buttermilk roast chicken Recipes

buttermilk roast chicken

Without a doubt, the very best part of fried chicken is the battered, seasoned, gold-tinged and impossibly crisp exterior. But, as far as I’m concerned, the tender chicken within is no distant second. The best fried chicken recipes have you soak the uncooked chicken in a salty/sweet brine of buttermilk and seasonings for at least day, resulting in meat that’s decadent long before it hits the fryer. Wouldn’t it be great if the insides could garner the same gushing their pretty skins do?

the next evening
drizzled lightly with olive oil

This is what I was thinking of when I stumbled on an old Nigella recipe for buttermilk roasted chicken. Of course, that was four weeks ago and for three of them, I sat at a table piled with eraser dust and red pencil overlooking the avenue below, editing away dreaming mostly of the buttermilk chicken I would finally make when I was done. The recipe turned out to be a good place to start, but I wanted more — a longer soak, more salt, less oil, more garlic and, for some reason, I felt the recipe was itching for paprika. So, I went another round with it last night — finishing it with a drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle of more paprika and flaked sea salt before roasting it — and this, at last, was the buttermilk chicken I had dreamed about.

sprinkled with paprika and sea salt

Despite the day-long soaking time — and trust me, the difference between a two-hour soak and a day-long one is tremendous, tremendous enough that I implore you to hold out for it — this recipe is a cinch, and totally fits my other side project: getting a relatively hassle-free, wholesome dinner on the table as many nights a week as possible, a table where we all sit down and eat the same things. It takes five minutes to throw together the buttermilk brine the evening before, and (with legs, at least) just 30 minutes to roast. In that time, you can toss a salad or roast another vegetable and later watch in awe as your toddler inhales a second leg of chicken. Or at least we did. Needless to say, we plan to make a habit of this recipe.

buttermilk roast chicken, round 1

One year ago: Chocolate Peanut Spread
Two years ago: Tomato Sauce with Onion and Butter and Ricotta Muffins
Three years ago: Mushroom Bourguignon and Smashed Chickpea Salad
Four years ago: Crunchy Baked Pork Chops, Pickled Carrot Sticks and Amusingly Enough, Fried Chicken
Five years ago: Artichoke Ravioli with Tomatoes and Leek and Mushroom Quiche

Buttermilk Roast Chicken

This recipe was inspired by Nigella Lawson’s version. I fiddled a lot, changing the spices and sweetener, though my biggest changes were to increase the salt, garlic and marinating time. If you wish to use Kosher salt instead of table salt use 2 tablespoons if using Diamond kosher salt and 1 1/4 tablespoons if using Morton kosher. (Here’s why). I imagine that going forward I’ll be using this technque as a springboard for a lot of different recipes and spice combinations. However, even when using the simplest recipe below, the chicken was unbelievably tender and flavorful.

2 cups buttermilk
5 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1 tablespoon table salt
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika, plus extra for sprinkling (I used Hungarian, a smoked one would also be delicious)
Lots of freshly ground black pepper
2 1/2 to 3 pounds chicken parts (we used all legs)
Drizzle of olive oil
Flaked or coarse sea salt, to finish

Whisk buttermilk with garlic, table salt, sugar, paprika and lots of freshly ground black pepper in a bowl. Place chicken parts in a gallon-sized freezer bag (or lidded container) and pour buttermilk brine over them, then swish it around so that all parts are covered. Refrigerate for at least 2 but preferably 24 and up to 48 hours.

When ready to roast, preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking dish with foil (not absolutely necessary, but Nigella suggested it and I never minded having dish that cleaned up easily). Remove chicken from buttermilk brine and arrange in dish. Drizzle lightly with olive oil, then sprinkle with additional paprika and sea salt to taste. Roast for 30 minutes (for legs; approximately 35 to 40 for breasts), until brown and a bit scorched in spots. Serve immediately. We enjoyed it with wild rice and green beans one night; roasted potatoes and, uh, more green beans another. (Yes, I have a habit.)

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557 comments on buttermilk roast chicken

  1. This sounds amazing! I’m immediately drawn to anything that has a title containing the word, “buttermilk.” This will definitely be on our menu within the next few weeks. Thank you for sharing the recipe.

  2. Renate

    WOW, in mere minutes, I had this thrown together. It’s already mid-day though. Would it be too long if I left it to marinade the rest of the day, and also all night? It’ll end up being a day and a half that way. Maybe that’s too long?

    1. deb

      Marinating it for longer is fine, though I probably wouldn’t go over 48 hours. I basically did this with 10 legs each time, roasting 5 the first night, 5 the second. We’re about to finish the second batch tonight — and then maybe take a petite break from chicken legs. :)

  3. This looks absolutely delicious. I love fried chicken, but I never make it at home because it is just so messy and greasy. This seems perfect to enjoy the delicious flavor and avoid the mess. This will be dinner soon!

  4. Katie

    Hi Deb,
    this looks tasty!Quick question: I substitute buttermilk with the milk/vinegar/let-it-stand trick all the time when baking, but wanted your opinion for this. Having never bought real buttermilk, I don’t know how different it really is and am not sure whether I can substitute it for these fingerlickin’ lookin’ drumsticks. Thanks!


  5. Tracy

    My mom always roasted chicken with paprika. That red sprinkle makes the skin delicious and the juices so satisfying. Thanks for the nostalgic moment, thinking about a winter dish. The rest of the year, we grill chicken. Never thought to try paprika on grilled chicken. Hmm…

  6. Natasha

    Hello Deb,
    Thanks for the great recepie.
    This looks delishious!
    But I wanted to ask, and forgive me, I know this is a first grade question, but I just don’t know the answer – how do you ‘roast’ in the oven? is there a special location or special tempature? What is the difference between roasting and baking?
    Thank you :)

  7. I’m probably the lone wolf on the fried chicken front. The batter is okay but I love what the process does to the extra-tender-juicy chicken inside. So, I think this recipe is right up my alley. Plus, buttermilk, please. As in, yes, please.

  8. My husband, the Texan, LOVES fried chicken. I hesitate to fry most things in our house simply because of the mess it makes. He is going to love it when I pull this out of the oven. Thank you!

  9. Vencogirl

    Would it be possible to use reconstituted powdered buttermilk? I’m totally going to stop at the store tonight and pick up real buttermilk but I’m wondering if in a pinch I could use the powdered…
    And yes, catching snowflakes is WAY more important than the alphabet. So sad that my SoCal babies are so deprived of learning how to do that.

  10. C.G.

    Looks great–a combination of realistic for weeknights and indulgent enough to feel special.

    How do you think it would work if one used skinless drumsticks? (The dreaded New Year’s resolutions…)

  11. Daria

    Oh dear – this looks delicious. Dinner for tommorrow night for sure. And wild rice sounds like the perfect side (but isn’t it the perfect side to everything?). :) Just one question – you said that if you’re using Kosher salt, you would change the salt from 1 tablespoon to 1.25 teaspoons. Wouldn’t it be 1.25 tablespoons?

    1. deb

      Daria — Yes, tablespoons! Now fixed, thank you.

      Natasha — They’re just about the same. Roast oven refers to higher temperatures, pieces of things spread out. But the cooking — in the oven, not in a sauce — is the same.

      Substituting buttermilk with homemade soured milk (milk with vinegar or lemon) — I see no reason why not. Of course, cultured buttermilk tastes amazing; even better if farm fresh. But I’m not sure I’d waste the best stuff just to soak chicken! The tenderness comes from the milk proteins/acid/salt/sugar and those elements will be the same even if you use soured milk.

    1. deb

      Marissa — I haven’t tried it skinless but it seems worth trying.

      I’m actually a total weirdo in that I always use skin-on bone-in roast chicken because I think it has the best flavor/moisture, but then almost never eat the skin (unless it’s fried chicken, of course, or coated with something equally crunchy, and then all bets are off). It makes me feel like I get the best of both worlds.

      Leigh — Make the dijon chicken! It’s my other favorite. And totally weeknight-able. And so, so delicious.

  12. Leigh

    This is so ridiculous, I was literally trawling your site yesterday for an easy chicken recipe I could make on a weeknight and came up empty. Then you deliver this!

  13. Erin

    What other chicken parts work with this? Could you do breasts? How do you think the cooking time should be adjusted if so? So excited to try this!

  14. Marie

    I always want to try buttermilk marinades, but I’m lactose intolerant…any non-dairy suggestions? Would soy or almond milk work the same if I “make” buttermilk with some acid?

  15. Heatherly

    I just bought a dozen bone in, skin on breast at the store for a heck of a deal: $.97/lb! And this was the first thing that popped up on Facebook! Thank you, Deb! You never lead me wrong. As a baker, I always have buttermilk in the fridge.

  16. Rox

    This looks amazing!
    I’ve been trying to find a way to cook chicken, but it usually ended up dry and not so good. The last couple of times I used those baking ‘plastic’ bags and let them uncut until near the end, which was slightly better than plain roasting – have you ever used those?

  17. I recently roasted my very first whole chicken and was both very proud of myself and astonished by how easy it was. I have most of a container of buttermilk in my fridge leftover from making your napa cabbage salad with buttermilk dressing.

    Do you think this would work for roasting a whole chicken? I don’t eat much meat, so I try to make it as wholesome, local and sustainable as possible. I feel wasteful buying only legs or breasts.

  18. Brooke

    I’ve been making this Nigella recipe for a few years now and absolutely love it. Haven’t made it in a while. Thanks for the reminder!

  19. Raina

    Silly question from a novice meat-chef: anything I need to do differently if using chicken breasts? Skin removed?

  20. I noticed you placed this in the meat section of your site, but thinking you probably wanted to put it in the poultry section? Sheesh, you know you spend a lot of time on a site when…

    1. deb

      Maria — Fine sea salt is about the same. For coarse, you’d need more. If it comes in a container, you can be totally insane and look at the weight of a tablespoon of salt. You’re looking to match 18 grams (the weight of a tablespoon of table salt).

      Renee — You’re the best! I was thinking, “wait, don’t I have a poultry section?” and was in too much of a rush to find it. How SAD is that? It’s because I use it so rarely…

  21. Mahesh

    I have some boned chicken thighs in the refrigerator. Can I use those instead of the legs? If yes, for how much time should I keep them in the over after marinating? They’re huge.

  22. This is brilliant. I’m thinking my first variation (after I make it as written) will be spicy garlic buttermilk chicken. I got a gallon of garlic Tabasco sauce for Christmas that is just begging to be used in here. With some potato salad on the side? I die.

  23. MelissaR

    The marinade reminds me of an oven fried chicken from Eating Well my family loves. They put a couple shakes of hot sauce and a little dijon mustard, really good!

    I’m going to put this on the menu this week. Wonder how it will work with split bone in breasts? Guess I’ll find out! Hubby doesn’t like drumsticks at the moment. :/

  24. Row

    Hi Deb! This recipe looks just awesome! However, um, being Canadian, I only have something called Windsor kosher salt and I’m not really sure how it would compare to the Diamond and Morton brands. Should I just err on the side of caution and just go with the smaller amount? Thanks!!!

  25. vickyb

    Yummy! When we get past Japanese January we’ll get on to this! Buttermilk always seems to be difficult to score in England but it’s worth tracking down! Yum!

    Thanks for posting!

  26. Mimi

    Did you use non-fat or regular buttermilk? Do you think using non-fat buttermilk would make any difference in the taste or tenderness of the chicken?

    1. deb

      Buttermilk — I used low fat. Buttermilk is naturally low-fat and at least up North, I rarely see it sold in cartons that aren’t 1.5%.

      Cut of chicken — Use whatever you like roasted. I include a cooking time for chicken breasts, but it’s really an estimate as they can range in size quite a bit.

      Row — Err on the side of caution. Odds are, it is closer to Morton salt as Diamond uses some crazy patented technique to get theirs so light and fluffy and Morton just makes regular kosher salt. Or, you could be even more obsessive and check the weight on the box, and figure out how much you’d need to get to 18 grams, which is what 1 teaspoon table salt weighs. Not that I encourage anyone to be as cuckoo as me. :)

  27. I am a long-time vegetarian but am trying to branch out into chicken because I want my three little ones to have a few protein options besides their current diet of scrambled eggs, scrambled eggs, and scrambled eggs. So my husband pointed me to the butter-slathered Julia Child version that his mother used to make (talk about pressure!). It came out delicious but inexplicably (to me) you are supposed to keep the chicken balanced on its side throughout the roasting time, which required me to continually rebalance it AND to hover nervously over the oven for more than an hour. I think your less-stressful-looking recipe may inspire me to give chicken another chance. :)

  28. Devorah

    As someone who keeps kosher, I often use soy milk soured with a tablespoon or two of lemon juice instead of buttermilk for meat recipes–having never tried the original, I can’t compare the two, but I can say that I’m looking forward to trying this method with roast chicken!

  29. I’ve been waiting around for someone to do something like this. At some point I really wanted to make buttermilk chicken and looked all over for a recipe and all I could find was deep fried which creeps me out. Thanks a lot! I will definitely try this.

  30. Is it possible to dope slap yourself? Wow. . .I’ve been marinating chicken in buttermilk for eons to coat it and fry it up, but never tried simply roasting it. Looks fantastic! I’m eager to see the difference a whole day in the marinade makes, too.

  31. I think that tender meat is perfect enough to garner as many compliments as any golden brown skin. As for the day long soak – you’re absolutely right that it’s a step not to be missed.

  32. Thank you! I have been going through an anti-pieces-of-chicken phase because they get dried out so easily, but this looks absolutely succulent — and, as you say, perfect for a weeknight (provided I remember it the night before). Going to print it out now . . .

  33. I’ve tried to use buttermilk on my chicken before but did not see much of a difference on the final product. I am thinking I did not allow it to marinate for a long time. I will try this for sure! Thanks!

  34. Melissa

    If anyone has reports on how this turned out with boneless, skinless chicken breasts, I would love to hear. I generally like dark meat, or bone-in, but I am (1) getting ready to move (across the country, thus trying to empty the freezer), (2) and have some boneless, skinless breasts from something I never made, and (3) this fits the bill for fast, easy, and tasty.

  35. Alexandra

    Would the brining process work the same if I added vinegar/lemon to lactose-free milk? My boyfriend is lactose intolerant, and I’m sure a lactose-free version of buttermilk doesn’t exist…

  36. Kathleen

    I wonder if you also read Beverly Cleary books as a child? In one of the Ramona books, she and her sister fix a dinner in which they use yogurt with paprika as a sauce for the chicken. It doesn’t turn out so well (undercooked, I think), but it means that every time I hear “buttermilk” and “chicken”, I always think “paprika”. Which is definitely not a bad thing!

