You’ll love this easy Buttermilk Roast Chicken recipe! The chicken is brined in a simple, herbaceous buttermilk mixture and then roasted in the oven, giving you a perfectly golden, tender, flavorful whole chicken! (This recipe is completely gluten-free!)

If you love delicious, easy poultry dishes, you will definitely want to try my Butterflied Cajun Chicken, Spatchcock Turkey, or Herb Crusted Spatchcock Chicken next!

fully cooked buttermilk brined chicken on a white plate with thyme and a half lemon wedge

This is one of those recipes that once you try it, you will never be able to forget about it and will want to make it again and again! I initially saw this buttermilk roasted chicken made years ago by Samin Nosrat on Salt, Heat, Acid, and Fat, a lovely cooking show. Since seeing it, I’ve made it dozens of times and have found ways to elevate the recipe and make it my own! 

Why You’ll Love This Buttermilk Baked Chicken. It’s: 

  • Super easy to make. Simply marinade overnight and bake when you are ready to enjoy it!
  • Tender, moist, and packed with flavor. Dry chicken doesn’t exist with this recipe.
  • Enough to feed a crowd. Cut the chicken breast and cut the thighs and legs into sections. It is the perfect main dish to feed many.
  • Pairs well with any side dish. Chicken goes well with just about anything. Pair with your favorite side dish for a filling meal.  
oven buttermilk baked chicken with the legs tied with twine and fresh thyme placed on the chicken and lemon half in the bottom left corner

You may be asking yourself, “Does buttermilk make the chicken moist?”. The answer is a resounding yes! Because of its high acidity, buttermilk acts as a wet brine and helps to tenderize the meat and keeps it nice, tender, and juicy when it is cooked.

How to Make Buttermilk Roasted Chicken

Making Buttermilk Roast Chicken is SO EASY. This will soon become your favorite way to make a whole chicken as it can be made in a few simple steps:

  1. Marinade the chicken using my herbaceous buttermilk recipe
  2. Allow the chicken to marinate for at least 12 hours 
  3. When you are ready to enjoy it, place it in a cast-iron skillet (or baking dish) and transfer it into the oven. Then, roast it and let the magic happen!
buttermilk brine for chicken and a whole chicken in a large bowl with rosemary salt and garlic on the side

You can easily marinate the chicken in salt and buttermilk, but why skip adding more mouthwatering flavor to your chicken!? I’ve made this recipe more times than I can count and have done lots of experimenting with the flavors. The addition of garlic, fresh herbs, and spices seal in the flavor and takes this chicken over the top! I’ve made it three years in a row for  Thanksgiving Dinner and each year it is devoured in less than 10 minutes with everyone asking for more!

Ingredients Needed To Make Buttermilk Brine For Chicken:

  • Buttermilk: The most important ingredient. If you do not have buttermilk on hand, you can make your own by adding 1 tablespoon of vinegar or lemon per cup of milk. Let it curdle for 5 minutes and then it is ready to use. For a dairy-free substitute, use non-dairy milk with lemon or vinegar added. (see recipe notes)
  • Kosher Salt: Do not skip the salt. It may seem like a lot of salt, but it is not. Along with the buttermilk, the salt helps to break down the meat which further helps to tenderize the meat. Do not worry, your chicken will not taste salty. 🙂 Use kosher salt or Coarse Sea Salt. (Do not use table salt)
  • Rosemary: My favorite herb! It adds incredible depth and flavor to the chicken. It is very subtle but the taste is undeniably good!
  • Garlic: And lots of it! The garlic helps to make this chicken even richer in flavor. 
  • Herbs de Provence: Not much is needed because the chicken gets its flavors primarily from other ingredients used. If you do not have Herbs de Provence, you can also use Italian Seasoning.
whole roasted chicken in a cast iron
Buttermilk Brined Chicken Fresh Out Of The Oven

Tips For Making The Best Buttermilk Roast Chicken

  • Tip 1: Once the chicken has been marinating for at least 12 hours, the chicken is ready for roasting. When you remove the chicken from the marinade take a paper towel and remove any of the excess buttermilk. Some people have asked, “Do you wash buttermilk off chicken?”, and the answer is no, it is not necessary. 
  • Tip 2: After removing any excess buttermilk, transfer the chicken to a wire rack. This is for 2 reasons:
    • So that any excess buttermilk can drip off of the chicken.
    • Give the chicken time to come to room temperature before roasting it in the oven, which takes at least 30 minutes to an hour. It is important that the chicken is at room temperature so that it cooks evenly throughout the entire chicken. (Please do not take your chicken straight out of the fridge and put it in the oven.)
  • Tip 3: You can remove the chicken wing tips if you would like. The chicken wing tips generally stick up and burn while cooking, plus no one eats that part. I don’t generally bother with removing the wing tips, but you most certainly can! 
  • Tip 4: Make sure to follow the recipe instructions and rotate the chicken to ensure even cooking and a beautiful, uniform golden crust.

Common Questions

How Long Can You Let Chicken Sit In Buttermilk?

12-48 hours

The longer you leave your chicken in the buttermilk, the more tender and flavorful the chicken will be when it is cooked. Always store your chicken in the fridge. The minimum time to soak the chicken in buttermilk is at least 12 hours. You can leave the chicken marinating in the fridge for up to two days.

Can You Soak Chicken In Milk Instead Of Buttermilk?

The acid in buttermilk is what helps to tenderize the meat. If you do not have buttermilk, you can make your own by adding lemon juice or vinegar to regular milk. Simply add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar (white vinegar or apple cider vinegar)per 8 ounces of milk.

What is a Good Non-dairy Substitute for Buttermilk?

