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So, How Long Can You Marinate Chicken In Buttermilk?

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Preparing any kind of food before you bake, grill, smoke, deep fry, etc. is a crucial thing to do right. That is also the case with chicken, whether that is whole chicken, chicken breasts, chicken thighs, or any other piece of chicken.

One of the most popular ways to prepare your chicken before you turn it into a delicious chicken dish is to marinate it in buttermilk. This is the way your chicken tenders become very pleasing to eat. But, there are always some questions that arise like “How long can you marinate chicken in buttermilk?”.

Because of the fact that buttermilk is a probiotic, it can stay in the fridge for a long time, which is estimated to be about 2 weeks. But, the fact that chicken goes in the fridge along with that buttermilk marinade creates an aggravating circumstance because chicken can’t stay in the fridge that long.

But let’s find out together how long that is!

How Long Can You Marinate Chicken In Buttermilk?

marinated chicken in a plate

As I already mentioned, buttermilk is a probiotic so it can stay longer in the fridge or at room temperature. But I also have to emphasize that it is a little bit of a different story with chicken. Chicken can’t stay out as long as buttermilk can, so you have to keep that in mind as well.

There are two main ways of marinating chicken in milk products. You can use fermented dairy products like plain yogurt or our buttermilk. On the other hand, you can marinate your chicken in a more acidic marinade like lemon juice or vinegar, and the time required for the chicken to marinate in a more acidic environment is less.

If your marinated chicken stays out longer, its texture could get strangely dry and chalky, and you certainly don’t want that to happen because it won’t be enjoyable to eat.

So, finally, let’s take a look at the more detailed information that can answer the question of how long can you marinate chicken in buttermilk in the fridge and on the counter.

Marinating Chicken In Buttermilk In The Fridge

The best place to put your chicken to marinate is definitely the fridge. The fridge is an especially good place to marinade your chicken if you want to let it soak in the buttermilk for a bit longer and in terms of food safety.

The ideal time for marinating your chicken in the fridge is about 1-3 hours. You can also marinate the chicken overnight

The maximum time that your chicken can marinate in the fridge is estimated at about 48 hours. If it stays a little longer than that, for example, 3 days or so, it won’t be useless but it can increase some of the risks that can happen when marinating chicken for too long.

Some of the troubles that can happen when your chicken marinates for too long in the fridge include the risk of the meat fibers breaking down and its texture getting mushy.

The meat can easily go bad, i.e. it could be at risk of spoilage. And if you somehow avoid these two troubles, you won’t avoid getting your chicken’s taste overpowered by the taste of the buttermilk. And that is also something that you don’t want to happen.

I also have to emphasize that before you refrigerate your chicken marinade, it is best to set your fridge to about 40 degrees Fahrenheit. That is considered an ideal temperature for marinating chicken.

Marinating Chicken In Buttermilk On The Counter

marinated chicken in a white plate

The general estimated time of marinating chicken on the counter is somewhere around 2-4 hours. Leaving your chicken to marinade on the counter for more than 4 hours can put it at risk of spoilage (unless you’re marinating frozen chicken). 

Beware of the temperature danger zone! According to the USDA, the temperature danger zone (40 °F – 140 °F) refers to a temperature range in which bacteria can grow rapidly in perishable foods.

But it is not that simple to just say that your buttermilk marinated chicken can stay on the counter for that long. There are also two factors that you must consider before you leave your marinated chicken on the counter.

The first is room temperature. If the temperature is higher, your marinated chicken will be at a higher risk of getting spoiled. So, you definitely have to take temperature into consideration.

And there is also the material of your counter that needs to be taken into account. There are two main types of countertops and those are granite countertops and wooden countertops. The one made of granite material has a lower temperature than that made out of wood.

So if you put your marinated chicken on a granite countertop, it will last longer.

Why Do You Marinate Chicken In Buttermilk?

