18th century Fried Chicken
YouTube/Jas. Townsend and Son, Inc.

This 18th Century Fried Chicken Recipe is Still One of the Best

New variations of fried chicken recipes pop up every day, but maybe new isn't always better. This video recipe for 18th Century fried chicken, which went viral last summer, has garnered over 1.5 million views since it was posted on June 20, 2016. Once you try it, you'll understand why.

The recipe comes from Nathan Bailey's 1736 cookbook, Dictionarium Domesticum. YouTube user Jas. Townsend and Son, Inc. brought the recipe to life.

So what makes it special? In the video, the cook explains the "tartness of the marinade contrasted to the sweetness of the batter really sets this dish off."

All said and done, the recipe is quite simple, but includes a couple of unexpected ingredients, like a fried parsley garnish. Also, we're assuming that you can opt for a standard cooking pot on the stove instead of a black kettle.

Nathan Bailey, the creator of this recipe,  was a lexicographer and the author of the Universal Etymological Dictionary (the most popular English dictionary of his century). Sounds like a pretty smart guy, so we'll trust him on the fried chicken.

If you feel like trying to decipher old English ingredients and measurements, you can purchase a copy of Bailey's Dictionarium Domesticum cookbook (not surprisingly formatted like a dictionary) from Amazon.

Luckily, Reddit user TheGeneralofSpace carefully posted the instructions, which you can view here.


  • Juice of two large, fresh lemons (approx. 1/2 cup or 120 ml)
  • Approx. 1/2 cup (120 ml) of vertjus or malt vinegar (cider vinegar also works)
  • 2 dried bay leaves (use only 1 if using fresh leaves)
  • 1 tsp (4 g) of salt
  • 1 tsp (4 g) of pepper
  • 1/4 tsp (1 g) of ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup (75 g) chopped green onions (or potentially shallots if you want)

"Depending on the amount of chicken you are frying, you may want to double or even triple this part of the recipe. Add all ingredients to a medium bowl, mix well. Then add your chicken pieces (ensuring they are well covered) and let sit for three hours in the refrigerator."


  • 1 1/2 cup (180 g) all-purpose flour
  • White wine (cider or water are also appropriate)
  • Yolks of 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp (4 g) of salt

"Add flour to a medium bowl. While stirring (with a stick or other utensil) add the white wine until the batter reaches the consistency of thin pancake batter. Then, add the egg yolks and salt to the bowl. Mix well, and feel free to add more wine if necessary to ensure the batter keeps the same consistency as before."


"In a deep pot heat your oil of choice to its appropriate temperature for frying. For a more traditional experience, use lard or clarified butter, and potentially an open fire.

Take your pieces of chicken from the marinade, dip and completely cover them in the batter mixture, then slowly submerge them in the oil with tongs. To keep the oil at a high temperature, and for safety, fry the chicken pieces in batches until the outside is crispy and "mahogany brown." While the last batch is frying, add fresh (but very well dried off) parsley to the oil. Cook the parsley for several minutes until crispy, and crumble over the fried chicken when cooled."

Now Watch: How to Make Apple Pie Moonshine