    1. deb

      Kathleen — Ramona books were my FAVORITE. (I have threatened more than once to get this tattoo.) Maybe that’s why I had a nagging feeling it needed paprika. :)

      Lauren — Biscuits! Cake! Salad dressing! I’ve got a ton of recipes in the archives that use buttermilk. Oh, and I LOVE that buttermilk ice cream too…

      Kenny — Yikes, I have no idea. Theoretically, if it’s cooked at a high temperature it should be safe. But, I’m no food safety expert so I hesitate to give advice. That said, don’t feel you need to use the fancy buttermilk for this. This is a great place to use the grocery store stuff that only costs a couple bucks for a quart.

  37. pattycake

    Aw, Deb! You’re making me go back out to the grocery store tonight to buy drumsticks. Honestly, I’ve used Nigella’s recipe for ages – and loved the simplicity, buttermilk/chicken flavor, and ease of preparation. However, I did find myself using less and less oil and cumin over time, and too frequently found myself out of maple syrup, (due to Pancake-loving GrandBabes). I’m simply thrilled that you’ve given me permission to use paprika and sugar instead – and I can’t wait to see what other flavors you come up with. ;-)
    P.S. Buttermilk roasted chicken is excellent cold too. And do scorch it well.

  38. Kenny

    I have an “odd” question to ask as I am generally the type that uses everything edible, and have to wonder:

    Can you reuse the buttermilk “brine” mixture to make something else after removing the chicken, like a sauce or mixed into some sort of buttermilk chicken flavored stonebread (best thing I can think of calling it, in a cakepan/cast iron round skillet, or buttermilk buiscuts for that matter).

    Or would they not reach high enough temperature to prevent/kill bacteria that one is suppose to avoid in poultry?

    I just wanted to know, since I will be making this for dinner this week, lol. Also What vegtables do you think roast best with this?

  39. I know what you mean about getting a quick, healthy, and delicious meal on the table that will feed everyone (including toddler)…bookmarking this recipe right now! Sounds delicious! (And I love paprika…always find myself adding it to lots of dishes)

  40. Lorry

    From your previous comments u said you made 10 legs, was this using the original recipe? I’m only one so I wondered how many legs would I need if I halved the recipe.

  41. This is the perfect combination of to of my go-to ingredients: chicken (usually drumsticks for the kids) and buttermilk. I’ve been using buttermilk for all sorts of things, cakes, muffins, even in eggs. Although, to be honest, I often run out then just go with the old standby trick of adding either vinegar or lemon juice to regular milk:) I’m putting this chicken on my dinner roster for the week!

  42. Val

    This is for Kenny – never, ever use the brine/marinade where meat has been soaking. It’ s a sure way to make you very very ill. Bacteria grows in that environment and the only reason chicken soaked in brine is safe to eat it’s because of the high temperature of roasting. Having said that, chicken that has been brined needs to cook thoroughly.

  43. Sounds great! I love her onion rings, which are especially delicious due to the buttermilk soak. I know what you mean with the weeknight dinner thing…it seems like it is getting harder and harder to manage that one. I just bought a butt-load of chicken thighs and I only have two meals planned with them, so I think I know what I am going to try! Thanks!

  44. Sarah

    Thank you for the recipe for this succulent chicken. Might I implore you to dream up a recipe for a buffalo version? I am feeling the winter blues, and a taste of summer like that would be a great reminder of what we all have to look forward to in a few months :)

  45. Seriously … I had Nigella’s buttermilk chicken recipe written down for years, and only just last night decided to make it. Well the night before actually so I could leave it marinading for a full day. I had only just finished the left overs for lunch, when I sat down to read your blog and saw this!!
    I enjoyed Nigella’s suggestion of maple syrup – made the skin truly yummy (but that is probably my sweet tooth talking ;).
    Unfortunately I didn’t line the (still soaking) baking tray with foil – will definitely do that next time, thank you.

  46. Reet

    For those of you who are asking about using chicken breasts, I have been soaking chicken, including boneless skinless chicken breasts, in buttermilk for quite some time, with great results. I usually keep buttermilk in the fridge as a staple, and lately my grocer (Fresh Direct) has been offering specials on 2 cartons for the price of one, so I’m using buttermilk in everything. I find that soaking the chicken for at least a day, and sometimes even 2 days, works wonders. The breasts come out amazingly juicy and tasty. I usually use boneless skinless breasts then dip them in breadcrumbs and saute them in olive oil/butter, but you really can do anything–bake them, fry them, w/e you want. The buttermilk tenderizes the chicken so that it’s amazing, no matter what you do. One caveat–if you are soaking the chicken for a while, be careful about adding spices/garlic because it can wind up really absorbing the flavors. For me, a soak in plain buttermilk, with no additions, is best. You’ll get perfect juicy chicken every time. I’ve tried it with thinly pounded breasts and thick ones, and it works with both. I agree with Deb that a day’s soaking is really worth it–I’ve done it for an hour or two and you just don’t get the same results that you do with the longer soak.

  47. These look delicious. I completely agree with your goal and challenge of getting that meal on the table as many nights as possible. It’s funny that you post this now. My husband and I were just talking about what the purpose of soaking the chicken in buttermilk would be. I’ve heard it several times, but never understood why. Now I do. Thanks for another wonderful post!

  48. This is one of my favorite ways to make chicken. I love the picture! It looks absolutely delicious – so golden and perfectly roasted. I love making chicken wings the same way. Sometimes I add a few tablespoons of mayo instead of the buttermilk. It’s such an awesome dinner, especially when you want to prep it ahead of time and cook it when your’re ready. I do this in the mornings after working a night shift and roast it for dinner. Delicious, almost effortless and absolutely delicious.

  49. I see a lot of recipes with boneless chicken breast, which gets tiresome after a while, so I’m happy to see a great recipe with bone-in legs! – In my opinion, this is the best part of the chicken – brings out tons of flavor. Your recipe is a must-try!

  50. patricia

    this looks fabulous! but could you describe a little more the process of making soured milk (just add lemon and let sit?), i live in italy where i cannot find real buttermilk. thanks! p.s. just made your blood orange olive oil cake last night, yum!!!!

  51. Jody

    I am going to try this yummy dish with Turkey Schnitzel. We live in Berlin, Germany and chicken tends to be a bit more expensive then Turkey go figure. With 6 hungry little children I tend to buy more turkey. I will let you know how it turns out.

    Deb, here is my million dollar question. This is very sad but true, I have a severe food intolerance to dare I say it “Garlic” I make all of the recipes without the garlic and they taste fine, but I am wondering if you have any suggestions for substitutes that can be used in garlic’s place? This would be a question that I would ask the sphinx if I went to Egypt, so it really is my million dollar question. Thank you so much for all of your amazing recipes. I have turned so many people here in Berlin on to your site. And I have been anxiously awaiting your cookbook. This is my first post but I have been following you for years and years.

  52. Tarun

    Great recipe! I have been making almost the same for the last 5 years. I have been using yogurt with salt instead of buttermilk. Another thing which changes the flavour here is introduction of Fenugreek leaves(dried and crushed) when the cooking is just about to get over.
    Try this and may be you like it!

  53. This has been a favorite in our house!
    We have roasted it as well as barbecued the pieces in summer.
    As buttermilk is not available in my part of the world I usually substitute diluted (with milk) yogurt in recipes that call for it.

    I will consider your paprika suggestion next time I make this!

  54. Bev

    Oh my goodness, does that look wonderful!!! You have THE BEST recipes! Love your blog!

    Tarun — sounds interesting but what are Fenugreek leaves?

  55. I’ve tried to rush the process before and now I know that just doesn’t work. Will also add the garlic, thanks for doing the homework for me. And for the salt info.

  56. Elainesl

    @Devorah, thanks for the soy milk suggestion above–I was goint to ask because I don’t mix milk and meat either. I’m thinking of adding a little white vinegar or lemon juice and maybe an extra pinch of salt to the soy milk to try to capture some of the tanginess of buttermilk.

    Deb, thanks for sharing such a simple and delicious-looking recipe,again!

  57. Leslie

    You know, if you just coat the chicken marinated in this recipe with a quick mixture of seasoned breadcrumbs and flour — and bake it — you’ll end up with something (almost) as good a fried chicken! I know people who are fry fanatics will disagree — but not being one myself, I have nothing to compare it to — and I think oven baked “fried chicken” is perfect.

  58. I’m definitely going to try this. For years, I’ve made my own version of an “oven-fried chicken” recipe I saw once in “Cooking Light.” I soak the skinless chicken pieces in buttermilk for up to 24 hours, then toss the chicken pieces in seasoned flour. I let the pieces rest for 10 minutes, then toss again in the flour mixture. I coat foil-covered baking sheets with foil, then spray with cooking spray. Next, I spray all the chicken pieces with cooking spray and roast in a 400 degree oven (or 375 convection oven) for about 40 minutes, ’til crispy. The coating on the chicken turns crispy (and NO SKIN!). My grandchildren LOVE this–as I do, too. It’s great hot or cold. I’ve often varied the spices in the seasoned flour. My dad used to like it with just salt & pepper.

  59. Debra Faust-Clalncy

    Hmmmm, this sounds really good. I have a question tho. I NEVER buy buttermilk because neither I nor my hubby (and there are only the two of us) would ever, ever drink it. However, as a child my Russian mother (read thrifty) would put a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar into whole milk and it would curdle. However, that curdled milk had wonderful flavor which we always added to oatmeal raisin cookies instead of other liquids. So I was wondering, what about mariinating in that cider/whole milk liquid? Also, have you ever heard of anyone using that mixture in anything before? I think it is an interesting idea and I’d love to know if anyone else ever uses it and what do they use it in. Deb? I know you’ll come up with something FAB – u – lous using this liquid so consider me your new idea for the day…. Thanks for all the great recipes. Your photos are awesome. Keep up the good work…. No slacking! :-)

  60. Eileen

    I have frozen chicken legs in the freezer that I was planning to use for Canal house preserved lemon recipe, but now I want to make this! Can I put the frozen chicken legs in the marinade and let it marinate and defrost at the same time, or do I have to defrost the chicken first. thanks for your blog and recipe. I look at the blog often and look forward to your cookbook.

  61. Buttermilk is a wonderful ingredient and has so many uses (even to help grow moss on clay pots). My grandmother just past away last week and my sister and I were sharing some of our memories of our grandparents. One was of both of them drinking cultured buttermilk that was lumpy when pored out of the carton and crumbling homemade cornbread in the glass. That sounds terrible to me and I don’t think you can even get buttermilk that full-fat any more. Very fattening but she lived to be almost 99 years. I will try it on the chicken for sure.

  62. I’m going to keep this in mind for those times when I have buttermilk leftover from baking. I inevitably end up throwing it away. In the meantime, I’m going to buy some more buttermilk just to try this recipe!

  63. keren

    I make her original recipe all the time (adding more garlic and salt). It’s one of my favorite chicken recipes because of it’s simplicity. I like that you added Hungarian paprika, I’ll have to try that soon!

  64. Laura B.

    Oh, this looks awesome! I love the idea of chicken with that fried-chicken taste, but a little lighter so we can have it more often.

  65. My husband saw this recipe on Flipboard and walked over to me, pointed to it and said, “please make this.” I am going to do a combination of chicken breasts and legs as I am not the biggest fan of dark meat. Thanks for posting another great recipe.

  66. Hi, I usually hate it when people ask questions such as these, so no response is fully justified! But, it being post-post Christmas and I still have not shifted the pounds provided by brandy butter et al, is there a lower fat option to use instead of the buttermilk? Would creme fraiche work?

    Thank you!

    P.S. Only recently discovered your blog and I am hooked, waiting for an excuse to make the red wine chocolate cake! I’ve always thought red wine and chocolate – especially dark – go beautifully together.

  67. Oh, yum. our local Stop & Shop just had drumsticks for $0.99/lb and I got two packs of 12… we did bbq legs last night, and now… I’ll try this recipe! Question— do you roast at like 400deg F for 30 minutes or higher??

  68. Susan

    The simple seasoning of salt, pepper and paprika is my choice for fried chicken. It’s funny, because recipes use paprika so often as a garnish or just for it’s coloring that I forget it really has such a wonderful flavor until I fry chicken.
    I’m a white meat person and I’ve had mixed luck using buttermilk marinades. If I soak it too long sometimes, the acid in the buttermilk renders the breast meat mealy in texture and that trumps the flavor for me. i’m still experimenting with timing so I get the best balance of texture and flavor. Any ideas?

  69. Just back to work after baby #2 and committed to doing weeknight meal planning and prep on Sundays. If I set this to marinate on a Sunday evening and transferred it to the foil-lined baking dish on Tuesday morning would it still be moist enough to roast Tuesday night? Or should it stay in the brine until just before baking? (Trying to make it hassle free for the nanny to get dinner started while I’m on the way home. First world problem, I realize…)

  70. Erika

    This–this looks amazing. We’re getting ready to move, and I’m trying to rely on easy meals that will have lots of leftovers. I’m making this this wkd. Yum.

  71. Lindsay S.

    Even though the link between aluminum and Alzheimer’s disease is still questionable, I’d be wary of cooking anything with acid (like buttermilk-soaked meats) directly next to aluminum foil, since acids allow for greater absorption of trace metals into the body and aluminum is a well known neurotoxin. I’ll try this recipe out, but when I do it I’ll use parchment paper to line my roasting dish. Cleans up just the same as aluminum, but none of those pesky neurotoxicity issues.

  72. Kristen E

    This looks fabulous! I can’t wait to try it! I always, always soak my fried chicken in buttermilk for a full day ahead, but I never thought to do that to a chicken I’m going to roast. And for anyone else who’s asking, use the rest of the buttermilk to make biscuits! Nothing goes with fried chicken (or roasted!) as well as homemade biscuits. :)

  73. KellyP

    I have been eyeing Nigella’s buttermilk roast chicken recipe for years and have never made it. But now that I see you’ve had such good results I may need to try your version! P.S. I really need to start making recipes sooner once they catch my fancy (it once took me 5 years to try a new cookie recipe!)

  74. Stephanie L.

    Hi! I was wondering if I wanted to use chicken breast if I should use skin on? I would prefer skinless chicken breast but would it alter the taste or texture of this recipe? Thanks!!