You marinate chicken in buttermilk primarily to make it more tender and to add a huge amount of flavor. I also have to say that marinating chicken is a key step to making some delicious tender and crispy fried chicken.

Because it is slightly acidic, buttermilk can tenderize the chicken, without it becoming chewy and tough if marinated properly, of course. Alongside the buttermilk, you can also add some seasonings similar to seasoned flour with some adjustments, like the inclusion of white pepper.

Before I head to the recipe, I have to say that you can also freeze your buttermilk marinated chicken, if you want to use it in some cooked chicken recipe sometime in the future.

And if you have some frozen chicken in the freezer, you can thaw it and soak the chicken in buttermilk overnight before you cook it another day.

So now, I will show you below how to properly marinate your chicken and make some delicious crispy fried chicken.

How To Marinate Chicken And Prepare Some Delicious Fried Chicken

I myself have worked for some time in KFC and I took countless frozen wings out of plastic bags, but, on one occasion I also learned how to make delicious deep-fried chicken and I will be happy to share my knowledge with you. So, stay tuned to learn this fantastic recipe!

1. Preparing Buttermilk Marinade

buttermilk in a glass

You’ll first have to marinate your chicken in the buttermilk, so you will put some buttermilk into a bowl and add some seasonings.

But before that, you are going to chop your whole chicken to get 10-12 pieces of chicken and make sure that you use bone and the skin on the chicken because that will result in the crispiest and juiciest fried chicken.

The skinless one and the boneless one aren’t that good. In my opinion, chicken thighs and wings are the best options.

When you are done with the chicken in the first part of the prep time, you have to prepare your marinade.

The ingredients that you will use for your wet mix are listed below.

Ingredients for the wet mix:

• 2 cups buttermilk

• 1 tablespoon of each ingredient: cayenne pepper, paprika, white pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and salt.

You will pour your buttermilk into the bowl and add the listed seasonings. Then you will stir the mixture until it combines, add the chicken and fully coat.

You can then put your buttermilk marinated chicken into the fridge and let it sit for a minimum of 4 hours and a maximum of 24 hours total time. Let the buttermilk do the thing.

2. Preparing Fried Chicken

First, I will list the main ingredients that you will use to prepare a dry mix for your fried chicken.

Ingredients for the dry mix:

• 2.5 cups plain flour

• 2 tablespoons each of oregano and baking powder

• 1 tablespoon paprika

• 1.5 tablespoons salt

• 1 tablespoon each of garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, and cayenne pepper

You will combine this dry mix in a shallow bowl and then fully coat every chicken piece in it. When you are done with breading, your chicken is ready for deep-frying.

3. Deep-Frying Your Chicken

fried chicken on a plate

Main ingredient:

• 4 cups vegetable oil (1 liter)

For deep-frying, you will use vegetable oil because it has a high smoking point. You will get the oil to the temperature of 350F and when you put a chicken in it, it will drop to 320F.

To keep that heat, you’ll have to set it to a medium temperature. You’ll put 3-4 chicken pieces into the oil at a time and the cooking time for each batch will be 10-15mins.

You will know that the chicken is done when the batter is golden and the inside is white.

4. Serving Your Buttermilk Fried Chicken

Now that you are done with all of your chicken pieces, you are ready to serve your deep-fried chicken. It is best to put each chicken piece on a wire rack with paper towels underneath and sprinkle some salt onto them.

It is best to serve the deep-fried chicken with some hot sauces or bbq sauce and enjoy this fantastic fried chicken recipe to the fullest.

Nutritional Value

• Saturated Fats: 9.7g

• Cholesterol: 183mg

• Potassium: 497mg

• Carbohydrates: 10.14g

• Vitamin A: 150IU

• Calcium: 30mg

• Cast Iron: 2.2mg

To Sum It Up

Now that I answered your question on how long can you marinate chicken in buttermilk and gave you some information alongside the delicious deep-fried chicken recipe, there is nothing that can stop you from getting down to business and making your own buttermilk fried chicken.