Nothing quite compares to that crisp, juicy deliciousness of biting into a fried chicken sandwich. Buttermilk-soaked Southern-inspired spicy fried chicken served on soft brioche buns, topped with dill pickles and Chick-Fil-A sauce makes this the best fried chicken sandwich recipe out there. This is one you can make in the comfort of your own kitchen and everyone will enjoy it.
While this Fried Chicken Sandwich does require a little extra preparation and hands on cooking, it’s totally worth it!
You could easily add cheese when assembling your Fried Chicken Sandwich to include the midwest version of this sandwich. Regardless of your topping choices, this crispy chicken sandwich is guaranteed to be a hands-down winner with the family. Try it once and I think you’ll see why this is the very best fried chicken sandwich recipe.
Table of contents
What is a Fried Chicken Sandwich?
A fried chicken sandwich typically begins with a thin chicken breast that is battered with milk or buttermilk and a flour/spice mixture. Then, the chicken is deep fried and served on a sandwich bun or roll. This recipe boasts an incredibly crispy and tender chicken sandwiched between fresh buns that have been lightly toasted and topped with sauce and sliced dill pickles.
Ingredients for the Best Chicken Sandwich
- all-purpose flour
- coarse sea salt
- coarse black pepper
- onion powder
- Cholula or Tobasco hot sauce
- dill pickle slices and dill pickle juice
- boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- vegetable oil or shortening
- hamburger buns
- Chick-fil-A sauce or your favorite sauce
How to Make Fried Chicken Sandwiches
Prepare the chicken. Use a meat mallet to pound out the chicken breasts to ½″ thick. Slice them in half to form smaller “sandwich size” pieces. Mix together buttermilk, seasoning, and hot sauce and then immerse the chicken into the buttermilk marinade to soak.
Batter the chicken and fry. Combine the flour with the remaining seasonings. Take each piece of chicken from the buttermilk, dredge it in the flour mixture, dip it back into the buttermilk, and then coat it a second time with the flour. Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed pot (I like to use my Dutch oven) until it reaches 350°F. Carefully drop the chicken into the oil and fry until deep golden brown.
Toast the buns and prepare the toppings. Butter the buns and pop them under the broiler for just a few minutes to toast. Slather up the buns with a delicious chicken sandwich sauce, pile on the dill pickles, and then sandwich your hot, juicy fried chicken piece in between.
Variations & Substitutions
- Use whole-wheat buns instead of brioche buns.
- Opt for a low-fat or non-fat sauce or mayonnaise.
- Add in some extra veggies such as sliced tomatoes and finely sliced raw red onions for your sandwich toppings. Crispy lettuce will also add delicious texture to this crispy chicken sandwich recipe.
- Make these fried chicken sandwiches gluten-free by using gluten-free flour for the fried coating and opt for gluten-free sandwich buns.
- Fry the coated chicken in an air fryer instead of deep-frying it.
- Use boneless chicken thigh instead of chicken breast.
- Use your favorite spices and seasoning for these sandwiches such as a teaspoon garlic powder for that umami flavor.
You can store your fried chicken pieces in the refrigerator for 2-3 days when kept in an airtight container. With that said, the crispy fried coating of the chicken will always taste the best when served immediately after cooking.
If you do store leftovers, be sure that you don’t store fully assembled chicken sandwiches otherwise the sandwich bun will definitely go soggy from extended contact with the other sandwich components.
Similar to a burger, the following sides would be a perfect addition to your Fried Chicken Sandwiches:
– Creamy coleslaw
– French fries
– Air Fryer potato wedges
– Leafy green salad
– Pasta salad or a Rice a Roni Salad
– Onion rings
How Can I Make This Fried Chicken Sandwich Healthier?
Let’s not kid ourselves…this Fried Chicken Sandwich is definitely a treat meal. With that said, it’s far healthier to make your own fried chicken sandwich than the takeout version.
