Buttermilk Marinade For Chicken

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Oh, that age-old question.

How do you make chicken soft and tender when cooking?

Chef Samin Nosrat would direct us to her theory of salt fat acid heat – and rightfully so. Because understanding the hows and whys of good cooking, anyone can become a great cook!

So I’m sharing one of the easiest and effortless ways to get restaurant-quality tender, juicy chicken.

The simple answer to that age-old question is to use a buttermilk marinade for chicken!

Buttermilk Marinade For Chicken

Why use a buttermilk marinade for chicken?

Buttermilk can tenderize the chicken without it becoming tough and chewy. We’ll explore more about how this is so.

What does marinating chicken in buttermilk do?

Buttermilk is the secret ingredient to making chicken that’s soft and tender!

What is a brining?

What is a brining?

A buttermilk marinade for chicken is also called a buttermilk brine.

Brining is a method of soaking meat in salt water or other liquids like buttermilk, beer, lemon juice, or apple cider before cooking to add moisture and tenderize it.

The result is an intensified flavor when seasoning and spices are added to the meat!

How does buttermilk tenderize chicken?

People often ask, “Does soaking chicken in buttermilk make it tender?”

Yes, because the buttermilk’s acidity helps break down protein structures in the chicken. 

After marinating, it becomes way less chewy and retains better moisture.

What does buttermilk do for fried chicken?

What does buttermilk do for fried chicken?

Before chicken is cooked and turned into Southern fried chicken, it’s just raw chicken that could use a meat tenderizer. 

A buttermilk marinade for chicken will yield a fried chicken recipe that’s not only crunchy on the outside but also tender and juicy on the inside!

Using a buttermilk marinade for chicken also helps the chicken get nice and flaky when you dredge it through the fried chicken flour and seasoning mix.

What kind of buttermilk marinade for chicken is best?

Marinate the chicken by doing a buttermilk brine using full-fat buttermilk.

How long can you marinate chicken in buttermilk?

You can marinate chicken in buttermilk anywhere from 4 to 24 hours.

Pro tip: Instant Pot pressure-cooking chicken will shorten the marinating process from 24 hours to only 20 minutes!

Instant Pot Soul Food Southern Fried Chicken
How do you fry chicken in a pressure cooker?
For Instant Pot Southern fried chicken, first pressure cook the chicken in a buttermilk brine to tenderize the meat.
Instant Pot pressure cooking the chicken before frying will shorten the marinating process from 24 hours to only 20 minutes!
Check out this recipe!
Instant Pot Southern Fried Chicken

Can you marinate chicken in buttermilk too long?

According to the USDA, it’s safe to use a buttermilk marinade for chicken for up to 48 hours. 

However, 24 hours is recommended and plenty.

Is it OK to leave chicken in buttermilk overnight?

Is it OK to leave chicken in buttermilk overnight?

Yes, you can use a buttermilk marinade for chicken overnight in the refrigerator. 

So how do you store chicken in a buttermilk marinade?

Creating a buttermilk marinade for chicken is almost an effortless process. 

Simply place the marinating chicken in the refrigerator and cover it!

Does buttermilk change the taste of chicken?

Milk doesn’t add much flavor to your chicken, even when marinating.

Marinating chicken in buttermilk is not for flavor. Instead, the acidity tenderizes the meat.

How to make buttermilk with vinegar

Can you use apple cider vinegar to make buttermilk?

Great news – you can make buttermilk yourself in less than a minute!

All you need is milk and apple cider vinegar.

Because let’s be honest – buttermilk is not an everyday common pantry ingredient!

Pro tip: Every 1 cup of buttermilk = 1 cup of milk + 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar

Can you use regular vinegar to make buttermilk?

You can use white vinegar if you don’t have apple cider vinegar. However, the apple cider variety is preferred for a buttermilk chicken marinade.

How to make buttermilk with vinegar

Kitchen equipment 

  • Large mixing bowl
  • Medium-sized mixing bowl

Ingredients to make buttermilk 

  • 3 cups of milk 
  • 3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar

Instructions for the buttermilk marinade for chicken

  1. Place up to 6 pieces of chicken in a large mixing bowl and set it aside.
  2. In a medium size bowl, stir the vinegar and milk together and let it sit for 5 minutes. 
  3. Pour the buttermilk mixture over the chicken in the set-aside bowl.
  4. You’ll want the buttermilk to cover the chicken, mostly. If it doesn’t, simply make more.
  5. Marinate the chicken in buttermilk for 4-24 hours in a covered bowl in the refrigerator.
  6. Use this recipe HERE to make buttermilk Southern fried chicken.

Buttermilk substitute

What else could you use instead of buttermilk if you don’t have any on hand?

