Buttermilk-Brined Chicken Breast with Basil-Mint Sauce

July/August 2014

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This healthy buttermilk chicken breast recipe has all the flavor of buttermilk fried chicken without the frying. The herb sauce recipe brings together mint, basil and ground coriander—perfect for serving with the chicken, or make extra and toss with pasta.

Buttermilk-Brined Chicken Breast with Basil-Mint Sauce

Makes: 8 servings

Serving Size: 3 oz. chicken & 2 Tbsp. sauce

Active Time:

Total Time:


Buttermilk Brine

  • 4 cups buttermilk (see Tips)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper


  • 4 (8-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Herb Sauce

  • 1 1/2 cups packed fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup packed fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 3 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper


  1. To prepare buttermilk brine: Combine buttermilk, sugar, shallots, 8 cloves garlic, 2 tablespoons salt, oregano, thyme, rosemary, Worcestershire sauce and 1 teaspoon pepper in a bowl. Stir until the sugar and salt dissolve.
  2. To marinate chicken: Place chicken in a sealable gallon-size plastic bag. Pour in the brine mixture, seal and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to 12 hours.
  3. To prepare sauce: Combine basil, mint, 1 clove garlic, vinegar, oil, coriander, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper in a small bowl. Let stand at least 1 hour before serving (or cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days).
  4. To prepare chicken: Preheat a gas grill to medium or build a fire in a charcoal grill and let it burn down to medium heat (about 400°F).
  5. Remove the chicken from the brine (discard the brine) and pat dry with paper towels. Rub 1 tablespoon oil all over the chicken and let stand at room temperature for at least 10 minutes and up to 30 minutes.
  6. Oil the grill rack (see Tips). Grill the chicken, with the lid closed, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest portion of the chicken registers 165°F, 4 to 6 minutes per side. Serve the chicken with the herb sauce.

Tips & Notes

  • Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate the herb sauce for up to 3 days. Serve cold or at room temperature. Brine the chicken (Step 2) for up to 12 hours.
  • Buttermilk is a thick, tangy cow’s-milk dairy product great for baking, salad dressings and marinades. Low-fat and nonfat versions can be used interchangeably in most recipes. Look for it in quart containers in the dairy section of the supermarket. In a pinch, you can make a substitute, mix 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar into 1 cup low-fat or nonfat milk.
  • Once the grill is heated, oil a folded paper towel, hold it with tongs and rub it over the hot rack right before placing the chicken on the grill.


Per serving: 214 calories; 12 g fat (2 g sat, 8 g mono); 63 mg cholesterol; 2 g carbohydrates; 1 g added sugars; 1 g total sugars; 24 g protein; 0 g fiber; 682 mg sodium; 256 mg potassium.

Carbohydrate Servings: 0

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