Damn Delicious

Southwest Buttermilk Baked Chicken

The most flavorful chicken you will ever make, baked to absolute crisp-tender, juicy perfection! 207 calories each.

Southwest Buttermilk Baked Chicken - The most flavorful chicken you will ever make, baked to absolute crisp-tender, juicy perfection!

So with all these Thanksgiving recipes I’ve been posting lately, I figured a little break might be a nice refresher. After all, weeknight meals are still needed in the midst of this holiday mayhem, right?

Southwest Buttermilk Baked Chicken - The most flavorful chicken you will ever make, baked to absolute crisp-tender, juicy perfection! 207 calories each.

That’s where this chicken comes in. Crisp-tender chicken thighs, baked to absolute perfection.

Southwest Buttermilk Baked Chicken - The most flavorful chicken you will ever make, baked to absolute crisp-tender, juicy perfection! 207 calories each.

And with just a few spices, these chicken thighs are packed with tons of flavor, baked in its own juices with that creamy buttermilk.

Southwest Buttermilk Baked Chicken - The most flavorful chicken you will ever make, baked to absolute crisp-tender, juicy perfection! 207 calories each.

You’d be amazed as to how such simple ingredients can transform a chicken dish like this.

Southwest Buttermilk Baked Chicken - The most flavorful chicken you will ever make, baked to absolute crisp-tender, juicy perfection! 207 calories each.

I honestly didn’t expect much out of it but boy was I wrong. Jason had to beg me for days to make it again the very next week!

Southwest Buttermilk Baked Chicken

The most flavorful chicken you will ever make, baked to absolute crisp-tender, juicy perfection! 207 calories each.

10 minutes35 minutes


  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. In a small bowl, combine cumin, paprika, chili powder, oregano, garlic powder and onion powder; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Season chicken thighs with spice mixture, rubbing in thoroughly on all sides.
  3. Melt butter in a large oven-proof skillet over medium high heat. Add chicken, skin-side down, and sear both sides until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes per side. Remove from heat and stir in buttermilk.
  4. Place into oven and roast until completely cooked through, reaching an internal temperature of 175 degrees F, about 25-30 minutes.
  5. Serve chicken immediately, garnished with cilantro, if desired.

Adapted from Picky Palate.

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Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Servings Per Container 8

Amount Per Serving
Calories 207.0 Calories from Fat 137.7
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 15.3g 24%
Saturated Fat 5.4g 27%
Trans Fat 0.2g
Cholesterol 70.2mg 23%
Sodium 91.3mg 4%
Total Carbohydrate 2.2g 1%
Dietary Fiber 0.3g 1%
Sugars 1.5g
Protein 14.6g 29%

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.


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  1. Omg so good, I marinated the chicken in the buttermilk the night before with some oil, salt and dry rosemary then followed your directions exactly I wanted to eat the whole pan.

  2. Rated 5 out of 5

    Wow – great spice combination. I had no trouble with the buttermilk element as I just pulled the pan from the heat per directions, heated up the buttermilk a little to help me with tempering it. I added it slowly with a wire whisk. And it came out fine, I intend to use this spice combination for other projects as well. Thank you.

  3. Rated 5 out of 5

    This was absolutely delicious! Very easy to make, and everybody in my family loved it. The flavor is fantastic, meat is juicy, I know the leftovers will be even better.

  4. Rated 5 out of 5

    What a superb recipe.  Thank you.  Now I want to buy the brazier pan in your photos.  What make and model is the pan?  A brazier that will fit 8 chicken thighs?

  5. Rated 4 out of 5

    Really like the recipe, just cant figure out what to do with rice is an option but is there anything else that goes well with the chicken??

  6. Delicious! My husband said we can definitely have this again.

  7. This didn’t even last 2 minutes on my son’s plate! I parboiled some baby potatoes and set them on top of the chicken to bake with them . Paired it with collard greens. Definitely going into the favorite dinner rotation, thanks!

  8. Made this with 6 Pcs chicken. Didn’t have an oven safe skillet so transferred the chicken to a pan in the oven. Poured the finished product over a bed of fettuccini. Delish

  9. Unfortunately, mine also curdled. I removed the pan from heat and let it sit several minutes before adding. It seems to have curdled while baking. Spices were good, but even after trying to remove the curdled buttermilk it left a grainy film on the thighs.

  10. If I use boneless, skinless chicken thighs should I still brown both sides of the meat? 

  11. What can you subtitute buttermilk? 

  12. Same for me. The buttermilk curdled and I did as you said and removed it from the heat before adding, I also left buttermilk at room temp before adding. I am making it again because the chicken and spices were awesome but this time am going to cook the chicken then remove it and cool down the pan and add the buttermilk to the cooled skillet and let simmer for a sauce and see if that works. I will then pour the sauce over the chicken if it works. I did use the powdered buttermilk.

