The Ultimate Showdown: Milk Vs Buttermilk – Find Out Which One Makes The Best Fried Chicken!

buttermilk vs milk for fried chicken

Is it better to fry chicken with buttermilk or milk? This must be one of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to making the best fried chicken.

Why trust me?

I'm an experienced food writer and passionate cook. My website,, features accessible, informative, and engaging content with quality recipes and articles that are thoroughly researched and enjoyable to read. You can trust my expertise with 8 years of experience in the field. Learn more about me and my work on this website, and check out my featured articles on TastingTable, Mashed, and 5-Minute Crafts. Read more about me HERE.

In this article, we will be comparing these two dairy products to see which one works better for fried chicken.

What is buttermilk for fried chicken?

[amazon fields=”B07MYMZD14″ value=”thumb” image=”1″ image_size=”large” image_align=”center”]

[amazon fields=”B07MYMZD14″ value=”button”]

Buttermilk is a fermented dairy drink.

The original buttermilk was just leftovers from churning butter out of cultured cream, which people usually don’t do anymore because they use sweet cream instead.

Nowadays though, most modern buttermilks are made with culture and can be drunk straight or used for cooking, such as act as a leavening agent or to marinate meat, especially pork and chicken.

Although buttermilk is not a compulsory ingredient in a fried chicken recipe, most people prefer adding this product to marinate the chicken before giving it a fry.

The reason why buttermilk is used to marinate the chicken is that the slight acidity from it will help break down the protein in the chicken and tenderize the meat without changing the taste of the dish, resulting in tenderer fried chicken.

Your chicken should be soaked evenly in buttermilk for a couple of hours before coating it in seasoned flour.

The resulting dish will be crispy outside and very tender inside, with a hint of milky flavor.

What is milk for fried chicken?

[amazon fields=”B07FMQCYG2″ value=”thumb” image=”1″ image_size=”large” image_align=”center”]

[amazon fields=”B07FMQCYG2″ value=”button”]

More people tend to have milk in their kitchens rather than buttermilk.

So will it work the same when it comes to frying chicken?

You can totally substitute buttermilk with milk, but to create the slight sour taste and let the acidity work as in buttermilk, don’t forget to add one teaspoon of lemon juice or vinegar per one cup of milk.

Now you have a great alternative for buttermilk that can help tenderize your chicken perfectly.

After being soaked overnight with milk and lemon juice, the chicken is dredged through flour for a light coating before cooking up in hot oil until golden brown and crispy.

What are the differences between buttermilk vs milk for fried chicken?

Buttermilk and milk are two different dairy products.

However, with a small tip, you can substitute one for the other.

Look at the table below to summarize how buttermilk and milk differ from each other:

 Buttermilk for fried chickenMilk for fried chicken
TypeFermented milkRegular milk
TasteSlight sour and butteryMilky and sweet
TextureA bit thickerLiquid
Nutrient valueHigher in vitamin C, vitamin E, and vitamin B1Higher in calories, fats, protein, carbohydrates, vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin B2, B3, B5, B12
PriceUsually a bit more expensiveSlightly cheaper

What are the similarities between buttermilk vs milk for fried chicken?

Buttermilk and milk may differ in many ways, but they actually can turn into the same thing.

Here are some similarities between buttermilk and milk:

1. You can substitute buttermilk by adding a bit of lemon juice to regular milk

Buttermilk is the best to tenderize chicken before frying.

However, you totally can substitute it with milk and a sour agent like lemon juice or vinegar with a ratio of one cup of milk for one teaspoon of lemon juice or vinegar.

Although the texture won’t be exactly the same because buttermilk is a bit thicker, they will work the same way with a similar taste as well.

So feel free to make some fried chicken when you only have either one of these ingredients on hand.

2. Buttermilk and milk are affordable and easy to buy

Another similarity is buttermilk and milk are both easy to find in any grocery store or supermarket throughout America or any place in the world.

They are also affordable, with the price for milk is around $2.5 per gallon and $5 when it comes to buttermilk.

Which one is better?

Product Comparison[amazon fields=”B07MYMZD14″ value=”title”][amazon fields=”B07FMQCYG2″ value=”title”]
Product Image[amazon fields=”B07MYMZD14″ value=”thumb”][amazon fields=”B07FMQCYG2″ value=”thumb”]
Rating[amazon fields=”B07MYMZD14″ value=”star_rating”] (based on [amazon fields=”B07MYMZD14″ value=”reviews”]) [amazon fields=”B07MYMZD14″ value=”prime”][amazon fields=”B07FMQCYG2″ value=”star_rating”] (based on [amazon fields=”B07FMQCYG2″ value=”reviews”]) [amazon fields=”B07FMQCYG2″ value=”prime”]
Latest Price[amazon fields=”B07MYMZD14″ value=”button”][amazon fields=”B07FMQCYG2″ value=”button”]

So which is the better option? Buttermilk or milk? Well, it all depends on what you are looking for.

If taste and appearance matter to you most then use buttermilk because of its tangier flavor and is also lower in calories and fat.

On the other hand, milk is richer in vitamins and also a bit cheaper.

Ultimately, you can use milk with a bit of lemon juice or vinegar to alternate buttermilk, all will result in the same outcome.

Give both a try and see what makes your fried chicken taste better and tendered in your own opinion.