Before we show you the best fried chicken in London, let’s do a quick bit of history. The first documented recipe for the stuff dates back to 1824. A housewife in Virginia wrote, 'Cut them up as for the fricassée, dredge them well with flour, sprinkle them with salt, put them into a good quantity of boiling lard and fry them a light brown.' Nearly two hundred years later, we have a whole cuisine based around fried chicken. It comes in many forms, often accompanied by cooling slaw, tangy pickles or fiery hot sauce.
Speaking of hot sauce, another honourable mention in the history of fried chicken is Nashville. There, it’s alleged that a woman tried to murder her man with spicy chicken. Unfortunately for her, the man loved it, and Nashville hot chicken was born. You’ll also probably see buttermilk in a lot of places. That’s because buttermilk has two key benefits when used in fried chicken. The first is that when used as a marinade, it starts to break down the structure of the chicken, making it extra tender. The second is that when you fry it, it mixes with the flour to go brilliantly crunchy.
Of course, not all fried chicken is western. Korean fried chicken, for example, follows a different set of rules. It’s traditionally double-fried, making it super crisp, often basted in a gochujang-based spicy sauce. Japan has great fried chicken too, called karaage. Even chicken katsu is arguably fried chicken, just with breadcrumbs instead of batter.
Right, that’s enough preamble. You’re here for one thing: the best fried chicken in London. We’ve included pictures so you can get an idea of the vibe, along with a mini-review, where the place is, and a link to the page so you can book it, pronto. So, without further ado, here are the mother-clucking best places to get wings and tings.
FOWL by Fallow, St. James’s
What: Fallow chefs Jack Croft and Will Murray branched out from their excellent restaurant with a space around the corner, dedicated to serving ‘beak to tail’ chicken. Dishes are more technical than your average, with a variety of wings featuring, alongside a famous chicken head pie and a cracking triple crisp chicken fillet burger.
Where: 3 Norris Street, SW1Y 4RJ
Book now: FOWL by Fallow
Butchies, various locations
What: You’ll be scrolling a while if you happen upon Butchie's accolades page, with the dreamy duo behind the brand (husband and wife team Garrett and Emer) having gone and won many the award, and having cooked for big-name brands like Nike and Southern Comfort. Their success is of course down to the quality of their fried chicken – which is made from meat that is ethically and sustainably sourced from high-welfare, local farms. Having set out on their journey to make the best fried chicken sandwich London has ever seen the menu focuses on such joyous things, but there are also wings and strips up for grabs. Our favourite is the Jenny From The Block, which combines that crisp and succulent fried chicken with guacamole, chipotle mayo and smoky streaked bacon in a bun.
Book now: Butchies
Sichuan Fry, Hackney
What: Following the huge success of Dumpling Shack, John and Yee Li have branched out into a new spicy fried chicken concept that blends the soul of a buffalo chicken burger with firey Sichuan spicing. At Sichuan Fry's first pop-ups, queues snacked around the block as Londoners waited for a taste. Sichuan Fry has a bricks and mortar in London Fields now, so you can pop in and grab a burger for yourself or order via Deliveroo. The main event is the Sichuan Classic - a buttery potato bun with pickles, slaw, Sichuan sauce and an enormous crispy chicken thigh at the centre, but the soy and garlic chicken burger is excellent too, and there are wings, popcorn chicken bits and more to get stuck into.
Where: 2 Westgate Street, E8 3RN
Book now: Sichuan Fry
Thunderbird, various locations
What: This casual London restaurant serves up all kinds of fried chicken options – from wings and buns to buckets and boxes filled with the golden good stuff. It even won best buffalo wings at Wingfest back in 2019. We love the 'sharing' bucket that packs in boneless fried chicken, awesome sauce, fries and a choice of three dips. We suggest it serves one, but that’s where we differ. The sauces here are also amazing - try the meltdown with miso-jalapeno cheese sauce. It's lethal.
Where: Various locations
Book now: Thunderbird Fried Chicken
What: Louie's claims to be bringing Nashville hot chicken to the crowds of Shoreditch, with quite the tale told about the origins of their signature dish. We’ll leave them to explain that one in full detail but – spoiler alert – it features a scorned woman trying to burn her boyfriend, in more ways than one, and it backfires. Although all the options here are spiced you can choose between mild, hot and x-hot to suit your mood, or your hangover. We’re very much there for the chicken and waffles, that come with either a quarter bird, tenders or wings and are drizzled with butter and maple syrup. Sides are a good spread too and include fried pickles, coleslaw, fries, onion rings and mozzarella sticks.