  75. Mindy

    I wonder how many of us are having this for dinner tonight… put my chicken in the fridge last night, and have been drooling in anticipation since (and I don’t usually do that over the chicken)!

  76. Kerri

    Sometimes I just want to hug you. You have an uncanny knack for answering my recipe needs at exactly the moment I need them.

    I see no mention of leafy green herbs in the recipe…can we just assume from the photo that you added some chopped fresh parsley because it’s the right thing to do?

    Also, if you’d ever like to swap your small, lovely kitchen for a small lovely kitchen in a totally different hemisphere for a while, feel free to come to New Zealand and make something wonderful with all the amazing (inherited) fruit trees in our yard!

  77. Could you suggest a substitute for the garlic? I can’t tolerate anything from the onion family. I made a braised chicken the other night that used to be delish with 40 cloves, but with zero cloves it was lacking.

    1. deb

      Martha — Just skip the garlic. Use any spices in the bag you’d like to get a hint of later.

      Kerri — Ah, right. Forgot to mention the herbs. It was just flat-leaf parsley and it was more because plain chicken legs don’t look like much!

      Sunny — Spreading them out in a bigger dish would likely get them more crisp. That said, crisp skin is about dry chicken and this is a very wet soak. Dabbing it dry with paper towels could also help but it’s not going to get as crisp as chicken which hasn’t been soaked in thick buttermilk.

      Angela — For an extra crisp skin (see above) it would help. But I never bothered as I’m not very into chicken skin (unless it is cracker-crisp!)

      Gale — I put my last batch to soak on Sunday, pulled out half to roast right before dinner on Monday, the other half before dinner Tuesday. And then, after we had chicken legs for dinner for four of the last 7 nights, I promised the family we’d be done for a while. :)

      Susan — I would keep it to a 24 hour soak if you don’t want it overly soft. It’s quite, quite tender after 48 hours. You also may find that the 2 hour soak is sufficient for the taste you get. You can also fiddle with salt levels. A doubled amount is recommended by Cook’s Illustrated for brines that cook at a lower temperature. Nigella recommended half of what I do.

      Kate — I’ve been doing it at 425 for 30 minutes.

      Jessica — As someone else mentioned, buttermilk is naturally low-fat (1.5% from a carton). Creme fraiche is about as far as you can get from it on the fat scale (it’s triple cream, I think), plus it would be quite costly for 2 cups. Maybe you were thinking of something else?

  78. Shelly

    Made this yesterday with chicken thighs (which I love). I soaked 6 thighs in the brine and pulled out two for supper last night, did 2 more for lunch today and think it will be okay for tomorrow. I really enjoy how flavorful and moist the meat stays. I marinated in a glass covered container instead of the plastic bag and flipped it over a couple of times to make sure every nook and cranny got sauced.

  79. Thank you, Deb, for explaining a very confusing issue. I live in Australia and sometimes like to prepare American recipes. Now I know what different salts really mean and how to get the correct amounts – I use fine table (sea) salt and flaked sea salt, depending on the dish. I’m also grateful for one of the comments about not using iodized salt for home-made Sauerkraut because it interferes with the fermenting process. I love your website and have used quite a few of your recipes. Cheers, Ingrid

  80. Tea

    @Jessica – buttermilk is a super low fat option. It typically has a fat content of 1-2%. Creme fraiche has a fat content of about 27% so you’re much better off going for buttermilk.

  81. Christine

    makes me wonder if the Zuni chicken cooking method could even be improved with soaking a chicken in this buttermilk ahead of time? It would make a crispier outside without the frying as well…

  82. Deb, I love you. There’s just no other way to say it. How did you KNOW that I had chicken brining in the fridge? No, it wasn’t in buttermilk, but something needed to be done with it – and what better way then to just pop it in the oven with some paprika (smoked)? I had intended to stand at the stove to sear each piece, but I just wasn’t feeling it – I got home late, hungry, thinking “What can I do for dinner that’s EASY?” And then there was your blog. And I have potatoes, and it really hadn’t occurred to me until I read down your post to roast them while the chicken was roasting. It’s one of those brain-dead nights. And I have green beans. OH. And that good bottle of wine I squirreled away at Christmas… Sometimes I feel that you and I are food soul-mates. But I’m sure many of your readers feel that way.

  83. Lilly

    2 questions.

    1. Can I easily sub in powdered buttermilk for this? I have a container just sitting in my pantry – I bought it for the very, very occasional times that I’d run across a recipe requiring buttermilk so that I had that item handy, yet without the inevitable “how old is that buttermilk??” container hidden in the back of the fridge.

    2. Would it work out ok to roast this in my Le Creuset dutch oven, sans lid?

    I’ve never, to my knowledge, had buttermilk soaked chicken, so I’m looking forward to trying this.

  84. April

    I just made this and the inside of my chicken still looked undercooked, well I should say the side that was facing down, although my thermometer read well over 180. I even went so far as to put it back in the oven for a bit longer and it still looked undercooked. Is this something that you encountered/ is this normal?

    1. deb

      April — I think that the chicken is so tender, it looks “wetter” and more undercooked when done that regular roast chicken does. I’d trust your thermometer.

      Lilly — I’d say yes and yes, with the caveat that I haven’t tried this with powdered buttermilk and don’t know for sure, but I suspect as I mentioned in comment #21 that this recipe is more about the play of acid/milk proteins/sugar/salt than it is about where the buttermilk came from. Good luck!

  85. Debi

    I made this tonight. Marinated it for 24 hours. I used about 3 lbs of chicken thighs as we don’t really care for legs. I cooked in a cast iron skillet in the oven without foil for about 45 mins. I have to say, my house smelled so freaking good!!!! The chicken was really really good. I usually don’t eat the skin, but I did with this stuff. Yummy! This is a keeper.

  86. Rebecca

    Love it and love that it takes no time to prepare. I whisked everything together right in the ziplock bag, set in a plastic container. With gloves for handling the chicken, this went together in less time than it took me to take the trash out and quickly clean off the counter. I see endless variations of the paprikas, and of the salts for the brine (thank you for the salt weight, Deb!)! Can’t wait to taste.

  87. Erica

    Wow, this looks so good. My boyfriend is out of the country for 2 months and I’ve been cooking vegetarian for myself, but I will certainly be making this over the weekend to have my first bit of meat in a month! Those photos are beautiful!

  88. Red Kate

    *drool* My chicken is in the fridge taking a very happy bath in buttermilk et al.

    So, if you use skinless, boneless breasts, say, I was thinking that it might be a little drier than with skin. Perhaps one could simply use bacon as an ersatz skin? In any case, I’m going to try it – I’ll let you know.

  89. Sunny

    My chicken legs are marinating in buttermilk as I write. Deb … how would you recommend to make the skin crispier? I actually eat one leg with skin and my 2nd helping without (best of both worlds). But I like my skin really crispy. Could I turn the the legs over in its last minutes and broil until the skin turns brown? or is it just too wet to try?

  90. Geez, now I’M going to be thinking about buttermilk chicken all day. Thanks.

    I completely agree with your additions and I think I might just go ahead and schedule this for dinner tomorrow night!

  91. MaryM

    Thanks for this. I’ve been thinking I needed a new chicken recipe. This looks delicious and I appreciate the small changes you made to Nigella’s dish. I can’t stand the taste of cumin but I love paprika, especially smoked. And with maple syrup prices what they are, I’m not about to buy a bottle just for this one little bit. I’m making Ina Garten’s herb-roasted salmon tonight, but this chicken will be the next meal I cook!

  92. Wow. This sounds spectacular! I was surprised to see sugar in the recipe (even though it IS a very small amount). What do you think this does for the recipe? Does it make it sweeter? <—-stupid question…

    1. deb

      Erin — When brining, both the salt and sugar work together to season the meat as well as weaken the proteins that make it tough. This doesn’t result in sweet meat. It’s more of a chemical thing. Nevertheless, you can skip the sugar if you wish.

  93. Mia

    I often struggle with chicken. Its one of the few meats I eat, and it always seems just a touch bland (when I make it). Like the recipe is almost but not quite right. I’m excited to give this a whirl. I’m hoping the 24 hour soak makes it out of this world. Your photos are beautiful!

  94. Damon

    Oh, funny, I ran into that buttermilk roast chicken of Nigella’s perhaps a month before you did and came to the same conclusion, comparing it with fried chicken and I was quite pleased by how tender and juicy it was. I’ve made it several times since, with some of the same changes (two cloves of garlic? Please.) and I also felt like they needed paprika. I found honey works in place of the maple syrup she calls for (I don’t tend to have it on hand), although I’ll probably follow your lead and switch to sugar since it’s harder to stir into the buttermilk.

    I think I’m going to follow your lead and use foil on the roasting pan from now on, though, because burnt buttermilk is way harder to scrub off a pan than the usual juices.

  95. Patryce

    I had four chicken thighs in the freezer, so they came out, thawed, and went in this brine with whole-milk buttermilk and Penzey’s half-smoked paprika for about 30 hours. Made very tasty chicken, with good skin, and while it was roasting I used half of the marinade to make biscuits–they were great! Baking at 450 was enough to keep me from worrying about any chicken juices that might have been in the biscuits, but maybe that’s just me. Made a garlicky biscuit that I think beats Red Lobster’s! Next time I’ll put garlic chives in them too.
    I usually have bone-in breasts, so I’ll try those next time, perhaps cutting big ones in half for more thorough cooking.

  96. Our family enjoyed this tonight, thanks! One tiny suggestion – I put the brine ingredients directly into the ziplock bag and squished to combine, then added chicken and squished some more.

  97. Kathy

    This was PHENOMENAL. Did a full 24 hour soak of a full chicken (cut up), baked for about 40 minutes and let sit in a warm oven for another 10 or so. Absolutely perfect, never going back to dry roasted chicken again. Thanks, Deb. :)

  98. Aubri

    Super super yummy. I made it with boneless skinless breasts and it was the best chicken I’ve ever made! (All other chicken I’ve tried making ends up dry) I love the seasonings and the ease with which the recipe comes together. Thank you Deb! And really, it isn’t all that unhealthy for you. Hardly any of the buttermilk brine gets absorbed into the chicken, so it adds some calories, I’m sure, but nothing that would cause someone to grab the sweatpants. (That is unless you decide to eat more than one portion, and it is definitely tempting!) If you are worried about calories, measure out the oil to help control how much ends up on the bird. (I used 2 tsps. but could have gotten away with 1 tsp) This recipe only added about 2 points plus (for those of you doing Weight Watchers) to the chicken, and that is assuming that each breast absorbed more than 3! tablespoons of buttermilk (and retained it during the roasting process). 3 tablespoons of buttermilk or fewer is 0 points plus. Sorry for the rambling! I will be having my leftovers on a salad tomorrow. I can’t wait to go to bed….

  99. Abbey E.

    Fantastic recipe…very similar to my go-to recipe for fried chicken, only much less hassle and mess! I actually tried this two ways this week, first with chicken wings to take to a potluck (they tended to burn a bit on the tips so had to turn down the oven temp and roast a little longer for best color) and then with drumsticks for family dinner the next night….next time we are going to see how these babies do on drumstick racks that we use on the grill. Thank you for a great recipe!

  100. I made this last night and was amazed by how juicy the chicken was. I used legs and each one turned out perfect. This recipe is so simple and so easy. LOVE it and will keep it around. Thank you!

  101. This recipe looks scrumptious – I have tried the Nigella buttermilk chicken recipe before and liked it. So am very very very excited at the prospect of an even better version. Thank you for sharing!

  102. KimB

    Thank you! I made these this week and they were amazing. They looked exactly like in your picture too. So easy and moist, even though I only marinated for 4 hours.

  103. I made these last night with drumsticks and boneless thighs and they were delicious! Today they were just as good cold from the fridge for a quick lunch. This is my new go-to roasted chicken recipe. Thanks, Deb!

  104. msue

    AWE inspiring! I added one jalapeno, cut into large chunks (seeds included), and used some lovely smoked paprika, and subbed brown sugar for the white in your recipe. It marinated for 24 hours; the buttermilk happened to be very thick and luscious, and clung to the chicken perfectly during baking, which is fortunate because I completely forgot the olive oil drizzle. The result was a incredible, smokey, spicy baked chicken that will certainly be repeated here. OMG good. Thank you for the fab recipe!

  105. Deborah

    This was dinner tonight. Marinated since Thursday morning. Delian. Loved the smoked paprika. Sprinkled on a generous amount just before roasting.

  106. Latika

    Thanks for sharing this recipe – I’ve had the chicken marinating in the fridge all day, about to put it in the oven. What do I do with the buttermilk marinade? It looks so good! Would be a shame to throw it all away…

  107. cristina

    Whoa. I’m a former vegetarian, now pescetarian that eats bacon/cured pork. I’m reluctant to eat more animals, but this photo has sparked a new grocery list! To Latika’s point, can the buttermilk be safely used for a gratin or soup on the same day?

    1. deb

      Re, reusing buttermilk — See my response to Kenny in comment #100.

      Sarah — I did not.

      LaS — I don’t see why not. Nigella mentions in the recipe that she often uses this technique for spatchcocked chicken.

  108. Yet another Anna

    Thank you for inspiring me to try this idea. I’ve had that same recipe in my to-try pile FOREVER, but never got around to it.

    The other day I had some boneless chicken breasts to cook, and decided to try this. I did realize that their may well be such a thing as ‘too much garlic’ but at least now I’m permanently vampire-proof. :) Delicious, just the same. Next time, I’ll dial back on the garlic a bit, but only just a bit.

    Now I’m intrigued to try this with other seasonings, just to see what happens.

    Chicken breasts can be so dry, especially when boneless, but these were wonderfully juicy and flavorful.

  109. Yet another Anna

    Oh, oops! Forgot to mention that the only seasonings I used were buttermilk, black pepper and garlic. No salt, no anything else. Fabulous flavor.

    (We’re coping with sodium restrictions, so this new idea is very welcome. Lovely to know that brine isn’t always necessary.)

  110. Jamie

    I made this last night. I marinated it for 72 hours, and it turned out just fine. Simply, amazing! We had it with green beans in a dijon shallot vinaigrette sauce, hasslehoff potatoes and a simple salad..and of course lots of wine ;)

  111. Tricia

    Deb – I have been following your blog for 4 years now & yet this is only the 2nd recipe I’ve tried (I have much more time for oogling delicious pictures of food than actually cooking) ;)
    this chicken is AMAZING!!! thanks for the recipe – & can’t wait for your cookbook, I know it will be fabulous :)

  112. Shelley

    I did a half recipe of this last night using 1 cup of buttermilk and 1/2 of a chicken cut into 3 parts. Mixed up the marinade before going to work (at 4am, ouch!) and cooked it for dinner around 6pm. It was SUPER fantastic and so blessedly easy! Thank you Smitten Kitchen!!

