Roasted Buttermilk Chicken Thighs Recipe

Roasted Buttermilk Chicken Thighs Recipe

This roasted buttermilk chicken thighs recipe is probably the easiest chicken recipe in my recipe book. It’s super easy to make and you should already have most of the ingredients in your pantry. And the best part is that the chicken can be marinated ahead of time, making this a fantastic recipe for meal planning on Sundays!

I first came across this recipe from Smitten Kitchen when I was looking for an easy roasted chicken recipe. If you search “roasted chicken recipe”, most of the results will be a whole roasted chicken. I didn’t want that because I didn’t want to cut up a whole chicken. Deb’s recipe was perfect as it uses chicken parts. After making this recipe many times, I have tweaked it a bit to suit our taste. Hopefully, you’ll like this recipe as much as we do!

Roasted Buttermilk Chicken Thighs Recipe

Roasted Buttermilk Chicken Thighs – Key Ingredients & Tips

There are a few key ingredients that you will need to make roasted buttermilk chicken thighs:

Bone-In, Skin-on Chicken Thighs

I’ve always used bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs as they are much more flavourful. Feel free to use other chicken pieces such as drums and breasts. You’ll need to adjust the cooking time depending on the size of your pieces. While I leave the skin on, I do try to remove as much fat from the thighs as possible.


You’ll need 400ml of buttermilk. Since they come in a carton of 946ml, I usually use the rest to make buttermilk pancakes. You can also freeze the buttermilk for later use. I’d recommend only using previously frozen buttermilk for brining or marinade and not for pancake recipes. That’s because the fat separates when you freeze the buttermilk. Once you’ve defrosted the buttermilk in the fridge, give it a good shake before using it.

Smoked Paprika

I used smoked paprika because it adds a smoky flavour. You can definitely substitute it with regular paprika or other types of paprika. You can buy smoked paprika in Bulk Barn.

Fresh Ground Pepper

The recipe calls for “lots” of fresh ground pepper. While I never measure how much I use because I ground them straight into the marinade mixture, my estimate would be around 2 tsp.


The original recipe only used about 5 cloves of garlic. I love garlic so I add about 10 pieces or roughly a whole head of garlic to the marinade mixture. I also roast the larger chunks of garlic when I cook the chicken. If you don’t want to use the garlic that’s been soaking in the buttermilk mixture, you can add fresh garlic cloves when you roast the chicken. They add a nice garlicky aroma. Plus roasted garlic pieces are so delicious!

Flaked or Coarse Sea Salt

I find the flaked sea salt enhances the paprika flavour and adds a nice crunch. So while you could skip the step of sprinkling flaked sea salt on top of the chicken thighs, I’d advise you to keep it to get the full flavour of this dish.

Roasted Buttermilk Chicken Thighs Recipe

Preparing Chicken Thighs Ahead of Time

It’s best to let the chicken thighs marinate in the buttermilk mixture for at least 8 hours. So you can either marinate this the night before or early in the morning and cook the chicken for dinner. You can marinate the chicken thighs for up to 2 days. Knowing this, it’s easy to plan your meals ahead of time.

Recipe for Roasted Buttermilk Chicken Thighs

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Roasted Buttermilk Chicken Thighs Recipe

This chicken thighs recipe is super easy to make and the chicken always comes out moist with crispy skins! You can marinate the chicken ahead of time (up to 2 days) which makes this a fantastic recipe for meal prep.
Course: Main
Servings: 4
Author: Jan Chan


  • 2.5 lbs bone-in chicken thighs (approximately 9 pcs)
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 head of garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 1 tbsp table salt
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 3/4 tsp smoked paprika, plus extras for sprinkling (other types of paprika works too)
  • lots of freshly ground pepper
  • olive oil
  • flaked or coarse sea salt


  • Trim off excess fat and skin from the chicken thighs. Clean, pat dry and place the chicken thighs into a large resealable bag or container.
  • In a bowl, combine together the buttermilk, smashed garlic, salt, sugar, smoked paprika and fresh ground pepper.
  • Pour the marinade over the chicken thighs and zip up the bag, removing as much air as you can. Shake and gently massage the chicken in the marinade. Place the bag in a shallow dish or bowl and let the chicken marinate in the fridge between 8 to 48 hours. Turn or shake the bag once or twice during the marinating time to ensure that the chicken thighs are always submerged in the buttermilk mixture.
  • When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 425F and line a baking tray with foil. Remove the chicken thighs from the bag, shake off excess buttermilk and place them on the tray skin side up. Lightly drizzle olive oil on the chicken and sprinkle with extra paprika and flaked or coarse sea salt. Fish out the garlic pieces from the marinade and place them in between the chicken thighs so they can roast at the same time. Roast the chicken thighs for 30-40 minutes or until cooked through.
Roasted Buttermilk Chicken Thighs Recipe
    1. Hi Kathy, I have not tried grilling but a quick search shows that the Kitchn has a similar recipe and they recommended the following:

      Prepare the grill for both direct and indirect heat by firing up one side of the grill to medium high, or filling one side of a charcoal grill with lit charcoal. Cook the chicken covered to 165°F over indirect heat (the unlit side), then move it over direct heat to crisp the skin and create some char. This two-step method ensures that the chicken is cooked properly without drying it out.

    1. Hi Mel,

      Personally, I would not recommend using the buttermilk from the marinade for the sauce because it may contain bacteria from the raw chicken juices.


  1. Hello, I used this recipe and am marinating skinless thighs and I cut skinless breasts into chunks also marinating right now in refrigerator. Since these are boneless and skinless, what temp and how long should I bake them?

    1. Hi Maryellen,

      Sorry I missed your comment. I’m not sure how long it’d take to cook the chicken breast but I’d assume the same temperature should still work but the baking time will likely need to be shorter. Let me know how yours turned out. Thank you for trying the recipe.


  2. Hi – I am on a low carb diet, and wondered whether the sugar (or even a sugar substitute) is necessary? I’m not a fan of ‘sweet’ savoury dishes and am hoping that this recipe will be fine without?

      1. I made my own “butter milk” I use half-n- half and white vinegar.
        Chicken thighs MARINATING NOW until TOMORROW I plan on baking them with a side dish and green vegy.

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