This fried chicken sandwich is ultra crispy on the outside, tender & juicy on the inside and bursting with flavour all over!
This recipe is also foolproof. Whether you’re a fried chicken pro, or never fried a piece of chicken in your life, there’s no way you won’t fall in love with this sandwich. There’s a few different steps, but it’s 100% worth it. Follow me…
Fried Chicken Thigh
For this sandwich we’re going for thigh. Mainly because thighs are slightly fattier/softer than breast. In reality the difference is minimal and the process is the same. The most important thing is that you’re using boneless/skinless meat.
Pound the Chicken
When prepping the chicken you’ll want to give it a good bashing. This will not only help level out the thigh, which in turn will help it cook more evenly, but it also tenderizes the meat. That and it’s horrendously therapeutic!
To pound the chicken I usually go for a rolling pin, but a mallet or heavy pan will also do the trick. You want them fairly thin, but not so thin they fall apart. The main thing is to get them even thickness.
Process shots: lay thigh on chopping board (photo 1), rest over cling film (photo 2), pound with rolling pin (photo 3), remove cling film (photo 4).
Buttermilk Fried Chicken
Buttermilk is key in perfectly fried chicken. Buttermilk is slightly acidic, meaning it tenderizes the chicken as it rests. It’s also got the perfect consistency for coating the chicken and helping the batter stick.
What can I sub buttermilk for?
You’ll find buttermilk in most stores, but if you don’t have it you can mix 1 cup milk with 1 tbsp vinegar. Let it sit for 10mins, when it curdles slightly you’re good to go.
How long to marinate chicken in buttermilk?
I generally advise a minimum of 4 hours, up to overnight. Go for as long as you have time for though, even just 30mins will work wonders!
Process shots: add spices and buttermilk to a mixing bowl (photo 1), stir to combine (photo 2), add chicken (photo 3), stir to combine, cover and marinate in fridge (photo 4).
EXTRA Crispy Fried Chicken
Dredging the chicken is where you create the crunchy coating. Here’s three crucial steps to consider when coating the chicken:
- Marinade – Do not drain off the marinade. Take the chicken out the bowl, give it a gentle shake then plonk it straight in the flour. The excess marinade will create lots of small crumbs in the flour, which when attached to the chicken will create those extra crunchy craggy parts.
- Coating – When coating the chicken use your hands and work the flour into every crack and crevice. Really make sure you build up a nice crust on the chicken, don’t just press each side in the flour and leave it at that. Get down and dirty – it makes all the difference!
- One by one – Coat the thighs one by one. If you add them all at the same time the flour will go thick and sludgy, leaving the batter chewy.
Process shots: add flour to shallow dish (photo 1), stir in spices (photo 2), add chicken (photo 3), coat in flour (photo 4), repeat (photo 5).
Deep Fried Chicken
In my experience, if you want tooth-shatteringly crunchy chicken, it’s gotta be deep fried. Yes it’s a bit of a faff, but it’s oh so worth it.
Tips for deep frying chicken
- Oil – You’ll want to use an oil with a high smoking point like vegetable or sunflower oil. Olive oil is not suitable for deep frying as it will smoke out the kitchen.
- Space – Fry in batches to ensure you don’t overcrowd the pot. I do one thigh at a time.
- Temp – Keep the oil at a steady temp. It will lower slightly when the chicken hits, just adjust the flame accordingly. To cool down the oil quickly just add in more oil.
How hot should the oil be?
I highly recommend getting a kitchen thermometer for deep frying. You want the oil to reach 180C/356F. Once the chicken hits the oil the temp will drop, which is fine, but you’ll want to keep it at a steady 165C/300F. After each batch get it back up to 180C/356F.
Process shots: add chicken to hot oil (photo 1), fry until crispy, golden and piping hot through the centre (photo 2), rest and repeat (photo 3).
Fried Chicken Sandwich
When it comes to this sandwich I don’t like to overdo the fillings. You want the chicken to shine, and anything inside the sandwich just to compliment it. Here’s what I recommend:
Fried Chicken Sandwich Fillings
- Burger Bun – Toasted in a scorching hot dry pan.
- Mayo – Here I mix in honey, sriracha and pickle juice to make an awesome sandwich sauce.
- Lettuce – Shredded iceberg lettuce is the classic option.
- Chicken – As discussed.
- Pickles – I like bread and butter pickles.
Other classic options are: tomato, cheese, jalapeños, bacon, coleslaw and red onion. But again, for this recipe I recommend not over-doing it.