For a non-dairy buttermilk substitution, use your favorite non-dairy milk and add lemon juice or vinegar. It is best to use unflavored non-dairy milk like unsweetened almond milk or soy milk. Add 1 tablespoon of Lemon Juice or Vinegar (white vinegar or apple cider vinegar) per cup of milk. To quickly make your own non-dairy milk, try my 5-minute Homemade Oat Milk Recipe.

whole buttermilk roasted chicken on a plate with a wedge of lemon

Recipe Variations

  • You can roast a whole chicken or any other part of the chicken. I find bone-in chicken works best for this buttermilk roast chicken recipe. However, you can also roast chicken breast or tenders if you’d like! 
  • If you don’t want to roast your chicken, you can always coat the chicken with flour and fry the chicken to make classic buttermilk fried chicken. 
  • If you want to make this dairy-free, simply create your own non-dairy buttermilk by mixing non-dairy milk with an acid, like lemon or vinegar. 
  • You can roast your chicken with vegetables and potatoes to easily create an entire meal!

What To Serve With Buttermilk Roast Chicken

This flavorful chicken is the perfect main dish to serve with any of your favorite sides! Here are a few of the side dishes we enjoy with this chicken:

buttermilk roast chicken in a cast iron skillet

I hope you enjoy this Roast Buttermilk Chicken Recipe!

If you try the recipe, don’t forget to rate the recipe and let me know what you think in the comments below! Take pictures, tag #goodfoodbaddie, and share them with me on Instagram! I love seeing my recipes come to life in your kitchen.

Buttermilk Roasted Chicken

You’ll love this easy flavorful Buttermilk Roasted Chicken recipe! The chicken marinates in a simple, herbaceous buttermilk mixture and then is roasted in the oven giving you a perfectly golden, flavorful whole chicken!
4.94 from 31 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dinner, Main Course, Meal Prep
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 453kcal
Author: Capri Lilly

Ingredients

  • 1 Whole Chicken, 3 1/2 -4 pounds
  • 4 tbsp Coarse Sea Salt or Kosher Salt, divided (do not use table salt)
  • 2.5 cups Buttermilk
  • 6 Garlic Cloves
  • 3 tbsp Fresh Rosemary
  • 1 tbsp Italian Seasoning

Instructions

  • Season the chicken generously with salt, about 2 tbsp per side, and let it sit for 30 minutes. (The salt helps the chicken absorb the flavor and retain the moisture)
  • Stir 2 tablespoons of sea salt into the buttermilk to dissolve. Place the chicken in a gallon-size resealable plastic bag and pour in the buttermilk, rosemary, garlic, and Italian Seasoning.
  • Close the bag, massage the buttermilk all around the chicken, place on a rimmed plate, and refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours. Rotate the bag periodically (every 4-6 hours) to ensure every part of the chicken gets marinated.
  • Remove the chicken from the fridge an hour before you plan to cook it. Take the chicken out of the plastic bag and wipe off any excess buttermilk with a paper towel. Tightly tie together the legs with a piece of butcher’s twine (or string). Place the chicken on a wire rack and allow the chicken to come to room temperature while any excess buttermilk drips off the chicken.
  • Heat the oven to 425°F degrees with a rack set in the center position.
  • Transfer the chicken into a cast iron or shallow roasting pan or cast-iron skillet. If you want to add potatoes and vegetables, arrange them around the chicken.
  • Slide the pan to the back of the oven on the center rack. Rotate the pan so that the legs are facing the back left corner and the breast is pointing toward the center of the oven. Roast for 20 minutes.
  • After 20 minutes, the chicken should begin to brown. Lower the heat to 400°F and roast the chicken for an additional 10 minutes.
    Then, rotate the pan so the legs point towards the right corner of the oven and roast for 30 more minutes, or until the chicken is golden brown. The chicken is done when the juices run clear when cutting into the leg and an instant thermometer inserted into the thickest part reads 165°F.
  • Remove the chicken from the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes before carving.
  • Serve with your favorite side dishes and enjoy!

Video

YouTube video

Notes

  • For non-dairy buttermilk, mix 1 tbsp lemon juice or white vinegar (or apple cider vinegar) per cup of non-dairy milk. (use unsweetened almond milk, hemp milk, or soy milk)
  • If you do not have buttermilk, you can make it by adding 1 tbsp white vinegar per 1 cup of whole milk. Let the mixture curdle at the top, then use. 
  • Store any leftover chicken in an airtight container for up to 5 days. 
  • You can also freeze any leftover chicken in an airtight container for up to 2 months. (slice the chicken first)

Nutrition

Calories: 453kcal

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50 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This is such a genius way to make a moist and tender roasted chicken. I’m a huge fan of the herbs and spices, and the way the buttermilk makes them all work together.~

  2. Can’t wait to try this over the weekend! Question! When do you to the herbs/seasonings? Is this all added to the buttermilk brine or rubbed on/in the bird after brining? Recipe doesn’t say.

      1. excellent, because I was searching the recipe for instructions on the seasonings and couldn’t fine them.

  3. 5 stars
    This chicken was so juicy and succulent. Great recipe and loved using the buttermilk for this. My whole family loved it.

  4. 5 stars
    Roasted chicken is my absolute favorite! And this buttermilk version is the best version I’ve tried. Thanks so much for sharing it!

  5. 5 stars
    Wow! This was some of the most delicious chicken I have ever made! It is insane what a difference that buttermilk made in creating such a juicy and tender piece of chicken. Thanks for all of these great tips!

  6. Hi, this looks amazing. Can I use dry spices instead as I’m incapable of going to the store for fresh herbs? If I can when do I add?

    1. Hi! Fresh herbs is my preference but you most certainly can use dried herbs. Try adding a tablespoon of each to the marinade: dried parsley, dried thyme, dried oregano, herbs de Provence or Italian seasoning.

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