Homemade Crispy Chicken Sandwich: Beats anything from a fast-food joint! A total flavor-bomb and so moist & juicy. You’ll love the bold spices!

Chicken sandwich on a soft bun with pickles.

Fried chicken sandwiches are all the rage right now! You can get one at just about every fast food restaurant, and they’re all so good!

We’ve tried the crispy chicken sandwich at:

  • McDonald’s
  • Burger King
  • Popeye’s
  • KFC
  • Chick-fil-A
  • Wendy’s, and
  • Wawa

And honestly my boys and I consider all of them to be pretty amazing.

But the best one of all is the one you can make homemade, in your very own kitchen.

Once I perfected this homemade fried chicken sandwich recipe, it quickly joined the ranks with homemade pizza, crispy Buffalo wings, and broccoli cheese soup as one of my kids’ favorite dinner recipes.

It’s so incredibly moist and juicy, and the crispy coating is so light and crunchy and flavorful, I just can’t keep it to myself any longer!

Close-up image of a homemade Burger King style chicken sandwich with a text overlay that reads "Crispy Chicken Sandwich."

HOW TO MAKE THIS CRISPY CHICKEN SANDWICH RECIPE

I can’t take full credit for this recipe, but I can’t give it to anyone else either. It’s weird- my younger son came to me one day a year or so ago with a piece of paper ripped from his spiral-bound notebook with a recipe on it, hand-written by him. He asked me to make him this fried chicken, so I did. And it legit blew my mind.

So I asked him where it came from but he insisted he made it up himself. A 12-year old boy. With very little interest in food, unless it’s of the pre-packaged, junk variety.

I know.

To this day I still haven’t gotten to the bottom of it, and I’ve adapted “his” recipe quite a lot, so I feel ok about claiming it as my own. But if it seems at all suspiciously familiar, please let me know so I can give proper credit to whoever originally inspired it.

The chicken gets brined before its crunchy breading is applied, and that breading consists of 2 components (wet batter and dry seasoned flour), so there are basically 3 steps to the prep, and then the cooking and assembly.

BRINING THE CHICKEN

The brine really helps the chicken to be juicy and it also infuses flavor into the meat.

It’s just hot sauce, water, chili powder, and salt. I like to add all the ingredients to a zip-top plastic bag (a big bowl would work too), pop in the boneless skinless chicken breasts, and shake it all around to get everything combined. Then I just let it chill for an hour or so to do its thing.

Chicken brining in a zip-top plastic bag.

I also like to pound the chicken breasts a little bit first though. Don’t make them thin, like a cutlet, just flatten out the thick parts so it all cooks evenly.

Pounding chicken breasts to even out their thickness.

If your chicken breasts are really big, you can cut them in half and get 4 sandwiches out of just 2 breasts. If they are small, you’ll probably want to use one per sandwich. Just keep in mind the size of the bun you’re using. You don’t want the meat hanging too far outside the edges of your sandwich.

THE COATING

While the chicken brines in the fridge, you can make the coating.

In one bowl, combine flour, salt, and garlic powder.

Flour, garlic powder, and salt in a medium glass bowl.

Stir them up a little to get them combined.

Then start whisking in the eggs.

Adding eggs to the wet batter.

The mixture will be very thick…

Adding sparkling water to wet batter.

…So you’ll also want to drizzle in sparkling water, just a little at a time until you have a smooth batter.

Smooth batter for fried chicken.

In a slightly bigger bowl, prepare the dry seasoned flour.

Ingredients for seasoned flour in a large glass bowl.

Whisk flour, salt, white pepper, onion powder, paprika, dry mustard, black pepper, garlic powder, and thyme together.

Seasoned flour for homemade crispy chicken sandwich.

Then stir in a few spoonfuls of the wet batter. This creates kind of a craggly surface on the fried chicken that is so killer!

Stirring a little batter into the seasoned flour for fried chicken.

Take the chicken breasts out of the brine and coat them first in the wet batter, then in the dry seasoned flour.

Chicken breast, breaded and ready to be fried.

COOKING THE CHICKEN

The frying oil should be somewhere between 325 and 375 degrees F.

I typically use vegetable oil, but any neutral-tasting oil with a high smoke point should work just fine. Here are a few other options:

  • Canola Oil
  • Peanut Oil
  • Safflower Oil
  • Soybean Oil
  • Corn Oil
  • Sunflower Oil
  • Cottonseed Oil

Cook the chicken until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. (Here’s a link to the kind of thermometer I use: Digital Thermometer for Cooking.)

Removing breaded chicken breasts from the fryer.

Then remove it from the hot oil, allow it to drain on paper towels, and let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes to seal in the juices.

ASSEMBLING THE SANDWICHES

I like to serve these fried chicken sandwiches on a soft brioche bun. If you really want to be a rockstar, you can make your own. Here’s the recipe: Brioche Hamburger Buns.

Or, try them on a buttermilk biscuit. I have a recipe for that too! Here you go:Southern-Style Buttermilk Biscuits.

Slip the buns into the toaster and hit the “bagel” button so it only browns the cut side. Then slather them with mayo. YUM!

