Fried Chicken > Can you use milk instead of buttermilk for fried chicken

Can You Use Milk Instead of Buttermilk for Fried Chicken?

Buttermilk is a common ingredient used to marinate fried chicken before breading and frying. The acidic nature of buttermilk helps break down the proteins in the chicken, making it extra tender and juicy. But what if you don’t have buttermilk on hand? Can you use regular milk instead?

Can You Use Milk Instead of Buttermilk for Fried Chicken? The Short Answer

Yes, you can use regular milk as a substitute for buttermilk when making fried chicken. While it won’t provide quite the same tenderizing effects, milk can still make a decent alternative in a pinch. The key is to add an acid like lemon juice or vinegar to the milk before marinating the chicken. This helps mimic the acidity of buttermilk and leads to better end results.

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What can I use instead of buttermilk for fried chicken? The Long Answer

Regular milk can be substituted for buttermilk when making fried chicken. Buttermilk contains lactic acid that tenderizes the chicken. Regular milk does not have this acid. However, you can turn regular milk into a buttermilk substitute by souring it.

There are a couple of easy ways to sour milk:

    • Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar per 1 cup of milk. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes before use. The acid helps curdle and thicken the milk, providing some of the tangy flavor of buttermilk.
    • Stir in 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar per 1 cup of milk. Let it sit for at least 5 minutes before using it.

Once you’ve soured the milk, you can proceed to marinate the chicken as you normally would with buttermilk. Soak boneless chicken pieces in the milk mixture for 20-30 minutes before dredging in flour or breadcrumbs and frying.

The milk won’t be quite as effective at tenderizing the meat. But it will still add nice moisture and flavor. Be sure to season the milk with salt, pepper, herbs or spices for extra flavor.

You may also need to adjust the ratio of flour to “buttermilk” in your dredging station. Regular milk causes more sticking compared to buttermilk. If the chicken seems gloppy, add a bit more flour to the mix.

What can I use if I don’t have buttermilk for fried chicken?

If you don’t have buttermilk, you have a few options to still make juicy and flavorful fried chicken:

    • Soured milk – Add 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar per 1 cup of milk and let sit for 10-15 minutes before using. The acidity helps tenderize the chicken.
    • Plain yogurt – Mix 1 cup of yogurt with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. The tanginess mimics buttermilk well.
    • Coconut milk – Combine 1 cup of coconut milk and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice or vinegar. It gives a dairy-free “buttermilk” marinade.
    • Eggs – Whisk 1 egg with 2 tablespoons water per 1 cup buttermilk needed. The protein helps the coating stick.
    • Club soda – The carbonation adds a nice tang. Combine 1 cup of club soda with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice.

Any acidic liquid will work to marinate the chicken before frying. Buttermilk is best, but these substitutes can also add moisture and flavor. No matter what you use, be sure to marinate the chicken for at least 20-30 minutes for the best results. The acidity helps tenderize the meat and provides needed moisture.

Milk vs. Buttermilk for Fried Chicken: Which is Better?

Buttermilk is hands-down the best option for marinating fried chicken. The lactic acid content cannot be replicated by regular milk without some modifications. Buttermilk also creates a craggy, irregular coating that adheres to the chicken better than milk.

However, soured or curdled milk can still be used in a pinch. It provides much more moisture and flavor than just dredging chicken directly in flour or eggs. Always add an acid like lemon juice or vinegar to maximize the tenderizing effects.

Can You Marinate Chicken in Milk?

While buttermilk is ideal, you can marinate chicken in plain milk as well. Milk does add flavor and moisture to chicken. For best results, consider these tips:

    • Opt for whole milk or heavy cream for more fat and richer flavor.
    • Add spices, herbs, garlic or citrus zest to boost the flavor.
    • Allow the chicken to marinate for several hours in the fridge to fully absorb the milk.
    • Pat the chicken dry before cooking to allow for crisping and browning.

You won’t get the full tenderizing benefits of an acidic marinade. But milk can still infuse the chicken with extra moisture and flavor.

So, Can you use regular milk for fried chicken?

Here are the key takeaways from this article:

    1. Regular milk can be substituted for buttermilk when making fried chicken. Sour it first with an acid like lemon juice or vinegar.
    2. Other options like plain yogurt, eggs, or club soda also work in a pinch. Always add some acidity.
    3. While buttermilk is ideal, milk can still be used to marinate chicken. Opt for full-fat milk and season it well.
    4. Allow at least 20-30 minutes for marinating to maximize the tenderizing effects before frying.

So go ahead and use milk when you’re out of buttermilk! With a few tweaks, you can still end up with juicy, flavorful fried chicken. Don’t let a lack of buttermilk stop you from enjoying this classic comfort food.

FAQs
Can you marinate chicken in milk instead of buttermilk?

Yes, you can marinate chicken in regular milk instead of buttermilk. It won’t be quite as effective at tenderizing the meat, but it will still add moisture and flavor. Opt for whole milk or heavy cream for the richest taste.

Make sure to season the milk with herbs, spices, citrus, or garlic to boost the flavor. Let the chicken marinate for at least 2-3 hours before cooking. The milk will get absorbed into the chicken breast and keep it juicy.

While buttermilk is ideal, milk can be used in a pinch to marinate chicken.

Is milk or buttermilk better for fried chicken?

Buttermilk is definitely better for fried chicken than regular milk. Buttermilk contains lactic acid that helps tenderize and marinate the chicken. The tangy flavor also pairs well with fried chicken. Regular milk does not have a tenderizing effect. However, soured milk is a decent substitute.

By adding lemon juice or vinegar, you can mimic some of the buttermilk’s properties. Buttermilk also helps create a craggy, textured coating that sticks to the chicken better. Overall, buttermilk is the winner for flavor, texture and tenderizing effects. But soured milk can work when buttermilk is not available.

Can you soak fried chicken in regular milk?

Yes, you can soak the fried chicken in regular milk before breading and frying. The milk will provide extra moisture and flavor to the chicken. For best results:

    1. Use whole or heavy cream for more fat and richer taste.
    2. Allow chicken pieces to soak for at least 20-30 minutes, up to a few hours.
    3. Season the milk with salt, pepper, spices, herbs or hot sauce.
    4. Pat chicken dry before dredging in flour mixture to help create a crispy crust.
    5. Consider adding 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar to the milk to mimic buttermilk.

While regular milk won’t tenderize the chicken like buttermilk, soaking in milk does lead to a juicier and more flavorful end result compared to no soak at all. It’s a quick and easy way to elevate fried chicken.

 

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