This is the BEST Fried Chicken Sandwich Recipe! Ultra crispy, golden-brown chicken served on a buttery brioche bun with all of your favorite toppings.
JUMP TO RECIPE </a> </div> <ul> <li class="nav-heading">General</li><li><a class="" href="#ingredients">Ingredients</a></li><li><a class="" href="#how_to_make">How to make</a></li><li><a class="" href="#recipe">Get the recipe</a></li><li><a class=" watch-video" href="#recipe_video">Step-by-step video</a></li><li class="nav-heading">Frequently Asked Questions</li><li><a class="" href="#how_long_to_fry">How long to fry</a></li><li><a class="" href="#how_to_make_crispy">How to make crispy</a></li><li><a class="" href="#can_you_bake_the_chicken">Can you bake the chicken?</a></li><li><a class="" href="#is_buttermilk_required">Is buttermilk required?</a></li><li><a class="" href="#calories">Calories</a></li><li><a class="" href="#toppings">Toppings</a></li><li><a class="" href="#pairing_suggestions">Pairing suggestions</a></li><li><a class="" href="#how_to_store">How to store</a></li><li><a class="" href="#nutrition_info">Nutrition information</a></li></ul></div>
Sometimes I really just crave a chicken sandwich. And not the health-ified version, but the full-on deep fried chicken version on a buttery bun slathered with mayo and a side of pickles and fries…this, folks, is it.
This is the recipe you’ve been waiting for.
This chicken sandwich recipe is SO. DARN. GOOD!
There are a quite few ingredients, so to make this go quickly and smoothly, prep and measure out all of your ingredients before you start cooking!
- Chicken Thighs – most of my recipes call for chicken breasts, but I highly recommend using thighs for this sandwich. They’re much juicier than chicken breasts and *bonus* they’re often cheaper!
- Buttermilk and Pickle Juice – the acidity in these really helps to break down the chicken so it’s extra tender.
- Hot Sauce – adds just a little bit of heat.
- Dry Ranch Dressing Mix, Taco Seasoning, and Salt – this combination of pre-made spice mixes add an incredible amount of flavor. Trust me.
- All-Purpose Flour – the base of the breading.
- Cornstarch – this helps make the breading extra crispy!
- Powdered Sugar – adds just a touch of sweetness to the breading to offset the spicy/savory flavors that make up the rest of the recipe.
- Salt, Pepper, Dry Ranch Dressing Mix, and Taco Seasoning – the same seasoning mix used in the marinade. We want each layer to be nice and seasoned to create an ultra flavorful chicken sandwich!
- Cayenne Pepper – if you like a little extra kick!
- Egg – allows the breading to stick to the chicken.
- Marinade – we’re using 1/2 cup of the already-made marinade from the chicken for maximum flavor!
- Oil – used to fry the chicken. Use canola oil for its neutral flavor and high smoke point.
- Buns – brioche buns are sweet and spongey, making them perfect for savory crunchy chicken!
- Mayonnaise – ’cause who doesn’t love mayo on a chicken sandwich? Want to take it a step further? Make a homemade chipotle mayo!
- Pickles – give you that tangy crunch in every bite.
How to make
- Whisk together buttermilk, pickle juice, hot sauce, salt, dry ranch mix, and taco seasonings.
- Stir in chicken thighs, cover, and marinate for 8 hours. Remove the chicken, drain half the marinade, and save the other half.
- In a large bowl, mix together egg and 1/2 cup of the marinade.
- Mix together flour, cornstarch, powdered sugar, salt, pepper, cayenne, dry ranch mix, and taco seasoning on one plate.
- Coat the chicken thigh in the breading mixture then use a fork to fully submerge it in the egg/marinade mixture. Shake off excess then repeat a two more times.
- Heat oil to 355-380ºF in a large stockpot or deep-fryer and Fry chicken turning halfway through until its golden-brown, crispy, and no longer pink in the centers. Repeat with remaining chicken.
- Assemble your sandwiches then serve and enjoy!
How long to fry chicken
Deep fry chicken in 370ºF oil for 4-5 minutes, flipping with tongs halfway through, for chicken that is juicy and cooked through on the inside and golden brown and crispy on the outside!
How do you make the chicken crispy?
There are a couple of ways you can make sure that your chicken is perfectly golden-brown and crispy!
- Use cornstarch. Cornstarch is a very sturdy starch so it’s what really makes the outside of the chicken crispy when it’s fried.
- Check your oil temperature. Make sure it’s between 355ºF and 380ºF. If it’s not hot enough, it won’t crisp the breading. If it’s too hot, the outside will burn and the inside will be undercooked.
Can you bake the chicken?
I don’t recommend baking the chicken using this recipe. If you’d like a baked chicken sandwich, use my air fryer chicken nuggets recipe, but with whole boneless, skinless chicken thighs instead of cutting chicken breasts into nuggets!
Do you have to use buttermilk?
