How Long Can You Marinate Chicken in Buttermilk?

The absolute key to getting the most out of marinating your chicken is getting the timing right. 

But here’s the tricky part, how long can you marinate chicken in buttermilk to get the most out of your recipe? Find out in this helpful guide. 

How Long Can You Marinate Chicken in Buttermilk in The Fridge?

You can marinate raw chicken in buttermilk in the fridge for up to 48 hours. However, in most cases marinating for 1-3 hours should easily do the trick.

And if you exceed this timeline, you will risk getting a mushy flavor and texture out of your marinated chicken.

How Long Can You Marinate Chicken in Buttermilk on The Counter?

To cook tender chicken in buttermilk on your counter, you should marinate it for somewhere between 2 – 4 hours. 

After 4 hours, your chicken can easily go bad, if left out at room temperature.

The best way to go about it is to let your chicken soak in buttermilk for at least two hours. However, sometimes people prefer to marinate it overnight, as it lets the flavor seep in and keeps the moisture locked. 

Top chefs rarely marinate their chicken for less than 12 hours, just to get a juicy and succulent flavor. But this means you’ll have to store it in a freezer.

But the window in which you can safely marinate chicken on your counter will vary with two main factors. 

1. The External Temperature

While marinating meat or chicken pieces, it’s always good to be wary of your surrounding temperature. 

The rule is simple, the higher the temperature, the less time you have to store your chicken marinated in buttermilk on the counter. 

2. The Material of Your Countertops

This is closely tied to our first factor. Granite countertops tend to have a lower temperature than those made out of wood. 

This means that your buttermilk marinated chicken will last longer on a granite top than on a wooden one. 

What Does Marinating Chicken in Buttermilk Do?

Soaking your chicken in buttermilk makes it tender in the middle and crispy on the outside, when seasoned flour and dry mix.

You can also freeze buttermilk marinated chicken and use it for any recipe that requires cooked chicken as an ingredient.

Another pro tip – if you have stocked frozen chicken in your refrigerator and you’re not sure what to do with it, you can soak it in buttermilk overnight before cooking a tasty meal.

And if you’re working with a whole chicken and want to make it tender, adding lemon juice or vinegar to the marinade works like a charm. 

Should You Marinate Chicken in Buttermilk in The Fridge or on The Counter?

To make the perfect pot of cooked buttermilk marinated chicken for food lovers, you should marinate it in the fridge for a few hours. 

But that doesn’t mean you should completely rule out the marinating-on-the-counter bit. At the end of the day, it all comes down to the amount of time you have on your hands.

Here’s a quick tip, we would recommend that you refrigerate buttermilk marinated chicken if the temperature outside is scorching. This way you can even marinate overnight.

So if you have a grand feast planned at your place with a sizable guest list, you might want to opt for storing your frozen chicken overnight. This way, you will save up on time on your cooking process the next day. 

But don’t forget, you can use this hack for up to two days. If you marinate chicken in buttermilk for too long, you might end up with tough chicken instead of a tender one. 

Can You Freeze Chicken in Marinade?

Yes, you can freeze the chicken in marinade. And suppose you’re using buttermilk as a marinade. In that case, the slight acidity will make the chicken tender by breaking down its protein structures. 

Freezing your meat can extend its life, especially if you opt for good packaging practices like using a plastic bag. 

If frozen at 0 degrees, meat can even last you up to a year. However, it’s usually not recommended to keep your meat for long time periods as it too loses its flavor and texture with time. 

But before you can start cooking your meat straight out of the freezer, pat dry with paper towels. Then, check out more recipes and storage practices on your favorite food blog.

How Long Can You Keep Buttermilk Marinade?

Buttermilk marinade can last you for around 7-14 days in the refrigerator. And a wholly sealed can of buttermilk even lasts for up to six months and still be fit for cooking!

Being a probiotic, buttermilk has a long shelf life, but the amount of time you can store it depends on its condition (temperature of storage and whether it’s sealed etc).

You can easily tell if your buttermilk has gone bad; just be wary of any unpleasant odor. 

Can You Reuse Buttermilk to Marinate Chicken?

No, it’s not recommended to reuse your buttermilk. You will risk adding bacteria to your buttermilk chicken by reusing it. 

In addition to food safety, most recipes suggest using chicken marinate only once to cook your meal, to enjoy the texture of your fried, crispy chicken.

Food connoisseurs also don’t recommend reusing buttermilk marinade as it loses its flavor after one use. 

But if you really want to enjoy another meal of your buttermilk fried chicken, just store it in the freezer.


Can You Marinate Chicken In Buttermilk For A Week? 

No, it’s recommended to marinate it in buttermilk for not more than 48 hours. Marinating it too long will cause it to become rough and less tender. 

What’s The Longest You Can Soak Chicken in Buttermilk? 

The longest you can store it in buttermilk is 48 hours, as recommended by food and health experts.

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