🐔 Ultimate Fried Chicken Sandwich Recipe Guide

by | Jun 3, 2024 | Chicken Recipes, Recipes

I found myself eager to make a homecooked fried chicken sandwich one sunny Saturday. Thinking back to my grandma’s kitchen, I could almost smell the crispy chicken. I aimed for a crispy crust while keeping the meat juicy. I checked out Bon Appetit, Serious Eats, and Saveur for the best tips.

Adding a bit of science and a lot of love, I started on this fried chicken sandwich adventure. Every bite combined crunchy outside with juicy inside perfectly. Add a Basil Green Goddess slaw on top, and it became an amazing meal. Ready to learn how to make the most delicious crispy chicken sandwich?

Table of Contents

Key Takeaways

  • Use 100% skinless, boneless chicken thighs for the best texture and flavor.
  • Dry brine the chicken with a mixture of coarse kosher salt, light brown sugar, and baking powder for at least 2 hours and up to 1 day for improved texture.
  • The breading mixture is a crucial element, with 46.7% all-purpose flour and 15.6% cornstarch for a perfectly crispy crust.
  • Fry the chicken at 350°F / 175°C for 5-7 minutes per batch to achieve the golden, crunchy exterior.
  • Top the sandwich with a fresh Basil Green Goddess slaw, allowing it to sit for at least 30 minutes for optimal flavor.

Introduction to the Fried Chicken Sandwich

A fried chicken sandwich is loved for its mix of flavors and textures. It’s all about the perfect combo of crispy breading and juicy chicken. This makes it stand out as one of the best in its class.

This sandwich is based on a southern recipe. It uses traditional methods to make the sandwich even more delicious. The chicken is marinated in buttermilk, hot sauce, and spices for four hours. This makes sure every bite is packed with flavor.

The process of cooking the chicken is just as important. It’s fried at 190℃/375°F for a crispy outside. Yet, it’s kept at 180℃/350°F to cook it through. Each side is fried for 3-4 minutes, creating the perfect texture.

Preparing the sandwich involves more than just marinating the chicken. Pickled onions are made ahead to add a tangy kick. Buns are toasted for a crunchy texture.

Using flour and sunflower oil shows the commitment to making a classic fried chicken sandwich. These ingredients, along with careful frying at 350 degrees, give the sandwich its signature crispy taste.

Every bite is a taste of southern tradition. The chicken is seasoned with a secret spice mix. This creates a sandwich that’s not just tasty but also a true representation of classic southern food.

Why This is the Best Fried Chicken Sandwich

The best fried chicken sandwich stands out with its perfect blend of crunchy outside and juicy inside. It owes its taste to a careful mix of ingredients.

The Perfect Balance of Crispy and Juicy

To make a top-tier fried chicken sandwich, the cooking process is key. Start by soaking the chicken in buttermilk for at least 4 hours. This ensures flavor and keeps the meat moist. The contrast between the tender, juicy meat inside and the crunchy coating outside is what makes it so good.

A 5.3oz (150g) boneless, skinless chicken thigh is just the right size. It’s fried at 180C (356F) until it’s crispy and golden, but still juicy inside. Make sure the internal temperature hits 75C (165F) for safe eating.

Unique Ingredients that Elevate the Flavor

spicy fried chicken sandwich

This spicy fried chicken sandwich is not your ordinary meal. It uses a mix of buttermilk, spices, and flour for the chicken. Plus, it’s topped with a special honey and sriracha mayo for extra flavor.

The mayo is made with full-fat mayo, honey, pickle juice, and sriracha. It adds a sweet and tangy flavor to the chicken sandwich. Altogether, these ingredients make it the best you’ve ever had.

Essential Ingredients for the Ultimate Fried Chicken Sandwich

Making the perfect fried chicken sandwich needs careful thought. You have to pick the best chicken and spices. This recipe focuses on using chicken thighs because they are flavorful and tender. They also suggest marinating for at least 4 hours in buttermilk. This makes the meat nice and moist.

  • 4 chicken thighs and breasts (no skin or bones)
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon white pepper

You will need some key tools and ingredients as well:

  • Rolling pin to flatten the chicken
  • Mixing bowl for marinating
  • Shallow bowl for dipping
  • Large pot for frying
  • Kitchen thermometer to check oil temp
  • Buttermilk, or mix 1 cup milk and 1 tbsp vinegar
  • Vegetable or sunflower oil for frying

The breading includes:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Putting everything together leads to a crunchy yet juicy fried chicken sandwich. With just a few toppings like mayo, lettuce, and pickles, the chicken shines.

