Chicken & Milk: Can You Marinate Chicken In Regular Milk And How Do You Do It?

On its own, chicken is a rather bland source of protein. And while it is lean meat, it seriously lacks flavor. So what can you do to give the chicken a new lease on life? Marinate it! 

Chicken & Milk: Can You Marinate Chicken In Regular Milk And How Do You Do It?

Many chefs, home cooks, and cultures marinate chicken to allow the spices and herbs to really soak into the meat before cooking (Can you keep marinated chicken in the fridge? Read more here). Keeping it fresh, succulents, and utterly delicious. But what if you marinated your chicken in milk?

In this article, we explain what happens when you marinate chicken in milk and how to do it properly to get the most flavor. You will never have to eat boring chicken again as you leave it to marinate in milk for a mouthwatering dish. 

Let’s get into it!

Can You Use Cow Milk To Marinade Chicken?

Because milk contains calcium and lactic acid, you can marinate chicken in it. Due to the calcium in milk, which is only mildly acidic, the chicken is effectively broken down and made softer. In addition, marinating in milk results in a distinct texture.

Give a milk marinade for chicken a try if you want to elevate your chicken to the next level! Nevertheless, you must first determine the optimum method for doing this without damaging your chicken.

What Does Marinating Chicken In Milk Do?

Marinating chicken is not a new concept. We all love marinating chicken in rich bbq glazes for delicious wings or even for a creamy curry. However, marinating chicken in milk is not something that we are all familiar with. 

The majority of marinades are made to flavor and moisten meats and vegetables. Yet, milk has a secret weapon up its sleeve that will make your chicken unbelievably soft and melt-in-your-mouth delicious.

This is due to the modest quantity of lactic acid present in milk. The protein in meats will be broken down by this acid in a similar manner to how acids like vinegar and lemon juice do.

The majority of the marinade recipes you’ve been using undoubtedly contain some kind of acid, though you may not have noticed it.

Even while milk has considerably less acid than either vinegar or lemon juice, it appears to be much more successful at making meat softer.

The flavor of other acidic marinades, like vinegar, will be strong, and we might not always want our chicken to have a lemony tang to it. Without significantly changing the flavor, milk will make a cut of meat much more tender. 

Regular Milk Vs Buttermilk

Regular Milk Vs Buttermilk

Soaking chicken in regular cow’s milk is an excellent choice but can you take it up a notch? Buttermilk is known for being a great binding agent for chicken when it comes to breading and deep frying. But is it good for marinating chicken?

The tenderizing properties of milk on the chicken can be enhanced by using fermented milk products like buttermilk and yogurt. These will provide you with the most tender, flawless chicken since they contain higher levels of acid than conventional milk.

Buttermilk is a great marinating option as it doesn’t leave any residue or weird texture on the chicken. You coat your chicken in spices and cook it as normal for juicy, flavorsome chicken.

When you use buttermilk to marinate your chicken, you will only enhance the flavor and texture. Buttermilk will not change the flavor of the chicken which can happen when you use agents such as apple cider vinegar and yogurt. 

However, it will make more of a significant change compared to regular milk. 

Non-Dairy Options 

Dairy-free milk options such as oat milk and almond milk have become more popular for lactose intolerant people and those following a vegan or vegetarian diet. Meaning you may not be comfortable with the use of regular milk. 

But can non-dairy milk options work as a chicken marinade?

Chicken can be soaked in dairy-free milk, but the results might not be quite as flavorful and soft. To get the most flavor out of your dairy-free milk marinade, look for high-calcium dairy-free milk, such as rice milk.

When using dairy-free milk you may find it beneficial to add more acidic ingredients such as lemon juice or vinegar. This will help tenderize the meat while adding some flavor.

Be sure to take care when adding your acidic ingredient as this can alter the flavor of the chicken quite a bit and may not work for your recipe. 

Soaking your chicken in dairy-free milk does require some more effort than using regular milk or buttermilk but it is still a great way to tenderize the meat. Don’t be afraid to play around with the flavors you can create with this simple marinade.

How To Marinade Chicken In Regular Milk

Marinating chicken in milk is a time-consuming task. While it only takes around 5 minutes of prep time, it has to be left for at least 5 hours to ensure the meat is soft and soaked in flavor. 

A good tip is to use zip-lock bags to store the meat, however, you can also use a large bowl or container. Anything that can be covered and allow the chicken to be fully covered will work great. 

Ensure you are not using a metal container as things will actively alter the flavor and color of the chicken as it soaks. Which is not what you want with this method. 

Now, we can get into a step-by-step guide to marinating chicken in regular milk!

1. Start with a clean, dry chicken. Pat them down with a clean paper towel to remove any excess moisture and place them in a large container. 

2. Pour the milk over the chicken until it is well coated and almost completely covered. 

3. Add any spices and herbs to the bowl to give the marinade some flavor. 

4. Cover the dish with plastic wrap or a lid to seal in the flavors. Place the container in the fridge. 

5. Allow the chicken to marinate for at least 5 hours to 24 hours in the refrigerator. 

6. When the chicken is ready to cook, remove it from the milk and pat dry. 

7. Cook any way you desire!

Tips For Marinating Chicken In Milk 

Tips For Marinating Chicken In Milk 

Handling raw chicken is not something that should be done carelessly. Raw chicken is one of the biggest causes of food poisoning and silly mistakes can lead to falling ill. 

Handling raw chicken requires a lot of cleaning in between steps and the use of various utensils. Be sure to use a new utensil, bowl, and surface for raw chicken than other ingredients in your recipe. 

Each surface and piece of equipment should be cleaned thoroughly after use to prevent the transference of bacteria from the raw chicken. 

Raw chicken should never be left uncovered. Whether you are storing it in the refrigerator or on the counter, raw chicken should always have a cover.

Aluminum foil, plastic wrap, or a lidded container all work great for storing raw chicken to prevent it from going off and the spreading of bacteria. 

Do not leave the raw chicken out of the refrigerator for a long period of time before cooking. Raw chicken should be stored in the refrigerator until it is time for cooking. 

And lastly, always wash your hands after handling raw chicken. As soon as you have finished touching raw chicken you should wash your hands with warm water and soap to ensure they are clean and rid of any bacteria. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Regular milk is not a common ingredient when it comes to marinating chicken but it is truly delicious. However, we understand that you may still have some questions surrounding the technique and the results you can achieve. 

What Milk Is Best For Marinating Chicken?

Ultimately you can use any milk to marinade chicken. However, fresh milk that has just been milked from a cow may not contain enough lactic acid to tenderize the meat. 

Milk from the store will do the job perfectly. 
You can also use dairy-free milk options to marinate chicken. Just add an acidic ingredient to ensure it becomes tender and juicy. 

Should You Rinse Chicken After Marinating?

No, rinsing the chicken after it has soaked in milk is not necessary, however, it is an option. You may either use paper towels to dry them or the marinade to fry them!

If milk is not included in the final recipe simply give the chicken a rinse under running water to remove the flavor. The meat will still be tender. 

Final Thoughts 

There you have it! You no longer have to worry about buying expensive marinades or using loads of ingredients to get juicy, flavorful chicken. All you need is some milk from the fridge!

You can create delicious meals with minimal prep and menial ingredients. Or you can find some adventure in the kitchen and try out different milk variations for a different result every time. 

Remember to allow your chicken to marinate in the milk for at least 5 hours and to always clean your hands, surfaces, and equipment after handling raw chicken! 

Mark Williams
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