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4.23 from 9 votes

Buttermilk Grilled Chicken

Servings: 4 -6 servings


  • 2 cups buttermilk, well-shaken
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon ground paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, flattened with the side of a knife
  • 1 large shallot, sliced ¾-inch thick
  • 1 medium jalapeño pepper, sliced in half lengthwise
  • 6 small chicken breasts (3 pounds total)
  • Chopped fresh chives, parsley, or scallions, for serving
  • Coarse sea salt, for serving


  • In a large bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, mustard, paprika, cayenne, 2 teaspoons salt, and ½ teaspoon black pepper. Add the garlic, shallot, and jalapeño. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels, then add it to the bowl and toss lightly to coat with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to 24 hours.
  • When ready to grill, brush the grill grates lightly with olive oil. Prepare a charcoal fire with one layer of coals or for a gas grill, turn the burners to high, close the lid and heat for 10 minutes, then lower the burners to medium-high. (You can also use a grill pan on the stove over medium-high heat.)
  • Lift the chicken pieces from the marinade, place them on a large, flat plate, and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.  Grill for 7 to 8 minutes on each side, until lightly charred on the outside and  cooked through.  Transfer the chicken to a serving platter and allow to rest for at least 10 minutes before serving. Brush any juices that have accumulated on the platter onto the breasts, sprinkle with fresh herbs and sea salt, and serve.
    Notes: While I've tested the cooking instructions in this recipe several times, every grill is different.  The best way to test whether your chicken is cooked is to use an internal thermometer (chicken should be cooked to 165 degrees F) or just to cut into one piece.
    For this recipe, look for small chicken breasts that are roughly the same thickness throughout. They will be more tender and will cook more evenly. 
    Copyright 2019, Lidey Heuck, All Rights Reserved