Braised Chicken in Milk

chicken in milk 5

Let me preface this by saying the above photo does not do this chicken justice.

Also: I hope you don’t mind more photos of my PJ pants.

‘Tis the season for braising; short, grey and chilly days call for long, slow cooking. When so much time is spent puttering around at home, packing up decorations and weaning oneself off holiday chocolate, it’s the perfect time to slide a piece of meat into the oven and let it warm the house as it slowly cooks. Sure, you could put it into the slow cooker, but I love the dark stickiness you get from a pot, and the satisfaction of having it simmering in the oven while you pad around the house in your woolies.

chicken in milk Collage

We made this on a day spent entirely in PJs. This chicken braised in milk with lemon, garlic, sage and cinnamon comes from Jamie Oliver – and if you look at his bird, it’s pretty gorgeous – dark and crisp and delicious-looking – but not likely as tender as one braised with the lid on. Cover it up and swap crispy skin for juicy meat and a tasty albeit unphotogenic dinner.

Or take the lid off for a half hour or so at the end and get the best of both worlds.

Chicken in milk 1

The combination of milk + lemon + heat creates this split sauce that’s delicious over the chicken, and requires no making of gravy. I gave it a go without the handful of fresh sage, as it’s not something I often have lying around, and next time I’ll hold the cinnamon stick too. I get a strange satisfaction out of tossing a cinnamon stick in just about anything, and yet unless it’s a curry, I find it adds a sort of medieval flavour to meat I can’t quite get into. But really I think you could make this plenty of ways, so long as you don’t mess with the chicken, milk, lemon and garlic. But who needs more than that?

chicken in milk 4

Jamie instructs browning the chicken in half a cup of butter first, then throwing away the excess left in the pot before adding the rest of the ingredients. I browned mine in oil, which still created those tasty browned bits, and I didn’t need to toss anything out. Bonus: the cloves of garlic, which have also braised in milk, can be squeezed out of their jackets (unless you peeled them completely) onto crusty bread or into smashed potatoes to serve alongside. Yum.

chicken in milk 5
chicken in milk 5

Braised Chicken in Milk

Recipe link


January 3, 2014

adapted from Jamie Oliver

  • Makes: Serves 4-6.


1 whole chicken

salt and freshly ground black pepper

canola oil or butter, for cooking

zest of a lemon or two

1 head garlic, divided into cloves (no need to peel their skins)

2 cups milk

1 cinnamon stick (optional)


1Preheat the oven to 375 F. Pat the chicken dry, season it with salt and pepper, and heat a heavy, ovenproof pot on the stovetop over medium-high heat. Add a drizzle of oil and brown the chicken all over, turning it with tongs.

2Add the remaining ingredients to the pot, cover and bake for 1 1/2 hours, removing the lid for the last half an hour if you like to brown the top a little more.

3To serve, pull the meat off the bones and drizzle with sauce; add a few cloves of garlic.

Makes: Serves 4-6.

About Julie

19 comments on “Braised Chicken in Milk

  1. Pauline
    January 3, 2014 at 9:32 am

    Hummm never would have thought of chicken and milk together. Going to try this soon love it when it’s so simple. Tackling the Xmas decorations today, can’t wait to get back to normal. I am going to feel a major withdrawal from all the Christmas goodies. I can do it I can do it. Happy new year Julie all the best for 2014

  2. Tanya
    January 3, 2014 at 11:27 am

    I made this a couple of months ago. Loved it! I am not a big chicken fan but I love roasting a chicken and I always ok for so thing different. Thanks for reminding me of it and will definitely make this week as it’s cold here in Ottawa!

  3. Avery
    January 3, 2014 at 12:51 pm

    You’ve GOT to be kidding me. I literally made this last night and then I read your blog this afternoon and here you are writing about it. EERIE, Julie. I told my Mom about it while I was making it and she decided on making it for herself tonight just based on my description! Seriously. Weird. Side note: It IS delicious, and it makes the house smell heavenly. I made it with the 1/2 stick of cinnamon (literally 1/2 a stick is all I had in my pantry) and the fresh sage leaves. And an entire (small) bulb-worth of garlic cloves. You couldn’t really taste much cinnamon in the chicken or sauce, but it definitely added to the great smell while it was cooking. DEFINITELY serve this with bread (I’m taking a bread holiday for a month, so we skipped this); the sauce is probably the best part. I served some sauce over greens with some extra lemon, almost like a warm vinaigrette along with some mushrooms we sauteed in all that butter/oil (I used some of each) Jaimie wants you to throw out (Sacrilege!). I think the leftovers would make a great Tom Ka Kai soup!

