Crispy Chicken Sandwich – This EASY copycat Chick-Fil-A chicken sandwich has tender breaded and fried chicken that’s crispy, crunchy, and perfectly juicy! The chicken is sandwiched in between toasted buns with a spicy mayo sauce just like the restaurant’s! This is the ULTIMATE finger-lickin’ good comfort food fried chicken sandwich recipe!
Easy Crispy Chicken Sandwich Recipe
If you love a good crispy chicken sandwich, you are going to fall in love with my recipe. I enjoyed recreating the flavor and texture of the beloved Chick-Fil-A sandwich at home.
If you’ve never tried the Chick-Fil-A version of this sandwich, you can happily just skip it and make it yourself – but better. And if you are familiar with those Chick-Fil-A craveworthy chicken sandwiches, I promise you will not be disappointed with this copycat DIY version!
It’s made with marinated chicken breast that’s coated in a seasoned flour mixture then fried until golden brown and served on a toasted buttered bun with pickles and a tangy mayo-based sauce which is my copycat version of the Chick-Fil-A special sauce.
The fried chicken sandwich is moist and juicy from pickle brine and then gets ultra crunchy from double dipping it in buttermilk and then a flour mixture! It’s both tender and crispy and will satisfy any fast food craving without actually leaving your house.
Ingredients in Chick-Fil-A Chicken Sandwich Copycat Recipe
This recipe uses simple, basic ingredients, to recreate your at-home crispy chicken sandwich to taste like the real thing from Chick-Fil-A. Have on hand the following:
- Dill pickle juice
- Cholula, Sriracha or your favorite hot sauce
- Large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- All-purpose flour
- Garlic salt (or garlic powder)
- Baking powder
- Smoked paprika
- Onion powder
- Ground black pepper
- Canola oil
Don’t Have Buttermilk? Make It!
If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, make some! Or a very close alternative, anyway.
Simply add 1 1/2 tablespoons of an acid such as white vinegar or lemon juice into a large measuring cup.
Add regular milk up to the 1 1/2 cups marker.
Let it stand for 5 minutes, or until it starts to curdle. At this point you have buttermilk that can be used as directed for the 1 1/2 cups buttermilk in this recipe.
I don’t recommend trying to thin out Greek yogurt or using another type yogurt. You technically could, but it’s just easier to use or make DIY buttermilk, and follow the recipe like I wrote it.
Copycat Chick-Fil-A Sauce
- Sriracha or hot sauce
- Dill pickle juice
- Dijon mustard
- Granulated sugar
- Store-bought soft white hamburger buns or brioche buns
- Softened butter
- Sliced tomatoes
- Chopped lettuce
- Sliced dill pickles
Note: Scroll down to the recipe card section of the post for the ingredients with amounts included and for more complete directions.
How to Make Crispy Fried Chicken Sandwiches
No deep fryer is needed to make the famous Chick-Fil-A sandwich at home.
Just follow these straightforward steps from the perfect seasoning blend to the toasted bun.
Step 1: Chicken and Marinade – In a large ziplock bag, combine the buttermilk, pickle juice, and hot sauce.
Step 2: Pat chicken breasts dry with a paper towel and place them in the bag to marinate for at least two hours in the refrigerator.
Step 3: Make the fried chicken filet breading mixture by combining the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, garlic salt, onion powder, paprika, and pepper. Whisk together in a shallow dish.
Step 4: Remove one piece of chicken from the buttermilk, shake the excess, then dredge in the flour.
Step 5: Dip it the buttermilk mixture again, then dredge once more in the flour. Drain or discard your marinade and the flour mixture.
Take note that after you take the chicken out of the buttermilk marinade mixture and dip in flour, you repeat that process again. So it goes buttermilk-flour-buttermilk-flour.
Why you may ask?
This “layering” of the battering ingredients helps create extra crispy fried chicken that’s truly irresistible!
Step 6: Fry your chicken cutlets in a large Dutch oven filled with hot oil.
