Buttermilk Grilled Chicken Breasts A Low-Fat Chicken Recipe for the Grill That’s Very Big on Flavor

This recipe started with the desire to capture the taste of a favorite oven-fried chicken recipe on the outdoor grill. While the breadcrumb coating wouldn’t work well over an open fire, the fried chicken marinade still adds a delicious down-home flavor.

Even better, the chicken breasts are briefly marinated in low-fat buttermilk. So, combined with the boneless skinless chicken breasts, you have a low-fat recipe so big in flavor that you won’t feel deprived in any way.

The recipe also works well on an indoor grill or under the broiler. If you have a two-sided grill, like the popular George Foreman Grill, you’ll need to cook the chicken breasts for only about half of the time given in the recipe.

Spicy Buttermilk Grilled Chicken Breasts Recipe

Serves 4


  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (about 1 1/2 pounds total weight)
  • 1 cup cultured 2 percent buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon grated onion
  • 1 tablespoon hot paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges


  1. Preheat the grill. Trim any fat or connective tissue from the chicken breasts.
  2. While the grill is heating, stir together the buttermilk and onion in a mixing bowl large enough to hold the chicken breasts. Add the chicken breasts and turn each one to coat it well.
  3. Just before cooking, stir together the paprika, thyme, sugar, salt, and black pepper. Spread the seasoning mixture on a plate. One at a time, remove the chicken breasts from the buttermilk, shake off the excess liquid, and turn each one in the seasoning mixture to coat evenly.
  4. Carefully oil the grill rack. Place the chicken on the grill rack and cook, turning once, until cooked through, 12 to 14 minutes total cooking time.
  5. Serve the chicken breasts accompanied by lemon wedges for guests to squeeze over the their servings to taste.

Substitutions and Variations

  • Feel free to substitute boneless skinless chicken thighs for the chicken breasts. The results with dark meat chicken will be just as delicious, though somewhat higher in fat.
  • The recipe also works well substituting the sliced turkey breast cutlets sold packaged in the meat department of many supermarkets, though the cooking time will be only 8 to 10 minutes total.
  • Substitute plain nonfat yogurt for the buttermilk.
  • For less spicy but no less flavorful results, use mild, sweet paprika instead of the hot paprika.
  • Add a crushed garlic clove to the buttermilk along with the onion.
  • For casual sandwiches, serve each grilled chicken breast, hot or cold, on a good-quality sandwich roll or burger bun, preferably whole-wheat.

As easy as it looks, this chicken recipe is even more delicious than you can imagine!


About ShoHideaki

I am a freelance writer and emergency management specialist. 

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