieces are slightly browned all over. Pour off the fat, add the water, reduce the heat to moderate, cover, and cook till tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a platter and keep warm.

Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of liquid from the skillet, reduce the heat to low, add the 1 tablespoon flour, and stir for 3 minutes. Add the half-and-half, increase the heat to moderate, and cook till the gravy is thickened, scraping up any brown bits from the pan. Remove from the heat.

Strain the gravy over the chicken and serve immediately.