Buttermilk chicken burger on a plate with lettuce

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Move over, beef burgers. There’s a new king of the grill. This flavourful and crispy Buttermilk Chicken Burger is made with tender seasoned chicken breast. Served on a toasted bun with succulent tomato and lettuce, oozing cheese and rich garlic mayo.

What is buttermilk?

Buttermilk is a popular ingredient in many recipes. It has a tangy flavour and thick consistency which makes it an ideal base for dressings and marinades. You may also find it in baking recipes, to create moist cakes and fluffy pancakes. This is because it’s more acidic than milk, so great to use with leavening agents which require an acid ingredient to react with. It’s also a great source of calcium and vitamin B12 and some studies have shown it can help to boost immunity.

But what exactly is this miracle product? Buttermilk is a by-product of making butter. When you churn the cream into butter the leftover liquid is buttermilk. However, in most countries what you will now get when you buy buttermilk is simply fermented milk, which is a lot more economical to produce.

How can I make buttermilk at home?

The great news is that you can make a buttermilk substitute at home in a couple of different ways and it’s unbelievably quick and easy. If you can’t get your hands on any buttermilk you can also do a straight swap for standard kefir instead too.

The best way to make your own buttermilk is to mix sour cream and milk. Use 3 parts sour cream with 1 part milk (you can use any type of milk, it even works ok with water). This is the soundest method to use for this recipe as it gives a lovely thick and creamy consistency which is perfect for clinging to the chicken.

You’ll also see a lot of recipes telling you to mix lemon juice and milk together. You’ll need around 1 tbsp of lemon juice for every 250ml of milk, left for around 15-20 minutes. Whole milk works best. While this does, for most intents and purposes, work, it is essentially making acidic milk rather than giving you a fermented product. It will suffice for this recipe, but the sour cream method gives a more authentic result. If you go down this route you will find that the milk coagulates and you get a lumpy result so you may want to whisk it vigorously before using, or place it in a lidded jar and shake.

Buttermilk chicken burgers in a tray with potato wedges

Why use cornflour instead of plain flour?

I use a mix of flour and cornflour/corn starch for these burgers. The cornflour gives a different result to plain flour when frying and you’ll find that the surface of the burgers becomes more ‘crackly’ and puffy than using just normal flour as it concentrates the amount of starch you are using to fry. You can make it with only plain / all-purpose flour if you prefer though. Or you can make it with only cornflour for a super crispy result.

What toppings can I use?

A well-made burger is a thing of beauty. The perfect combination of juicy meat, fresh bread, and crisp vegetables, it’s no wonder that burgers have become a global phenomenon. In the below recipe I use a combination of classic lettuce, onion, tomato and cheese. Drizzled with some garlic mayo to top it all off.

You can experiment with the toppings as you prefer. Bacon is a great addition, as is some smashed avocado. You can also try different dressings such as a spicy sriracha mayo or a lemon yogurt sauce if you want a lighter option. Whatever your preference, there’s no denying that toppings are an essential part of the burger experience so don’t be afraid to get creative!

Don’t forget to add a side like these dirty fries or this healthy kale coleslaw.

Buttermilk chicken burger on a chopping board

How do I prepare the chicken?

You want the chicken breast to be fairly thin for this recipe, to ensure it cooks quickly and evenly. If your breast fillet is quite large then slice through the length of it by placing it on a chopping board with one hand over the top. Carefully slice along the length with a serrated knife until you have two thinner pieces.

If your breast is smaller then you can place it between two pieces of clingfilm and bash it until you have a flatter, thinner fillet. As a rule of thumb, you want around 100g-130g of chicken per person which should help indicate if you want to cut your breast into two or not.

How to prepare chicken breasts for burgers

Why is my burger soggy?

The key to getting that perfect crunch is taking your time when you cook the chicken. Time to make sure all the fillets are coated properly, time to heat the oil to the right temperature and time to cook the burgers in batches if they don’t all fit in the pan. The main 3 reasons why your chicken might be soggy are:

  • Your oil was not hot enough. This is undoubtedly the most common culprit. If you don’t have a kitchen thermometer then I strongly recommend investing in one, they are very inexpensive. The chicken needs to sizzle on contact with the oil and after 10 minutes it should have turned a golden brown colour.
  • You didn’t fully coat the chicken. The burger needs to be fully covered in flour. You won’t need the entire amount of flour indicated in the recipe, but adding the chicken to a large bowl of it will make it easier to evenly coat it.
  • You overcrowded the pan – when you add the chicken to the pan it reduces the temperature of the oil. The more chicken you add the more the temperature will reduce. Furthermore, if the oil can’t move around the chicken and the pieces overlap then those parts won’t become crispy.


