Milk Braised Chicken

I’ve been trying to distance myself from the lure of sweets for months now.  For example, on the day of my yearly Christmas cookie baking extravaganza back in December, I distracted myself from all the butter and sugar with milk braised chicken.  I started prepping the chicken before my baking collaborator left and she demanded the recipe before the dish even got in the oven.  The smell of chicken browning in a pool of butter made me forget all about the cookies cooling on the table.

All I can say is that the simplicity of this dish is amazing.  Please don’t let the idea of milk baking into a curdled mess keep you from trying this at home.  The liquid can be strained once the chicken is removed.  And what you’ll be rewarded with is succulent chicken and a silky brothy sauce.  If loving that is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

Milk Braised Chicken

Adapted from Jamie Oliver and Sassy Radish

BAH Note: For more Milk Braised Chicken love, please check out The Kitchn and Big Red Kitchen.  And for the how and why it works, The Kitchn has you covered here.

  • 1 whole chicken, approximately 3 1/2 to 4 pounds
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • 4 cloves of garlic, skin on
  • 3 cups of whole milk
  • 1/2 cup half and half

Heat your oven to 375 degrees.  Melt the butter and olive oil over medium heat in a dutch oven big enough for the chicken to fit snugly inside.

Remove the bag from inside the chicken, pat the chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper.  Brown the chicken in the dutch oven, turning occasionally, until it is golden.

Once the chicken is well browned on both sides, remove the pan from the heat, and transfer the chicken to a platter.  Carefully empty the dutch oven of the used oil and butter, leaving as many browned bits on the bottom of the pot as possible.

Return the chicken to the pot, add the remaining ingredients, cover and cook in the oven for 90 minutes.  When the chicken is done, carefully transfer it to a cutting board and then strain the juices from the pot through a fine mesh sieve.

Carve the chicken and serve it swimming in the silky milky sauce.

{printable recipe)

13 thoughts on “Milk Braised Chicken

  1. Oooh, interesting! Mark Scarborough (Real Food Has Curves) just posted a milk braised pork shoulder recipe that I am set to try this weekend. I’ll have to put chicken on my list next!

    1. Jennifer, I think the Universe is definitely trying to tell you something. The funny thing is that I was just telling my coworkers about Milk Braised Chicken yesterday not remembering that it was due to publish today!

    1. Ali, despite my declaration that I would reevaluate my relationship with sweets, I am still gobbling them up. I too need to distract myself with savory things…like Milk Braised Chicken.

  2. The skin on top looks so crispy and perfect! This looks fabulous. And the milk thing doesn’t put me off at all–seems like that would really keep the chicken moist.

    1. Jenna, it pained me to toss out all the melted butter after the chicken had browned but the end result was moist, milky perfection.

    1. Beth, I know you swear by the crockpot chicken but I think you should give this a try just once. It’s not much more work than what you do for your chicken in a pot.

  3. tell me about the sides that you would serve with this succulent bird.

    incidentally, did you finish the bag of caramels you bought from milk+honey on saturday. 🙂

    1. Lan, if memory serves me correctly I served this over rice or egg noodles…but mashed potatoes, roasted veg, or even glazed carrots would be lovely sides too.

      I’m down to my last two or three caramels. I had to hide them so I wouldn’t gobble them all down at once. I can see why Mouth Party ( was voted Baltimore’s Best Caramel in 2007.

    1. Jen, I think milk braised chicken is worthy of special occasions but could also make a regular Saturday dinner special. Think of it as the little black dress of chicken dinners.

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