Yes! The acidity of the buttermilk breaks down the protein structures in the chicken so it can really soak in the flavor and moisture.
If you don’t have buttermilk, you can make a homemade version:
- Milk and Vinegar: 1/2 cup buttermilk = 1/2 tbsp vinegar + milk filled to 1/2 cup line
- Milk and Lemon Juice: 1/2 cup buttermilk = 1/2 tbsp lemon juice + milk filled to 1/2 cup line
How many calories are in a chicken sandwich?
Each fried chicken thigh is about 338 calories—including the breading, but not including the oil it’s fried in. Because buns and toppings vary depending on your preferences, I only calculated the calories for the chicken itself.
- Use buttermilk. The acidity from the buttermilk breaks down the chicken as it marinates allowing it to really soak in the flavor and become super tender. Regular milk won’t do the same thing!
- Use the pickle juice! The flavor is subtle, but adds a nice tang to offset the heaviness of fried breading. It also works with the buttermilk to create very moist chicken.
- Don’t skip the cornstarch. Cornstarch is a sturdy starch so it’s what really makes the outside of the chicken thigh crispy when it’s fried.
- Watch the oil temperature. It should be between 355ºF and 380ºF. If it’s too hot it will burn the outside without fully cooking the inside; too low and it won’t get that crunchy coating.
- Serve on brioche buns. Although other buns are good too, the soft and buttery brioche buns taste absolutely delicious with the crispy and slightly spicy chicken.
I served mine on a brioche bun with mayonnaise, pickles, and lettuce but feel free to pack your sandwich with all of your favorite toppings!
- Cheese. Melt a slice of cheddar or pepper jack on your chicken.
- Coleslaw. Whip up a batch of my healthy coleslaw.
- Veggies. Tomato slices, jalapeño slices, peppers, caramelized onion, you name it.
- Condiments. Spicy mayo, honey mustard, ketchup, ranch, blue cheese dressing, etc.
What to serve with chicken sandwiches
These chicken sandwiches are delicious served up with some of your favorite sides!
- Potato Salad
- Sweet Potato Fries
- Roasted Veggies
- Mashed Potatoes
- Green Bean Casserole
- Baked Mac and Cheese
- Corn Casserole
How to store
Fried chicken is best served immediately, but leftovers will last in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days or in the freezer for 2-3 months. Store the chicken without the bun/toppings.
To reheat, thaw in the refrigerator if frozen then heat in the oven or air fryer to warm. You could also microwave it but it won’t be as crispy.
- 1/2 cup fat free buttermilk
- 1/2 cup pickle juice
- 1 teaspoon hot sauce omit if you don't like spice
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 tablespoon dry ranch dressing mix
- 1/2 tablespoon taco seasoning use homemade or storebought
- 4 (4-5 oz) boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper omit if you don’t like spice
- 1/2 tablespoon dry ranch dressing mix
- 1/2 tablespoon taco seasoning use homemade or storebought
- 1 large egg beaten
- 1/2 cup marinade from above
- Canola oil for frying
- 4 brioche buns
- Mayonnaise or chipotle mayonnaise to taste
- Sliced pickles to taste
In a large bowl, whisk together buttermilk, pickle juice, optional hot sauce, salt, dry ranch mix, and taco seasoning.
Stir in chicken thighs, cover with saran wrap, and marinate in the fridge for up to 8 hours.
Breading & Wash*
Grab two rimmed baking sheets and place a wire cooling rack onto each of them. One will be used for the raw chicken and one will be used for the cooked chicken. Set aside.
On a large plate, mix together flour, cornstarch, powdered sugar, salt, pepper, optional cayenne, dry ranch mix, and taco seasoning until well combined. Set aside.
Whisk together egg and 1/2 cup of the marinade in a deep bowl (deep enough to submerge chicken) until well combined.
Drain and discard the remaining marinade from the chicken.
Take one piece of chicken and fully coat it with breading mixture. Shake off any excess.
Place it into the egg wash bowl and fully coat, allowing excess to drip off.
Coat chicken in breading mixture, then egg wash, and then breading one more time.
Place the chicken onto one of the prepared racks. Repeat with remaining chicken.
Let chicken dry for about 15 minutes while you prepare your oil.
Heat oil to 355 degrees F – 380 degrees F in a large stockpot or deep-fryer.**
Working with one at a time, fry chicken thighs in the hot oil until golden, crispy, and no longer pink in the centers, about 4 to 5 minutes, flipping halfway through – use tongs for ease.***
Transfer to the clean wire rack.
Repeat with remaining chicken.
Spread mayonnaise over hamburger bun halves, top with chicken and pickles!
Serve and enjoy!
Storing information also just applies to the fried chicken.
*I highly recommend watching the video for visuals on how to bread and fry your chicken.
**I shoot for 360/370, because as soon as the chicken hits the oil, the temperature will drop slightly, but you don’t want it too high or the outside will brown too much and the chicken won’t cook through.