Buttermilk Roast Chicken

buttermilk roast chicken
Chicken dinner for the WIN

This recipe, which we sourced from Nigella Lawson, has made its way around the web a bit. You can find a version from Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen. Martha makes a similar recipe with just two additional ingredients – lemon zest and fresh dill. It’s a tried and true recipe that is welcome to a little tinkering. And like Romeo and Juliet or Jay-Z and Beyonce, buttermilk and chicken are an illustrious couple, most famous of course for the wondrous results of frying buttermilk brined chicken. Buttermilk is such an amazing marinade because it not only imbues flavor, but its acidic composition also tenderizes the meat – double win!! As long as you can remember to whip together this super simple marinade the night before, this chicken recipe comes together real quick and yields flavorful, tender meat with salty, crispy skin. Enjoy with a green salad and some bread to sop up the chicken juices. You’ll feel like you’re seriously spoiling yourself for a weekday dinner.


  • 4-6 chicken bone-in thighs (or a mix of thighs, drumsticks, wings – important to have bone-in chicken, whatever you choose!)
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup + 2 TBS veggie oil (we used canola)
  • 1 TBS freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 TBS sea salt
  • 2 TBS freshly chopped rosemary
  • 1 TBS honey
  • 2 cloves peeled and crushed garlic + garlic cloves with skin on for roasting (optional)


  1. The night before, marinate yo chicken! Place chicken in a large freezer bag. Add buttermilk, 1/4 cup oil, salt, crushed garlic, rosemary, and honey. Seal bag securely, mix contents around, and store in your fridge. Chicken can be marinated for up to 2 days.
  2. Remove chicken from marinade and place on rack so excess can drip off. Try to let your chicken rest at room temperature for 30 minutes, or an hour ideally. This will allow your chicken to dry off a bit and come to room temperature, which ensures even cooking and crispiness.
  3. Preheat oven to 425°F. We opted to cook our chicken in our cast iron skillet, but you can also cook on a tinfoil lined roasting pan (tinfoil makes for easy cleanup). Drizzle chicken with 2 TBS of oil. Sprinkle with a bit more sea salt and freshly cracked pepper. Throw the couple cloves of garlic in the skillet as well, if you’d like (they turn soft and are great spread over a slice of bread). Place in oven and cook for 20-25 minutes, or until when chicken is pierced the juices run clear.
  4. Remove from oven and let rest for about 5 minutes. Then enjoy immediately!

Details: Serves 4-ish. Maybe we’re gluttons, but we have a hard time eating just a single chicken thigh per person.

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