Topping fried chicken sandwich with hot sauce.

For an extra hit of spice, you can douse the chicken with a few shakes of hot sauce. MORE YUM!!

And top it all of with a few tangy pickle slices. GAH!!!

IS THIS HEALTHY?

I’d be pretty hard-pressed to call this health food, lol! But I have a sneaky suspicion that it’s probably better for you than what you’d get at a fast-food joint. It’s all-natural, and homemade is always best, right?

If you are looking for specifics, they can be found in the recipe card below.

As for ingredient subs for those with food sensitivities, here’s a quick rundown:

  • For a gluten-free option, use a gluten-free flour blend that subs cup-for-cup for regular all-purpose flour.
  • For an egg-free, vegan version, use a plant-based egg substitute that swaps 1:1 for regular eggs.
  • This recipe is naturally dairy-free and nut-free.

Homemade McDonald's crispy chicken sandwich cut in half and presented on a distressed wooden surface.

IS THIS SPICY?

These fried chicken breasts have a TON of flavor. It’s complex, a little peppery, and very savory. There are a lot of spices, but it’s not hot-fire-spicy.

If you like a bit more heat, definitely douse them with more hot sauce. And you could even add some cayenne pepper to the brine, batter, and/or seasoned flour. Use as much or as little as you like to get the level of heat you are after.

HOW TO STORE LEFTOVERS

The chicken breasts are best when served fresh from the fryer, that’s always a no-brainer, right?

But if you want to make them ahead of time, I’d suggest placing them on a wire rack in a 170-degree F oven. They can be kept warm for an hour or so maybe? Just be careful they don’t dry out too much.

If you have any leftovers, store them in an airtight container in the fridge for a few days. They can be reheated in the microwave for a few seconds, then crisped up in a warm oven.

Fried chicken sandwich recipe, prepared, cut in half, and served on a paper napkin.

A FEW MORE OF MY KIDS’ FAVORITE DINNER RECIPES:

  • Detroit-Style Pizza
  • Baked Macaroni and Cheese
  • Chicken Pot Pie
  • Easy Chili Recipe
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    Fried Chicken Sandwich
    Prep Time
    35 mins
    Cook Time
    15 mins
    Resting Time:
    1 hr 10 mins
    Total Time
    2 hrs
     

    Homemade Crispy Chicken Sandwich: Beats anything from a fast-food joint! A total flavor-bomb and so moist & juicy. You'll love the bold seasoning!

    Course: Breakfast, Brunch, Main Course
    Cuisine: American
    Keyword: burger king fried chicken sandwich, crispy chicken sandwich, fried chicken sandwich, fried chicken sandwich recipe, mcdonald's crispy chicken sandwich
    Servings: 4
    Calories: 1213 kcal
    Ingredients
    For the Brine:
    For the Batter:
    For the Seasoned Flour:
    Additionally:
    Instructions
    To Brine the Chicken:
    1. Combine the hot sauce, water, chili powder, and salt in a large bowl or plastic bag.

    2. Pound the chicken breasts lightly, to even out their thickness.

    3. Coat the chicken breasts in the brine and chill for approximately 1 to 2 hours.

    To Make the Batter:
    1. Place the flour, salt, and garlic powder in a large bowl and whisk to combine.

    2. Whisk in the eggs and the sparkling water, a little at a time, until a smooth batter forms.

    To Make the Seasoned Flour:
    1. Whisk the flour, salt, white pepper, onion powder, paprika, dry mustard, black pepper, garlic powder, and ground thyme together in a large bowl.

    2. Stir in a little of the batter, until the mixture resembles coarse sand.

    To Make the Fried Chicken Sandwiches:
    1. Heat a large pot of oil to 325 to 375 degrees F.

    2. Remove the chicken breasts from the brine and coat them first in batter, then in seasoned flour.

    3. Fry the chicken breasts until they reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees F (approximately 5 to 15 minutes).

    4. Drain on paper towels and allow the chicken breasts to rest for 5 to 10 minutes.

    5. Dress the buns with mayonnaise and pickles (optional).

    6. Top the fried chicken breasts with hot sauce (optional), and sandwich them between the buns.

    Recipe Video

    Recipe Notes

    Serve these chicken sandwiches with Potato Salad on the side!

    *Or you can use buttermilk biscuits: Southern-Style Buttermilk Biscuits Recipe.

    Nutrition Facts
    Fried Chicken Sandwich
    Amount Per Serving (1 sandwich)
    Calories 1213 Calories from Fat 504
    % Daily Value*
    Fat 56g86%
    Saturated Fat 17g106%
    Trans Fat 0.2g
    Polyunsaturated Fat 18g
    Monounsaturated Fat 9g
    Cholesterol 370mg123%
    Sodium 3422mg149%
    Potassium 1041mg30%
    Carbohydrates 105g35%
    Fiber 3g13%
    Sugar 1g1%
    Protein 70g140%
    Vitamin A 1530IU31%
    Vitamin C 14mg17%
    Calcium 104mg10%
    Iron 7mg39%
    * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.