Where: 37 Hoxton Square, London, N1 6NN
Book now: Louie’s
Other Side Fried, Brixton
What: With a slogan like "dirty done proper", you'll want to wear a napkin. Each of Other Side Fried’s locations has a slightly different menu, so we suggest trying them all to find your favourite. It’s the right thing to do. In most, you’ll find the OSF, which is our favourite, a burger or wrap stuffed with perfectly cooked fried chicken, brown butter mayonnaise, Parmesan, garlic, and lettuce. On the side you can order more fried chicken, in the form of strips, and rosemary salted or dirty fries. The dirty variety comes with bacon, parmesan and ranch sauce, and is a must.
Where: 3 Atlantic Road, London, SW9 8HX
Book now: Other Side Fried
Patty & Bun, various locations
What: While not strictly a fried chicken joint, there’s no denying that Patty & Bun is a cracking place for a burger. Try the ‘hot chic’, stuffed with buttermilk fried chicken, coleslaw, pickles, smoked garlic aioli and crunchy lettuce, or the PFC boneless thighs with chilli butter and pickled chillis. There are vegan versions of both so your plant-based pals won’t feel left out. If you want to step it up a notch, try the ‘winger winger chicken dinner’: smoked confit wings with BBQ sauce and spring onions.
Where: Various locations
Book now: Patty & Bun
The Blues Kitchen, Shoreditch, Camden and Brixton
What: If you’re looking for some cardiac-crushing American food, killer live music and great cocktails, head straight to The Blues Kitchen. There you’ll find buffalo chicken in the form of wings with blue cheese dip, burgers and more. If you want the full southern experience, be sure to get a side of cornbread with honey butter and a glass of bourbon. There is also an extensive whiskey menu, including plenty of bottles from all over the states. Yee-haw!
Where: 134-146 Curtain Road, London, EC2A 3AR; 111-113 Camden High Street, London, NW1 7JN; 40 Acre Lane, London, SW2 5SP
Book now: The Blues Kitchen
MEATLiquor, various locations
What: If you’re heading to one of the numerous MEATLiquors dotted around London, we recommend you skip breakfast. The portions here are, shall we say, substantial. There’s plenty of choice when it comes to battered poultry, including buffalo wings with blue cheese sauce, chicken strips and even fried breast with a slab of breadcrumbed mozzarella and marinara sauce. In the burger department, you can choose from the chicken cheese, buffalo chicken, spicy ‘clustercluck’ and (our personal favourite) the tower block, which features a hash brown for good measure.
Where: Various locations
Book now: MEATLiquor
Chick 'n' Sours, Haggerston and Camden
What: Combining fried chicken and cocktails was never going to be a bad idea now, was it? Chick 'n' Sours alleviates any guilt you might be feeling about eating fried chicken by helpfully sourcing free-range meat and giving it the proper handling it deserves. The meat is buttermilk brined and pressure fried (your guess is as good as ours) for what they deem to be ‘next level crunch’. We’re inclined to agree. You won’t get your typical Southern-style here, the menu has a few twists including disco wings with Kung Pao sauce and chicken tenders with seaweed crack and a choice of dips - sriracha sour cream, kewpie mayo, gochujang mayo, hot sauce or ginger miso. There are burgers, fries and sides too to help you make a meal of it. Although obviously if you wanted your meal to be entirely made from fried chicken we wouldn’t have a problem with that.
Where: 390 Kingsland Road, London, E8 4AA; 1A Earlham Street, London, WC2H 9LL
Book now: Chick 'n' Sours
Coqfighter, various locations
What: Coqfighter mainly deals in delicious burgers, but they’re the fried chicken kind so we’ve given them a well-deserved spot on the list. Their original burger, which you might have seen on Instagram at some point while in a scroll hole, is made up of fried chicken thigh, lettuce, pickled red onions, sambal mayo and Korean hot sauce for a really addictive fast-food sandwich. Bao, wings and strips are also an option if you don’t fancy a burger and there are of course fries on the side for those of us who know that filling our potato quota is an essential element of the day.
Book now: Coqfighter
What: No one said fried chicken had to be American-style. In fact, taking a break from Monterey jack-slathered burgers is probably no bad thing. Instead, why not head to this katsu-specialist restaurant for delicate tempura, karaage and panko-crumbed delights? Choose from pork, chicken, prawn or pumpkin, as well as rice, curry or even a sando. Run by husband and wife Joe and Koko, this relaxed dining room has a comprehensive Japanese menu, so you can dip into some sushi to balance your meal.
Where: 10 Wakley Street, London, EC1V 7LT
Book now: Tanakatsu
Looking for more fast food fun? Check out our guide on where to get the very best pizza in London.