Wondering if you can use milk instead of buttermilk for fried chicken? What to do if you planned to make fried chicken but you just noticed that you have regular milk instead of buttermilk. Can you use regular milk? And what should you do to get the same creamy tasty of the meat as if you will marinate it in buttermilk? Let’s find out!
Should you look for another fried chicken recipe without buttermilk? Not at all. If you have milk or other dairy products, I will give you a few alternatives that you can use to obtain the same delicious results.
Read further to find out if you can use the regular milk instead of buttermilk for the fried chicken and what are other substitutes for the buttermilk that will give the same soft texture as the fried chicken as it was marinated in buttermilk.
So, can you use milk instead of buttermilk for fried chicken? Yes. You can mix 1 cup of milk with 1 teaspoon of acidic substances like fresh lemon juice, vinegar, or cream of tartar. Let them sit for about 5-10 minutes or until the milk will curdle and use them as regular buttermilk in your recipes.
What Role Does Buttermilk Play When Frying Chicken?
When we are talking about the role of buttermilk in a fried chicken recipe, then the buttermilk is used as a tenderizer to soften the fibers of the chicken meat.
Buttermilk is made from regular milk in which was added to the lactic bacteria. As a result, the buttermilk becomes slightly acidic and if you marinate the chicken meat in it, the meat will tenderize and will become softer.
Quick Note: When you are marinating the chicken meat, I highly recommend leaving it to marinate for at least one hour. Ideally for 2-3 hours. If you have time and want to get the best results from your piece of chicken meat, then leave the meat to marinate overnight.
The longer you leave the meat to marinate, the more tender will become the chicken meat will become on the inside and will have a nice and crispy crust on the outside.
The chicken meat becomes softened because the buttermilk is slightly acidic and the enzymes that we can find in the buttermilk, help decompose the proteins from the fried chicken.
If we don’t have regular buttermilk in the fridge, then the closest substitute for the buttermilk will be if we will use a dairy product (usually and most common is used milk) with a little acidity added to it.
Let’s find the best variants that you can combine with milk to get a similar effect as if you were using the buttermilk for marinating the chicken meat.
Milk and Lemon Juice
Use 1 cup of milk and 1 tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice and mix them together. We are using the acid from the lemon to get the soft chicken meat in the end.
Quick Note: Keep in mind that as we will use the regular milk, this mixture will not be as thick and creamy as the traditional buttermilk, but in terms of properties, it will make its job the same and we will get a nice and soft fried chicken.
After mixing the milk and freshly squeezed lemon juice, let this mixture stand for up to 10 minutes at room temperature. When the mixture is ready, the milk will become slightly thickened.
Quick Note: For this substitute, you can use any type of milk you prefer to eat and use in your kitchen.
Milk and Vinegar
If you have milk, but don’t have lemons or limes, you can get the same great results if you mix the milk with vinegar.
For that, use the ratio of 1 cup of milk and 1 teaspoon of vinegar. Mix the mixture well and leave it for about 5 minutes.
Quick Note: You can use any type of vinegar-like apple cider vinegar, white vinegar, white or red wine vinegar, rice vinegar, etc. Pay attention that in some cases the taste may slightly differ in the case of this buttermilk substitute.
Milk and Cream of Tartar
You should mix 1 cup of milk with 1 ¾ teaspoon of cream of tartar. Mix well the composition and leave it to sit for 7-10 minutes or it becomes curdled and slightly thickened.
Quick Note: As we mix a dry ingredient with a liquid one, mix the ingredients slowly and in small portions to avoid forming the lumps.
Other Substitutes of Buttermilk for Fried Chicken?
Plain Yogurt + Water
If you don’t have milk in your fridge, but you have plain yogurt you can use it as well as a substitute for buttermilk if you want to soften the chicken meat. For that, mix the plain yogurt with water (we are using the water to thin the yogurt) in a proportion of ¾ cup of plain yogurt with ¼ cup of water.
Heavy Cream and Lemon Juice
Another great alternative to buttermilk for fried chicken. For that substitute, take a large pan, pour in it ¾ cup of heavy cream, and ¼ of water to thin the mixture and in the end, add 1 tablespoon of lime or lemon juice. Mix well and let the mixture sit for about 5-10 minutes until it thickens or curdles.
Sour Cream + Water
If you don’t have milk and plain yogurt, you can still get a great buttermilk alternative if you mix ¾ cup of sour cream with ¼ cup of water. We are adding the water to the mixture to thin it.
Powdered Buttermilk and Water
If you use the buttermilk only from time to time in the recipes, you may consider buying and using the powdered buttermilk. This means that this buttermilk was dehydrated, you can keep it for longer in your kitchen and when you need to use it in different recipes you can return it to the liquid state by adding regular water to it.
Usually, you need to mix about ¼ cup of powdered buttermilk with 1 cup of plain water.
Pro Tip: As you will mix a dry ingredient with a liquid one, I highly recommend mixing them slowly and in small quantities to avoid forming lumps.
Quick note: Check the instructions on the package for the exact quantities as they may differ.
Unsweetened Coconut Milk and Acid
If you need to tender the chicken meat, you can use canned coconut milk. It is mildly acidic and it also helps break down the proteins from the fried chicken. If you see that the coconut milk is not enough acidic, you can add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar to a 1 cup. Mix everything well and let them stir for 5-10 minutes.
Quick Note: Keep in mind that the taste of the fried chicken will differ a little if you substitute the buttermilk with coconut milk fried chicken.
As you can see, you can still get the same effects if you need to tenderize the chicken meat but you don’t have the buttermilk under your hands. Just pick the variant that fits best your needs and the ingredients that you have in your pantry or fridge.