  4. Stephanie
    January 3, 2014 at 4:28 pm

    This is a timely post! I just wrote about how my goal for 2014 was to learn to roast and braise all the meats. Adding “braise chicken in milk” to my list. Sounds amazing

  5. Julie
    January 3, 2014 at 9:16 pm

    Weird Avery!! And also weird – I was saying to Mike that the leftovers in the pot smelled like tom ka gai! I agree that the cinnamon didn’t do much, but added just a hint of something that W wasn’t sure about and I wasn’t in love with.. but it did smell divine in the oven!

  6. Laurie from Richmond
    January 4, 2014 at 12:10 am

    Thank you for finding a new way to do chicken, Julie! I love this and will do it. I’ll add a little bit of cinnamon for the smell, and not the taste, and add sage leaves (because I have them, and I love them with chicken)
    I really was looking for a new way to do chicken :)

  7. Maureen | Orgasmic Chef
    January 4, 2014 at 4:13 am

    I swore I wasn’t going to make this because I thought it wouldn’t work and now you’ve gone and tossed my doubts out the window. Now I must have this. :)

  8. Barb
    January 4, 2014 at 9:02 am

    You know….. I’m going to take your word on this and let it pass. Roasting with garlic and lemon I’m all for but the milk is not doing anything for me. Call me a coward.

  9. Delivery For All
    January 4, 2014 at 2:18 pm

    This is definitely something I haven’t done before, but I might just have to give it a shot. Sounds like some others like it too, so this is now on the list for this week. Thanks so much for the great ideas!!

  10. Randi
    January 4, 2014 at 4:40 pm

    Thanks Julie,

    This is on the menu for tomorrow.
    Monday will be a Tom Kha Gai as Avery suggested!

  11. Pauline
    January 5, 2014 at 8:26 pm

    I made this tonight. As you suggested didn’t add cinnamon or sage , it turned out great. Bonus still gave enough for tomorrow . Thanks for another great easy recipe.

  12. Linda C
    January 6, 2014 at 9:19 am

    Made this on Saturday – skipped the cinnamon (like you, I don’t think I’m a fan) but had fresh sage, and it was lovely. As a bonus, I made stock with the bones which I then used in a cauliflower soup (which also contained milk) and it was divine. I don’t know if it was because the chicken was braised in milk, but there was a level of richness in that stock well beyond the usual.

  13. Lisa
    January 6, 2014 at 12:00 pm

    I made this yesterday and the smell was driving me so batty (in a fabulous way) that my mouth was watering the whole time it was in the oven. So good. So flavourful. And oh so tender. It’s a favourite for sure. (I added only half a cinnamon stick…I liked it)

  14. Marisa Porrazzo
    January 6, 2014 at 8:05 pm

    I made this recipe a few years ago for a dinner party. I served it with smashed potatoes . It was a huge hit. You just reminded me how amazing it was and I have to make it again. Thanks!

  15. Laurie from Richmond
    February 2, 2014 at 9:28 pm

    I made it with a black chicken (the chicken has a black skin) and fresh sage and no cinnamon. It was to die for <3 thank you, Julie

  16. Laura
    February 9, 2014 at 6:18 pm

    Ha! I finally bought a slow cooker because I was tired of all of my braised dishes not coming up in searches. I love oven braising too. I have never tried doing it in milk–I am totally intrigued by that. Pinning now!

  17. Ian
    April 13, 2014 at 10:11 am

    This recipe has been around for generations in my family. My Grandmother learned this recipe from her mother. She grew up on an egg farm (IN CANADA)and it was a good way to braise those tough layer hens when they were done. The recipe is a little different – just onion, garlic, bacon and milk (s&p to taste). I’ve tried them both – Granny wins (Sorry Jaimie). I mean, really – is there anything you need to add to onions, garlic and bacon? The recipe works really well with chicken leg quarters if you are on a budget…

  18. Diane
    May 6, 2014 at 1:12 pm

    Has anyone tried this with a turkey breast?

  19. vince
    December 22, 2014 at 12:09 pm

    Made this last eve (sans cinnamon) and it was the bomb! Thanks a lot. Did the 1 hour covered / 1/2 uncovered. worked perfectly in my cast iron dutch oven.

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