Facebook LinkedIn Email Pinterest Twitter Instagram YouTube Icon Navigation Search Icon Main Search Icon Video Play Icon Plus Icon Minus Icon Check Icon Print Icon Note Icon Heart Icon Filled Heart Icon Single Arrow Icon Double Arrow Icon Hamburger Icon TV Icon Close Icon Sorted Hamburger/Search Icon

Buttermilk Brined Chicken Breasts

Sarah Breckenridge

Servings: four.

This just could become your new go-to barbecue chicken recipe. The chicken stays in the buttermilk brine overnight, so plan accordingly. Glaze the breasts generously with your favorite sauce and prepare yourself for one of the moistest, most tender chicken breasts you’ve ever cooked on the grill.

This recipe is excerpted from Grillin’ with Gas.


  • 2 cups low-fat buttermilk
  • 1 Tbs. kosher salt
  • Four 1-pound bone-in chicken breasts
  • 1 Tbs. ground cinnamon
  • 1 Tbs. ground cumin
  • 1 Tbs. ground coriander
  • 1 Tbs. sugar
  • 1 Tbs. granulated garlic
  • 1 Tbs. onion powder
  • 1 Tbs. freshly ground  black pepper
  • 1 tsp. ancho chile powder
  • 1 tsp. chipotle chile powder
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. ground sage
  • Your favorite sauce for chicken, barbecue or otherwise (optional)


  • Pour the buttermilk into a large zip-top bag. Add the salt and the chicken breasts. Close the bag and squish the liquid around the chicken breasts. Put in the refrigerator and let sit overnight, turning the bag several times.
  • Combine the 11 herbs and spices in a small container with an airtight lid. You won’t use all of this mixture for this recipe, but use the extra within 6 months.
  • Oil the grill racks. Preheat your grill using all burners set on high and with the lid closed for 10 to 12 minutes.
  • When the grill is hot, cut off the center or back burner and adjust your heat to medium-high.
  • Remove the breasts from the bag and discard the brine. Pat the breasts dry and then sprinkle about a tablespoon of the rub on each breast, gently massaging the rub into the meat.
  • Place the chicken breasts, skin down, over the direct heat section of your grill, close the lid, and cook for 3 or 4 minutes or until nicely seared. Turn and sear the other side for 3 to 4 minutes. Move the chicken breasts to the indirect area, cut your burners to medium, and close the lid. You want to maintain about a 325°F temperature. Grill-roast for about 45 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer reads 170°F in the thickest portion of the breast. During the last 5 minutes glaze the chicken breast with your choice of sauce on the skin side only. Remove the breasts from the grill to a platter and let rest for about 5 minutes. Serve.

Serve with Traditional Cole Slaw or Grilled Butter Lettuce with Buttermilk-Chive Dressing.


Rate or Review

Reviews (7 reviews)

  • murray27 | 07/05/2015

    I made this tonight for the first time in a long time. I honestly don't understand the people who don't like the rub. Too much cinnamon? Not by my taste buds. The flavors are perfectly balanced and the buttermilk brine results in the most moist chicken breast I've ever had from the grill.

  • alanecapri | 10/17/2011

    Do you wash off the buttermilk after brining?

  • lisameier | 05/31/2011

    The Chicken was moist, but we did not like the rub.

  • Sumsaver | 05/30/2011

    I used chicken leg quarters and was very pleased with how moist the brine made them. The rub is wonderful...though I didn't use as much of the ground peppers being timid of spicey heat! Very much worth the effort on this one.

Show More

Rate this Recipe

Write a Review


View All


Follow Fine Cooking on your favorite social networks

We hope you’ve enjoyed your free articles. To keep reading, subscribe today.

Get the print magazine, 25 years of back issues online, over 7,000 recipes, and more.