Samin Nosrat's Buttermilk Chicken Recipe

 Samin Nosrat's Buttermilk Chicken Recipe
By The Cooking World, Editorial Staff
February 19, 2021

Samin Nosrat's Buttermilk Chicken

In this week's recipe, we decided to share with you Samin Nosrat's Buttermilk Chicken recipe from Salt Fat Acid Heat cookbook.

As some of you may already know, Salt Fat Acid Heat is in our opinion, one of the best cookbooks ever written. We decided to share with you this recipe because is one of the recipes that best demonstrates the quality of this book. With just two ingredients, buttermilk and sea salt, we can guarantee you that with this recipe, you'll make one of the best-roasted chickens in your life.

The buttermilk and salt work like a brine, tenderizing the meat on multiple levels: the water it contains increases moisture, and the salt and acid it contains disables proteins, preventing them from squeezing liquid from the meat as the bird cooks. As an added bonus, the sugars in the buttermilk will caramelize, contributing to an exquisitely browned skin.

30 minutes
1 hour


1.5 kg to 1.8 kg (3 1/2 to 4-pound) chicken
Sea salt
500 ml (2 cups) buttermilk

Special Equipment

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  1. The day before you want to cook the chicken, remove the wingtips by cutting through the first wing joint with poultry shears or a sharp knife. Reserve for stock. Season it generously with salt and let it sit for 30 minutes
  2. Stir 2 tablespoons of sea salt or 4 teaspoons fine sea salt into the buttermilk to dissolve. Place the chicken in a resealable plastic bag and pour in the buttermilk.
  3. Seal it, squish the buttermilk all around the chicken, place it on a rimmed plate, and refrigerate. If you're so inclined, over the next 24 hours you can turn the bag so every part of the chicken gets marinated, but that's not essential.
  4. Pull the chicken from the fridge an hour before you plan to cook it. Preheat the oven to 220 ºC(425 ºF), with a rack set in the center position.
  5. Remove the chicken from the plastic bag, and scrape off as much buttermilk as you can without being obsessive. Tightly tie together the legs of the chicken with a piece of butcher's twice. Place the chicken in a 25 cm (10-inch) cast-iron skillet or shallow roasting pan.
  6. Slide the pan all the way to the back of the oven on the center rack. Rotate the pan so that the legs are pointing toward the rear left corner and the breast is pointing toward the center of the oven (the back corners tend to be the hottest spots in the oven, so this orientation protects the breast from overcooking before the legs are done).
  7. After about 20 minutes, when the chicken starts to brown, reduce the heat to 200 ºC (400 ºF) and continue roasting for 10 minutes and then move the pan so the legs are facing the back right corner of the oven.
  8. Continue cooking for another 30 minutes or so, until the chicken is brown all over and the juices run clear when you insert a knife down to the bone between the leg and the thigh.
  9. When the chicken's done, remove it to a platter and let it rest for 10 minutes before carving and serving.
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