Garlic and Herb Marinated Buttermilk Chicken

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This oven-baked buttermilk chicken is tender, juicy, and bakes up perfectly for dinner, thanks to a garlic and herb seasoned buttermilk marinade.

For more tasty dark meat chicken recipes, why not try some Oven Baked Chicken Leg Quarters? Or some Buttery Garlic & Herb Chicken and Potatoes instead?

Garlic and Herb Marinated Buttermilk Chicken

Buttermilk and chicken go together incredibly well, and for a good reason. The tangy, flavorful liquid is great at holding onto spices and other flavorings and helps to create a tender, juicy, and super delicious meat once cooked.

This simple chicken marinade recipe uses buttermilk and a host of tasty spices to turn some usually dark meat into fall apart, sweet and tangy chicken with a texture almost like barbeque.     

Garlic and Herb Marinated Buttermilk Chicken Ingredients

Make sure you look at the recipe card at the very bottom for the exact amounts so that you know exactly what to buy for this recipe.

Buttermilk Marinade

• Buttermilk

• Garlic powder

• Dried basil

• Dried oregano

• Dried thyme

• Onion powder

• Black pepper

• Coarse sea salt


• Chicken thighs or legs, bone-in

How To Make Garlic and Herb Marinated Buttermilk Chicken

• Pour the buttermilk marinade ingredients into a large sealing plastic bag

• Add in the chicken, seal the bag and then swirl around to coat the chicken completely

• Place into the refrigerator, and chill for 4 hours, turning once to evenly coat

• Remove the chicken from the marinade and place onto a baking sheet lined with a rack

• Place the pieces a couple of inches apart, leaving some space in-between

• Bake at 375 Fahrenheit for about 35 minutes, or until the meat reaches the internal temperature of 185 Fahrenheit

Why Cook The Chicken To 185 Fahrenheit?

While health standards and chicken vaccinations have only improved in the last few years, it is still vitally important to always ensure that your chicken has been cooked to safe temperatures before you eat it.

The safe temp for chicken, the temperature at which all dangerous bugs are destroyed instantly, is 165 Fahrenheit. So why is it that this recipe has you cooking the chicken until it hits 185 Fahrenheit?

Well, dark meat is fundamentally different from regular white meat – it has a lot more fat and connective tissue within it, both of which can render and turn delicious at higher temperatures.

While white meat such as chicken breasts starts to get chalky and disgusting above around 170 Fahrenheit, dark meat doesn’t do that at all. Instead, the more you cook it, the better it gets, generally speaking.

So, while the chicken will actually be totally safe to eat at around 165 Fahrenheit, cooking it longer until it hits 185 Fahrenheit will result in some really tender, delicious chicken. It should almost fall apart like barbeque if you do it just right.

What To Do If You Don’t Have Buttermilk?

A common ingredient in American cooking and baking, buttermilk finds its way into all kinds of different recipes, from fried chicken to making pancakes.

Buttermilk was originally a leftover product after making butter. Butter is made from the fats within milk, but the water and protein are left, and that becomes buttermilk. This is typically left a while on the counter, resulting in very slight Lacto fermentation starting to take hold, which results in that typically sour, acidic flavor.

If you live somewhere that doesn't really keep buttermilk in stock, you can actually just do it yourself!

Simply use milk in equal quantities, but add a teaspoon per pint of lemon juice or other acids to it. Leave it on the counter for about 10 to 15 minutes, and the resulting acidification of the proteins in the mixture will give the milk pretty much the same flavor as buttermilk!

If you cannot be bothered with all that, free to just use regular milk, but expect a bit less acidity and kick in the chicken once cooked.

Looking for more delicious Chicken recipes? Try these out:

Lemon Garlic Chicken

Chicken Fricassee

Jerk Chicken




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This oven baked buttermilk chicken is tender, juicy and bakes up perfectly for dinner thanks to a garlic and herb seasoned buttermilk marinade.

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Garlic and Herb Marinated Buttermilk Chicken

This oven baked buttermilk chicken is tender, juicy and bakes up perfectly for dinner thanks to a garlic and herb seasoned buttermilk marinade.
5 from 14 votes
Prep Time
5 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Main Course
Karlynn Johnston


Buttermilk Marinade

  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons coarse sea salt


  • 8-10 chicken thighs bone-in skin on


  • Pour the buttermilk marinade ingredients into a large sealing plastic bag.
  • Add in the chicken, seal the bag and then swirl around to coat the chicken completely.
  • Place into the refrigerate for at least 4 hours, making sure to turn the bag over once in a while. If you can, marinating overnight is the best.
  • When you are ready to cook the chicken, preheat your oven to 375 °F.
  • Remove the chicken from the marinade and place onto a baking sheet lined with a rack. Place the pieces 1-2 inches apart, leaving space between.
  • Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes or until the meat reaches an internal temperature of 185 °F.
  • Remove and serve.

Recipe Notes

Note that the calories include all of the buttermilk marinade, which is not accurate. Calories etc will be closer to plain chicken thighs with a tiny bit of buttermilk on them.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 236kcal, Carbohydrates: 4g, Protein: 26g, Fat: 12g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Cholesterol: 79mg, Sodium: 716mg, Potassium: 342mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 193IU, Calcium: 85mg, Iron: 1mg

All calories and info are based on a third party calculator and are only an estimate. Actual nutritional info will vary with brands used, your measuring methods, portion sizes and more.

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Karlynn Johnston

I’m a busy mom of two, wife & cookbook author who loves creating fast, fresh meals for my little family on the Canadian prairies. Karlynn Facts: I'm allergic to broccoli. I've never met a cocktail that I didn't like. I would rather burn down my house than clean it. Most of all, I love helping YOU get dinner ready because there's nothing more important than connecting with our loved ones around the dinner table!

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Site Index Buttermilk Chicken Garlic

Reader Interactions

Comments & Recipe Tips Share a tip or comment!

  1. WILLIAM LAW says

    Hi! I would like if you can use the same recipe for bhicken Breasts

  2. Gina says

    Hi! I agree with Lise. This sounds delicious, and I too, am wondering if I can use bone in chicken breasts, for I don’t like the dark meat.
    Thank you5 stars

  3. Lise says

    Hi Karlynn
    Love your recipes.. by the way !!!
    Just wondering if I could use boneless and skinless chicken for Herbed and Garlic Buttermilk Chicken recipe

    • Karlynn Johnston says

      You can, you won’t get a crispy skin of course and be sure not to overcook it!5 stars

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