This Fried Chicken Sandwich is the best! It really doesn’t get much better than crispy and juicy fried chicken on a toasted bun with a smoky paprika sauce. It’s easier than you think to make your own fried chicken at home and this recipe will ensure you have succulent chicken every time!
What’s in this Fried Chicken Sandwich Recipe?
Each layer of this chicken sandwich brings its own unique and tasty flavor profile. Add them all together and you’ve got an unforgettable sandwich. Crisp greens and sweet bread and butter pickles balance out the rich fried chicken. The smoky paprika sauce adds creaminess and just a little bit of heat.
- Chicken Thighs: Boneless, skinless chicken thighs make the best juicy fried chicken sandwiches!
- Buttermilk: Tenderizes the chicken and infuses it with moisture and flavor.
- Hot Sauce: Adds a kick of heat to the chicken marinade and the sauce.
- Kosher Salt: Enhances the flavor of the chicken marinade.
- Canola Oil: The perfect neutral oil for frying to create a crispy crust.
- All-Purpose Flour: Helps the chicken crisp up to crunchy perfection.
- Ground Black Pepper: Adds a bit of spice.
- Garlic Powder: Adds an earthy flavor.
- Smoked Paprika: Adds a smoky flavor to the chicken and the sauce.
- Mayonnaise: Makes the sauce creamy and rich.
- Burger Buns: Buttery, soft, and fluffy brioche buns are perfect for this sandwich!
- Pickles: Bread and butter pickles are sweet and tangy– perfect to offset the richness of the chicken.
- Cabbage: Crunchy and fresh to offset the heaviness of the chicken.
Pro Tip: Let your chicken marinate for at least 4 hours in the buttermilk, longer if possible. If the chicken can marinate at least this long (or even overnight), you’ll be sure to have the juiciest fried chicken!
Variations on Fried Chicken Sandwiches
These classic fried chicken sandwiches are so delicious. But you can take them to the next level by trying one of these variations:
- BBQ Ranch: After frying the chicken, brush it with your favorite barbecue sauce. Assemble the sandwich with a drizzle of ranch dressing, lettuce, tomato, and optionally, some crispy bacon.
- Southern Slaw: Top your fried chicken with a generous portion of tangy coleslaw. You can add pickles or sliced jalapeños for an extra kick.
- Honey Mustard: Drizzle the fried chicken with a combination of honey and Dijon mustard for a sweet and tangy flavor. Add lettuce, tomato, and red onion slices to complete the sandwich.
- Mediterranean: Marinate the chicken in buttermilk, lemon juice, garlic, and herbs like oregano or thyme. Serve the chicken on a bun with tzatziki sauce, sliced cucumber, tomato, red onion, and lettuce.
For the juiciest chicken, I recommend using boneless, skinless chicken thighs!
The secret to juicy chicken is to give it a nice, long marinade in the buttermilk. To make it crispy, you’ll want to carefully follow the breading procedure and ensure your oil is at the proper temperature.
I recommend using an instant-read thermometer to maintain the proper oil temperature. Take care not to overcook the chicken, or it could dry out.
As long as possible! A minimum of 4 hours should do the trick, but overnight is truly the best.
Let’s not pretend that a fried chicken sandwich is a healthy option, it’s definitely a treat meal, but making it at home is a way better option than a takeout version. There are a few extra steps you can take to make it healthier, like using a low-fat/nonfat mayonnaise, using chicken breasts instead of thighs, using a whole wheat bun rather than these brioche buns, or adding in some more fresh veggies such as tomatoes and onions to your toppings.
Sure! Follow my Chick Fil A Fried Chicken recipe for instructions on how to air fry!
To prevent the breading from falling off, make sure to pat the marinated chicken dry with paper towels. Excess moisture can prevent the breading from adhering properly. After breading the chicken, let it rest for about 10-15 minutes. This resting time allows the breading to set and adhere better.
The chicken is cooked through when it reads 165°F on an instant-read thermometer.
How to Store and Reheat
I always recommend storing the chicken, buns, and toppings separately. Store the crispy chicken in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in a 350°F oven for 10-15 minutes, until warmed through, then assemble the sandwiches as desired.
How to Freeze
I do not recommend freezing chicken sandwiches whole; however, you can absolutely freeze the fried chicken. Place the chicken in an airtight container to freeze for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
These chicken sandwiches pair so well with Chick Fil A Sauce, BBQ sauce, or ranch. Serve them with a side of french fries, coleslaw, potato chips, or potato salad. Dice up leftover fried chicken and add it to a salad or wrap!
Fried Chicken Sandwich Recipe
For the Chicken
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- ½ cup buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon hot sauce
- 4 teaspoons kosher salt divided (1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon)
- Canola oil for frying
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
For the Sauce
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon hot sauce
- 4 brioche burger buns toasted
- Bread and butter pickles
- 1 cup thinly sliced cabbage
- Add chicken, buttermilk, hot sauce, and 1 teaspoon kosher salt to a large resealable bag and refrigerate at least 4 hours or up to overnight.4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, ½ cup buttermilk, 1 teaspoon hot sauce, 4 teaspoons kosher salt
- Heat 1½ inches of canola oil in a dutch oven or large pot to 350°F.Canola oil
- In a wide bowl, combine the flour, remaining salt, pepper, garlic powder, and smoked paprika. Remove the chicken from the buttermilk marinade and dip each piece in the flour mixture until well coated.1½ cups all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, 2 teaspoons garlic powder, 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- Fry 2 pieces of chicken at a time until golden brown and cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. Rest the cooked chicken on paper towels to cool.
- Make the sauce by combining all sauce ingredients in a small bowl.½ cup mayonnaise, 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, 1 teaspoon hot sauce
- Assemble sandwiches by spreading the open sides of the toasted buns with sauce. Top the bottom bun with fried chicken, pickles, cabbage, and the top bun.4 brioche burger buns, 1 cup thinly sliced cabbage, Bread and butter pickles
- Let the chicken marinate for at least 4 hours in the buttermilk, longer if possible. If the chicken can marinate at least this long (or even overnight), you’ll be sure to have the juiciest fried chicken!
- Make sure your oil is at 350°F before frying the chicken.
- Fry the chicken in batches, don’t overcrowd the pot.
- Store the chicken separately from the buns and toppings, and assemble just before eating!
- To reheat, place chicken on a wire rack set in a baking sheet and cook in a 400°F oven for 12-15 minutes.