Crispy Buttermilk Chicken

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Easy crispy buttermilk chicken that is oven fried for a healthier spin on fried chicken that you are sure to love.

279 CAL 16g CARBS 7g FAT 36g PROTEIN 4
1 Comment

There are few things more delicious than buttermilk fried chicken...that is until you realize that just one piece of chicken could have over 500 calories. However, with some creativity, you can create a similar dish at home for half the calories.

Now don't get me wrong, this isn't fried chicken. But I promise it is a juicy, delicious, crispy chicken that makes a super tasty, family friendly dinner.  The buttermilk ensures that the chicken comes out super tender with just a hint of buttermilk flavor. The flour gives it a crispy coating that is a nice alternative to breadcrumbs since it creates that thin, crispy exterior that's more like traditional fried chicken. Lastly the quick pan-frying ensures the coating is browned and crisp, which can be hard to do just in the oven. 

Depending on your dietary preferences you can use all-purpose flour (the most traditional), whole wheat flour, almond flour, or even coconut flour for the breading. You can season up the breading and buttermilk with spices, herbs, or hot sauce. You can serve it with all your favorite fried chicken sides like this coleslaw or mashed potatoes and enjoy a lightened up Southern meal.

Oven Fried Buttermilk Chicken sliced on a plate with a hand squeezing lemon on top.

Why is buttermilk good for chicken?

There is a reason that Southern cooks have been soaking their chicken in buttermilk for years.  Buttermilk, which is slightly acidic, is one of the best options for ensuring a tender and moist chicken. The acid is the buttermilk helps to break down some of the protein in the chicken, which ensures that the chicken isn't tough. It's also less acidic than lemon juice or vinegar so you don't have to worry about breaking down the chicken too much. 

What to serve with buttermilk chicken?

There are so many different ways to serve this chicken from making a homemade crispy chicken salad to serving it with all the traditional fried chicken sides. Here are some side dishes you will often find on our table.

  • Since I going to be baking the chicken, often I will start roasting some vegetables as well since they can cook in the oven together. Brussels sprouts and cabbage are two that pair nicely with the chicken.
  • Green beans are a Southern staple and these 10 Minute Garlic Green Beans are a tasty way to add veggies to this meal.
  • Instead of traditional mashed potatoes or fries, consider making these Honey Roasted Sweet Potatoes. This recipe works with carrots as well for a lower carb and calorie option.
  • This chicken couldn't be more delicious over a big bed of salad greens, crunchy cucumbers, sweet tomatoes, some shredded cheddar cheese and a generous drizzle of homemade ranch dressing.

Recipe Ideas and Tips

  • Think about the breading for this chicken as a blank canvas and add spices, herbs, and other seasoning. Cajun seasoning will add some spice. Try a steak or poultry seasoning to add some herbal flavors as well as a kick of black pepper. Something simple like seasoned salt (I love Lawry's), will add all sorts of flavor to this dish.
  • Another option for kicking up flavor is adding flavor to the buttermilk. Hot sauce is the most common and a mainstay of many fried chicken recipes. Soy sauce can add some salty, umami flavor. You can also add fresh herbs like rosemary or thyme right into the buttermilk to add flavor.
  • For a healthier oil option, use avocado oil or coconut oil. They both cook well at high temperatures.
  • Make sure to let the chicken fully brown before flipping it when you are cooking it in the pan. If you flip it too soon, the breading will come off. 
  • This will also work with chicken thighs and chicken drumsticks, but you may need to adjust the cooking time.

What if I don't have buttermilk? Can I  make it?

If you don't have buttermilk, it's actually really easy to make at home with milk and fresh lemon juice or vinegar. Here's what to do: 

  • 1 cup milk of your choice
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice or white vinegar
  • Mix them together and let sit for 5 minutes. The milk may begin to curdle slightly. Don't worry about that, it's now ready to use in place of the buttermilk.

Chicken breast soaked in buttermilk and coated in flour and then oven fried until crispy.

More quick and easy chicken recipes

The Recipe
Buttermilk chicken breast cooked until crispy and sliced on a plate with lemon.

Crispy Buttermilk Chicken

279 CAL 16g CARBS 7g FAT 36g PROTEIN 4
PREP TIME: 1 Hours
TOTAL TIME: 1 Hours, 20 Min
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  • 1.33 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1 cup low fat buttermilk
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1.5 tbsp vegetable oil

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Marinate the chicken in the buttermilk, onion powder, garlic powder, and salt overnight. If you like spice, you could add some hot sauce as well.


When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 425 degrees.


Season the flour with salt and pepper. Remove chicken from marinade letting excess drip off. Press into the flour on both sides. Set aside.


Heat an oven safe skillet over medium high heat with the oil. Add the chicken and brown on both sides for 3-4 minutes.


Place pan in the oven to finish the chicken, about 10 minutes,

Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 6 oz.
Amount Per Serving
Calories 279
Calories from Fat 65
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 7g
Saturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 77mg
Sodium 414mg
Total Carbohydrate 16g
Dietary Fiber 1g
Sugars 3g
Protein 36g

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.

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About the author Meet Kristen McCaffrey
Hi, I’m the cookbook author, recipe developer, and food enthusiast behind Slender Kitchen. I am obsessed with making healthy food that is easy to prepare and absolutely delicious. Meal planning is my secret weapon and I hope I can make meal time easier for you with our tried and tested recipes and foolproof meal plans. Learn More
1 Comment
On Crispy Buttermilk Chicken
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Mitch Gibbs
March 10, 2020 - 14:34
This sounds interesting. If I used chicken tenders, do you think I could get away with just a few hours of marinade time?
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