  113. I made this the other night (Friday) and it was AMAZING! Thank you for the delicious recipe, I am a recent but die hard fan of yours, I can’t wait until your next post!

  114. These look sooooo very good. I often lull myself to sleep with videos of Nigella’s show on YouTube, but I’ve never made one of her recipes yet. I might just have to try this one… I’m getting sick of chicken breast.

  115. Rick

    We had this tonight — the chicken was very moist and flavorful! I think it could have used another 5 minutes of cooking time to really crisp the skin, but that’s my fault, not the recipe’s. Thanks!

  116. Michael Dietsch


    Lastnightsdinner’s hubstand here. I made this tonight, and Jen and I are over the moon. I broke down a whole chicken, brined it per instruction, and roasted it for a little over 30 minutes.

    Love the sweet smokiness of the paprika we used, both in the meat itself and on the skin. Funny thing is, just a couple of days before Jen sent me this link, I was wondering whether I could take a buttermilk-brined bird and roast it instead of frying it. Love the serendipity.

    Thanks so much for this recipe. It’s a keeper!

    1. deb

      Hi Michael — So glad you enjoyed it. I still refer to your post a few years ago comparing the various roast bird methods you’ve tried when I’m contemplating recipes.

  117. Jess

    Made this for dinner tonight. Used chicken thighs, took about 40 minutes to cook. Came out moist and delicious and it was VERY easy. Marinated for about 24 hours, served with steamed veggies (broccoli, cauliflower) and roasted sweet potatoes. I had two plates!

  118. Beth

    I served this to my extended family tonight and it was a unanimous hit from age 3 to 66. Including 2 finicky pre-teens. Definately a new family staple.

  119. I suck at making chicken. My sweet husband says my chicken is fine, but the truth is I’m paranoid about salmonella so I always overcook it. Until now. This was easily the best chicken I every made, and it’s restored my faith in roasting. Thanks Deb!

  120. Humanus Genus

    I made this tonight and it was really yummy and tender. I used chicken thighs instead of drumsticks and it was beautiful. I served it on a bed of mashed potato topped with green beans and peas. A tip for chicken thigh baking time – for me it took 25 minutes (lucky I was keeping an eye on it!). My boyfriend said it’s a keeper and he’s usually very picky so thank you so much – I’ll definitely be purchasing your cookbook!

  121. Kelly

    Ever since I spotted this recipe, I’ve been dreaming about it. I just went out this morning and bought the stuff to make it. Though, I (probably foolishly) am going to try it with a whole chicken. I think as long as I have foil to cover the scorchie bits as they form on the skin, it should be okay?

  122. Laurie

    I made it with thighs last night and it was yummy! Then I had to use up the buttermilk making your pancakes this morning! Now I’ll be buying buttermilk all the time. Thanks, Deb.

  123. cabernetpixi

    This looks great! I will likely give it a try soon. Make that “very soon”. :D

    I see the yogurt suggestion was already mentioned.

  124. Your photography is as beautiful as the recipes! I do have a weakness for fried chicken, but as I am no longer a young guy, time has come to pay attention to healthy alternatives like this one. Question, I personally like it really, really gold/brown, is there a way to get that crust without over-cooking the chicken? Thanks, I will try this tomorrow night.

  125. Another happy customer! I made the recipe exactly as it’s printed, and both my husband and I agreed that it was moist, flavorful, and fabulous. We both ate it without the skin even though I cooked it in the skin. Because of this, we didn’t taste too much of the paprika flavor. I’m going to try this with boneless skinless chicken and see how it goes. I’ll report back.

  126. cielo

    This was not good. Tasted like boiled chicken. I made 8 pieces and have 6 left.
    I’ll try for chicken salad, but may end up throwing it out.

  127. Karen

    I made this tonight, and only marinated for about 5 hours – it definitely wasnt enough. Some of the meat that wasn’t covered by skin (I used drumstick and thighs) was flavorful, but the rest was not at all.

  128. Laura

    So. Freakin. Good. Made it tonight and served with your balsamic glazed brussel sprouts. Used powdered buttermilk and brined for about 30 hours – breasts and thighs. Seriously good chicken.

  129. Jeanne

    We made this today after a 36hr marinade (we were delayed) and the results were fantastic! Our chicken released quite a bit of liquid which I poured off mid-way and made a lovely gravy. Even my super-insanely-picky-only-eats-buttered-pasta- daughter pronounced it scrumptious. This recipe is absolutely a keeper.

  130. Mark

    Made this tonite, with your french onion soup–yum! Only thing I would do differently next time is roast the chicken on a rack of some sort so it doesn’t sit in the grease. Great recipe!

  131. Brittany W

    I made this tonight with boneless skinless chicken breasts, marinaded for 24 hours. The chicken ended up dry after cooking for about 35-37 minutes, but my husband and I really liked the flavor. I’ll cook the rest for less time tomorrow, I think maybe 30 minutes. I very optimistic that once I get the cooking time down, it will be great! Thanks, and I’d love to see more chicken recipes if you’ve got them.

    1. deb

      Hi Brittany — Sorry for the confusion. The breast cooking time estimate was for bone-in skin-on chicken breasts. Skinless, boneless cutlets take much less time to cook.

  132. Jen C

    I made this on Friday night and it was absolutely sensational. I plan to put it in heavy rotation for the rest of the winter as my go-to midweek chicken recipe. I used smoked paprika and was very pleased — gave a faintly bacon-y flavor to the finished dish. I should add that I used chicken thighs and cooked them at a lower temp (350 F) for 90 minutes, which resulted in very tender chicken and perfectly browned skin.

  133. Latika

    Hello again – this turned out wonderfully. So buttery and milky and rich and red and utterly morish! Red because I love smoked paprika and am quite heavy handed with it. I poured a lot of the marinade into the roasting pan and roasted it until the marinade had turned into a thick saucy coating on the chicken.Finger licking good!

  134. Wanda

    I made this last night and it was great! I have really been struggling trying to find a chicken dish that actually has some flavor. This is my new go to dish.

  135. jennypenny

    Yum! This was tasty chicken! This was awesome, my whole family devoured it! I love chicken, but my husband not so much. Really he just doesn’t like chicken breasts, so I did legs and thighs, and it was super juicy and flavorful, and the skin was pretty good, too. I loved the 30 minute cook time, meaning I can do this easily on a weeknight.

  136. leanne

    LOVE this recipe. The chicken tasted fantastic — also made my house smell divine when I was baking it. And then I added it to a jambalaya recipe… heaven.

  137. Does brining help reduce the cooking time? I’m asking because I’ve found that roasting un-brined chicken legs at 425 for 30 minutes leaves them raw inside, at least in my oven. I do use an oven thermometer, so I don’t think the temperature is off, and I also use medium-to-small size chicken legs, so it’s not a matter of the meat being too thick. For the dry spice-rubbed roast chicken that I make, it takes at least 45 minutes, if mostly covered, and more like an hour, if uncovered, at 425 to really cook through.

  138. stephanie

    i have three whole legs roasting now … we’ll have buttered egg noodles & lima beans. the family is quite excited for fancy chicken!

  139. Jennifer

    I made this for dinner tonight and it was fantastic! I’ve made the Nigella recipe before with rosemary, and went against my instinct to add it to this recipe I actually FOLLOWED the recipe – a rarity for me, except I used honey instead of sugar. I LOVED it without the rosemary (not that it wasn’t good with the rosemary too). And I definitely agree letting it soak at least 24 hours is key. So delicious and I am now going to demand my friends make it

  140. Anna

    I made this for my boyfriend tonight with whole leg quarters and served it with roasted potatoes and onions. I only brined for two hours (too lazy to get it together last night), but it still turned out magnificently. I think the only thing I could have done to make it better would have been to roast the potatoes in the rendering chicken fat. :)

  141. Becky

    Just finished eating it! Yum! This was my first time both cooking chicken in an oven and cooking chicken with bones in it. I’ve never had chicken so moist! I hit it with more black pepper instead of more paprika because I wanted to.Thank you!

  142. Henrietta

    Thank you for this awesome recipe! I made it tonight for dinner, and the boyfriend and I loved it. The chicken was so moist and flavorful. Can’t wait to try some of the other recipes.

  143. MaryLou

    This chicken was fabulous! My daughter has been following you for years so I thought I’d take a look for something different than what I usually make. This was really great, can’t wait to make it again! thanks

  144. Brittany W

    Update- I made this with the next two pieces of chicken, only cooked for 30 minutes, and it was not dry at all. I think next time I may even dial it back to 27 minutes, but it has a really great flavor, and I’m just so thankful to have a different way to cook chicken!

  145. Yum. I’m going to make your buttermilk chicken and best baked spinach for a little dinner party this wknd. Any recommendations for a third element to the meal? Thanks!

    1. deb

      Ella — We had it each time with wild rice because I’ve been on a wild rice kick. I think the intensity of flavor from the rice, even cooked plainly, plays nicely off the simplicity of the chicken.

  146. Deb, I made this last night and forgot about the “putting on olive oil” step. The chicken was still super moist anyway! It was lovely. I had legs (5 or 6 of them) and I roasted them in a Pyrex dish (the rectangular kind), so I had to add 10 minutes onto the oven time, for a total of 40 minutes in the oven.

    I love your recipes!

  147. Landon W

    So there is a big difference between roasting in a Pyrex dish instead of a roasting dish? I had to cook around 40-45 minutes as well.

    I used smoked paprika and it was fantastic! Great recipe, really looking forward to the book.

  148. marilyn

    Hi Deb! I took your advice and made your green bean salad with this the other night. The next day, I took left over chicken and combined it with the left over green beans to make the most delicious chicken and green bean salad ever. The pickling juices (I added all of them to the green beans) add a delicious tang to the chicken. Brilliant recipes, both of them – thank you!

  149. Alexandra Deutsch

    I marinated boneless, skinless chicken breasts, thighs, and wings for just under 24 hours, roasted them about 40 minutes. They were perfect! This is a recipe I will make again and again. I served it with roasted butternut squash and beet greens with pine nuts and golden raisins. It was a great, healthy dinner. Thank you for a fabulous addition to my “easy meal” repetoire.

  150. YES! I need a little somethin somethin to make the ole chicken dish a little more tolerable. Down in the south, we’ll take our buttermilk chicken, but glad that it looks a little healthier than the usual find down here. Thanks!

  151. susan

    Just devoured this chicken and it was outstanding! Very flavourful, I did 24hour marinade. This will definitely be in the regular rotation. I might experiment with using this brine next time I roast a whole chicken. Thanks from South Korea!

  152. Liz S.

    Made this last weekend with a whole fryer that I cut up. Yummy! We served with roasted haricots verts, and enjoyed the leftovers last night. I think I would cut back on the garlic just a bit next time, especially when going for the full 24 hour marinade. Thanks, Deb!
    p.s. I pre-ordered the book, now all I need to do is manage the wait until fall…

  153. C

    I am a relative cooking noob, so I thought I would share my experience for the other noobs trying this recipe. I tried this and it came out very juicy and tender. I used only about 1 lb of chicken and halved the recipe. I needed to split it into two baking dishes, and I don’t know how that affects the process. I used legs, and they needed about 45 minutes in the oven, and probably could have used even more. I didn’t have foil, so I oiled the baking dishes, and it came out a bit greasy, so I recommend using the foil. I also recommend being generous with the paprika.

  154. Hillary

    I made this last night after soaking for 24 hours. I used 3 chicken breasts (no bone, but skin on) (approximately 1 lbs total weight) and didn’t need quite as much buttermilk. I used parchment paper for the baking dish to help with clean up. I cooked for 28 minutes at 425 degrees. My husband and I did not feel like the chicken was very flavorful, but it was tender and juicy. I wished it had more flavor. I served with roasted potatoes and a salad. It was certainly an easy meal to throw together and I cooked the potatoes at the same time as the chicken — just on the bland side for me.

  155. Amy

    I made this last night after soaking for 24 hours, and it was a hit! It was super juicy and moist, and velvety. Very delicious. Will be going into heavy rotation as it was easy to throw together on a weeknight. I served it with some glazed carrots and a salad and it was yummy.

    I used smoked paprika because it’s what I had on hand, and I think it really adds a little something. My guy kept saying that it had an almost barbequed flavor. Those of you who find this bland might want to try with smoked paprika.

  156. JamieF

    I wouldn’t normally make just chicken drumsticks for dinner – I like them, but when cooking chicken at home I usually opt for the breast or thigh. Your pictures looked so good, though, that I went ahead and got drumsticks and made this recipe last week. It was so ridiculously good we were laughing while we ate it.

    I think I’d like to try this with a whole chicken next time. I probably won’t be able to get the skin very crispy (a goal that has turned chicken roasting into an obsession), but the meat is so good I don’t think anyone will care. Thank you for the idea.

  157. Laura

    I made this last night with drumsticks and it turned out incredible! I think I’m going to have to soak my chicken in buttermilk all the time now to make it this juicy. It was literally dripping with juice!

  158. Dakota Guy

    Excellent with chicken drumsticks. My daughters usually won’t eat food that is seasoned strongly, but they just kept coming back for more! We went through 20 drumsticks in 3 meals and they immediately asked for me to make more.

    Any thoughts on cooking a whole frying chicken this way??? (frozen whole hutterite chicken in the freezer just begging for a buttermilk bath)

    Unrelated; Hallelujah Halibut is a similar marinade, using cayenne instead of paprika. I look forward to trying this recipe with 1/2 tsp cayenne replacing 1/2 of the paprika.

  159. AlexMac

    I tried this recipe tonight, along with your dijon-roasted potatoes, and some steamed green beans. Delicious! I used skin-on chicken quarters. And since I’m a huge fan of crispy chicken-skin, I just broiled it for a couple minutes at the end. The chicken was still perfectly juicy, and the skin was super crispy. Definitely making this again. Thanks!