If you’re still looking for ways to make this sandwich a little healthier, consider the following options:
– Use whole-wheat buns instead of brioche buns;
– Opt for a low-fat or non-fat sauce or mayonnaise;
– Add in some extra veggies such as sliced tomatoes and finely sliced raw red onions for your sandwich toppings.
– Use avocado oil for frying instead of vegetable oil or canola oil.
Yes, you can! Prepare your chicken as you would to fry the conventional way but instead of dropping your chicken pieces into a heated pot of oil, place them on your Air Fryer rack and set to cook for about 17-22 minutes until these are as crispy as you would like them to be. You may need to spray generously with nonstick cooking spray occasionally to get a crispier coating.
Tips For Making the Best Fried Chicken Sandwich Recipe
- Make sure that your chicken pieces are about ½” in thickness once pounded which will ensure perfectly fried chicken pieces.
- Use a large enough pot so that you don’t overcrowd the chicken pieces otherwise they won’t fry as well. Alternatively, cook your chicken pieces in batches – this is especially applicable if you are making larger quantities of sandwiches.
- Maintain a decent depth of oil for adequate frying and use a food thermometer to check that the temperature of the oil is exactly at 350℉ before adding the chicken.
- If you’d like a hot chicken version, add 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper to your flour coating.
- To ensure the juiciest of fried chicken pieces, allow your chicken to soak in the buttermilk mixture for at least 4 hours (overnight is even better)! While this does add on to your overall prep time, you’ll definitely notice the difference. If you don’t have time though, simply allow the chicken to soak while attending to the other preparatory steps in this recipe.
- If you don’t have buttermilk, then you can use 1 cup of milk mixed with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice as a good substitute.
- Any remaining chicken can be enjoyed in the following days in freshly assembled sandwiches, wraps, or salad.
Fried Chicken Sandwich
- 1 ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
- 1 teaspoon coarse black pepper
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ¾ teaspoon onion powder
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 2 dashes Cholula or Tobasco hot sauce
- 2 tablespoons dill pickle juice
- 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- vegetable oil or shortening for frying at least 4 cups
- 6 brioche hamburger buns
- 2 tablespoons salted butter softened
- 1 Dill pickles for serving
- 1 Chick-fil-A sauce or your favorite sauce
- Use a meat mallet to pound chicken breasts between two sheets of parchment paper or plastic wrap until they are ½” thick. Slice chicken breasts in half to make two smaller pieces.
- In a bowl, stir together buttermilk, hot sauce, and pickle juice. Place chicken into the buttermilk mixture and leave to soak while preparing the next steps.
- Whisk together flour, salt, pepper, paprika, and onion powder in a shallow bowl.
- Heat oil (at least 4” deep preferably 6” or more) in a Dutch oven. Heat oil to 350°F. The oil takes 15 minutes or so to heat to temperature. Use a candy or food thermometer to check the temperature. It must be the correct temperature before frying the chicken.
- Remove the chicken pieces from the buttermilk mixture, dip into the flour mixture, coating both sides. Then dunk each side once more into the buttermilk and back into the flour mixture. (Two full coats of buttermilk then flour.)
- Carefully drop one chicken piece at a time into heated oil and fry on both sides until cooked through (the center/internal temperature should reach 165°F). The outside should be deep golden brown and crispy. Maintain an oil temperature of 350°F for best results. Chicken cooks up in about 5 minutes.
- Place cooked chicken on paper towels or brown paper bags to soak up excess oil.
- Meanwhile, prepare buns. Open up each bun and lay face up on a cookie sheet. Spread a bit of butter over each bun. Broil for 2-3 minutes or until buns just begin getting toasty.
- To serve, place several pickles on the bottom half of a bun. Top with a piece of fried chicken, Chick-fil-a sauce, and the top bun.
- Serve immediately.
- Store in an airtight container for 2-3 days. Fried coating is best right after cooking.