Buttermilk Grilled Chicken

This Buttermilk Grilled Chicken recipe uses buttermilk as a marinade to create such juicy, tender, flavorful chicken that you’ll never go back to any other marinade!

Grilled chicken drumsticks and thighs on black tray on wooden table. Lemon and parsley decorate tray, with plaid napkin and tongs next to tray. Overlay: Grilled Buttermilk Chicken.

Have you ever tried making a meat marinade with buttermilk? This is one of my go-to recipes that I’ve been using for years, whenever I have leftover buttermilk in the fridge that needs to be finished up.

About this Buttermilk Grilled Chicken:

I use this marinade in the winter and roast the chicken in the oven, and in the summer it goes on the grill.

The natural acidity of the buttermilk tenderizes the meat, and also adds a tangy flavor to the chicken.

While just a drizzle of buttermilk alone is a great marinade for chicken, I like to jazz it up with a little more flavor, depending on what sort of ingredients I have around.

Since I always have mustard powder, garlic, sriracha (also one of the spicy elements in my Asian noodle salad and coconut risotto) and paprika on hand, I choose those things quite a bit.

Closeup of grilled chicken pieces on black tray on top of green and blue plaid napkin.

A quick warning that the buttermilk marinade might mean that the chicken is more likely to flare up on the grill. No need to panic, and it’s still totally worth it, I promise.

Just keep an eye on the grill, and don’t get distracted by a competitive game of badminton or something.

If you get any flareups, simply move the chicken to a cooler (indirect heat) portion of the grill and continue cooking until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165 degrees F. Indirect grilling is also the way I finish my root beer ribs!

Eat your delicious buttermilk chicken, THEN go play some badminton!

Psst – this chicken (cooked and chopped up) is great used in place of the lamb/beef on a gyro pizza.

Lightly charred chicken with lemons and parsley on black tray. Bowl of potato chips also on table.

Yield: 4 servings

Buttermilk Grilled Chicken

Grilled chicken pieces on black tray with lemon wedges and herbs.

This Buttermilk Grilled Chicken recipe uses buttermilk as a marinade to create such juicy, tender, flavorful chicken that you'll never go back to any other marinade!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 16 minutes
Total Time 26 minutes


  • 1-1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon mustard powder
  • 1 tablespoon sriracha
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 4 chicken drumsticks, bone-in/skin-on
  • 4 chicken thighs, bone-in/skin-on

4 chicken thighs, bone-in/skin-on

  • Vegetable oil, for grill
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges (optional)


  1. In medium bowl, whisk together buttermilk, mustard powder, sriracha, garlic and paprika. Place chicken in large zip-top bag; pour buttermilk mixture over chicken. Seal bag and refrigerate 2 hours or up to overnight.
  2. Preheat outdoor grill for direct grilling over medium heat. Remove chicken from marinade, shaking off excess marinade; discard marinade. Lightly oil grill grates. Transfer chicken to grill and cook 16 to 18 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F, turning occasionally.
  3. Transfer chicken to serving platter. Sprinkle with parsley and serve with lemon wedges, if desired.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 550Total Fat: 31gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 21gCholesterol: 287mgSodium: 655mgCarbohydrates: 11gFiber: 1gSugar: 7gProtein: 58g

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