About Those Temperatures
Check the temperature of the oil with a digital thermometer. It should read 350F. I like to use a digital thermometer with a pot clip for ease.
Also check the temp of your fried chicken with a digital thermometer to make sure it’s actually done. I pull my chicken when it reads 160-162F and then let it rest for 5 minutes and the temp comes up to 165F, which is the safe temperature for consumption.
Step 7: Sauce – Make your sauce by combining mayo, hot sauce, pickle juice, and sugar in a bowl and stirring to combine.
Step 8: Buns and Assembly – Butter the hamburger buns and toast in the oven for a few minutes.
Step 9: Assemble your crispy chicken sandwiches by spreading the sauce over the buns, adding the fried chicken then topping with pickle slices, lettuce, and tomato before serving!
Fried Chicken Sandwich Tips
- Use some of your prep time to pound the chicken breasts with a meat tenderizer out to the same thickness so they cook evenly.
- If needed, you can cut your chicken breast into smaller pieces so they fit on the bun better.
- Your hot oil needs to remain at 350°F. Use a digital thermometer to check the temperature.
- You need a large dutch oven or deep pot to fry the chicken. You may also wish to use a splatter guard. Do not use a skillet that’s too shallow like what you’d use to make eggs.
- Only cook 1 to 2 pieces of chicken at a time. Do not overcrowd the pan.
- Place cooked tender chicken pieces onto paper towels. Or place them into a warm oven while frying the remaining chicken, which helps keep the chicken crispy.
- You can make copycat Chick-Fil-A nuggets, tenders, or chicken strips using this same method, but with smaller pieces of chicken. Cook as necessary noting that total time for frying time will be less the smaller the chicken pieces are.
What to Serve with Restaurant Copycat Fried Chicken Sandwiches
Don’t forget to serve your classic chicken sandwich and sides with plenty of the Chick-Fil-A copycat sauce. It’s a must for us!
Other sides or items including:
Want More Copycat Recipes?
Other copycat recipes that we love to make at home include:
It’s so satisfying to skip the drive-thru or a fast food chain when you have these dishes in your repertoire, plus they taste so much better, have less sodium, and can save you a few dollars, too!
Storing Leftover Fried Crispy Chicken
Fried anything, but especially fried chicken, is truly better freshly made! Leftovers simply are not the same.
However, you may store leftovers of your fried chicken in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-5 days.
You can also store the chicken patties in a freezer-safe bag for 2 months.
Reheat in the air fryer or oven until crispy and warmed through. If frozen, thaw first.
Crispy Chicken Sandwich FAQs
I am not going to lie, there is nothing that will quite create the same texture or flavor as actually frying the chicken. However, I’ve got a close second (and third)!
My Air Fryer Breaded Chicken Breasts are crispy, juicy, and fabulous! I recommend following that recipe for the chicken if you want to air fry your chicken rather than fry it.
Want a little cheese in your chicken? My Air Fryer Parmesan Chicken is another fabulous air frying alternative to frying chicken on the stove but with the lovely addition of Parmesan cheese!
Yes, but just like the air fryer, if you want the true copycat restaurant meal, frying is the way to go.
If you are still set on baking your fried chicken, first place a wire rack on top of a baking sheet and preheat the oven to 450ºF. Place the breaded chicken breasts on the rack and lightly spray both sides with cooking spray or oil. Bake for 12 minutes, then flip and bake for another 12-15 minutes or until cooked through and the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
If your taste buds love heat, add 1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder to the flour mixture when breading your chicken.
A quick tip if you have kids, bread their chicken first in the flour mixture without the spice, then add the cayenne pepper and bread your own for a spicy version.
When it comes to deep frying, using an oil with a high smoke point and neutral taste will yield the best results.
Skip the olive oil and use vegetable oil, canola oil, corn oil, sunflower oil, or peanut oil.
For reference, peanut oil is the oil that Chick-Fil-A uses.
Don’t skip marinating. It’s what sets chick-fil-a fried chicken apart from other places like Popeyes or McDonald’s!
