The Best Fried Chicken in Boston

By Emily Millian
Trina's Starlite Lounge / Credit: Brian Samuels Photography

Fried seafood in Boston? Of course. Fried chicken in Boston? That too. Crispy, juicy chicken thighs are a universal comfort food, and our local dining scene is filled with an eclectic selection. From Asian and Mediterranean influences to Southern style fried chicken from a "Top Chef" finalist, here’s where to find the best fried chicken in Boston.

State Park

Interior of State Park
Credit: Brian Samuels Photography

The dive bar of our dreams with a dog-friendly patio, State Park also serves up a legendary fried chicken. The recipe begins with pickle juice as a brine base, rather than buttermilk (from sister-spot and Kendall Square neighbor, Mamaleh’s, of course). The crunchy-fried thighs are drizzled in Tabasco honey and accompanied by bread-and-butter pickles, and served with a seasonal side like dressed watermelon. Many State Park regulars seek the thrill of the Nashville-Style Hot Chicken, too. But wait, there’s more! Panko-crusted cutlets comprise a couple fried chicken sandwiches, including Japanese-style Chicken Katsu; and Eastbound and Down, a Nashville hot-dusted version. The signature blend of spices is super fiery, but don’t worry—there’s plenty of cold beer to calm your tastebuds (try the Official State Park Cocktail).

SARMA - The Best Fried Chicken in Boston
Credit: Brian Samuels Photography

Scoring the famous Sesame Fried Chicken at Sarma requires a bit of patience—and a little luck. You won’t find this must-order dish on the menu at chef Cassie Piuma’s meyhane (Turkish-inspired tavern), but you will catch servers parading it dim sum-style through the Somerville restaurant. Act fast and order on sight to add this flaky, crunchy fried chicken—accented by crispy sesame and spicy nigella seeds—to the celebratory small plates filling your table.

Trina's Starlite Lounge

Credit: Brian Samuels Photography

To make this delectable Fried Chicken, Trina’s Starlite Lounge expertly seasons the poultry before adding a light breading; the result is crispy without too much grease. For an extra zing, use the hot sauce in the squeeze bottle at your table (it’s Crystal). Head to this Somerville spot for brunch on Sunday and Monday, when you can opt for fried chicken with a buttermilk waffle and hot pepper syrup on the side. Trina’s pickle-brined, boneless fried chicken tenders come as a breakfast sando atop a fluffy buttermilk biscuit, and also star on the menu at next door-sibling Parlor Sports in the Goldsberry Basket.

SWEET CHEEKS | The Best Fried Chicken in Boston
Credit: Brian Samuels Photography

Brined and breaded to extra-crispy perfection, the Buttermilk Fried Chicken at Sweet Cheeks Q is everything you’d expect from chef Tiffani Faison’s ode to Southern style. Order four, eight, or 12 pieces of crispy, juicy chicken, with or without your choice of sides like Mac n’ Cheese and Church Basement Potato Salad. The Fenway neighborhood smokehouse and fry joint also offers one of the most unique fried chicken sandwiches in Boston, layered with smoked jalapeño cream cheese and pickles. Choose regular seasoning or Nashville Hawt, which is real-deal hot chicken.

Highland Kitchen

Credit: Brian Samuels Photography

Highland Kitchen might just be the best thing about Mondays: That’s the day each week that this Somerville neighborhood bar serves up its cult-status Fried Chicken. The succulent, buttermilk-brined chicken comes as a multi-piece meal alongside Southern-style sides like collard greens and buttermilk biscuits. On other days of the week, a tolerance for spice is required for any fried chicken craving, thanks to HK’s Spicy Nashville Hot Fried Chicken Sandwich. The heat of this handheld is cut with buttermilk ranch, pickles, and shredded lettuce, but you’ll also want to check out the awesome cocktails to cool ya down.

The Best Fried Chicken in Boston
Credit: Brian Samuels Photography

You never truly know what’s in store for a meal at Jamaica Plain’s freewheeling Brassica Kitchen + Cafe, but one menu constant is the B.K. Fried Chicken—and for very good reasons. This juicy, boneless fried chicken is crunchy and flavorful, and makes a perfect vehicle for house-fermented hot sauce. Order it at dinnertime with bright and pickley accompaniments. During weekend brunch at Brassica, it’s served atop a waffle with maple, or on a biscuit slathered in herb gravy (doughnuts are optional but always recommended).

Coreanos | The Best Fried Chicken in Boston
Credit: Brian Samuels Photography

Bigger is not always better. That rings true at this hole-in-the-wall Allston spot, which is full of flavor, despite its small size. Coreanos is known for Korean fusion food like Bulgogi Tacos and cheesy Kimchi Fritas; as well as traditional Korean dishes like Korean-style fried chicken. KFC, if you will, is brined and double-fried, making it especially crispy yet light, even after tossing in sauce. At Coreanos, opt for fried chicken wings or boneless “poppers” to taste for yourself. The Yum Yang sauce is a sweet-and-spicy take, and other house-made sauce options we love include Pa Dak, a tangy-sweet mustard; and sweet or spicy Garlic Soy. Give those Buffalo wings a rest and get on Coreanos’ level.


HOJOKO chicken
Credit: Brian Samuels Photography

In the heart of Fenway lives the lively, musically-centric, modern-day izakaya. Opened by Tim and Nancy Cushman of O Ya, Hojoko nails the genre’s Japanese pub grub, from Spicy Salmon Rolls and Ramen to a burger that’s the perfect blend of classy and trashy. One of our favorite orders, however, is the Kaarage Fried Chicken. Made with arguably the tastiest piece of the chicken, these thighs are marinated in ginger and soy and dusted with togarashi. Order three pieces or seven… who are we kidding? Order seven pieces. You won’t regret it. Hojoko’s fried chicken is so good, it hatched an offshoot at Time Out Market called Ms. Cluck’s Deluxe.

CHICKADEE exterior
Credit: Chris McIntosh

You’re looking for the best fried chicken in Boston, and we send you to a Mediterranean restaurant deep in the Seaport? True story. Chickadee is tucked in the Innovation and Design Building on the industrial edge of the neighborhood. Named after the Massachusetts state bird, chickadees are a flock of “creative opportunity seekers,” according to the founders, so it’s an apt moniker for the location as well as the menu. Chickadee takes inspired, playful leeway with expected dishes, from a seasonal Carrot Tartare to house-made pasta dishes that feature rabbit. The ubiquitous comfort food of beautifully golden browned Fried Chicken is matched with a craveworthy labneh ranch, snap pea salad, cheddar biscuits, and honey butter.

Eric Twardzik contributed reporting.

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