Nigella Lawson's Buttermilk Chicken Recipe With A Twist

Nigella Lawson's buttermilk chicken is a masterclass in succulent, flavorful poultry. Steeping the chicken overnight in acidic buttermilk helps tenderize the meat, while rosemary, garlic, and black pepper kick the flavor up a notch. If that sounds too good to pass up, check out recipe developer Ting Dalton's clever twist on Lawson's recipe. At Cook Simply, Dalton seeks to take the difficulty out of a sometimes daunting task, and her rendition of buttermilk chicken is no different. 

"The juices and flavor of the chicken permeate into the potatoes and olives giving them a wonderful taste," Dalton describes of her rendition of the recipe. She also suggests using thighs and drumsticks rather than butterflying a whole chicken (as in the original recipe) for added weeknight ease. Dalton loves this recipe because "it is a super easy dish to make" and notes that "the hardest part is waiting for the chicken to marinade." Sound good? Then let's get going on this delicious chicken recipe!

Gather the ingredients to make Nigella Lawson's buttermilk chicken with a twist

Before you can begin making your buttermilk chicken, you will need to gather all your ingredients. For this recipe, you will need three pounds of chicken thighs and drumsticks, skin on. Additionally, you'll need some buttermilk, vegetable oil, lightly crushed garlic, crushed black pepper, sea salt, fresh rosemary leaves, honey, pitted green olives, and some cubed potatoes. While the buttermilk is central to this recipe, there are a few substitutions you could make if you can't find it. "If you don't have buttermilk, you could substitute with natural or Greek yogurt," Dalton explains.

Marinate your chicken pieces

The first step in this recipe is to marinade the chicken. To do this, place all of the chicken thighs and drumsticks in a large freezer bag or a large bowl. To your bag or bowl, add the buttermilk, ¼ cup of oil, garlic, pepper, salt, rosemary and honey. Make sure all the chicken pieces are covered by the buttermilk, which will help them become tender and flavorful. Once everything looks good to go, cover the bowl with plastic wrap or seal the bag securely and refrigerate overnight.

Prepare the potatoes and olives

Once the time has finally come to cook the chicken, find another large bowl. Place the potatoes, two tablespoons of oil, a tablespoon of salt, two tablespoons of rosemary leaves, the olives, and two cloves of garlic in the bowl and mix well. Line a large roasting pan with foil and place the seasoned potatoes in a single layer. These potatoes will rest under the chicken, absorbing its juices and becoming super flavorful in the process. Additionally, Dalton's twist of adding olives gives the recipe a Mediterranean flair. 

Prepare the chicken and potatoes for the oven

Finally, you can take your chicken out of the fridge and prepare it for the oven. To do this, heat the oven to 400 F. Remove the chicken from the bag or bowl and shake off any excess marinade, which might pool in the lined pan and over-saturate your potatoes. Optionally, line your baking sheet with aluminum foil, then layer the potatoes and olives on first, followed by the chicken on top. Drizzle on the remaining two tablespoons of oil, and you're ready to bake!

Roast the chicken in the oven

Now that the chicken has been prepped, place it in the oven and roast for 45 minutes. This step does require some babysitting of your bird, so don't get too involved in another task while you're waiting. Just remember to stir the potatoes and olives around halfway through, and to flip the chicken over while you're at it. You will know the chicken is done roasting when it is well browned and the juices run clear.

Serve your buttermilk chicken and enjoy

Once your chicken is beautifully browned, take it out of the oven to serve. One of the best parts about this dish is the built-in side of potatoes, and the flavors will perfectly compliment the juicy, tender chicken. "Not only does the buttermilk make the chicken super moist and tender, but also [gives] a lovely crispy coating," Dalton raves about the dish. "The garlic, olives, rosemary make this a super tasty, fresh dish, with a hint of sweetness from the honey." Not only does this dish come together easily, but it tastes amazing — it doesn't get much better than that!

What did we change?

The biggest change to original recipe, according to Dalton, is "creating an all-in-one roasting pan meal." This gives the potatoes a wonderful flavor, in addition to making the dish even easier for you to prepare and clean up. To further simplify the meal, Dalton exchanges a whole butterflied chicken for chicken thighs and pieces. While you can certainly use the whole chicken method if you're feeling up for it, Dalton says that "for ease and simplicity using thighs and drumsticks is much quicker and easier." Lastly, her addition of olives to the potatoes adds a salty and tangy Mediterranean taste. We hope you enjoy Nigella Lawson's buttermilk chicken recipe with a twist!

Nigella Lawson's Buttermilk Chicken Recipe With A Twist
5 from 34 ratings
Recipe developer Ting Dalton brings us this clever, simplified recipe for Nigella Lawson's buttermilk chicken — with a twist!
Prep Time
Cook Time
chicken and potatoes on plate
Total time: 55 minutes
  • 3 pounds chicken thighs and drumsticks, skin on
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • ¼ cup plus 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, lightly crushed, divided
  • 1 tablespoon crushed black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons sea salt, divided
  • 4 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves, chopped, divided
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 3 potatoes, cubed
  • 1 ½ cups pitted green olives
  1. Place chicken pieces in a large freezer bag or a large bowl. Add buttermilk, ¼ cup of oil, 2 cloves of garlic, pepper, 1 tablespoon of salt, 2 tablespoons of rosemary, and honey. Make sure all the chicken pieces are marinaded in the buttermilk. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or seal the bag securely and refrigerate overnight.
  2. When you're ready to cook the chicken, get another large bowl. Place the cubed potatoes, 2 tablespoons of oil, 1 tablespoon of salt, 2 tablespoons of rosemary leaves, the olives, and 2 cloves of garlic into the bowl, and then mix well. Finally, place the potatoes and olives in a single layer in a large roasting pan lined with foil.
  3. Heat oven to 400 F. Remove the chicken from marinade and shake of excess marinade. Place the chicken on top of the potatoes and drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil.
  4. Roast for 45 minutes, and stir the potatoes and olives halfway and turn the chicken over. Continue roasting until well browned and until juices run clear.
  5. Serve the potatoes and chicken together.
Calories per Serving 1,218
Total Fat 82.7 g
Saturated Fat 18.2 g
Trans Fat 0.4 g
Cholesterol 434.2 mg
Total Carbohydrates 31.9 g
Dietary Fiber 3.8 g
Total Sugars 10.7 g
Sodium 1,631.8 mg
Protein 83.9 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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