These Baked Buttermilk Chicken Bao are meltingly tender and crunchy, the perfect first recipe to kick off 2022.

Adapted from a Donna Hay recipe I saw recently, Baked Buttermilk Chicken Bao is a great no fry alternative if you are in the mood for crispy chicken without the hassle of deep frying. I have not jumped on the air fryer train and doubt I will anytime soon so this oven baked version is a less mess version than the usual deep frying.

Marinating the chicken overnight in buttermilk yields a juice and tender filling so soothing your crunchy chicken craving does need a bit of preplanning. The breadcrumb coating adds flavour and crunch so make sure it is well seasoned with the herbs and spices. You can use any herb you prefer, I swapped out the thyme with dried oregano and added a good pinch of chili flakes for extra flavour. If you have a favourite chicken or barbecue seasoning you like to use, a few teaspoons will be great here too but omit the Chinese five spice.

I am fully on the bao bandwagon so I served the Baked Buttermilk Chicken in bao buns (a stash from How Bao Now is usually in the freezer and they are so quick to reheat in the microwave). Fill the bao with thinly julienned baby marrow and loads of garlic and lemon mayo and a good drizzle of chili oil for a bit of heat. So delicious!

Wishing you a healthy and happy 2022!


  • 5 chicken thigh fillets trimmed
  • 600 ml buttermilk
  • 1 clove garlic crushed
  • 30 ml lemon juice
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 400 g fine sourdough breadcrumbs
  • 1 tbsp thyme or oregano leaves
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp chinese five spice
  • 1 tsp sea salt


  • Place the chicken in a large glass bowl
  • Mix the buttermilk, garlic, lemon juice and salt in a large glass bowl and whisk to combine
  • Add the chicken and turn a few times to coat
  • Cover and refrigerate overnight
  • Place the breadcrumbs, thyme, paprika, five-spice and salt in a large bowl and mix to combine
  • Preheat oven grill to medium and line an oven tray with aluminium foil
  • Take the chicken, 1 piece at a time, from the buttermilk mixture, leaving a generous coating
  • Press each side of the chicken into the crumb mixture, ensuring the chicken is well coated, and place on the tray
  • Cook for 8–10 minutes each side until well browned and cooked through
  • Serve in boa buns with julienned baby marrow, garlic & lemon mayo and chili oil

If you are looking for more quick, easy delicious meal ideas, my cookbook, DRUNK AND HUNGRY is available as a digital download. As the title states, the book consists of easy and flavourful recipes for when you find yourself drunk, and hungry. Savoury, sweet, vegan, vegetarian, bacon, cheese, spice, and carbs are packed into 15 easy recipes to satisfy your hunger while tantalising your tastebuds.

Purchase the book by clicking on this link

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