When I first moved down South, I learned about many cultural differences compared to the Midwest where I grew up. One of the things I learned a lot about was Southern cooking. It didn’t take long to learn to love delicious Southern food.
Everyone’s grandma in the South (often called Memaw or Granny) has her own fried chicken recipe. It’s the one dish she can always be counted on to bring to potluck dinners. In fact, my very Southern mother-in-law often has a plate of freshly fried chicken on hand in case the company stops by. I can never resist saying yes!
This recipe for fried buttermilk chicken is the closest shortcut I’ve been able to come up with for Granny’s fried chicken. I know that a proper Southern grandmother typically has a recipe that takes hours to soak in the buttermilk alone. But as a busy mom, I don’t have that kind of time.
You can make some fried buttermilk chicken without having to spend all day in the kitchen. This isn’t quite a 30-minute meal but it doesn’t take much longer than that. You can satisfy your craving for fried chicken even on a busy day when you can’t make it to granny’s house for dinner.
Buttermilk Fried Chicken
One of the things you’ll notice about this recipe is that even though it’s called fried buttermilk chicken, it’s not actually fried. Part of that is because we are generally more health-conscious than our grandmothers were. Granny’s chicken is a delicious treat on special occasions, but most of us are watching both our cholesterol and our waistlines.
Even though this buttermilk “fried” chicken is actually baked, you don’t have to miss out on the satisfying crunch of fried chicken. Because this recipe uses panko (Japanese) bread crumbs and crushed walnuts, these ingredients still keep the chicken crispy.
This recipe is also healthier than traditional fried chicken because it uses boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Typical fried chicken uses a whole chicken, skin and all. While fried chicken skin is delicious, it’s also not very healthy. Chicken skin is high in fat and most nutrition experts advise you to avoid it on a healthy diet.
The ranch dip mix adds a tangy zip of flavor to the chicken that will still wow your taste buds. Even though this recipe doesn’t have as much fat as a traditional buttermilk fried chicken recipe, it doesn’t lose anything in flavor. In fact, my kids absolutely love it because they think ranch goes great on everything. And let’s admit it: they aren’t wrong!
Buttermilk Chicken Recipe
This recipe still fits my criteria for a healthy, relatively inexpensive meal. But I know some families are on tighter grocery budgets and you don’t need to take this buttermilk chicken recipe off the menu entirely.
You can make the recipe even cheaper by making substitutions for the buttermilk. You can use lemon juice or white vinegar plus regular milk instead of buttermilk. To make this buttermilk substitute, use 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar, then enough milk to add up to a total of one cup.
If you don’t have Panko bread crumbs, you can use regular bread crumbs. Or if you want to save even more money, you can make your own bread crumbs by letting some white bread get stale and then crush them up very finely. Instead of crushed walnuts, you could use crushed corn flakes cereal.
You can even use cheaper cuts of chicken if you want. You can buy a whole chicken and cut it up into breasts, thighs, wings, and legs. This is by far the cheapest way to purchase chicken, but it is more time consuming than just getting pre-cut boneless skinless breasts. (I technically ask my husband to cut up the whole chickens for me, so it’s not technically taking me any extra time!) If you’re health-conscious, remove the skin before preparing the food.
Even though the buttermilk chicken recipe is different because it’s baked instead of fried, you can still make the traditional side dishes. The most typical side dishes for fried chicken are mashed potatoes, corn, and biscuits. Some people also make macaroni and cheese instead of mashed potatoes, which is always popular with my kids.
Buttermilk fried chicken is a delicious favorite that has stood the test of time. If you don’t have a Southern granny to make it for you, this recipe is a healthy alternative that you can make in very little time.Print
Buttermilk fried chicken is a delicious favorite that has stood the test of time. If you don’t have a Southern granny to make it for you, this recipe is a healthy alternative that you can make in very little time.
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 5 ounces each)
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 2 Tablespoons dry ranch dip mix
- 1 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
- 1 cup walnut pieces
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper for taste
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.
- Place the chicken in a large freezer bag or between 2 pieces of plastic wrap and pound to a 1½-inch thickness.
- Whisk together the buttermilk and dip mix in a shallow dish.
- Add the chicken and turn to coat.
- Combine the panko and walnuts in a food processor and process until fine.
- Transfer the panko mixture to a shallow dish.
- Remove the chicken from the buttermilk mixture and shake off the excess buttermilk.
- Transfer the chicken to the panko mixture and turn to coat both sides.
- Transfer the chicken to the prepared baking sheet and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and the crust is crisp and golden.
- Season the chicken with salt and freshly ground black pepper before serving.
- Prep Time: 15 Minutes
- Cook Time: 30 Minutes
- Category: Main Course
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: buttermilk fried chicken, buttermilk chicken recipe
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