Marinate your chicken for as little as two hours or up to 8 hours for the best homemade Chick-Fil-A results.
For meal prep, marinate it all day in the fridge and then your chicken is ready to bread and fry when you get home.
Yes, you really should use pickle juice if you want the most authentic tasting fried chicken sandwiches. There is no substitute.
Plus, you can use the pickles for serving alongside your copycat chicken sandwiches.
Yes, and they would work great!
You will not need to cut chicken thighs in half lengthwise like you need to do with a chicken breast filet.
That’s just a grilled chicken sandwich in my opinion, but alas Chick-Fil-A offers that too.
I still recommend marinating your chicken, then seasoning it and grilling until cooked through. My Grilled Tandoori Chicken recipe starts by marinating the chicken in Greek yogurt which is buttermilk’s first cousin.
You could make this version deluxe by adding lettuce, tomato, and cheese.
2 hours 50 minutes
- 1 1/2 cups buttermilk*
- 1/2 cup pickle juice
- 1 tablespoon hot sauce (Cholula, Sriracha, or your favorite)
- 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in half lengthwise OR 4 average sized breasts, pounded to an even thickness
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
- Canola oil, vegetable oil or peanut oil, for frying (Chick-Fil-A supposedly uses peanut oil)
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon sriracha or hot sauce, or to taste
- 1 tablespoon pickle juice
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 4 hamburger or Brioche buns, sliced in half
- 2 tablespoons unsalted or salted butter, softened
- Sliced tomatoes, as desired
- Chopped lettuce, as desired
- Sliced pickles, as desired
- Chicken and Marinade – To a large ziplock bag, add the buttermilk, pickle juice, hot sauce, pound the chicken to an even thickness using a meat tenderizer, drop it in the bag, seal, squish around to coat, and marinate for at least 2 hours, or up to 8 hours. Tip – Do not skip the step of marinating nor try to substitute any of the ingredients called for in the marinade mixture.
- Breading Mixture – Create it by adding all the dry ingredients to a large but shallow bowl, including the flour, corn starch, garlic salt, baking powder, smoked paprika, onion powder, ground pepper, and whisk to combine.
- After chicken has marinated 2 to 8 hours, remove the bag from the fridge. Place the chicken in one bowl and pour the marinade mixture into another large but shallow bowl, similar to what you placed the breading mixture in.
- Preheat oven to 200F; optional but recommended for keeping some of the fried chicken warm while the other batch is being fried.
- Battering – Shake the excess buttermilk mixture off one piece of chicken, dredge it through the flour mixture, dip it quickly back into the buttermilk mixture in the bowl, and dredge it again through the flour mixture. Repeat with the remaining chicken pieces until. Tip – You are “double battering” the chicken: buttermilk, flour, buttermlk, flour. This helps create the best and crispiest fried chicken. Discard the buttermilk mixture and flour mixture after all chicken has been battered and breaded.
- Oil – To a large Dutch oven or deep and high sided pot intended for frying, add the oil so that it’s at least 4 inches high. Tip – The amount needed will vary depending on the exact size of your pot.
- Heat the oil to 350F. Use a digital thermometer with pot clip for ease and accuracy; do not guess.
- Add 1 or 2 pieces of chicken at a time, and fry for about 4 minutes on each side, or until done; repeat the frying process with the remaining chicken. Tips – Do not crowd the pot and try to fry it all at once; none of it will actually turn out well. You need to fry it in batches. Chicken should read about 160-162F on a digital thermometer when you remove it. You can place it on paper towels while you fry the rest. Alternatively you can place the fried chicken on a baking sheet and place it in a 200F preheated oven to keep it warm, if desired.
- Sauce – Add all ingredients to a medium bowl and whisk until smooth and combined; set aside while you toast the buns.
- Buns – Butter the buns on the cut side and place them face up on a baking sheet in the 200F oven until lightly toasted. You can also accomplish this is a countertop toaster oven. If using a toaster oven, I suggest waiting until after they have been toasted to butter them, but use your judgment.