Ingredient Quantity Purpose
Chicken thighs 4 (roughly 5.3oz each) Main protein
Buttermilk 1 cup Marinade
Sweet paprika 1 teaspoon Marinade spice
Garlic powder 1 teaspoon Marinade spice
Vegetable oil About 1 inch depth Frying
All-purpose flour 2 cups Breading
Baking powder 2 teaspoons Breading
Honey sriracha mayo As needed Topping
Burger buns 6 Serving

Choosing the Right Chicken Cut

Choosing the right chicken cut is key for the best fried chicken sandwich. When we think about chicken thighs versus breasts, we notice a big difference in taste and feel. These differences matter a lot if you want to make the perfect chicken sandwich that is both crispy and juicy.

Why Thighs are Preferred Over Breasts

There are a few reasons why chicken thighs are often picked over breasts. Let’s break it down:

  • Richer Flavor: Thighs have a stronger and more savory taste. This makes for a tastier fried chicken sandwich.
  • Optimal Fat Content: Thighs have more fat than breasts. More fat means they are juicier and more delicious. This makes them the perfect choice for the ultimate fried chicken sandwich.
  • Moisture Retention: Thighs keep their moisture better than breasts during cooking. This means the meat stays tender and juicy.

Chicken breasts, on the other hand, are known for drying out if you cook them too long. But, if you use the right brining method, you can keep them moist. Yet, when we talk about the best fried chicken sandwich cut, thighs win. Thighs bring more flavor and moisture, making the sandwich more enjoyable with its crispy coating.

Preparation: The Importance of Brining

Using brine is vital for making a top-notch easy fried chicken sandwich. It keeps the chicken juicy and full of flavor. You can use either a wet or a dry brine to do this.

A dry brine involves putting ½ – ¾ teaspoon of kosher salt per chicken pound. Then, it sits in the fridge overnight. This method is great for keeping in the moistness while getting those flavors in deep. It’s an important step to make a recipe for a southern fried chicken sandwich that brining fans will love.

Places like Zaxby’s, Popeyes, and Chick-fil-A use brining a lot. It shows how effective and common this method is in the food world. Brining not only makes the meat tender but also traps the juices. This is key for their famous fried chicken sandwiches.

Brining Type Duration Benefits
Wet Brine 12-24 hours Keeps chicken moist and adds depth of flavor
Dry Brine 6-12 hours Enhances flavor and retains moisture without additional liquid

Getting brining wrong could lead to dry, flavorless chicken. So, for your southern fried chicken sandwich recipe brining, be very careful. Whether you pick a wet or dry brine, it’s all about the details for that perfect taste.

Making a Flavorful Dry Brine

southern fried chicken sandwich recipe

To make your chicken moist and full of flavor, a dry brine is key. It makes the chicken more tender and tastes great in your sandwich.

Ingredients for the Dry Brine

This simple dry brine needs just a few ingredients, most of which you probably already own. Get ready to mix:

  • 3 tablespoons coarse kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

Steps to Apply the Dry Brine

Ready for the brining process? Here’s a simple guide to follow:

  1. Prepare the Chicken: Make sure your 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts are dry. They should be about 1⅓ pounds.
  2. Mix the Brine: In a bowl, mix together the salt, sugar, and baking powder.
  3. Coat the Chicken: Rub the mixture on both sides of your chicken breasts. Make sure they’re completely covered.
  4. Refrigerate: Set the chicken on a wire rack over a baking sheet. Leave it in the fridge, uncovered, for at least 4 hours, or overnight for the best flavor.
  5. Fry to Perfection: Next, fry your chicken until it’s crispy and golden on the outside. This takes about 4 to 5 minutes per side.

By brining your chicken, you’ll lock in moisture and enjoy a flavorful meal. This dry brine is the secret to a perfect, juicy chicken sandwich every time.

Marinating the Chicken for Extra Flavor

An amazing spicy fried chicken sandwich starts with a great marinade. A good marinade adds deep, rich flavor and makes the chicken tender. For the most flavor, try marinating in buttermilk. Marinate the chicken for at least 4 hours. But for the juiciest results, marinate it overnight.

For the perfect marinade, use buttermilk as a base. Can’t find buttermilk? No worries. Just mix 1 cup of milk with 1 tablespoon of vinegar. Let it sit for 10 minutes. This substitutes perfectly and makes the meat tender.

Make your marinade even better by adding hot sauce. It brings a gentle heat that makes the spicy fried chicken sandwich taste even better. You can also add a bit of bourbon for a more complex flavor. These two ingredients make this marinade the top choice for the best fried chicken sandwich marinade.

  • Minimum marinating time: 4 hours
  • Maximum marinating time: Overnight
  • Homemade buttermilk substitute: 1 cup milk with 1 tbsp vinegar
  • Additional ingredients: Hot sauce, optional bourbon

This marinating method locks in juiciness and builds a strong flavor. It’s perfect for the ultimate spicy fried chicken sandwich. Whether you’re using thighs or thin breasts, the marinade goes deep. This ensures every bite is packed with a memorable taste.