Serving Chicken Sandwiches
I usually serve these as they are, but if you fancy a little something on the side check out these beauties:
What goes with a fried chicken sandwich?
- Potato Salad
- Sweet Potato Wedges (or Bacon Wrapped Sweet Potato Wedges)
- Halloumi Fries
- Spicy Wedges
Alrighty, let’s tuck into the full recipe for this fried chicken sandwich shall we?!
How to make a Fried Chicken Sandwich (Full Recipe & Video)
Classic Fried Chicken Sandwich
- Cling Film & Rolling Pin (for pounding chicken)
- Medium Sized Mixing Bowl (for marinating)
- Large Shallow Bowl or Curved Tray (for dredging)
- Large Pot & Tongs (for deep frying)
- Cooling Rack & Paper Towels (for draining oil)
- Small Mixing Bowl (for sandwich sauce)
- Sharp Knife & Chopping Board
- Kitchen Thermometer
- 4 boneless skinless Chicken Thighs (see notes)
- Vegetable Oil, for deep frying (see notes)
- 1 cup / 250ml Buttermilk (see notes)
- 1 tsp EACH: Paprika, Salt
- 1/2 tsp EACH: Onion Powder, Garlic Powder, White Pepper, Cayenne Pepper
- 1 3/4 cups / 250g Plain/All Purpose Flour
- 2 tsp Paprika
- 1 tsp EACH: Baking Powder, Oregano, Salt
- 1/2 tsp EACH: Onion Powder, Garlic Powder, Cayenne Pepper
- 1/4 tsp Black Pepper
- 4 Burger Buns, toasted (see notes)
- 1/2 head of Lettuce, shredded
- sliced Bread & Butter Pickles/Gherkins, to preference
Honey Sriracha Mayo
- 1/2 cup / 120g Full Fat Mayo
- 1 tbsp EACH: Honey, Pickle Juice, Sriracha (can adjust to spice preference)
- Pound Chicken: One by one lay a chicken thigh on a chopping board and rest over cling film. Pinch around the edges to avoid any moisture escaping, then pound with a rolling pin, mallet or even a heavy pan. You want them fairly thin, but not so thin they start breaking apart. The main goal is to achieve even thickness across the thigh.
- Marinate: In a medium sized mixing bowl combine 1 cup buttermilk with 1 tsp salt & paprika, 1/2 tsp onion powder, garlic powder, white pepper and cayenne pepper. Add in chicken thighs and use your tongs to ensure they'll all evenly coated. Cover with cling film then marinate in the fridge. I highly recommend a minimum of 4 hours (up to overnight), but just as long as you have time for. Take the chicken out the fridge 30mins before needed to bring close to room temp.
- Dredge: In a shallow dish or curved tray, combine 1 3/4 cups flour with 2 tsp paprika, 1 tsp baking powder, salt and oregano, 1/2 tsp onion powder, garlic powder and cayenne pepper and 1/4 tsp black pepper. One by one dredge the thighs through the flour, making sure you completely coat each time. Really get in all the cracks and crevices of the chicken to create lots of craggy bits on the batter. Place to one side.
- Fry: In a large pot or deep pan heat up 3-4 cups oil to 180C/356F. Place in 1 thigh and fry for 3-4mins each side, or until deep golden and crunchy. The internal temp of the chicken should reach 75C/165F (will continue cooking slightly as it rests). The temp of the oil will likely drop when the chicken starts frying, and that's fine, but make sure the temp stays at around 165C/300F as the chicken fries (a medium flame should obtain this). Carefully remove and rest on wire rack with paper towels underneath (don't place directly on paper towel or they'll lose crispiness). Bring oil temp back up to 180C/356F and fry the next thigh.
- Serve: In a small pot whip up your sriracha honey mayo, then stack the sandwiches in the following order - Bottom bun, mayo, lettuce, chicken, pickles, top bun (spread with mayo). Enjoy!
Your Private Notes:
Why not check out my ultimate GRILLED Chicken Sandwich?
For more similar sandwiches check out these beauties:
Fried Chicken Sandwiches
- Spicy Chicken Sandwich
- Flamin’ Hot Buffalo Chicken Sandwich
- Popcorn Chicken Sandwich
- Parmesan Chicken Sandwich (shallow fried)
- Chicken Katsu Sandwich (shallow fried)
If you loved this Fried Chicken Sandwich recipe be sure to Pin it for later! Already made it or got a burning question? Give me a shout in the comments below!