  160. Marina

    I just put it in the oven :) As I’m cooking it for myself only, I used 1 boneless skinless breast. It’s been in the brine for about 18 hours. I used less buttermilk than listed and 3 garlic cloves, but the other ingredients are pretty much the same. I’ll report back:)

  161. Marina

    It turned out great for only 20min! I forgot to mention I added a pinch of cinnamon, it tasted really good.
    Thanks for the recipe, Deb!

  162. Candice

    Soaked a whole cut-up chicken for 48 hours; then roasted about 40 mins or so. My husband loved it! I needed something different to do with chicken and this was it! Will definitely make this again.

  163. Terry

    Hi Deb-Thanks for this terrific recipe. It is terrific.
    I used whole legs. The house smelled marvelous, thank you very
    much and the eaters were nourished in body and spirit.

  164. The beauty of this recipe is it absolute simplicity. There are literally hundreds of sides you could do with it, but honestly, just a pan of the roasted legs would make me very happy. Beautiful, just beautiful. Thank you SOOO much!!!

  165. Susan

    This chicken was awesome. I soaked it for 48 hours and it was by far the most tender roasted chicken I have ever made. The flavor was so intense…I will definitely make it again. I used chicken breasts and thighs (with bone) and served it with macaroni and cheese and green beans. Thanks for posting..

  166. Lisa

    Yum!!! I made it with a mix of drumsticks and 2 boneless, skinless breasts I had and surprisingly enough, we liked the breasts better – thought they had much more flavor and I brined both for 24 hours.

  167. rebecca

    had to comment – these were amazing!! tasted just like the buffalo bleu kettle chips but without all that greasy feeling. used bone in chicken breast, brined for 20 hours, and baked for about 45 min. served it with brussel sprouts. yummy.

  168. Nicole

    This was so delicious and easy to make! I used full fat buttermilk because there was a choice of both at the store and I figured full fat would probably be better tasting. I’ll try the lower fat one next time since I see in the comments you recommend it. Since having my son, I haven’t had much time to make a good meal but this was absolutely wonderful. We had it with biscuits and green beans! Yummy!

  169. Gee

    Deb, I’ve been a long time lurker and I decided one day that I was going to pick and cook a recipe from your blog. I tried this recipe for dinner this weekend, and it was amazing! I didn’t have buttermilk around but I soured skim milk and it still turned out fantastic. I was a bit worried about soggy skin (it’s my favorite part!) but the skin crisped up nicely and had a lovely color. The famjam liked it so much that they asked for it next weekend! I’ll definitely be trying more recipes in the future. Just a question though. For those who don’t drink alcohol or are discouraged from doing so, what would one use in place of white or red wine in cooking. I’ve had to pass over some fantastic recipes because they included alcohol.

    1. deb

      Gee — There’s no hard and fast rule for replacing wine or alcohol in recipes. In many cases, you can skip it. In others, it’s best to figure out what purpose it’s serving — if it’s flavor, and there aren’t many others, I would use a different recipe. If it’s a tablespoon of bourbon in a banana bread, it can be skipped. If it’s a small amount to deglaze a pan, a combination of water and wine vinegar can do the same. If it’s for a braise, usually broth can replace it. But when people ask me how to replace the wine in coq au vin or, say, the beer in a beer bread, my honest response would be to skip the recipe as the booze is central to how it should taste.

  170. Joel

    i love nigella’s buttermilk roast chicken as per the ny times – but love the idea of using chicken legs, much less likely to puncture my snap lock bag.

    the buttermilk seems to drive the flavour of the pepper and rosemary right through the chicken, absolutely scrummy.

  171. Achara

    I made it last night. My 14-month-old daughter who is NOT a meat eater, loved the roast buttermilk chicken. She kept asking for “more”. I think it was one of the best chicken dish I’ve ever had/made. We had it with the Japanese wild mushroom rice. We will have it again tonight. I can’t wait!

  172. Huh…just realized that I completely missed the tablespoon of sugar in my marinade–but this was Hero Chicken nonetheless :) “Hero” in that I got ooo’s and ahhhh’s when people dug into this last night. I did find it a bit salty, but the chicken was super moist and flavourful. I used smoked paprika, as suggested, and it was great. A winner of a recipe–will have to make sure I remember to add the sugar next time!

  173. Diane

    We made this for dinner last week and it was a real winner. The buttermilk and smoked paprika added such a nice flavor. We’ll make it again. Thanks!

  174. Jo

    I have now made this receipe using legs and thighs (divine) and most recently (last night) with a bone-in half turkey breast. They were both great, but it was a wonderful surprise with the turkey breast, as I didn’t brine it for nearly as long as I did the chicken (only about 6 hours versus the chicken’s 24), but it still produced moist, flavorful, delicious turkey. Oh, and I used smoked paprika both times, which definitely imparts a nice flavor. And I’m not sure if this is a buttermilk thing, but I found the garlic flavor really does come forward using this brine approach — in a way that simply marinating with garlic doesn’t. Could be my garlic (a particularly potent head?), but I suspect it has something to do with the brine chemistry goin’ on.


  175. Susan J

    I didn’t have paprika, so I used tons of mashed garlic, cumin, chili powder, cracked salt, and lime zest. I mixed it all in a big ziplock with the buttermilk, then threw a whole chicken in. It sat over night in the fridge, then despite carelessly over cooking it (the ends of the drums were mildly charred), the meat was a tender dream. Not only was it delicious, I loved just throwing it in the over, and not getting worked up about what to make for dinner. It’s definitely gong into heavy rotation in our house.

    1. deb

      Susan J — You sound like me! “getting worked up about what to make for dinner”. I totally go into a dinner panic at least once a week. This recipe was an awesome departure from those days, and I could make a salad and side in the 30 minutes it baked.

  176. Jessica

    I used skinless chicken breasts (only 3 but they were large) and because I didn’t have buttermilk in the house I did the milk/lemon mix. 7 hours marinating in it and wow, just fantastic! I can’t imagine how much better this will taste with a full 24-48 hours and real buttermilk. I visit here a lot but first time poster. You’re always the first place (and usually only place) I stop when I need an idea.

  177. Kathy

    Great recipe! The flavor is fantastic. I used drumsticks. My husband had a hard time restraining himself to three. I’m thinking next time I may go closer to the 24 hour mark than the 48, though. If anything, the chicken was a bit too moist (apparently this is possible). I am also thinking of doing the last couple of minutes under the broiler to crisp the skin.

  178. Ash

    Tried this recipe last night (though I admit I only marinated for 7hrs) and it was a Massive hit with my dinners guests and The Hubs. I added a dash of pepper flakes for a touch of heat which complimented the flavors of your recipe quite nicely. To sum up: I Love this meal and will restrain myself to preparing it only once a week.


  179. Frances

    Made this, was absolutely delicious! I added a pinch of cumin in for color since I went skinless. I have a silly question — what’s the herb pictured? Parsley?

  180. Cristina

    This sounds like a wonderfull recipe…
    I have just one question – do you use the buttermilk in the cooking process (at least one part), you discard it, or save it?
    Thank you for your wonderfull recipes.

  181. Jaime

    I made Nigella’s version and liked the sound of the additions you made. I made this last week (using legs and thighs), and like you divided it up into two bags – one we ate after about 6 to 8 hours marinating and the other after 24 hrs. The latter was more tender. I didn’t have buttermilk, so I made sour milk, and used balsamic vinegar. Turned out very nice. My husband and son ate 3 to 4 pieces each night.

  182. Marie

    I made this the other week but for added crunch, rolled the drumsticks in seasoned bread crumbs! Unfried crunchy chicken!
    The paprika taste didnt’ really come through but the buttermilk definitely made the stick super tender.

    Awesome recipe.

  183. mel tardy

    I’m making this tonight, it’s been “marinating” in the buttermilk bath for 2 days. I’m using boneless chicken breasts, instead of the legs, cuz that’s what was in the freezer. I know it won’t be as moist, but i’m hoping for some yummy flavor. I’ll keep you posted. Looks sooo good!

  184. Angela

    Sounds yummy.

    As a sidenote, instead of lining your pan/dish with aluminum foil (possible reactions), have you tried the Reynolds Parchment-lined foil?

  185. Made this tonight — well, I started it last night — and oh. my. god. it was delicious!The skin was delectable and the meat so moist — we might have moaned a little. I will be making this one often. Thank you!

  186. Hal

    Quick question: How much of the buttermilk solution do you remove before roasting? All of it? Do you rinse the pieces? Or do you just kind of let it drip off for a bit and then put it right in the pan? Making this tonight. Thanks.

  187. Jessica

    Hal I didn’t rinse them off at all but I just used tongs to take them out of the bag straight into the baking dish. I did not add any of the liquid into the dish and you’ll see as they bake that there’s plently of juices that flow through the dish on their own. Hope that helps!

  188. rupi d

    Just made this for dad and he loved it. Made a side of boiled and fried smashed purple potatoes with rosemary, shallots and garlic. He said to make the whole dish for him again anytime ;) Lucky me- that was the easiest chicken dish ever.

  189. Sharon R.

    Delish! I marinaded this for two days, did a combination of legs and thighs. I loved the taste of the buttermilk. Thank you for blogging, I enjoy reading.

  190. Hal

    Okay, made this tonight and I can confirm: It’s ten kinds of awesome. I did not rinse or pat dry the chicken (thighs that I roasted for 45 minutes) and it was uh-mazing. The skin was quite chewy/crispy and the chicken beneath was unbelievable. This recipe will now go into permanent rotation in my house, and I can see how easily it will scale up for a party. Can’t wait to whip out several trays of it. Thanks!

  191. G

    For those who asked about options for the lactose intolerant – I made it with soy milk (and used smoked paprika), let it marinade for 48 hours – and it was a big hit!

  192. I made this yesterday — yum! I should have let it marinate more and was thinking it might be good with a splash of lemon juice, which I’ll try next time — but thanks much for this yummy recipe!

  193. Sara

    Ooh this looks perfect for my boyfriend’s birthday next week with some goose-fat roasted potatoes and local purple sprouting broccoli – he does love a roast dinner. Thought he does love gravy too – so is there a way I could get gravy out of this? I would use a mixture of skin-on Organic thighs and drumsticks (though we wouldn’t eat the skin either, so not fussed about crispiness) – does it produce enough pan fat and juice to thicken up with some flour/cornstarch? Or could I use some of the marinade somehow?
    Do you think smoked paprika, fresh rosemary and thyme would be a good flavour combination?
    Also planning to make the Tiramasu Cake for his birthday, thanks for writing a wonderful blog Deb!

  194. Nancy Duggan

    Just a little thing to save a bowl & whisk: put the freezer bag in a bowl to stabilize it, pour in the buttermilk, add the garlic, salt & paprika, smoosh bag to mix. Add chicken, re-smoosh and refrigerate. I’m lazy.

  195. Lisa

    Delicious!! I let it marinate for 24 hours and I used fat-free buttermilk (My wonderful husband went to the market for me and came back with fat-free buttermilk I wasn’t sure how it would be, but the dish came out awesome and I will plan on using fat free buttermilk the next time too).

    I love all of the recipes that I have made from your site. Thank you so much for sharing these scrumptious meals and for your entertaining writing! : )

  196. Carole

    Soaked it for 36 hours. Baked it this morning. Had it for lunch. I told my husband this chicken was getting the Valentine’s Day card today, I’m totally in love…

  197. Beth

    My sweetie made this for with mashed potatoes, green beans and the ginger chocolate tart for VDay. All wonderful. Very tender, tasty chicken and so easy.

  198. I cut up a whole chicken and marinated it for about 36 hours before cooking. 35 minutes seemed perfect, each piece was cooked properly and the breasts were still nice and moist. Great recipe!

  199. Kasey

    Finally made this for dinner last night and omgsoyummy! I used smoked paprika and made legs, thighs and boneless/skinless breast and it was all delicious. Ended up turning the breast meat into chicken and biscuit sandwiches and it was one of the best things I’ve eaten in a while.

  200. Made this last night after a 24 hour soak in the fridge. I made a half recipe as there’s only Husband and I (for now!). A half recipe is the perfect amount for the extra bits of a whole cut up chicken, the legs, thighs and wings. Mine didn’t get brown all over and took a little longer than I thought, but my oven has issues. And I used red pepepr flakes rather than paprika, but I might have a problem when it comes to red pepper: I put it on and in everything. Yum! Thanks Deb!

  201. David

    Love this recipe! Tried it a week ago with 8 thighs & 4 drumsticks (skin on, even though we ususally don’t eat it) and used the smoked paparika. We are a family of 3 and left only one piece because no one wanted to be the one to eat the last piece. Tried it this weekend using boneless, skinless breasts. Only thing I would do differently with breasts in the future is cut down on the paparika sprinkled just before baking. It was a bit powerful for those who don’t like the taste.

    Fantastic recipe. This is one that I will be proud to share with family and friends. Thanks so much!

  202. Morgan

    Fantastic! I made this last night, along with your quick zucchini saute and your asparagus, goat cheese & lemon pasta, and it was so delicious! The chicken was so juicy and flavorful, I was disappointed when it was gone… good thing there’s another batch waiting for me to throw it in the oven when I get home tonight!

    I also made your meyer lemon and cranberry scones, since I felt the need to use up the rest of the buttermilk (which I sub’ed in for the heavy cream). A fantastic dessert last night, and perfect to bring in to the office this morning!

  203. Jessica

    I’ve made this chicken about five times since it was posted and tweaked it a little each time.
    We call this “Perfect Chicken” at our house :)

  204. Made this with thighs and let it marinade a day. Amazing. I guess that’s why you get to make a cookbook, eh? =) Can’t wait.

    P.S. For anyone wondering (because I was), YES, you can use soy milk and turn it into sour milk to sub for buttermilk.

  205. Jess M

    Fiance and I ate way too much skinless, boneless chicken with little spice growing up and generally avoid “boring” chicken as a result. This is anything but boring! Delicious.

    Buttermilk is generally low-fat. I find it is relatively inexpensive. I’m on a quest to make my own cheese recently. If you make cultured butter, the leftover liquid is buttermilk. Next, I want to try this chicken with my leftover buttermilk from making cultured butter. The ingredients for cultured butter are fairly simple: 1 quart of pasteurized heavy cream or raw cow’s milk and 1/8 tsp of Aroma B powdered mesophilic starter culture. Given that your grocery store likely carries buttermilk made from cow’s milk, it should be relatively low fat.

  206. Evelyn

    We made this Friday night (after chowing down on the sweet potato and sausage soup) and served it with asparagus Saturday night. Delicious and so simple.

