Buttermilk chicken drumsticks (oven-baked)

close-up view of oven-baked buttermilk chicken drumsticks and vegetables.
roasted chicken with buttermilk and spices

An impressive recipe that can easily be done in batches, these chicken drumsticks flavored with buttermilk and a bunch of delicious spices are ideal for entertaining any number of guests. The chicken drumsticks can be marinated and frozen for meal prep,so this recipe is perfect for a quick weeknight dinner or for lunch box.

These buttermilk chicken drumsticks are also quite versatile that you can add your own favorite spices if you don’t have stock of those I’ve mentioned. Feel free to ask me in the comments section.

The buttermilk helps to tenderize the chicken and enhance the flavors of the spices. Buttermilk also encourages digestion and has a cooling effect on the digestive tract. Adding some diced vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, onions and peppers while marinating the chicken (vegetables roasted in chicken fat are super-tasty!) gives you a wholesome meal with added nutrients. You’ll love the mix of colors, too.


  • chicken drumsticks – 10
  • diced vegetables – onions, cauliflower, broccoli, peppers (optional)
  • olive oil – 2 teaspoons for brushing

For the buttermilk marinade

  • thick buttermilk – 1/4 cup
  • lemon juice – 2 teaspoons
  • chili powder – 1 teaspoon
  •  pepper – 1/2 teaspoon
  • garam masala powder – 1/2 teaspoon
  • olive oil – 2 teaspoons
  • salt to taste


  • Remove skin and fat from the chicken drumstick pieces and clean them.
  • Make 2-3 slender cuts on the flesh of each piece, or prick with a fork.
  • Mix all the ingredients for the buttermilk marinade, pour over the chicken pieces (and vegetables) and mix well.
  • Place the chicken pieces along with the marinade in an airtight bowl and leave in the chiller for a minimum of 2 hours to about 8 hours.
  • Preheat the oven to 210°C for 10 minutes.
  • Line the oven tray with a baking sheet and place the drumstick pieces.
chicken drumstick pieces marinated in buttermilk and spices
  • Tuck in the vegetables around the chicken pieces, if you’re adding the veggies.
  • Roast for about 15 minutes, then remove the vegetables which would be done by now.
  • Flip the chicken pieces, brush with olive oil and roast for another 15 to 20 minutes.
oven-baked buttermilk chicken drumsticks and vegetables in a baking tray


The garam masala powder can be made at home, it takes only a little bit of effort and time. Dry roast equal quantities of cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, fennel seeds, cumin seeds and coriander seeds in a pan and dry-grind to a smooth powder. None of the store-bought ones can match the taste of a home-made spice blend.

Make buttermilk from yogurt

Don’t have stock of buttermilk? Not to worry. Just add water to plain unsweetened yogurt (1/3 cup water for 1 cup of yogurt) and pulse in a blender or whip using a hand-held mixer.

Why I love the oven-baked buttermilk chicken drumsticks

  • It just takes 5 to 10 minutes of preparation and the rest is hands-free cooking.
  • The buttermilk chicken drumsticks recipe can be multiplied to suit any number of diners.
  • The roasted veggies are a bonus without extra effort.
  • This is one of the cheapest meat recipes I can think of.
  • The buttermilk chicken drumstick is easily a crowd-pleaser.
  • Above all, chicken drumsticks are loved by kids as well as adults. Just make sure that you don’t run out of them while entertaining!


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