  • 1 cup of buttermilk = 1 cup of milk + 1 tablespoon of lemon juice 
  • 1 cup of buttermilk = 1 cup of milk + 1 ¾ teaspoons of cream of tartar

No milk? No problem!

Because it’s the acidity you need to tenderize chicken, you can easily substitute water for milk.

For every 1 cup of buttermilk marinade for chicken = 1 cup of water + 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar.

If you’re preparing a Kosher recipe, are there any substitutes for buttermilk?

Pro tip: Using water would also make this a Kosher recipe!

Is it better to marinate chicken in milk or buttermilk?

Is it better to marinate chicken in milk or buttermilk?

Buttermilk, because milk alone does not have the necessary acidity to tenderize meat.

What do you do with buttermilk after soaking the chicken?

After you’ve completed the buttermilk marinade for the chicken, discard the used buttermilk.

Can you drink the buttermilk after eating the chicken?

You don’t want to drink anything that’s had raw chicken soaking in it. It’s very unsafe to do so, so discard the buttermilk after you’ve used it for the chicken marinade.

Besides, contrary to its name, buttermilk is not tasty like milk!

Can you reuse buttermilk marinade?

No, just as unsafe as it would be to drink buttermilk used as a marinade for chicken, it’s also not a good idea to reuse a buttermilk chicken marinade. 

Raw chicken can contain dangerous bacteria such as Salmonella.

How can you tell if buttermilk is spoiled?

If it’s store-bought buttermilk, start by checking the expiration date.

Although, like milk, buttermilk is probably good for another 7 days beyond the labeled expiration.

Otherwise, there are very intense tell-tell signs that your buttermilk is bad, including a thickened or chunky texture, visible mold, a strong odor, or discoloration.

Do you rinse meat after soaking in buttermilk?

Nope! Don’t rinse the chicken. 

Instead, simply remove the chicken from the marinade, pat it dry with a paper towel, and proceed with cooking.

How to marinate chicken in buttermilk?

How to marinate chicken in buttermilk?

How to make buttermilk Southern fried chicken

Black Folks Buttermilk Fried Chicken Recipe
Tender, juicy, fried chicken with flavorful, crispy, crunchy skin is a Black folks' buttermilk fried chicken recipe. A soul food recipe for buttermilk marinated chicken.
Check out this recipe!
Black Folks Buttermilk Southern Fried Chicken Recipe

Buttermilk chicken marinade FAQs

What chicken can you marinate in buttermilk?

Use any chicken part to marinate in buttermilk – thighs, wings, legs, breast. Skin-on or skinless chicken breast. Even buttermilk chicken tenders!

The Best Black Folks Soul Food Southern Chicken Recipes
There’s no denying chicken with a balance of tender meat on the inside & crispy seasoning on the outside is a Black folks soul food specialty
Check out this recipe!
The Best Black Folks Soul Food Southern Chicken Recipes

You can also use this buttermilk-brined chicken recipe before cooking buttermilk grilled chicken, buttermilk roast chicken, or regular roasted chicken. 

Simply place chicken in a buttermilk bath for 4-24 hours before the cook time.

What is air fryer buttermilk-soaked chicken?

Soul Food Southern Fried Chicken Drumsticks In The Air Fryer Without Flour
Air fryers cook crispy air fryer Southern fried chicken without any mess, oil splatter, or flour. In only 20 minutes, cook something new without putting in too much work! 
Here's how you can make crispy air fryer fried chicken drumsticks with a soul food Southern fried chicken seasoning!
Check out this recipe!
Air Fryer Chicken Drumsticks

Can you freeze raw chicken marinated in buttermilk?

Place the marinated chicken in an airtight container in the freezer for up to a month. 

If using a Ziplock bag, squeeze the air out as you seal it. 

Because buttermilk freezes well, it will not affect the chicken when cooking even if it separates a little when defrosting.

Can you freeze buttermilk-marinated chicken?

Yes, you can freeze cooked buttermilk-marinated chicken. Well preserved in an airtight container, the chicken can last up to 3 months in the freezer. 

Buttermilk marinade for fried chicken

Buttermilk marinade for fried chicken FAQs

Is it better to use buttermilk or eggs for fried chicken?

If using The Soul Food Pot’s signature Southern fried chicken seasoning, the buttermilk is mixed with the egg as part of the 3-step dredging process.

What cut of meat do you use for fried chicken?

You can use whatever chicken pieces you like! 

Whole chicken, half, or just your favorite parts of the chicken – frozen chicken wings, legs, chicken breast, chicken thigh, boneless skinless chicken thighs, chicken tenders, chicken legs, quarters, or drumsticks!

What ingredients do you need to deep fry chicken?