  207. Brie

    Unreal. I made the marinade on Friday and cooked the chicken last night (Sunday), which made for a 2-day soak in the buttermilk solution. It’s tough to think that something so simple can be so dang good!! I would recommend this recipe to anyone looking for an easy way to impress any and everyone. Absolutely delicious – thanks so much for sharing this recipe!

  208. RoDi

    Ohmigosh hubby and I thought this was sooooo delicious for the minimal effort and preparation required! Soaked 10 drumsticks on Sunday, baked first 5 on Monday, baked last 5 on Tuesday…. THEN we were still jonesing for the flavors when I tossed 2 chicken breasts in the remaining brine for dinner on Wednesday!! Dusted the breasts with chili powder before baking then we shredded them for chicken tacos on corn tortillas with Deb’s easy coleslaw. All so quickly delicious and gratifying!! Thanks, Deb!!!!

  209. Sara

    Has anyone tried this with cornish hens?? I have 4 I need to cook and I was thinking this might be a good option!
    Please advise!
    Bake longer at lower temp?

  210. I made one batch of this in a cast iron skillet after 48 hours and the rest of it the day after without incident. Can’t believe I missed this recipe from Nigella, her buttermilk brine chicken nuggets was a keeper.

    Those with buttermilk procurement issues can rest be assured that homemade buttermilk works just as well – that’s what I did.

  211. I ran into this recipe again after I saw another blogger make it and I just couldn’t get it out of my head. So, here it is 1am and I threw together the marinade and have chicken legs sitting in it to roast tomorrow. :)

  212. CarolT

    Made this last night, and WOW was delish, used chicken breasts with bone-in took about 45 minutes, but was so moist and great tasting. Love the idea of doing boneless too, might try this next.
    Thanks for a great new chik recipe for my file!

  213. zEmfIrKa

    I usually don’t leave comments, although I often visit various food blogs and love reading all the recipes as well as other people’s stories – i.e. comments (especially about their success with the published dish). However, I had to thank you for this great recipe. I made the buttermilk-roast-chicken last night and it was a real success!!! So juicy and tasty – full of flavor! My husband and I enjoyed it very much. I actually made this chicken two ways: I marinated about 2.5lbs of chicken legs per recipe above and the first night I actually decided to give fried chicken a try, since I had buttermilk still left – and it was great – I used the fried chicken recipe from this website as a guide. And for the second night, yesterday, I roasted the leftover chicken drumsticks – YUM!!! Thanks so much for great ideas and beautiful photos – please keep blogging! You are an inspiration.

  214. Lisa C

    I’m besotted with this recipe – so much so that I’ve made it twice in the last month. Now I’m thinking the buttermilk mixture would be a wonderful brine for bone-in pork chops. Any thoughts as to whether this is a good idea and how long to cook them? Thanks.

  215. jabs

    i made this tonight. marinated for a little under 24 hours. usually, by the time i am done cooking i am not real impressed with what i had made. tonight, though, was a different story! incredible! i absolutely loved this recipe!

  216. jabs

    @lisa c: i am already marinating some bone in pork chops for dinner tomorrow night. i bet if you see them and then roast them for around 8 – 10 mins they will be perfect.

  217. Tiarra

    Hi Deb! I love your blog it’s sooooo totally amazing! I am having a dinner party on Saturday and I am so stuck on what flavorful meat I can use to wow the crowd. Do you have any ideas? I know you don’t do much meat but I thought asking wouldn’t hurt.

  218. Shel

    Deb–was craving fried chicken one night and your post appeared about this recipe! Yum! The chicken comes out so moist and juicy! Making this again tonight, I sprinkled a little rosemary on top and my apartment smells heavenly. Thanks for all the great recipes. =)

  219. Stephanie

    I finally made this tonight…it’s been on my mind that much. It was delicious, the flavor was as wonderful as fried chicken itself. I marinated it for 8 hours, because I didn’t want to wait until tomorrow to try it. Perfection.

  220. Pat Hancock

    I used boneless/skinless breasts, marinated them for 6-6 1/2 hrs. and roasted for about 35-40 mins. (although I think 25 mins. would have sufficed). I added 3 or 4 sprigs of fresh Rosemary before roasting, but decided it would have been better to add it to the brine instead. I thought my tried and true recipe for “Lemon Crumb Chicken” was good….but this was GREAT! My hubby really liked it and it “fits” into my Weight Watchers eating program, so I will definitely be making it again and again!!!

  221. Heidi

    This was absolutely ah-mazing, and so easy! I realized after I got started that I only had one cup of buttermilk, but it still worked out just fine. I kept the amounts of the spices the same and added even a bit more garlic, because can you ever have too much? ;) Used bone-in, skin-on thighs and “hot” hungarian paprika. I will be making this A LOT, and it would make a great dinner party recipe! Thank you so much, I love this website!! Haven’t been let down by a recipe once.

  222. Abi

    I have a convection oven. I convection baked skin-on chicken thighs for 20 minutes at 350 degrees and another 20 minutes at 400 degrees. Super yummy, with nice browned skin.

  223. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
    I’ve made this several times now. Truly delicious. It is now my go to way of baking dark meat chicken. Goes really well with a baked sweet potato, or mashed garlic cauliflower…

  224. Rachel

    I made this last week with boneless skinless breasts and soaked it for 48 hours… The chicken was not over-cooked, but extremely salty. I did not use more than a tablespoon. If I were to do this again, I might leave out, or at least dramatically reduce, the salt.

  225. Emily

    I made this a few nights ago and it was delicious! I only had time to marinate it for 5 hours and it was still really juicy and flavorful. I used one (1.5 lb) package of drumsticks and one same sized package of thighs. My husband liked it but thought it was a little greasy. I left the skin on and they were sitting in a lot of oil at the end. Do they turn out ok if you take the skin off before baking? Otherwise I might try putting the pieces on a metal rack over a sheet pan next time. It was a huge hit with our picky 9 year old too!

  226. grant

    @Rachel: if you take out the salt it won’t be a brine…maybe just follow the recipe and use something with a bone in it…i promise it’s worth it

  227. G

    I made this last night for the family and it was so easy and delicious. I made the brine in the morning and cooked it 12 hours later. Thanks for your recipes as I’ve used a few of them and am always so satisfied with the flavor.

  228. I tried this the other day in a restaurant and tasted really good. When I tried making it myself, I failed miserably. Your recipe seems to be the right one. Got to try it and see if it works well this time :)

  229. Mare

    Made these a few weeks ago – they turned out beautifully! So when drumsticks came on sale this week I thought I’d give it another go. I’m using curry powder though, plus a bit of paprika. Hopefully it will turn out ok…

  230. Newsie

    Have made this 3 times since January, and going for number 4 tonight. Love it! Can’t wait to try it on pork chops as recommended by another reviewer. Thanks for the great recipe!

  231. Mimi

    Made this tonight, it was amazing. Not like you need comment #391 saying the same thing, but thank you for this recipe! Dinner was delicious!!

  232. Maria

    Wonderful! So juicy and tender! I have made this twice-once marinating for 8 hours and once marinating for 24 hours. So much juicer at 24 hours. More chicken recipes like this please!

  233. Cash

    I am making this for the second time in 2 weeks at the request of my boyfriend. He tore through it so fast the first time he asked me to make it again so he can actually taste it, lol.
    Has anyone tried this with a whole chicken? I would love to try it at a dinner party!

  234. Unbelievably yummy! Moist and tasty! We all quickly decided at dinner tonight that this recipe is a keeper.Followed it exactly and used split chicken breasts. Smelled amazing too!

  235. Sharon

    Wowww…. this recipe is UNREAL. I made it exactly as written and pulled off the skin after roasting to save myself some calories. I almost cried when I did that, thinking I was going to take away so much flavor but NOT. TO. WORRY – this chicken was so flavorful, so juicy, so delicious!! I have to make it again. And again, and again, and again. Do yourself a favor and MAKE THIS CHICKEN!!! Thank you so much for this recipe; it’s amazing. Oh yeah, I marinated it for about 20 hours.

  236. Shel

    love love love this chicken. so easy to make and it smells fantastic! this has been my go-to recipe since you posted it, deb! i sprinkled some fresh rosemary and have marinated up to 48 hours. so good.

  237. Lara

    Agreed with Deb and all the rest of the commenters here – this chicken is FANTASTIC and so simple to make. The “hardest” part is lining the pan with tinfoil. And to chime in on the boneless vs bone-in chix – in my opinion, night and day. I originally made this with boneless/skinless chix as it is what I had on hand; then made it bone-in for friends. I say opt for bone-in every time and, if you’re going to make a buttermilk chicken that’s boneless, go for the breaded chicken. Thanks for the recipe, Deb!

  238. Jessica

    This recipe sounded really good and the chicken is moist, but beware when roasting the legs in the oven. I had about 8 legs in the pan=2.8 lbs and they were kinda squished in there. I cooked them for 35 min, a little longer than the recipe directed. When i took them out they looked good just like the pic, but the inside was not done all the way.Definitely my fault for not using a thermometer but it killed my apatite anyway.I did throw them back in the oven for another 15 min and they turned out very well. Just thought I would share my results for those looking to give em a try :-)

  239. I just made this last night with boneless skinless breasts. Hot dang I was so good. The chicken marinated for nearly 48 hours. I’m thinking most of my chicken will be taking a buttermilk bath from now on because this had so much flavor. Paired with roasted asparagus with goat cheese. All so good.

  240. Hi, We used the marinade on whole chicken parts (legs, breasts) at it turned our great. We did use a broiler to crisp up the skin, and used different times for the legs and breasts. This was easy and tasted great. This has become our go-to chicken recipe. Thanks again!

  241. Jaclyn

    I made this last night. I used leg quarters and soaked them for about 32 hours. Then I baked them at 425 for 45 minutes. The results were perfect! The meat was tender, juicy, and flavorful. The skin was caramelized, crispy, and salty. Absolutely perfect chicken, a winner for the entire family. Even my 3-year-old ate two whole leg quarters with no prodding, and her relationship with meat is best described as “lukewarm”.
    Very good, very easy, will absolutely make again.

  242. C Steinemann

    I made this with rabbits and added thyme to the marinade. What i made lazily diff is the fact that i don’t marinade this over 2days cos we can’t wait.. so i throw the whole dish, marinade and all into the oven together aftersitting in it an hour or so… half hour with the lid on, next half without, sauce thickened with lil flour and it was excellent with coarse polenta :D

    thnks 4 d inspiration!

    cleaning was a breeze as i used one of those heavy cast iron pots… alu foil is bad for environ or so i was told n so i avoid usin em..

  243. Lauren

    We’ve been having this at least twice a month since stumbling upon the recipe. It is so, so good and easy too. I use leg quarters, split into drumsticks and thighs. They take about an hour to roast (after some trial and error), but are well worth the wait.

    Thank you so much!

  244. CaramelPie

    This is delicious! I’ve made it about 4 times, and usually double the recipe to have leftovers. I’ve made it both with and without skin. Everyone in my family loves it. Thanks so much for this great recipe.

  245. This looks amazing! Marinating now for tomorrow. Thank you so much for linking to the green bean salad. Somehow I missed that one. My mouth is literally watering. Can’t wait to try it.

  246. Amanda

    I’ve made this dish 4 times now. Each time I’ve used a package of 4 leg quarters, which I cut into 4 thighs and 4 drumsticks. I whisk buttermilk, dried thyme, granulated garlic, salt and sugar in a large tupperware container and then add the chicken. Let it marinate 24 hrs or so, then sprinkle on smoked paprika and sea salt. I am pretty liberal with both. I’ve found that the oil doesn’t really make a huge difference with browning or crispiness of skin, so I leave that out to avoid the extra calories. It usually bakes for about 25 minutes, then I broil it to crisp up the skin until it just starts to char. So tasty… thanks Deb!

  247. Sarah

    So I’m thinking of making this for a picnic and will be transporting it from my oven on the upper west side all the way to prospect park. Will reheating in an oven closer to the location dry it out?

  248. I am by no means a cook. I followed this recipe to the tee…even using my least fav part of the chicken…the legs. But I cooked my chicken @ 425 for 50 MINUTES. The chicken came out looking JUST LIKE the picture here! And they were DELICIOUS! The flavor was througout the chicken. I’ve never made anything that turned out as good as the recipe said it would! And now I’m happy to read that I can try this again with my fav part: thighs, and my boyfriend’s: breasts (no pun intended :-) ) Hoping breasts are as juciy and flavorable. Thx for recipe.

  249. Shelly

    I have made this a few times, but last night, after having it sit in the marinade for a day, I threw it on the charcoal bbq ………amazing

  250. Morgan

    Made this last night and it was great! I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts, and I probably should have cut them up into tenders in order for them to absorb more of the wonderful flavor! Chicken thighs would have worked great too! Aside from my chicken choice, the marinade is a definite repeat!

  251. Liv

    I’m thinking of bringing these chicken legs to an afternoon picnic, if I roast them in the morning and toss them on the grill right before serving to get a little charred would that work or would it dry out all the juicy goodness?

  252. Gabrielle

    Made these last night for the future mother in law! HUGE HIT. Will definitely be returning to this recipe again and again. LOVE.

  253. Kim

    I love this marinade/brine. I’ve used it on chicken pieces and pork chops. I’ve roasted and grilled. We are having a whole cut up chicken from my organic meat supplier for dinner tonight. It is in the fridge in this buttermilky goodness right now.

  254. pam

    just wanted to say thanks for this. i had commented on this when it was first posted (#63) and just got around to making it tonight. as i’d hoped, my very very very picky children gobbled it up. i can’t thank you enough! my husband and i also appreciated its deliciousness too, but we’re not quite as picky. :)

  255. Trish

    I absolutely loved this recipe! I made it for a few friends last night with a side of quinoa pilaf and garlic green beans. The chicken was really tender and juicy. I soaked the chicken overnight and I was really amazed at how much of the garlic and paprika flavor comes through. The buttermilk also gave the skin a nice crust. I always have trouble getting chicken skin to crisp up. I’m the Mom of a 9-month old and she was just as enthusiastic about it. Thanks again for another stellar recipe!

  256. Cash

    I made a whole buttermilk roast chicken!!

    Roasted a 5lb bird after soaking it for 48 hours. Covered it for half the cooking time and the skin was perfect. It was so good we picked the thing clean in two days. I’m considering making a buttermilk turkey for thanksgiving. I can’t wait to get your book in the mail next week, thank you!