  13. Looking forward to a sauce but the buttermilk curdled.

  14. What side dishes should you serve with this chicken?

  15. Can you use this recipe in a slow cooker?

    • It is very difficult to give exact conversion information to translate a traditional stovetop recipe to be used in a slow cooker without further recipe testing. However, here is an article worth checking out on a possible conversion guide. Hope that helps!

  16. As quite a few people have stated above, the buttermilk curdled. While it ended up tasting pretty good, it looked a little yucky to serve. Chungah, any thoughts on how to prevent this curdling since so many are having this same issue with this recipe?

    • Lois, your heat source may have been set too high. It is best to remove the pan from the heat in its entirety before adding the buttermilk.

  17. This recipe looks amazing and I can not wait to try it; thank you so much for sharing.

    On the buttermilk issue that some of the folks have had. I would think it be treated just like adding raw egg and it might be tempered and also using more room temp buttermilk, instead of straight out of the fridge, too. We do not buy normal buttermilk but buttermilk is a staple in my kitchen. I use the powdered buttermilk with great success. It has a very long shelf life and I stretch that even further by keeping the container in the freezer or fridge, as well. The concept is the same as regular powdered milk- add water and you have buttermilk from the powder.

    Can not wait to try to recipe, thank you again.

  18. Do you bake it covered or uncovered?

  19. That is a weapons-grade amount of cumin!!

  20. Hi there! Firstly, let me say that I’ve made quite a few of your recipes, mostly with fantastic results. Thank you for sharing! 

    However, I did have some issues with the sauce in this recipe. Basically, the buttermilk curdled and created a sort of chunky cheese that separated from the chicken fat that was released as the dish cooked. I followed the recipe to the letter, so I’m not quite sure what the issue could have been. Do you have any suggestions on how I could fix this? Thanks! 

    • Jesse, there’s many reasons why the buttermilk could have curdled, but it may be best to remove the pan from the heat source in its entirety before adding in the buttermilk.

  21. Made this tonight for dinner. The family loved it. We all went back for more…no left overs tonight. That’s a success in my book. I paired it with garlic penne pasta, which I found both recipes on Pinterest and both were great. Thanks for the recipe, it’s getting added to the normal rotation.

  22. Hi!
    Love your recipes. I make them all the time and my husband loves them all.
    I do not have an oven safe pan and planning to make this tomorrow..what can I do or use to have this recipe come out the best it can?

    • I am so happy to hear that you and your husband have been enjoying my recipes 🙂

      If you do not have an oven-proof skillet, I recommend transferring the chicken to a baking dish and going from there. Hope that helps!

  23. I was wondering how much chicken (in weight) you recommend for this recipe? I’m ordering my groceries online so I need to know how much to order.

    • Chicken thighs can range in size, but for typical grocery store brands, four bone-in, skin-on thighs will weigh about 1.5 pounds.

  24. HI Chungah! Just wanted to say I enjoy your blog! To answer a question some readers had: Adding the cold buttermilk to the hot pan with the melted butter can throw off the emulsion and cause it to break. It’s perfectly normal and will not affect the flavor or quality of the dish. Thanks for sharing all your recipes!

  25. I want to use bone in chicken breast what would be the cook time on that

    • Without further recipe testing, I cannot advise on the appropriate cooking time. Please use your best judgment to ensure that the chicken is completely cooked through as it should reach a temperature of 165 degrees F.

  26. Made this tonight…7 teenagers and my wife all loved it.

  27. The buttermilk curdled almost as soon as I poured it in. I could not make a sauce or gravy with the juices. The chicken was fine, but do you have any suggestions why it would do that?

    • Sumati, your heat source may have been set too high. It is best to remove the pan from the heat in its entirety before adding the buttermilk.

  28. Tried this tonight and loved it! I cooked it in a cast iron pan and it came out great. I also added fresh garlic instead of powder and eliminated the cumin, health or no health, it’s my least favorite spice :-). Delish!

  29. This recipe sounds terrific but I’m wondering if I could use yogurt instead of the buttermilk? Thanks!

    • You can certainly try substituting yogurt but without further recipe testing, I cannot speak for how much this will change the overall taste/texture of the dish. It is always best to use the ingredients listed in the recipe to obtain the best results possible.

