Juicy, tangy, and roasted to perfection, this easy buttermilk-brined chicken dish does not disappoint. Not afraid of a little spice? Dig into homestyle flavor with a decisive heat tempered by fresh basil and floral herbes de Provence. Try this simple oven-roasted chicken thigh recipe and elevate a standard meal into a sumptuous, finger-licking experience worth sharing.
Why Brine Chicken With Buttermilk?
Buttermilk is the MVP of perfecting recipes — from fluffy homestyle biscuits to a rainy day stew, the creamy tang always takes center stage. The acids in buttermilk tenderize the chicken’s proteins and help retain moisture for a decadently crispy and juicy bite. And, the sugars in the milk make for a perfectly caramelized finish.
Be mindful of how long you let your chicken thighs soak in the buttermilk mixture. For maximum flavor, I recommend a bath of 10-24 hours. After two to three days, the meat can become overly agitated and mushy, so set it but don’t forget it. The heat of the crushed red pepper and the sweet, green freshness of basil will win you over in no time.
Marinating chicken should be simple and effective, and this recipe delivers just that. Pull out a large mixing bowl (stainless steel or glass), pour in the buttermilk, add your spices, submerge chicken thighs and you’re a good night’s sleep away from a restaurant-quality dinner.
There’s something so comfortable about roasting chicken. The enticing scents, the brown crunch forming on the skin, the amber-colored bits of fat and flesh stuck to the skillet — it just feels good to fill up your kitchen with those warm, cozy feelings.
Baking chicken in the oven also allows you to make a side dish right along with the main event. Add carrots, onions, or potatoes to the roasting dish for a built-in supporting act that gets bold flavor from the chicken drippings.
Hungry yet? Try my Spicy Basil Buttermilk Chicken Thighs for a bite of homestyle luxury. Grab your skillet and see for yourself how easy it is to whip up. Leave comments and questions below, and don’t forget to rate the recipe! You can always see what’s happening in my kitchen on Instagram.
Spicy Basil Buttermilk Chicken Thighs
- 1 1/2 – 2 lbs chicken thighs 4-6 pieces
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh basil
- 1 tbsp. kosher salt
- 1 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
- 1 1/2 tsp herbes de Provence
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1/2 tsp oregano
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- Trim excess skin from thighs. Combine buttermilk, salt, pepper, all dried herbs, and fresh basil in a large, nonreactive bowl.
- Add chicken to bowl, making sure all parts are submerged in buttermilk mixture. Cover tightly and refrigerate overnight (or anywhere from 10-24 hours).
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Remove thighs from bowl, shake off excess buttermilk, and place in an iron skillet skin-side up. Generously sprinkle chicken with olive oil and a dash of salt. Cook for 30-35 minutes, or until internal tempearture is 165°.
- If you find yourself without buttermilk, add a big squeeze ( 1 tbsp for every cup) of lemon or vinegar to whole milk. Let sit for 10 minutes, and you’ll have a tangy finished product that’s ready to brine.
- Finish things off with a drizzle of honey for a playful sweetness that pairs well with crushed red pepper and basil.