Buttermilk is the key ingredient in this crispy chicken recipe

Crisp chicken and lots of lime – time to tuck in, says Ella Walker

Wednesday 10 November 2021 08:35 GMT
This is one of the most popular dishes at James Martin’s restaurant
This is one of the most popular dishes at James Martin’s restaurant (John Carey/PA)

Chef James Martin calls this crispy buttermilk chicken “one of our most popular restaurant dishes, for both kids and adults alike”.

He says: “The key is to use chicken thighs for the best taste, but soak them in buttermilk for at least 24 hours, as this flavours and tenderises the meat. The selection of spices is up to you, but this is our favourite combination.

“Simply mix with flour, coat the chicken and deep fry; if the chicken pieces start to colour too quickly, remove from the fryer and finish cooking in the oven, as you want the fryer at a temperature where it cooks the chicken through but browns the crumb at the same time. I love this with a chipotle dressing, tons of chilli and mint, and fresh lime.”

Crispy buttermilk chicken with chipotle dressing

Serves: 4-6


12 chicken thighs, skinned and boneless

500ml buttermilk

Vegetable oil, for deep-frying

Fine sea salt

For the seasoned flour:

300g self-raising flour

2 tsp celery salt

2 tsp dried oregano

2 tsp cayenne pepper

½ tsp ground nutmeg

3 tsp garlic salt

3 tsp onion salt

2 tsp dried thyme

1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

For the chipotle dressing:

1 tbsp Dijon mustard

3 egg yolks

200ml vegetable oil

1 tbsp chipotle chilli paste

To serve:

A few sprigs of coriander and mint, chopped

1 red and 1 green chilli, sliced

2 limes, cut into wedges


1. Place the chicken in a large bowl or container and coat in the buttermilk. Cover and pop in the fridge overnight.

2. The next day, heat a pan of vegetable oil or a deep-fat fryer to 170C (338F).

3. Mix the flour together with all the spices in a shallow bowl. Drain the chicken from the buttermilk and dredge it through the seasoned flour, coating each piece well.

4. Fry the chicken in batches for six to eight minutes until golden and crispy, then drain on kitchen paper.

5. To make the chipotle dressing, whisk together the mustard and egg yolks. Slowly drizzle in the oil, whisking continuously until you have a thick dressing, then whisk in the chipotle paste.

6. To serve, pile the chicken onto a platter, drizzle over the chipotle dressing and sprinkle the herbs and chillies over the top. Dot with lime wedges for squeezing.

‘BUTTER: Comforting, Delicious, Versatile, Over 130 Recipes Celebrating Butter’ by James Martin (published by Quadrille, £22; photography by John Carey), available now

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