  30. I’ve made three of your recipes in the last month & everyone in my family has loved them! Can’t wait to try this!

  31. Hi! I love the spice mix for this and it really smells delicious. I am baking it in the oven right now. However, I encountered a problem with the recipe. Everything was fine up until the point I attempted to pour cold buttermilk into frying-hot oil. Good thing I did not pour all of it in!! I am sending this dish to a family for a MealTrain meal since a the wife is having an operation, so I could not send it in the iron skillet that I browned the chicken in. As I browned it I removed it to a disposable aluminum pan in which to bake and send it. So all that was in the pan when I added the buttermilk was all the REALLY hot oil, from the butter and from the chicken itself. And there was a lot of oil! I added the buttermilk after removing from the heat and there was a big reaction because of the hot oil. It sizzled and splattered in a scary way. So I waited about 10 minutes until the hot oil cooled and then added the rest of the buttermilk. The buttermilk immediately turned into oily curds and didn’t mix at all with the oil. So I ended up adding another cup of buttermilk over the chicken in the aluminum pan and baking it that way. It looks great! Just wondering what went wrong with what I did in the first place. I did leave the skin on, but trimmed off the large globs of fat along the sides of the thighs so it would be less oily, but it still produced a LOT of oil.

    • It seems like your pan was really, really hot! That being said, I think the biggest issue here is that your heat source was set too high.

  32. Hi Chungah!

    This is the second recipe of yours(first was the amazing Firecracker chicken!) I have made and it is currently in the oven, though I have to agree with the people above, the dairy and fat are separating as soon as hitting the pan(upon adding), with the fresh buttermilk curdling. I was cooking it on medium high heat as suggested so I’m really not sure why this happened.

    Any tips?

    • Jenna, there’s many reasons why the buttermilk could have curdled, but it may be best to remove the pan from the heat source in its entirety before adding in the buttermilk.

  33. It looks delicious! Mine just came out of the oven, but the buttermilk curdled as soon as I stirred it in. Its fresh buttermilk from the store and smells just fine. And ideas why it would curdle so fast?

    • Katie, is there a reason why you stirred in the buttermilk after it came out of the oven? The directions advise to stir it in prior to baking:

      Melt butter in a large oven-proof skillet over medium high heat. Add chicken, skin-side down, and sear both sides until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes per side. Stir in buttermilk.

  34. i bet this would be great with coconut milk instead of butter…great paleo recipes at urban pL8.

  35. I made this tonight it is a keeper! The chicken was so moist and practically falling off the bone. The flavors were so delicious! I didn’t have buttermilk so I used sour cream and thinned it with milk.

  36. Extremely delicious! I’ve made this several times! Thank you for the recipe!

  37. I made this the night before Christmas Eve and it turned out soooo good. This will be made regularly!

  38. My buttermilk curdled when I put in oven. Im afraid to serve the sauce. I pulled chicken out and put in new pan. I checked the date and it was good. Weird???

    • That’s really strange! But keep in mind that buttermilk (or really any food item) can expire before the actual expiration date. The expiration date is really a guideline but if it smells off or seems off in any way, I recommend discarding it.

  39. I made this with some really large, free range chicken breasts. It fed my family of four with leftovers. It was so, so easy, and delicious.

  40. Hi Chungah,
    Thanks for the wonderful recipes! This is the third I’ve tried. I am wondering if the buttermilk is meant to completely cover the chicken in the pan? I halved the recipe and the chicken thighs were not totally immersed in the buttermilk and so there wasn’t much of a sauce to speak of.


  41. This was DamnDelicious. Seriously. So good my 4 & 6 year old kids ate it. I made it using boneless/skinless thighs from Costco for same cooking time and still came out amazing, tender & juicy. I did baste it when it came out skimming using a spoon, just the top juices so as not to get the curdled buttermilk that was on bottom of pan. I also spooned some of the top layer of juice when plated. Served with your skillet enchilada rice. Mommy scored a DOUBLE Do-Over on both recipes from the kids. That makes me so happy when they love my meals! Thank you! Garlic brown sugar & Sundried tomato cream thighs next…woohoo!

  42. I made this last night & while it was “damn delicious” the “sauce” broke and we didn’t use it. I would make it again though as even without using what was left in the pan I think the buttermilk lent additional flavor.

    • I’m so glad you tried this recipe! But can you clarify on what you mean by the sauce breaking?

      • Certainly! The dairy separated from the fat, giving it a somewhat “icky” look and texture. I tried to whisk it back together, but to no avail. It could have just been that these particular thighs had “extra” fat on them or something. Definitely won’t deter me from making the recipe again! 🙂

        I also served with rice, like Stephanie (below), and the leftovers make fantastic chicken and rice burritos. My 3 year old daughter loved the original dish as well as the burritos; thanks!!

        • Yes this happened to me as well 

          • Yes Me too. Looked like curdled milk and I was glad I tested it on family. There must be some magic step I don’t know as I let the thighs sit with the spices on for 20-30 min before beginning and the flavor was meh. I’m sure there could be something to the milk separating.