You’ll need seasonings like garlic powder, onion powder, salt, black pepper, a seasoned flour mixture, and hot oil.

What is the best flour to use to fry chicken?

All-purpose flour.

Buttermilk Fried Chicken - What else can you use to season the flour? 

What else can you use to season the flour? 

Corn starch for more crunch, or hot sauce for more heat!

How To Fry Chicken
How do you make fried chicken from scratch? 
Cooking perfectly fried chicken with extra crispy skin is not as hard as it seems. 
Use these step-by-step how to fry chicken instructions to cook the most delicious fried chicken from scratch with homemade Southern fried chicken seasoning!
Check out this recipe!
How to Fry Chicken

Could you air fry this fried chicken?

Black Folks Soul Food Air Fryer Southern Fried Chicken
Do air fryers work for soul food Southern fried chicken?
Yes, and you won't believe how good and crispy chicken is when it's air fryer Southern fried chicken! A soul food Southern fried chicken recipe is a unique, flavorful dish that Black folks created and perfected – and here's how to cook it in an air fryer!
Check out this recipe!
Black Folks Soul Food Southern Fried Chicken Recipe In The Air Fryer

What do you serve with buttermilk fried chicken?

Favorite sides to pair with buttermilk fried chicken include:

What do you think of using a buttermilk marinade for chicken?

Have you had it?

Would you make it? 

Comment below and lemme know. 

Then subscribe HERE for all the soul food!

The Ultimate Soul Food Recipes Guide
What is soul food? Soul food recipes are African-American recipes full of flavor! A legacy of Southern cooking the Black way. Check out this collection of the best soul food recipes!
Check out this recipe!
The Ultimate Soul Food Recipes Guide

Like this post? Pin the below image to your Pinterest “Soul Food Recipes” board!

How To Make Buttermilk For Chicken
Buttermilk Marinade For Chicken

Buttermilk Marinade For Chicken | How To Make Buttermilk

How do you make chicken soft and tender when cooking?
The simple answer to that age-old question is to use a buttermilk marinade for chicken. It's the easiest and effortless way to get restaurant-quality tender, juicy chicken!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Course: Marinade
Cuisine: American, Soul Food, Southern Food
Keyword: buttermilk chicken marinade, buttermilk fried chicken recipe, buttermilk marinade for chicken, buttermilk marinated chicken, how to make buttermilk, how to make buttermilk for fried chicken, how to make buttermilk marinade, how to make buttermilk marinade with vinegar
Servings: 6 pieces of chicken
Calories: 75kcal
Author: Shaunda Necole

Equipment

  • Large mixing bowl
  • Medium-sized mixing bowl

Ingredients

  • 3 cups milk
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

Instructions

  • Place up to 6 pieces of chicken in a large mixing bowl and set it aside.
  • In a medium size bowl, stir the vinegar and milk together and let it sit for 5 minutes.
  • Pour the buttermilk mixture over the chicken in the set-aside bowl.
  • You’ll want the buttermilk to cover the chicken, mostly. If it doesn’t, simply make more.
  • Marinate the chicken in buttermilk for 4-24 hours in a covered bowl in the refrigerator.

Video

Notes

  • Every 1 cup of buttermilk = 1 cup of milk + 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
  • Instant Pot pressure-cooking chicken will shorten the marinating process from 24 hours to only 20 minutes!
Other buttermilk substitutes:
  • 1 cup of buttermilk = 1 cup of milk + 1 tablespoon of lemon juice 
  • 1 cup of buttermilk = 1 cup of milk + 1 ¾ teaspoons of cream of tartar
If you’re preparing a Kosher recipe, are there any substitutes for buttermilk?
Using water would make this a Kosher recipe. Because it’s the acidity you need to tenderize chicken, you can easily substitute water for milk.
For every 1 cup of buttermilk marinade for chicken = 1 cup of water + 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar.

Nutrition

Calories: 75kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 15mg | Sodium: 47mg | Potassium: 188mg | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 198IU | Calcium: 151mg | Iron: 0.01mg
Save it so you can make it!Pin this recipe to remember it later.
Nutrition Facts
Buttermilk Marinade For Chicken | How To Make Buttermilk
Amount per Serving
Calories
75
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
4
g
6
%
Saturated Fat
 
2
g
13
%
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
0.1
g
Monounsaturated Fat
 
1
g
Cholesterol
 
15
mg
5
%
Sodium
 
47
mg
2
%
Potassium
 
188
mg
5
%
Carbohydrates
 
6
g
2
%
Sugar
 
6
g
7
%
Protein
 
4
g
8
%
Vitamin A
 
198
IU
4
%
Calcium
 
151
mg
15
%
Iron
 
0.01
mg
0
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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