- Assembly – Spread sauce on the buns, as desired, and then add a piece of fried chicken, tomatoes, lettuce, and pickles as desired before serving.
- Storage – Fried chicken is best warm and fresh. Extra fried chicken will keep airtight in the fridge for 3 to 5 days, or in the freezer for 2 to 3 months, noting that is will not stay crispy. You can try to crisp it back up in an air fryer if you have one or in a low 200F oven, although neither are a perfect solution and you need to just accept fried chicken is best eaten hot, fresh, and day-of.
*Buttermilk – You cannot substitute regular milk or yogurt for the buttermilk. If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, you can make it. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice or white vinegar to a large measuring cup, fill it up with regular milk to the 1 1/2 cup mark, and let stand about 5 minutes, or until curdled. This is now the buttermilk you can use in the recipe.
Nutritional Stats – While I would never call this an overly healthy recipe, I do think that the stats are skewing higher than they may actually be. This computer generated estimate is taking into account some of the fry oil which is actually not consumed, but is discarded after the frying process. It also takes into account the unused flour mixture and unused buttermilk mixture, neither of which are used down to the last drop, and some is discarded in actuality. However, for the stats, it’s all being factored in. You need to hand calculate stats on your own if it’s of importance for you.
Looking for a healthier option? Make this Air Fryer Crispy Fried Chicken
Amount Per Serving:
Calories: 1275Total Fat: 70gSaturated Fat: 22gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 44gCholesterol: 231mgSodium: 3228mgCarbohydrates: 97gFiber: 3gSugar: 15gProtein: 62g
More Easy Breaded Chicken Recipes:
Air Fryer Breaded Chicken Breasts — Learn how to make perfectly “fried” chicken in your air fryer! Deliciously crispy on the outside while staying juicy, tender, and moist on the interior. This is the BEST guiltless fried chicken! EASY, ready in 15 minutes, and perfect for busy weeknights when you need to get dinner on the table FAST!
Air Fryer Parmesan Chicken — Coated in a mixture of panko breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese, this “fried” chicken is perfectly crispy on the outside and juicy, tender, and moist inside! It’s EASY, ready in 15 minutes, perfect for busy weeknights, and a healthier way to indulge in fried chicken! Oven-baking instructions also provided.
Cheesy Chicken Fritters — These AMAZING fritters include tender and juicy chicken, mozzarella and cheddar cheeses, and an array of spices to give them tons of great flavor! Serve them as an appetizer, on slider buns for sandwiches, or as the main dish! EASY, FAST, and a guaranteed family favorite!
Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets — These EASY air fryer nuggets are coated in a mixture of Panko breadcrumbs and grated Parmesan, which makes them EXTRA flavorful and SO CRISPY!! Dip them in this 30-second homemade honey mustard sauce for a guaranteed family FAVORITE!!
Baked Parmesan-Crusted Chicken — This Baked Parmesan-Crusted Chicken tastes like it’s been deep fried, but it hasn’t! Even better, it’s ready in under 30 minutes and is easy to whip up at the last minute.
Cornflake Chicken — This cornflake baked chicken is so crisp on the outside you’d think it was fried! This meal comes together in under 30 minutes and is perfect for busy weeknights.
Baked Chicken Nuggets with Honey Mustard — These chicken nuggets are coated in a mixture of Panko breadcrumbs and grated Parmesan, which makes them extra flavorful and crispy! Dunk them in homemade honey mustard or your dipping sauce of choice.
Chicken Parmesan Pasta Bake — A hearty comfort food casserole that includes juicy chicken, pasta, marinara, the BEST crispy buttery breadcrumb topping and TWO types of cheese!! A family favorite big-batch recipe that’s also great for meal prepping!!
Baked Chicken Alfredo — Hearty Italian-inspired comfort food! Fettuccine noodles are tossed in a homemade alfredo sauce, topped with chicken, baked, and then finished off with crispy crunchy breadcrumbs! A classic yet easy recipe that’ll be a guaranteed family favorite!