By Emma Haberman | September 13, 2011

Photo: Emma Haberman

Buttermilk is more often than not the crucial ingredient to tender, moist fried chicken. The rich creaminess of buttermilk adds depth and moisture to any recipe, but actually contains less fat and cholesterol than regular milk. It is the liquid that remains after milk has been churned into butter, so it is slightly thicker with a more-developed but not overwhelming flavor. Marinating your chicken in buttermilk for a few hours ensures that it stays moist while it cooks, while adding onions, garlic, and hot sauce packs each bite with bold flavor. Baking the chicken is a healthy alternative to deep-frying; the cornflake crust remains crunchy and seals in the marinade’s moisture but is also lighter than an oil-fried crust. Make sure you place your chicken on a rack and not directly on a baking sheet so that the meat cooks on all sides and the crust stays crispy. Serve with coleslaw or potato salad and green beans.

Photo: Emma Haberman

Buttermilk Battered Chicken Recipe

Servings: 4
Calories: 120 per serving
Prep Time: 4 hrs
Cook Time: 50 mins
Total Time: 4 hrs 50 mins


  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 11/2 tbsp hot sauce
  • 1 small yellow onion, sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, smashed
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces
  • 2 cups crushed corn flakes
  • 3/4 cups grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper


1. In a bowl, mix together buttermilk, hot sauce, onion and garlic. Wash and pat dry the chicken pieces, and place them in the bowl, covering each piece with the marinade. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4-12 hours.

2. Preheat the oven to 400º. Mix the cornflakes, Parmesan, and cayenne pepper together in a large flat dish. Add salt and pepper to taste.

3. When the chicken is marinated, remove each piece from the batter and let drip dry. Dredge through the cornflake mixture until well coated and place on a rack over a baking sheet. Bake for 50 minutes until chicken is cooked through.

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