Grilled Southwestern buttermilk chicken

From your Bariatric Nutrition Team

(Serves 6)

This is a quick and easy recipe to have in your back pocket now that summer is officially over (but you’re not ready to give up grilling) and our schedules may be getting busier. With just a few basic ingredients and minimal prep/clean up you can have a healthy meal on the table in no time.

Buttermilk tenderizes the chicken so be sure to let it marinate at least two hours, although it’s best to let it sit overnight in the fridge. Cooking the chicken with the skin on helps it stay moist but remove the skin before eating to avoid excess saturated fat intake. Do the prep the night before or in the morning before heading out for the day.

To keep things simple, throw some veggies on the grill too (ex. zucchini, eggplant, bell peppers, corn, portobello mushrooms) for an easy side or serve with a simple green salad or bagged salad kit.


  • 1 large (5lb) whole chicken, cut up (or 4 bone-in breasts cut in half or 6 bone-in thighs)
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 lime, zested and juiced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons hot sauce (optional)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. In a small bowl or measuring cup combine buttermilk, lime zest and juice, garlic, chili powder, hot sauce, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine.
  2. Pour marinade into resealable plastic bag and add chicken pieces. (Squeeze out excess air before sealing.) Gently massage the chicken to coat with marinade and place in the refrigerator. (If marinating overnight, flip the bag over in the morning to redistribute the marinade).
  3. Preheat the grill. Remove the chicken from the fridge and wipe off excess marinade with paper towels. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
  4. Grill over medium-low heat, turning occasionally, until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.

Nutrition per serving: 150 calories, 26g protein, 2g carbohydrates, 3g fat


Recipe adapted from