Creating the Perfect Breading for a Crispy Crust

Starting with the right breading makes a chicken sandwich deliciously crispy. It’s all about combining flavors and textures. Each ingredient in the breading serves an important purpose.

homemade fried chicken sandwich breading

The Role of Cornstarch in Breading

Cornstarch is key for that golden, crunchy layer. In a mix with flour, baking powder, it absorbs moisture. This makes the fried chicken tasty and gives it an appealing crunch.

Seasoning the Flour Mixture

Seasoning is crucial for a tasty, crispy chicken sandwich. Mix spices like garlic powder, pepper, and paprika into the flour. They ensure the breading is not only crispy but also full of flavor.

Here’s a breakdown of the breading mix’s ingredients:

Ingredient Quantity
All-purpose flour 1½ cups
Cornstarch 3 tablespoons
Baking powder 1½ teaspoons
Garlic powder ¾ teaspoon
Freshly ground black pepper 1 tablespoon
Accent flavor enhancer 1 teaspoon
Paprika 1 teaspoon

Combining these ingredients carefully makes your chicken sandwich better than fast food. Paying attention to the details leads to a dish that’s always delicious. It ensures your crispy chicken sandwich is a real treat.

The Dredging Process: How to Get Craggy, Crunchy Chicken

To make the best fried chicken sandwich, you need to perfect the dredging process. Marinate the chicken for over 4 hours in a mix of buttermilk, paprika, salt, and other spices. This step makes the chicken juicy and full of flavor.

Combine all-purpose flour, paprika, and more seasonings for your breading mix. Mix in some of the buttermilk marinade. This creates crunchy clumps that stick to the chicken when fried.

Deep frying needs careful handling. Use enough oil to cover the chicken completely. Start at 180°C/356°F, then keep it at 165°C/300°F. Fry the chicken for 3-4 minutes on each side until it’s golden and crispy outside, juicy inside.

Keeping the oil at the right temperature is key. Adjust the heat if it cools down or gets too hot. This will help you make the tastiest fried chicken sandwich every time.

No self-rising flour? No problem. You can make a substitute with all-purpose flour, baking powder, and salt. This keeps your dredging mix just as it should be for a great crust.

Ingredients Quantity
Buttermilk 1 cup
Paprika 1 tsp
All-Purpose Flour 1 3/4 cups
Oil for Frying 750ml-1 Liter
Chicken Thighs 4 (each 150g)

By following these steps, your fried chicken sandwich will be amazing every time. This is how you get the perfect crunchy, craggy chicken.

The Ideal Frying Technique

Frying is key in making a great southern fried chicken sandwich. It ensures the right crisp and color outside, while juicy inside. We’ll talk about the best oils to use and how to fry at the perfect temperature.

Choosing the Right Oil

To get a crispy chicken sandwich, choose oil that can be heated without burning. Peanut oil works well because it’s stable in heat and tasteless. You can also use vegetable oil. It’s best to use 3-4 cups of oil so the chicken can cook evenly.

Maintaining the Correct Oil Temperature

The oil temperature is vital when making a southern fried chicken sandwich. Heat the oil to 350°F to start. Then, keep a close eye to hold it at a steady 300°F. This ensures your chicken turns out golden and not burnt.

crispy chicken sandwich frying technique

Steps Details
Marinating Marinate chicken for at least 4 hours or overnight for enhanced flavor.
Oil Quantity Use 3-4 cups of oil for deep frying.
Initial Oil Temperature Heat oil to 350°F (175°C).
Frying Temperature Maintain steady temperature at 300°F (165°C) while frying.
Frying Duration Cook each chicken breast for 4-5 minutes until golden brown and crispy.
Calories per Serving Estimated caloric content is 628 calories per sandwich.

Assembling the Ultimate Fried Chicken Sandwich

Put together the best fried chicken sandwich by following these steps. Each part should work with the others perfectly.

Toasting the Buns

Start with toasting 6 buns until they’re golden brown. This step is key. It keeps the buns crispy against the chicken and sauces.

Cook the buns in a pan or on a grill with a bit of butter. This makes them crunchy and the perfect base for your homemade fried chicken sandwich.

Adding the Right Toppings

Choosing the right toppings is crucial. They take your best fried chicken sandwich to another level. Here’s what you need:

  • Begin with a big scoop of Basil Green Goddess Slaw and some pickles. They add a zesty crunch that pairs well with the fried chicken.
  • Then, lay on the crispy fried chicken. Make sure it fits the bun well, giving each bite crunch and flavor.
  • To finish, add your homemade sauce. Mix ½ cup mayo, 3 tbsp BBQ sauce, and 2 tsp Dijon mustard. This sauce gives your sandwich a tangy, creamy touch.

