It’s so nice to have an arsenal of quick and easy weeknight meals that don’t taste like they were quick and easy to make. I want to serve my family healthy, real food during the week, but I don’t always have the time to make something elaborate. I have a boatload of easy week-night meals in my repertoire, and this chicken dish is one of those. This is one of those chicken dishes that you will make at least once a month, if not more. It’s one of my favorite chicken recipes because you can throw the marinade together in less than 10 minutes and then let it sit anywhere from 8 to 24 hours. It’s a great make-ahead dish, perfect for a weeknight dinner or fancy enough for a dinner party.My kids LOVED this dish as well as John and I. The buttermilk gives the chicken a wonderful and tangy flavor and the chicken stays so moist and tender. Zoe kept commenting that the chicken was so tender in contrast with the crispy skin. I wanted a mixture of dark and white meat, so I had my butcher cut 2 chicken breasts in half so that the marinade could seep into each chicken piece, and I also added in 3 chicken thighs for Eli and John, as they love dark meat. It was perfect because we all got our own piece of chicken with some crispy skin, and Eli even got to use a knife for the first time to cut his chicken thigh. I tell you, he was one happy camper.
I could also see throwing some chicken legs in the mix as well. If you think 3 1/2 pounds is too much chicken, then feel free to cut the recipe in half (chicken and marinade). This was the perfect amount for us, because we got 2 dinners out of it. The chicken makes great leftovers for lunch or dinner and even tastes great cold! I’ve used the leftover chicken to top my kid friendly caesar salad for an easy lunchtime meal. We served this up with some roasted fingerling potatoes (so easy to whip up) and my kid friendly caesar salad, (dressing was made ahead of time and lettuce was pre-washed and ready to go) and I tell you, it was a simple weeknight meal that felt like an elaborate weekend meal. You see, weeknight meals don’t have to taste like weeknight meals. Note: the top photo shows two whole breasts that I cooked up one time using the marinade. I have to say that we preferred the breasts when they were cut in half because the breast meat absorbed more of the buttermilk marinade. Below is a pic of how the chicken looked when the breasts were cut in half.
buttermilk roasted chicken:
recipe from Everyday Food
- 3 1/2 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces, such as breasts, thighs and legs – I used 2 chicken breasts that the butcher cut in half, as well as 3 chicken thighs. If you’re going to use breasts, make sure you cut them in half so the buttermilk gets absorbed into the meat, it doesn’t work as well with whole breasts.
- 2 cups buttermilk
- zest of 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Zest up your lemon and wash and chop up your dill.
Put the chicken pieces into a gallon sized ziploc bag (or you can just throw the chicken in the same bowl as the buttermilk mixture, but make sure it’s a large bowl). Add in the buttermilk mixture, and zip up the bag. Make sure to shake or turn the bag a bit so that all of the buttermilk gets on and seeps into all of the chicken pieces. Refrigerate the chicken for 8 hours or up to 24 hours. If you’re using a bowl to marinate the chicken in, make sure to cover the bowl tightly with either plastic wrap or a a tight fitting lid.
After the chicken has marinated, pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees.
Remove the chicken pieces from the marinade and pat each one dry. Put the chicken pieces on a rimmed baking sheet. Mmmm, raw chicken pieces, sorry for the photo guys.
Roast the chicken until cooked through (or internal temps for both the breasts and thighs reaches 165 degrees on an instant read thermometer), about 25 -30 minutes. Some of the smaller chicken pieces might be done before the larger ones, so make sure to pull off the smaller pieces if they are done ahead of time, while you finish cooking up the larger pieces. If you want to crisp up the skins a bit more, throw them under the broiler for a few minutes. I did not throw the below chicken pieces under the broiler, as I wanted you to see how they will really look.
I’ve had some readers throw the marinated chicken on the grill and have it be a great success, so feel free to throw the chicken on the grill for another option, especially when it’s too hot to turn the oven on. Below is a photo that one of my readers, Melinda Sahli, took of her grilled buttermilk chicken. I saw her photo on Instagram and asked her to email it to me because her grilled chicken looked scrumptious and I thought it would be great for readers to see how the chicken looked grilled. I just love Melinda, she has made a few recipes of mine and always lets me know what her faves are. We follow each other on Instagram and I really enjoy the relationship that we have built on something like Instagram. Instagram is just an easy and fun way to stay connected. Thanks Melinda!