Buttermilk Roast Chicken

Updated November 14, 2022
Buttermilk Roast Chicken
Buttermilk Roast Chicken
This image courtesy of Lis Parsons

Editor's Note: This Buttermilk Roast Chicken recipe makes for a winning dinner any night of the week. Garlic and peppercorns give this dish a dash of spice while maple syrup adds a hint of sweetness that other roast chicken recipes lack. The result is a mouthwateringly juicy roast chicken that cooks quickly and is ideal for the summertime. Make this roast chicken for a cookout or a weeknight dinner for a meal everyone can enjoy. Just don't expect any leftovers when you make this recipe! If you're looking for suggestions for side dishes to make this a full meal, then consider taking a look at Nigella Lawson's recipe for Lemon, Mint and Spinach Salad. As one of our readers pointed out, this recipe is perfect for date night!

Buttermilk chicken has long been one of my favorite al fresco summer suppers. My method of choice has usually been to butterfly a chicken — or rather, many chickens — and then cut them into feisty quarters to layer up on serving plates. I’ve altered this to make cooking speedier, and conveying easier, by using only drumsticks.


Cooking MethodRoasting



Make Ahead RecipeYes

Kid FriendlyYes

OccasionCasual Dinner Party

Recipe CourseMain Course

MealDinner, Lunch

Taste and TextureHot & Spicy, Meaty, Tangy


  • 12 chicken drumsticks (approx. 3 lbs. total weight)
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, bruised and skins removed
  • 1 tablespoon crushed peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt or 1½ teaspoons table salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup


  1. Place the chicken drumsticks in a large freezer bag, and add the buttermilk and ¼ cup of oil.

  2. Add the bruised garlic cloves to the bag with the crushed peppercorns and salt.

  3. Sprinkle in the ground cumin and finally add the maple syrup, and then squish everything in the freezer bag around to mix the marinade and coat the chicken.

  4. Leave the buttermilk-marinated chicken in the fridge ideally overnight or out of the fridge for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour.

  5. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Take the chicken pieces out of the bag, shaking off the excess marinade, and then arrange them in a roasting pan lined with aluminum foil.

  6. Drizzle over the 2 remaining tablespoons of oil, and then roast in the oven for about 30 minutes, or until brown, even scorched in parts, and juicily cooked through.


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How do you bruise garlic?

This recipe is perfect for date night! My boyfriend and I love staying in and cooking this meal.

Made this tonight. Buttermilk kept the chicken very juicy. We recommend turning the chicken while roasting. It also took 55-60 minutes, rather than 30.


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