Finally, place the top bun and press lightly. This merges all the tastes. Your homemade fried chicken sandwich is ready to be devoured!

Ingredient Usage
Boneless skinless chicken breasts 3 pieces
Cold water 2 cups
Salt 2 tablespoons + ¾ teaspoon
Oil for frying 4 to 6 cups
Egg mixture 1 large egg and ½ cup of milk
All-purpose flour 1½ cups
Cornstarch 3 tablespoons
Baking powder 1½ teaspoons
Garlic powder ¾ teaspoon
Ground black pepper 1 tablespoon
Accent flavor enhancer 1 teaspoon
Paprika 1 teaspoon
Mayonnaise ½ cup (for sauce)
Barbecue sauce 3 tablespoons (for sauce)
Dijon mustard 2 teaspoons (for sauce)

Basil Green Goddess Slaw: The Perfect Topping

The Basil Green Goddess Slaw is perfect with an easy fried chicken sandwich. It adds a fresh, creamy taste. The mix of homemade Green Goddess dressing and crunchy cabbage is fantastic.

Start the Basil Green Goddess Slaw with shredded cabbage. The key part is the Green Goddess dressing. Here’s what you need for the dressing:

  • 1 large avocado
  • ¾ cup Greek yogurt or sour cream
  • ½ cup fresh herbs such as basil, chives, cilantro, and parsley
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

Put all the dressing ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth. Mix the dressing with the cabbage. You get a creamy, bright slaw perfect for the sandwich.

Start the chicken by marinating it. Use eggs and almond milk to soak them. Then coat in cornflakes and bake. You’ll have a crispy, delicious chicken for the sandwich.

The Slaw is the best topping for the chicken sandwich. It adds a fresh, crunchy layer. Each sandwich is tasty and healthy at 291 calories.

Compare that to a usual chicken sandwich and see the difference:

Ingredients Conventional With Basil Green Goddess Slaw
Chicken 4 organic chicken breasts 3 medium-size boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Coating Flour mixture Almond milk + cornflakes
Topping Pickles, lettuce Basil Green Goddess Slaw
Calories 300kcal 291kcal

For any meal, the Basil Green Goddess Slaw makes a difference. It turns a simple sandwich into something special. Enjoy its fresh, creamy taste with every bite.

Alternative Toppings to Customize Your Sandwich

Creating a top-notch fried chicken sandwich goes beyond the perfect crust and cooking method. Alternating your sandwich with unique toppings raises its taste, attracting different eaters. Whether you love a spicy chicken sandwich or stick to the classics, these extras add new flavors to your dish.


Pickles are a timeless choice, introducing a zesty crunch to your meal. They counter the fried chicken’s richness with their tartness. This adds a tangy break in the savory breading. For a traditional taste, go with dill pickles. If you like a bit of sweet with your sour, bread and butter pickles are a great choice.

Hot Sauce

If you’re up for a spicy sandwich, don’t skip the hot sauce. It brings a kick that boosts the sandwich’s taste. You can use classics like Frank’s RedHot or explore with Sriracha or ghost pepper sauce. The extra heat turns your sandwich into a spicy adventure, perfect for hot sauce fans.


What cut of chicken is best for a fried chicken sandwich?

Thighs are better than breasts because they’re more flavorful and juicy. They keep the sandwich rich and moist.

Why is brining important in making a fried chicken sandwich?

Brining moistens the chicken, adding flavor, whether you use a wet or dry brine.

What is the role of cornstarch in the breading mixture?

Cornstarch makes the crust light and crispy, perfect for a fried chicken sandwich.

How do you achieve a craggy, crunchy exterior on the fried chicken?

Dredge the chicken in seasoned flour and buttermilk. This creates a crispy, craggy texture when fried.

What is the best oil to use for frying the chicken?

Use peanut oil for its high smoking point. It fries the chicken perfectly.

What are the essential ingredients needed for the ultimate fried chicken sandwich?

Key elements are chicken thighs, a spice mix, cornstarch, buttermilk, and peanut oil for frying.

How does marinating the chicken enhance the flavor?

Marinating in buttermilk, hot sauce, and maybe bourbon adds depth and spiciness to the flavor.

What makes the Basil Green Goddess Slaw a perfect topping?

Basil Green Goddess Slaw with a homemade dressing offers a fresh, tangy balance. This goes perfectly with the spicy chicken.

What alternative toppings can customize the fried chicken sandwich?

Choose pickles for tang and crunch, or hot sauce for more spice. Tailor your sandwich to your liking.

How do you ensure the buns are toasted perfectly for the sandwich?

Perfectly toasted buns are key. They add great texture and flavor to the fried chicken sandwich.