Main content starts here, tab to start navigating

A Brief History of Fried Chicken

a plate of fried chicken

Fried chicken is one of the few comfort foods that's loved by millions of people. Hot, succulent, tender, and crispy, there’s nothing like biting down on a fried chicken piece. It feels like home – comfortable, easy to eat, and just so delicious. 

But what are the origins of fried chicken anyway? Is it really an American dish that’s now popularized around the world due to giant food chains?

Let’s dig in and find out.

Scottish and African American Roots

A common racial stereotype that surrounds fried chicken is that it was popularized by African Americans. History places them as the originators and culinary experts of this delicious southern dish, but there's more to that.

Africans did popularize the dish following the inflow of Scottish immigrants in America.

Yes, the magic originates from Scotland!

In the 1700s, the Scotts who immigrated to America had a tradition of deep-frying chicken pieces in fat. This dates back to the middle ages. However, it wasn’t until the 1800s that Africans added their own twist to the mix. 

fried chicken with French dip

What About the Scotts?

According to Classic Eateries of the Arkansas Delta, Scotts were very famous for deep frying their foods without seasoning and often called them “fritters.” The rest of the Europeans weren’t very pleased with the idea and didn’t prefer the crunchy goodness Scotts loved. To them, the chicken was healthier and better when boiled and baked. Unbelievable, right?

Then, some of these Scottish immigrants migrated to the South before the height of the slave trade in the 18th century. Many of these people settled in Virginia and South Carolina and brought the tradition of frying chicken with them.

At some point between the 17th and 19th centuries, African Americans began cooking fried chicken based on the recipes of the Scottish immigrants. Over time, this dish became a part of their own cuisine with years of honing, seasoning, and frying. 

African American cooks eventually made it a Southern delicacy with cornbread, black-eyed peas, collard greens, sweet potato pie, and mac and cheese.

Enjoy Southern Fried Chicken at SUR Today

Are you craving a plate of hot, succulent southern fried chicken in the Big SUR? We’ve got you. Head over to SUR today, our chic restaurant in Carmel, CA.

Our fried chicken and waffles with French dip will leave you licking your fingers! If you’re craving something else, we also have an extensive menu that features soulful and tantalizing seafood, sandwiches, chicken entrees, vegetarian food, salads, and burgers for dine-in and online.

Contact us today.