  43. This is lovely flavored recipe. I will definitely make this soon. thank you very much Chungah. 🙂

  44. This chicken looks so amazing! Love that you used skin-on, bone-in thighs! They stay so perfectly juicy!

  45. Hello! I recently found your blog, and I must say, everything looks so yummy! I especially love the soups, and I can’t wait to try them!

    My question has to do with the cookware that you use. Your stainless steel pans look so heavy and high-quality. Are they All-Clad or another brand? Do you recommend any particular brand? Also, in this particular chicken recipe, what size pan did you use? I am trying to upgrade my cookware and am trying to get a sense of what brands/sizes may work best.

    • I prefer to use All-Clad, Le Creuset and/or Staub. This pan here is a 9 or 10-inch, and it’s certainly my most used cooking tool in my kitchen!

      • Thank you so much for your feedback, Chungah, I think I am going to save up for an All-Clad pan. It will be my first, but I’ve heard nothing but good things about All-Clad’s performance and durability. Thanks again!

  46. I made this a couple of days ago but didn’t have buttermilk. I substituted coconut cream and it was delish!

  47. This chicken looks perfectly crisp and flavorful! Pinned!

  48. This recipe was awesome! It was easy to make and the seasoning was just right for me. The smoked paprika added a nice flavor. I’ll definitely make it again!

  49. Looks fabulous – can’t wait to try this recipe on Friday – cheers!

  50. Hi Chungah! So for the buttermilk, do you place it in the cooking pan and then transfer it to the oven? Or straight for the oven? Thanks! I love your blog… I just found it recently and have been cooking up a storm from it!! 🙂

  51. i love chicken thighs and i’m always looking for a way to use buttermilk. this looks great!

  52. Loving all those spices! I never cook with chicken thighs…I’ll have to give it a try 🙂

  53. This looks and sounds divine! The sweetness from the buttermilk must be a great addition 😀 Yum! x

  54. LOVE that you threw smoked paprika into the mix!

  55. Hi,
    I absolutely love your site & your recipes!! When roasting in the oven, do I cover the dish?

  56. I’m always at kind of a loss when it comes to using up the buttermilk left over from baking, but now it’s buttermilk baked chicken to the rescue!! Looks delicious 🙂

  57. I never miss any of your recipes….I love them all. Is there anything I could use instead of buttermilk in the recipe????
    Thanks x

  58. Hi! When you’re making the spice mixture in the beginning, how much salt and pepper do you usually put in to taste? I’ve never made a recipe where you put salt and pepper into a spice mixture to taste. Thanks:)

    • It really depends on personal preference as you should be adding it to taste. You can always start with 1/4 tsp salt and adding more as needed.

  59. This looks so flavorful, such a great way to enjoy chicken thighs.

  60. What role does the buttermilk have?

  61. Chung ah I must tell you I have pinned more of your recipes than any other. I might as well just suck your recipe box into my head.
    Good wishes!

  62. Do you just pour the buttermilk over the chicken???

  63. Good Morning! Could you tell me, what is the purpose of pouring in the buttermilk just before putting the pan in oven? Does it make a sauce of some sort? Really enjoying your site. You one pan Mexican Quinoa has been a staple at our home! ~thanks!

  64. I love your recipes, especially the Asian ones.
    PS Did you know the “degree” sign can be inserted by going to “Insert”, “Symbol”, and then go to “Latin-1 Supplement” and find the symbol. Once you’ve found it and used it, it should show up right away to use again. Or, if you’re lazy like me, here’s a simple one: just hit “Alt + 0176” and there it is!

  65. Looks really good. Thank you for the nice recipe.

  66. ummm..yeah. This looks pretty amazing. and the fact that its 207 calories each? sold!!! your photos are perfect as always 🙂

  67. YUM! Now I want chicken for breakfast!
    Love the combo of cumin and buttermilk – I have some thighs in the fridge and cannot wait to try this!

  68. Wow. Love chicken thighs and southwest flavors. Have all the spices on hand – even the cumin. Next trip to the store will bring back the buttermilk and chicken. I know we will love this. Yum-o

  69. I love buttermilk for chicken but have never baked with it. What a great idea. Thanks for sharing!

  70. Hi can this recipe be used with skinless chicken breasted instead of skin on thighs? I never cook chicken with the skin on.
    Betty in CA

  71. Love the recipe and love the little fact about cumin at the end – very informative!

  72. This sounds so good! Easy, using stuff already on hand most of the time. Definitely a keeper! : )

  73. Mmm, I love chicken thighs and I’m always looking for new ways to cook them. Definitely trying this!