  257. @Cash we are having the same thought process. Deb, I was wondering what you thought about doing this for a Thanksgiving turkey (about 18 pounds). Other than having to buy a whole mess of buttermilk, how do you think this will turn out? Any cons?

  258. Louise

    Heard you on Diane Rehm’s show this morning and had to look up this recipe ASAP. I’m so looking forward to trying it, exploring your website and ordering your cookbook!

  259. Billi

    Caught the Diane Rehm show this morning. The Buttermilk Chicken sounds wonderful – do you think it would work for a turkey breast? Would you change anything?

  260. Jenna

    I absolutely loved this recipe…chicken turned out great! my boyfriend enjoyed it too, one of the first meals ive made for him so def a plus when it turns out to be one of the best of chicken he has ever tasted :)

  261. Beth

    Great recipe! The chicken turned out soooo juicy and delicious, and your recipe was so easy to follow. My husband really liked it. He’s the master chef in our house–I’m more like the Jedi knight in training with mediocre knife skills. I need a recipe to cook, the less complicated the better, and this one fit the bill. Thank you for helping me on my journey to become a better cook. We also have a tiny kitchen that looks just like yours, right down to the little pot rack over the window. While we dream of a bigger kitchen one day, your site reminds me that it’s not the size of the kitchen that matters most, it’s the love you put into every dish.

  262. Anna

    I absolutely love this recipe and make it often. Since I am on Weight Watchers, it would be wonderful if the nutrition facts were listed? Is this possible? Thanks so much!

  263. Cherie

    Amazing chicken. Tender and flavorful. I never want regular roast chicken again. Mine didnt crisp that much on the outside, so I put it under the broiler for a few minutes, which did nothing to crisp the skin on the bottom. Suggestions?

  264. Janyll

    I’m completely bewildered and disappointed by this recipe! Tried it tonight with thighs (maybe that was the problem?), marinated for 24 hours, and the result was totally bland, ordinary roast chicken with no flavor boost whatsoever from the marinade, and a rather flabby texture to the chicken. Neither H nor I could figure out what makes this an appealing preparation or how this is an improvement over plain old roast chicken parts.Maybe the marinade would add moisture to breast meat, but thigh meat is plenty moist already. Now I’m wondering if Deb ever tasted it with dark meat.

    1. deb

      Janyll — Sorry it was not to your liking. I made this with chicken drumsticks (see photos) and felt it was a flavor improvement. Of course it will not be for everyone. It will have an even more noticeable impact with white meat.

  265. Sonn

    What a gorgeous recipe! It’s roasting as I speak and the flavours and scents are heavenly. Thanks for such a great idea!

    Now I swear I have read through the whole recipe and each and every comment here, and I haven’t seen it addressed – but I am wondering if the chicken is meant to be turned? Did anyone else turn theirs to crisp both sides? Or just put it in and forget about it until done?

    1. deb

      Sonn — I don’t turn the chicken but you can. I don’t find it necessary for even cooking and if you’re going for a crisp skin, well, this recipe doesn’t get the most crisp on the outside, but will more so if you don’t turn it.

  266. Suzanne

    I tried this with chicken breasts and it turned out so perfectly I can’t wait to do it again! I threw some carrots on the baking sheet with the chicken and all came out perfectly roasted. Thanks for another gem, Deb!

  267. KatieK

    What a keeper! Made exactly as written; not a chicken skin eater but family members who are raved. Moist, favorful, pretty (some chicken isn’t) –made with oven roasted potatoes and fresh spinach. Interesting at how much fat the buttermilk pulled from the thighs. Anyone else noticed?

  268. Frapz

    The recipe was delicious! I used chicken thighs. I also noticed the amount of oil at the bottom of the dish when I plated the chicken. Thanks for sharing.

  269. jessica ps

    I love this recipe, make it all the time. I usually add the maple a al Nigella, was wondering if you think using molasses instead could be good, or nasty?

  270. Meredith

    I made this tonight with bone in, skin on breasts and wow – it is just so, so very good. The first thing out of my girlfriend’s mouth was “wait- this tastes like fried chicken!” Thanks so much for the recipe. I have a feeling I’ll be making this weekly!

  271. Stef

    I halved the recipe and added a teaspoon of Sunny Paris seasoning(Penzey’s) with chicken drumsticks. Just put it in the fridge…so excited for tomorrow!

  272. Kate

    Love this recipe! Have made it for friends, family and it gets rave reviews every time. I generally use a chicken with skin removed, bone in, and it’s delicious every time. As a matter of fact it’s marinating in the fridge for dinner tomorrow night.

  273. Mary

    I, in my usual fashion, dumped the buttermilk I had- about 11/2 cups and marinated for 1 day and totally forgot the other ingredients (oops!). I cooked it in the slow cooker with a generous sprinkling of salt & Penzy’s smokey paprika and minced garlic. Wow. Good!

  274. Sam

    I am so happy to have stumbled upon your site, as I only started really cooking recently. I tried this recipe on skinless chicken breasts, and the results were amazing — leftovers today may be even better. Can’t wait to try more recipes! Thanks Deb!

  275. Rachel

    Made this recipe exactly as written, to get out of a chicken rut, and -wow- it was a hit … My husband loves southern fried chicken but I try to avoid the heavy fried stuff, and this hit the mark perfectly. I meant to only brine for 24 hrs but life got in the way and it ended up going for the full 48, and it was amazingly tender and juicy. We had it with green beans and cornbread. Thanks for giving us another fast & easy weekday staple!

  276. Anna-Liisa

    I just made this! It was marinated it the “faux” buttermilk as I call it with the vinegar and milk for two days. I was planning on serving it yesterday, but stuff happened and nobody was around, Sooooo,, onward! I made it with mashed sweet potatoes and cracked peppercorn gravy from the juices and it was FANTASTIC! My mother and husband said not to lose this recipe! A keeper! Thanks so much!

  277. cathy

    I eat chicken all the time and can’t wait to try this. Would it be ok to prepare the marinade and chicken and then freeze? How far ahead of time should I defrost? Thanks.

  278. cathy

    After reading my post I should clarify- Can I freeze the raw chicken in marinade? How far in advance should I defrost?

  279. deb

    I haven’t tried to freeze the chicken with the buttermilk, but I’m not sure I would. It’s not really a marinade as much as a brine to soften and slightly infuse the chicken.

  280. chris

    Looks wonderful, and possibly just what my 2 kids might eat! Except…. my daughter will not eat anything that resembles an animal going in. Any thoughts on how long i should roast boneless chicken breast? I tend to overcook my meat for fear of undercooking. :( Love your blog!

  281. Papa D

    Great recipe , i to like to start with a bace and work from there .I added 1 tsp cumin to the buttermilk . Gives it a nice meditaraian flavor

  282. Michelle

    I just finished the last of the leftovers from this dish. I could barely wait the 24 hours of brining. But somehow I did it. This was some of the best roast chicken I’ve ever had. Thank you!!!

  283. Jessica

    I had buttermilk leftover from Deb’s lemon muffins with raspberry topping so I tried this out and I will be making this ALL the time now. It’s so easy, very few ingredients, healthy, and SO DELICIOUS.

  284. Lisa

    I tried to soak the chicken for four hours then roasted it, but it came out with no flavor. Is it because I didn’t soak it long enough?

  285. julie

    I did indeed watch in awe as my toddler inhaled a second chickenlegat my sister’s house -he never eats that much meat! So good- I cant wait to make it myself.

  286. Hannah

    Hey Deb
    This looks absolutely divine! For the past few weeks I have been working my way through your recipes and I swear they are like magic! Not a single person that I have met has disliked ANYTHING of yours that I have made. You, my dear woman, have a magic touch. In fact, I’m making your asparagus with yoghurt and almonds tonight. I was really only posting this to say thank you for the amazing recipes, but I do have a question: I don’t have much experience with chicken, and so have no idea how many people this amount would feed. Help?
    Anyway, thanks for all the lovelies,

  287. laura

    We’ve made this chicken now a dozen or more times. It has become a favorite. Perfect for a quick weeknight dinner and the kids love it. We almost always use boneless chicken breast and it is still very moist and flavorful. Thanks Deb!

  288. sheebz

    This. Was. Amazing. Wow. Thanks so much for the recipe – my guests adored this chicken. The flavors really do soak deep into the meat and make it tender and lush. Wow!

  289. Linda W.

    Just tried this tonight using chicken thighs. Amazingly tender and moist! The skin didn’t get as crispy as I would have liked, but perhaps straining the buttermilk in a fine sieve to gather up the minced garlic and coarsely ground pepper to sprinkle back onto the chicken thighs before drizzling with with olive oil and sprinkling with additional paprika prevented the crisping. But soaking in buttermilk is definitely the way to go – thanks!

  290. Kate

    What a fantastic recipe.

    We made this chicken for a get-together with friends, and it was delicious. Really tender meat, and the skin on the top part of the drumsticks got nice and crispy under the broiler in the oven. Lots of comments and questions about how we fixed the chicken up, too.

  291. Nancy Hermann

    How well does this reheat? I want to take it to a family for dinner but I’m not positive they will get to eat it right away.

  292. Expat EricOnTwoWheels

    This is gorgeous! I basically butchered a whole chicken and treated it to this recipe, chilling the surplus to be reheated for a picnic. It’s probably too late for Nancy, but it was fine the second time around, just make sure that after cooking it gets chilled, and that it’s piping hot when served.

  293. Linda

    Chicken and I go way back to when I was called “chicken freak” as a child because I ate (and still do eat) so much chicken. As a beginner cook, this recipe is foolproof! I try new chicken recipes often, and this is by far the best! I am a simple girl though and that’s exactly what this recipe is-simple. This is also my first time attempting a Smitten Kitchen recipe. Many more to come!

  294. Debby

    This is delicious , I have tried it on the legs and breasts and the legs are definitely the best , as they hold more of the flavor I believe!

  295. Randi

    Made this for an easy Christmas Eve dinner while we finished wrapping and I made a batch of cranberry orange rolls for tomorrow morning. It was delish! It was a little wet but I think because I was in a hurry I didn’t let enough marinade run off before I put it in the pan so my chickens weren’t browned at all but I’ll definitely make it again. YUM!

  296. Liz

    Nigella’s version is one I use time and again for dinner parties. It has all the requisites, delicious, simple to make, does not require last minute fiddling or cooking so I am free to drink wine with my guests! Will definitely try your version which looks like a great twist. I serve mine with mashed potato and green beans.

  297. kellymo

    Thank you for this one – it’s now my default preparation for any recipe that calls for cooked chicken breast because it turns out so wildly perfect every time.
    Valentine’s dinner last night was Thai peanut noodles with sliced chicken breast, chopped cucumber, cilantro and crushed peanuts, so… tweaked the marinade a little and added sriracha & sweet chili sauce to the buttermilk, salt, sugar, and garlic. Extremely versatile recipe!

  298. Alisha

    Like some others have said, this is a great chicken recipe for all those other recipes that require cooked chicken, like pot pie, chicken salad or casseroles. I find grocery rotisserie chicken pretty gross and I hate the the mile-long ingredient list. I cook this all the time, usually with breast or thighs, both with skin and bone. The breasts are pretty thick, so I’ll usually cover with foil and cook at 350 for about an hour, take the foil off and cook a little longer to crisp the skin. Cooking it longer makes it more tender too, as does the length of you time marinate. I’ve marinated from a couple hours to 48 hours and you can definitely tell the difference.

  299. I have now made this 3 times, twice with skin on chicken and once with boneless breasts. Skin on chicken definitely looks much more appetizing when done. I added fresh rosemary springs to the marinate it smelled wonderful while roasting.

  300. Jen H.

    Hey Deb – would it be possible to bread this with flour or bread crumbs or something to give it more of a fried-chicken-like crunch? I’ve made Mark Bittman’s oven “fried” chicken using a similar dipping in buttermilk (or yogurt) and then dredging in bread crumbs technique, but that doesn’t require a long marinade.

    1. deb

      Jen — I think so, however, the trickiest part will be getting this to stick because it’s so wet. If you’re looking for a traditional flour crust for fried chicken, you can riff on this one here. If you want more of a Panko or breadcrumb crust, I’d really pat these dry well after removing them from the brine, and then do the three-part crusting: 1. flour or flour and cornstarch or potato starch mixture, 2. an egg beaten with a splash of water, then 3. breadcrumbs. I find that my crust stays on the fried chicken parts much, much better if I set it on a wire rack (over a tray to catch crumbs) in the fridge for at least an hour and up to overnight. It really dries things out and lets the flour absorb the moisture enough that the crust sticks better. Hope that helps.

  301. Laura

    Thanks for this recipe! My picky, small portion eating toddler devoured 2 whole legs! this is going into our meal rotation for sure!

  302. Diana

    So I’m in the process of making this for the first time, and my 30 minutes are up, but my chicken is still close to raw. I even raised the temperature to 450 F to cook faster. I may be using more legs than in the picture, and I’m using stoneware instead of the thinner ceramic dish being used above, but man… This is taking forever to cook!! Has anyone else had a similar issue? Any tips?


  303. Asia

    This is my favorite roast chicken recipe!
    I love the tenderness the buttermilk imparts along with the tanginess. I follow your basic guidelines but add in roasted coriander (a wonderful spice for poultry) in the marinade. I usually let mine go 45-65 minutes (I let the skin get a bit dark in some spots). If it’s not brown, I give it a few minutes under the broiler. This recipe will be in my arsenal forever. Thanks!

  304. KJ

    I usually steer away from chicken because I always get paranoid and over cook it, but I am going to try this. I have 5 large legs (clocked in at 2.5 pounds). If I do it for exactly the 30 minutes, can I just safely assume it is properly cooked, or do I need to cut in and test? I always struggle with how to tell if it’s done even when I cut in so any tips on that in general would be great. Thanks!

  305. Sarah

    This recipe was absolutely wonderful. So so so good. I used both the smoked paprika and powdered buttermilk that I got from the States.

  306. Alyson

    I made this tonight after soaking the chicken a little over 24 hours. It was absolutely delicious. We had a side of wild rice with mushroom and broccoli. I’m going to try the recipe again, except cut the chicken into bite size pieces for a garlic stir fry!

  307. Denise H.

    Made this tonight with chicken thighs. I trimmed the skin on the thighs, but there was still a lot of fat in the pan, so I poured it off a couple of times while cooking. While mine did not come out as nice and ‘scorched’ as Deb’s, the crispy brown skin was really good. Everything was very moist, even after only 2 1/2 hours in the buttermilk (can’t wait to let it soak it longer). I had it with some roasted asparagus, which was yummy. This will become a go-to meal for me.