For a full list of ingredients with weights and measurements, jump to the printable recipe card.

Buttermilk Chicken Burger Ingredients

For the chicken…

For the garlic mayo…

  • Mayo
  • Lemon juice
  • Garlic, minced

To serve…

  • Burger buns
  • Lettuce
  • Cheese slicessuch as Emmental, Gruyere or Swiss
  • Tomato, sliced
  • Red onion, sliced.

How to make it

For more detailed recipe instructions, with tips, jump to the printable recipe card.

Recipe Steps
  1. Coat the chicken breasts in the buttermilk and leave for at least 30 minutes or overnight.
  2. Mix together all the flour ingredients and then dredge the chicken breasts in the flour, ensuring they are fully coated.
  3. Heat the oil and fry the chicken breasts for 5-10 minutes until cooked through and golden brown. Remove and place on a wire rack for 5 minutes, with a piece of cheese on each.
  4. While the chicken is resting, make the mayo by whisking together all the ingredients.
  5. Assemble the burger bun base with the ingredients and drizzle the garlic mayo over the top.

Looking for more great burger recipes? Try:

Products that work well for this recipe

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Buttermilk chicken burger on a plate with lettuce

Buttermilk Chicken Burger

  • Author: caroline
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x


This flavourful & crispy Buttermilk Chicken Burger is made with tender seasoned chicken breast. Served on a toasted bun with delicious toppings!

The default recipe makes 4 burgers


Units Scale

for the chicken…

  • 2 large chicken breasts (around 200g each), sliced in half across the length so you have 2 flatter pieces (see note 1)
  • 300ml buttermilk (see note 2)
  • 100g plain/all-purpose flour
  • 100g cornflour/corn starch
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika (see note 3)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 500ml oil (vegetable or rapeseed/canola)

for the garlic mayo…

  • 4 tbsp mayo
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced

to serve…

  • 4 soft burger buns
  • lettuce
  • 4 cheese slices such as Emmental, Gruyere or Swiss (see note 4)
  • 4 thick slices of tomato
  • 1 red onion, skin removed and cut into rounds down the length.


  1. In a large bowl, pour the buttermilk over the chicken and turn the pieces to coat them. Place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, or up to 1 day (see note 5)
  2. Mix the flour ingredients together and turn the pieces of chicken in the flour until they are fully covered.
  3. Add the oil to a deep frying pan over medium heat. You want the oil to be around 2cm/1/2″ deep. Bring the oil to 180C/350F, if you don’t have a kitchen thermometer then add a small piece of batter to the pan and if it fizzes gently then the temperature is about right.
  4. Gently fry the chicken for 10 minutes, until cooked through and golden brown on the outside. When making multiple burgers, work in batches so you don’t overcrowd the pan.
  5. Use heatproof tongs to transfer the chicken to a wire rack and place a piece of cheese over each. Leave for 5 minutes.
  6. While the chicken is resting, make the mayo by whisking together all the ingredients.
  7. Prepare the burgers by adding a couple of pieces of lettuce to the bottom bun and a slice of tomato. Place the chicken on top followed by the onion and the garlic mayo.


  1. If your chicken breasts are small then you can alternatively place them between two pieces of cling film and bash them with a rolling pin to flatten them out.
  2. If you can’t find any buttermilk then you can make your own by using 3 parts sour cream mixed with 1 part milk. Or you can use kefir instead.
  3. If you want a bit of a kick to the burger then use hot paprika or add some cayenne pepper.
  4. Choose any type of cheese that will melt easily when placed on the chicken.
  5. The buttermilk actually helps to tenderise the chicken, so leaving the chicken marinading in the buttermilk overnight helps you achieve a super tender and delicious burger.
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Resting Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Fry
  • Cuisine: American


  • Serving Size: 1
  • Calories: 670
  • Fat: 45g
  • Carbohydrates: 36g
  • Protein: 32g

Keywords: burger, chicken, buttermilk, fried, indulgent

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