How Long Can You Marinate Chicken Breast In Buttermilk (A-Z Guide)


This is a detailed guide to address all your queries regarding marinating chicken breast in buttermilk.

Let’s dive right in.

How Long Can You Marinate Chicken Breast In Buttermilk

According to USDA, you can marinate chicken breast in buttermilk for upto 48 hours to get a tender & flavourful recipe. You need to ensure that the whole thing is kept in a refrigerator when it gets marinated.

While you can keep the chicken breast for even longer than 48 hours in buttermilk marinade, there is a chance of the mushy getting mushy after that.

The reason for this is buttermilk has lactic acid. This acid acts on the meat to make it tender and help infuse flavors in the meat.

But if we keep chicken breast too long into the marinade, the prolonged exposure to acid will break the meat fibers.

Most of the chicken breast recipes may not need that long duration of marination, and thus in those cases, you can opt for a marinating time as per the recipe.

But beware, if you are in a hurry, just do not keep the chicken breast for a very short time into the marinade. Chicken is not very quick to respond to marinades, unlike other meats such as fish.

If you keep it for too short a time, you will get poor results.

How To Marinate Chicken In Buttermilk?

Here is a step by step process of marinating chicken in buttermilk

  • Pour buttermilk in a bowl
  • Add oil
  • Add other seasonings and herbs
  • Add garlic, lemon
  • Mix this
  • Place chicken breasts
  • Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours, or overnight if possible.
  • Take it out and cook!

Here is a quick video on preparing a simple buttermilk marinade for chicken.

How To Store Chicken Breast In Buttermilk Marinade?

It would be best always to store the chicken breast and the marinade in freezer bags, plastic or glass containers.

It is advised not to use reactive cookware (metal such as aluminum etc.) to store as the acid will react to it and spoil the flavor and color of the recipe.

Is Buttermilk A Good Marinade For Chicken Breast?

Yes, buttermilk is a great marinade for chicken breast as it is mildly acidic (pH of 4.4-4.8) and helps tenderize the milk nicely, along with adding mild flavors to it.

If a marinade is too acidic, and if you overdo marination, the meat will become mushy.

Table: Acidities of Various Marinaded

MarinadepH (Acidity)
Apple Cider Vinegar3.0 - 3.2
Beer3.7 - 4.1
Bourbon 3.7 - 4.0
Butter Milk4.4 - 4.8
Carbonated Drinks3.0 - 4.0
Coffee4.9 - 5.1
Cranberry Juice2.6 - 2.8
Grapefruit Juice3.0 - 3.8
Heavy Cream6.5 - 6.8
Lemon juice2.0 - 2.6
Lime juice2.0 - 2.4
Orange Juice3.3 - 4.2
Pickle Juice3.2 - 3.7
Red Wine3.0 - 4.0
White Vinegar2.3 - 2.5
Yogurt4.4 - 4.8
Sour Cream4.5

Chicken Breast vs Chicken Thighs Marination

There is not too much of a difference between marinating chicken breast. Both can be marinated in buttermilk.

The main difference between chicken breast and chicken thighs is the amount of fat. Chicken breast is much leaner, with less than half the fat content of chicken thighs.

This makes it a healthier option overall, but it also means that it can dry out more easily when cooked.

Chicken thighs have more marbling throughout the meat, which helps to keep them moist and flavorful. They also tend to be cheaper than chicken breasts.

The meat of chicken breast is white meat, while the meat of chicken thighs is dark meat. Chicken breast is leaner than the chicken thigh. The taste of chicken breast is milder than the chicken thigh.

Can You marinate Frozen Chicken Breasts?

Yes, you can marinate frozen chicken breast as they thaw. The important thing to ensure is that the thawing needs to happen in the fridge and not at room temperature.

Here is our detailed guide on this>

Final Words

I hope this guide helped you with how you can marinate chicken breast in buttermilk.

In case you have any queries or suggestions, let us know!

Do share this with your friends and family who love chicken!

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About Betty Ellis

Betty is a food researcher who spends most of her time analyzing the nutritional aspects of various foods. She also researches methods to enhance taste, as well as how to store certain types of foods. She enjoys cooking for herself and her three dogs even though she doesn't have a lot of free time outside work.