David E. W
Thank you for the recipe, my family loved it, my wife told me that she knew she loved me but now she has more of a reason. I’m like, it’s just a recipe, Babe.
Thank you again
Hahah I love it! Glad it went down well. C.
Made these tonight for the fam, they were great!
Great to hear, James!
Made this tonight and a big hit with my family, Chicken was so tender along with great flavor and perfect crispiness. The siracha mayo sauce was awesome with it!!
This is so great to hear! Thanks so much for the review 🙂 C.
Great recipe. I poured some frank’s buffalo sauce on one and made spicy ranch with the leftovers for lunch and it was amazing. Definitely saving this one.
Great to hear this went down well, Chelsea! Thanks for the review 🙂 C.
*Janice voice from Friends* OH. MY. GOD.
Fried chicken sandwiches are my favorite, but I’ve never been able to nail down a homemade one. My main issue has always been the breading sticking right, and getting that perfect browning without overlooking the chicken. This was absolutely phenomenal. I followed the recipe exactly and I’m so glad I did. Thank you for this!! 😍
So happy to hear these were a success! Thanks so much for the review 🙂 C.
This is bomb!!!!!!!!!! Best fried chicken sandwich I’ve made or had. Many thanks!!!!!!
Ah that’s great to hear, Janet! 🙂
Tried it twice now & yes this is it! I was scared of the seasonings because I season meat for meal prep & freeze it so thought it would be too salty & that was not the case. So glad I found this recipe. Thank you!
So happy to hear this went down well! Thanks so much for the review 🙂 C.
Best fried chicken recipe ever! Never made it before this and it came out amazing—and that’s serving a connoisseur and he loves it too!! It’s such an excellent balance of flavors and really dynamic, all steps breathe in some new flavors!
Thanks so much for the lovely review, Heather 🙂 C.
Having never made fried chicken before—I’m soooo glad this is the recipe I picked!!! It’s perfect marinade paired with perfect sauce. Nothing better to say than, YUMMMmmMmMMmMmmmmm! Keeping this recipe forever ❤️
Can I triple the recipe with all ingredients for a larger crowd?
The best way to do that would be to use the servings toggle in the recipe card, where the ingredients will automatically change to however many serving sizes you want 🙂
Very good! I doubled the cayenne, onion, and garlic powder in the flour mixture for a spicier sandwich. Adding baking powder to the flour will always give you a crispier, more voluminous chicken! Loved this recipe!
Great to hear the recipe went down well, Madeline! 🙂
Just made this and oh my goodness if your mouth was watering while watching the video better believe it’s delicious I double dipped from the buttermilk to the seasoned flour omg my husband was like this is the best spicy chicken sandwich I’ve ever had thank you for this recipe ❤️
So great to hear this went down well, Esmeralda! Thanks for popping back for a review 🙂 C.x
I made this yesterday and it was very very good, I will definitely make it again
Great to hear! Thanks for the review, Melissa 🙂
It was so delicious and easy to make, I can’t wait to make more!
So happy to hear! 🙂
These are the best crispy chicken sandwiches ever! I typically dont ever order chicken sandwiches out, but I’m assuming this recipe rates way better. I haven’t tried this recipe with chicken thighs yet, just thinly sliced and tenderized chicken breasts cut in half horizontally so they are about half size, but they turned out so delicious!! I love soaking them in the seasoned buttermilk it really ups the flavor. I’ve also tried making them with a double dip, from the buttermilk, into the seasoned flour, into new seasoned buttermilk, and back into the seasoned flour. So crispy and tasty!! I cant praise this recipe enough. Seriously. My new favorite way to fry chicken. You’re a genius!
This is so awesome to read, Kate! Glad the recipe is going down well. Thanks so much for popping back for a review! C.x
This fried chicken sandwich was the BEST! Can’t wait to make it again.
This chicken sandwich looks amazing! Looking forward to making it.
Patty at Spoonabilities
Oh this is so drool worthy! And the honey Sriracha mayo… OH YES! So freaking good!
I have never left a review for a recipe I’ve found through Pinterest but I had to come back for this one. We just finished eating these for dinner tonight and they were amazing! They were so easy to make and so delicious. We will definitely be making these again! Thank you!
So great to hear, Sherrie! Thanks so much for the review 🙂 C.
This chicken looks so good! I’ve been afraid to deep fry but I really want to try this recipe!
Oh my goodness! This looks so yummy and tasty! I can’t wait to make this soon!