  308. Terri

    Made this on Sunday night. If what I experienced was the result of only four hours of marinating time, man oh man, I can’t wait to see what happens when I let it sit for 24 hours!!! Nirvana calling …

    You’re the best!!!

  309. Suki

    I always do a buttermilk soak 24 to 48 hours for frying chicken. I will try this recipe for the oven version, however I will be dredging the chicken in seasoned bread crumbs for extra crunch.

  310. Marc

    Like Deb, I adjusted this recipe slightly. I added Tabasco to the buttermilk, used breasts, and served it with garlic cheese mashed potatoes and sauteed Brussels sprouts with bacon. Perfect.

  311. Maggie

    This was wonderful. I poured off the pan juices after roasting, added a splash of white vermouth, a little cornstarch and a squeeze of lemon for a great pan sauce.

  312. Slaney

    Hi Deb -thought this might be interesting re the science of meat (just did a degree in food science)
    If you lower the pH of meat by putting it into buttermilk (pH 4.7) then the amino acids’ polarity changes.
    The polarity change make the meat attracts water, thus juicy meat.
    But if you also put salt with the meat at this pH during the marinading the salt binds with the meat instead (preventing the optimum juiciness) blocks the water binding – no room for water.
    So best add salt post cooking.
    I love your recipes – totally inspirational website – my favorite.
    Thank you

  313. Just finished making this, eating this and putting it away in Tupperware for my lunches this upcoming week. This is probably one of the best things I’ve made: I used boneless skinless chicken breast, and instead of buying or making buttermilk, I mixed in water with Greek yogurt to great success. I didn’t have much brine left after I took the pieces out, but included the garlic pieces in the roasting process and they were an unexpected delight to eat. This is a keeper!

  314. JLB

    This is all new to me…I didn’t even know where the “blogosphere” was. However, since falling upon your blog just by chance (I was searching for a specific recipe which I don’t recall anymore), I have a tremendous interest in seeking out more blogs written by interesting bloggers such as yourself. PS I generally start by following the “good reads” that you have recommended. Anyway….I am curious that these chicken legs cook for 30 minutes at 425…I just tried another chicken leg recipe with lemon as it’s main ingredient in the marinade. That recipe called for the legs to cook for 50 minutes at 425 and they came out just fine (not dry at all but with a very crispy skin). Do you think the buttermilk has tenderized the meat and allowed it to be done in almost 1/2 the time or is it a difference in the “slime meat/crunchy skin” factor. I am trying to learn the underlying general ‘rules’ so I can apply them consistently. Thanks for your awesome blog and recommendations. I look forward to them!

    1. deb

      JLB — I’m glad you’re enjoying the site. I tend to buy smaller birds, thus, smaller legs and they are always baked in 25 to 30 minutes. Larger ones might of course need more time, but not much. At 350, I can cook even 1-pound bone-in breasts through in 35 to 40 minutes, and legs would be much smaller.

  315. Jill

    I made this tonight using a whole chicken that I cut up into parts (breasts, cutlets, thighs, drumsticks, wings). The cutlets were done in 20 minutes, wings in 25, drumsticks in 40, and thighs and breasts in 50. I made the recipe using 1 tablespoon table salt and marinated for 24 hours. It was DELICIOUS! The meat is very moist and the right amount of salt. I did not taste the paprika flavor much though – I used a smoked paprika and wasn’t sure it made much of a difference in the flavor. I didn’t use the olive oil drizzle or extra paprika and salt, maybe that was my downfall. I think the paprika probably makes more of an effect as a sprinkle on top rather than in the marinade. Final comment is that even with broiling for the last 8 minutes of baking time the skin wasn’t as super crispy as I’d have liked.

    I might be crazy here, Deb, but have you ever separated the skins and left them out of the marinade, and add them back for roasting???? I know this could lead to more shrinking of the skins as they aren’t attached, but it might help them be more crisp.

    Thanks for continuing to inspire my cooking Deb! And congrats on the pregnancy.

  316. JulesNYC

    Has anyone saved the brine to reuse again? It always makes me sad to just toss it. I raved about this recipe to a friend and he raised this question: can you store it in a container in your freezer to brine more chicken a few weeks later?

    1. deb

      I’ve never been comfortable doing it because of the raw chicken juices; I wouldn’t use raw chicken that had been in the fridge more than a day or two.

  317. Kate

    Hi – thank you for this recipe. I’ve made it several times now and it’s always a hit! It’s a great meal to prepare ahead of time. My sister is visiting this weekend, and while I think she’d love the flavor of this dish, she’s picky and really only eats chicken breasts. Do you think this could work with breasts and, if so, how do you think it would affect cooking time? Thanks!

  318. V

    Great recipe, I halved everything (because it’s just me and my bf) and the drumsticks cooked for exactly 30 minutes with the last 1.5 minutes of broiling on high. Wonderful recipe so moist and delicious

  319. Gail

    Made this for the third time yesterday – still delicious! It makes the chicken so moist, though, that I prefer it with breasts, over legs or thighs, which are already moister. Congratulations on your pregnancy! Happy news!

  320. Heidi

    I just need to say, this is the first time my two year old has ever eaten chicken that was not in the form of a nugget!! Although I had to play it cool at the dinner table, I was rejoicing inside :) she even asked for more! I was instantly wishing I had passed up my second chicken leg and gave it all to her. Thanks for the great recipe! I cooked a little longer at about 350 and broiled at the end so I could get a crispy skin…but maybe yours was already crispy and I didn’t need to do that? Anyway, great flavor and so moist, even with only 8 hours of brining…can’t wait to try with the whole 24 hours.

  321. Molly

    Answered my own question. Freezing the chicken in brine works well. Just defrost in the refrigerator and bake when you come home from work the next night.

  322. Colleen

    Finally made this today with assorted bone in chicken pieces (leg, thigh, breast) and followed directions to a T (used the smoked paprika! marinated for 24 hr) and baked for 40 min. A M A Z I N G. So moist and flavorful. Skin got crispy and I served it with corn on the cob and caprese salad. Definitely a year round keeper here! Thanks :)

  323. Dorcas

    I just discovered this recipe and after 40 hours or so of marinating in the brine it was spectacular! My favorite!!
    I do recommend, for those who want a crisper skin, to remove the parts from the brine, pat dry and let them air dry for a few minutes. I air dried my legs for about thirty minutes, which also served to bring them closer to room temperature before roasting. FAB and crisp!

  324. Jamie

    I am so excited to do a “Welcome to Fall” dinner this weekend with this chicken, your apple pie and pumpkin fondue. You always are inspiring me. Thank you.

  325. KJ

    This looks delicious! I’d like to make this for 8 people, but I don’t have a pan big enough. Could I do two pans at once in the oven? Would I need to adjust cooking time at all?

  326. Eva

    Saying this again (cause I’m pretty certain I’ve said it before ;) ) this makes a FABULOUS turkey brine. This is my third year in a row using it. It has beaten out the”traditional” way that my aunt kept trying to do (just like grandma used to do!) but it never quite worked. The skin didn’t get crispy enough, the meat was dry, and the flavor was meh. This, on the other hand, has amazingly crispy skin with ridiculously juicy meat and flavor that is out of this world.

    So.. Thank you :)

  327. Helen

    This recipe has become a family staple. We take the basic recipe and add toasted curry spices (some combination of cumin, coriander, chilli, black mustard seeds, black cardamon, star anise, turmeric, black pepper) and grate in ginger and garlic. SO good with rice or turmeric roasted potatoes + greens. It’s perfect for Monday night dinner – easy and makes leftovers for lunches the next two days. YUM.

  328. Nancy in CA

    We LOVE this! A few weeks ago when chicken parts were on sale, I got two big packages of chicken. I froze the chicken right in the brine. The first batch has thawed in the fridge and will be dinner tonight.

  329. Laura in CA

    Okay – YUM! My husband and I just had this for dinner and took the first bite of the chicken and said, “oh my god!” out loud! This is definitely our go-to recipe for roasting/baking chicken now! We did boneless, skinless chicken thighs and breasts. We liked them both but agreed that the thighs were better (more tender/moist). We started checking the temperature of the temperature @ 25 min (cooking at 425F like the recipe suggested). Some pieces needed 30 min to cook; others needed a few minutes longer. We ate it with roasted brussel sprouts (tossed with olive oil, salt, pepper) and roasted potatoes (tossed with olive oil, garlic, oregano, salt, and pepper). Such a solid, simple, home cooked meal!

  330. Laura in CA

    Oh – also! I bought your first cookbook yesterday! OBSESSED AND IN LOVE! Thanks for this site and for writing your cookbook! I’m 11 days past my due date and will likely end up induced… I’m going to bring your cookbook with me to the hospital to keep me company for early labor :)

  331. Laura in CA

    With our extra chicken, we are going to shred some and it to tacos. We’ll add them to your crisp black bean taco with feta and slaw recipe perhaps!

  332. Amanda

    Hi, I decided to try this tonight and I’m too excited to TELL you how excited I am, before I even eat it. I’m sure it will be delicious. I love the simplicity of this recipe, as I’ll probably make it frequently, as a busy college student. Thanks!

  333. Amanda

    Also, this provided an opportunity for easy meal prep– where if I forgot to defrost my chicken from the freezer (I do this all the time), I at least had the brine all ready to go for the next day.

  334. Tiernan

    So, uh, yeah, whatever you do don’t decide you need to dispose of some of the remaining buttermilk by making your biscuit recipe and then sandwiching a piece of chicken and some pickle slices in the middle of a biscuit.

  335. Kim W.

    Staple! I make this about once a month, using 2 large, bone-in breast and for one person I freeze one cooked breast and use the other for 3 meals of dinner & then 2 lunches. I follow the recipe exactly, marinade for 18-24 hours and it’s beyond delicious each time. M-word, flavorful and versatile. I bake mine for 35 mins. The leftover prepared chicken is perfect with SK Caesar and used to make Goop favorite chicken salad. This is so easy.

  336. Kelly

    For anyone wondering, this was fine marinating for 72 hours. Put all 3 pounds in for 24 hours and cooked half, then the intention was to cook the second half the next night but unexpectedly had friends in town and went out to dinner. The third night I was a little nervous since Deb said not to let it sit over 48 (and I trust Deb on EVERYTHING) but it was honestly SO MUCH EVEN BETTERER. So, don’t worry about the ‘time limit’ if you have to let it sit an extra day :)

    I also pulled out some of the garlic pieces and let them roast… OH. EM. GEE. Do that.

    Lastly, my chicken skin never browned. Next time I will either pat it down or do boneless skinless thighs because that’s my preference for chicken anyway.

  337. Kelly

    Oh! One more thing. I used Diamond kosher salt and didn’t read the instructions and kept it at 1 tablespoon and it was still plenty salty, especially with flaked salt on top.

  338. Jen W.

    This was fantastic! We marinated for the full 48 hours and added cayenne pepper to the mix. Being that it was lovely outside, we grilled instead of oven roasted. The result was crisp, tasty and moist chicken. Definitely putting this in the rotation.

  339. Diane

    I didn’t think about the fact that I had ginormous legs, so I ended up throwing them back in for almost 10 minutes. After 30, though, my chicken had essentially no color on it at all, and at 40 it just had a general golden brown, no nice browned bits like yours. Does cooking it in a baking dish versus just a cookie sheet make the difference? (Not that it really matters… they tasted amazing. I am a wimp and won’t sprinkle additional paprika on next time, because that was too much spice for my taste buds, but oh there will be a next time.)

  340. JillO

    Okay, what I love about this post is that the comments are still coming in after 4 years!

    Did I mention the bottle of buttermilk that came into the house this weekend? Some for the Ranch dressing and some for the scones.

    Oh, and thanks, Tiernan, for the biscuit idea! Can’t have buttermilk abuse, now.

  341. Megan

    Made this for dinner tonight, marinated leg quarters for about 30 hours, then cooked them on the grill. This is really good! It was such an easy marinade to put together, too. We will definitely be making this again, both on the grill and indoors.

  342. Georgia de Katona

    Deb…The first time I made this I (reluctantly) threw out the buttermilk marinade. The second time I just*couldn’t*do*it. The answer? Cut nice big chunks of Yukon Gold potatoes and roast them in the buttermilk brine while the chicken is roasting in its own pan. The result? Insanely yummy roasted potatoes or totally off the hook mashed ones.

    p.s. This is, by far, my favorite chicken recipe on the planet.

  343. Derek

    You might not want to instruct people to “sprinkle with additional paprika and sea salt to taste”, when what they would be tasting at that very moment would be raw chicken marinade. Just a suggestion

  344. Lauren P

    I love this Nigella recipe! It is what we have for dinner later in the week whenever I get an urge to make buttermilk biscuits (also from your site). The original that I’ve seen calls for about 1 Tb of peppercorns (crunched up), and I do like the extra dimension. But I can’t wait to try this way with more salt, and pimentón, and sugar instead of maple. Will probably include the peppercorns anyway 😜

  345. Erica Golden

    The only thing that adds to the prep time is if you forget to seal up the plastic bag, turn your back for a second and gravity shifts the liquid and the bag tips slightly and it starts pouring down between your stove & counter!! :) mom/senior moment ….. Otherwise I can’t wait to cook it tomorrow!! Thank you so much for all the cooking inspiration!!!

  346. Darren

    I have the chicken marinading and it looks awesome, but I just found out I cannot make it tomorrow (or for the next couple days). Do you think that the chicken + marinade will freeze okay so I can cook it next week?

    1. deb

      Probably should freeze fine. The main thing is that the chicken gets more tender each day so if very very tender would be unpleasant to you, take it out of the brine before you freeze it.

  347. Anna

    Deb, this was fantastic — I had two cups of buttermilk left over from making your fudgy chocolate cake (also fabulous) and this was the perfect way to use it up. I don’t cook meat often, so I’m always a little nervous about how it’ll turn out, but I followed this recipe to the letter and my boyfriend and I devoured it. Thank you, as always!

  348. Deborah

    I am writing this from where I live just outside London in the UK. I began marinating the chicken on Saturday and now it’s Monday and I am cooking this dish tonight. I am also baking in a separate dish roasted pumpkin pieces and I will also be serving it with stir fried green vegetables. I can’t wait to taste your recipe. Putting the ingredients together to marinate on Saturday I just know it’s going to be tender and delicious! Thanks for the recipe