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Our site's Best Fried Chicken Sandwich

Our site's Best Fried Chicken Sandwich

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This sandwich is engineered for maximum impact. Each element is awesome, but it’s the way they come together that puts it over the top. Mmmmm, yeah. This is part of Our site's Best, a collection of our essential recipes.



  • 1 tablespoon Diamond Crystal or 1¾ teaspoons Morton kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon light brown sugar
  • 4 skin-on or skinless, boneless chicken thighs

Seasoned Mayonnaise

  • 1 garlic clove, finely grated
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped chives
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons Diamond Crystal or 3½ teaspoons Morton kosher salt, plus more
  • 1 large egg, beaten to blend
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons hot sauce (such as Frank’s); plus more for serving (optional)
  • Peanut or vegetable oil (for frying; about 8 cups)
  • 4 seeded soft hamburger buns
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • Bread-and-Butter Pickles (for serving), plus 1 tablespoon brine
  • 4 cups thinly sliced iceberg lettuce
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Recipe Preparation


  • Mix salt, sugar, and baking powder in a small bowl. Season chicken all over with salt mixture (you won’t need all of it). Chill uncovered on a wire rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet, at least 2 hours and up to 1 day.

Seasoned Mayonnaise

  • Combine garlic and lemon juice in a medium bowl; let sit 10 minutes. Mix in mayonnaise, chives, celery seeds, and pepper; season with salt.


  • Whisk flour, cornstarch, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, cayenne, and 2 Tbsp. salt in a medium bowl. Whisk egg, buttermilk, bourbon (if using), and 3 Tbsp. hot sauce in another medium bowl. Working with 1 piece at a time, dredge chicken in flour mixture, turning to coat and packing into crevices. Shake to remove excess; return to rack. Pour 3 Tbsp. buttermilk mixture into flour mixture and work in with your fingers. Dip chicken into remaining buttermilk mixture, allow excess to drip off, then pack moistened flour mixture firmly onto chicken. Gently shake off excess; return to rack. Chill at least 30 minutes and up to 12 hours.

  • Pour oil into a large heavy pot fitted with thermometer to come halfway up sides. Heat over medium-high until thermometer registers 350°. Working in 2 batches, fry chicken, turning often and adjusting heat to maintain temperature, until deep golden brown, 5–8 minutes per batch. Transfer to a wire rack set over paper towels to drain.

  • Heat a dry large skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium. Brush cut sides of buns with butter and, working in batches, cook, cut side down, until deep golden brown, about 2 minutes per batch.

  • Mix 1 Tbsp. pickle brine into 2 Tbsp. seasoned mayonnaise in a medium bowl. Add lettuce, season with salt and pepper, and toss to coat. Spread some seasoned mayonnaise over cut sides of buns. Build sandwiches with pickles, fried chicken, slaw, and more hot sauce, if desired.

Nutritional Content

Calories (kcal) 770 Fat (g) 43 Saturated Fat (g) 12 Cholesterol (mg) 175 Carbohydrates (g) 63 Dietary Fiber (g) 4 Total Sugars (g) 9 Protein (g) 32 Sodium (mg) 3920

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The Very Best Fried Chicken Sandwich

Reviews [email protected] JACQUELINEP21, I would use the Tobasco sauce if I couldn’t get Frank’s. Different but workable.AnonymousCincinnati05/14/20This is THE best chicken sandwich. I've started making it for parties in large quantities by halfing the chicken thighs and making a slider version. And use the variation that was printed in the mag - Slaw of cabbage, red onion, sliced jalapeño and bread & butter pickles chopped with pickle brine as the dressing. Plus the hot chicken dredge -- use a cup of hot chicken oil mixed with cayenne, dark brown sugar, chili powder, garlic powder and paprika. Takes it to the next level!kellie kalvigSeattle, WA05/06/20Claire Saffitz, you've done it again! My partner is working on Covid-19 lab testing here in sunny Northern Ireland and I wanted a Friday night indulgence to make everything better. I gotta say, this recipe is phenomenal. The spread is so well balanced and the hot sauce in the buttermilk mixture was inspired. One of my favourite recipes I've ever made, this will be my go to fried chicken sandwich from now on. Thanks Claire and Alex for helping make my night during these strange times.PastryChefMakesGourmetUsernameNorthern Ireland04/24/20Very juicy, tender fried chicken sandwich!My husband and I live together, and we made 4 friend chicken pieces, but there are only two of us. So we reheated another night and these are even killer when reheated. Highly recommend!!!Honestly this sandwich was AMAZING. Such a good blend of flavors. I don't like pickles but they were good on this. Will absolutely make again.AnonymousLexington, KY04/07/20Best fried chicken recipe ever! Crunchy and moist, packed with a ton of flavor. I used chicken thighs. Also the the mayonnaise sauce was delicious 🤤 I didn’t have chive on hand so I used scallion. Still very tasty. I dipped my french fries in this delicious mayonnaise sauce. I recommend this recipe and it’s a keeper. Will be making this again real soon 😃jessicaolBrooklyn, NY04/04/20This recipe needs a bit more direction. First, specifying the size of the chicken thighs. Frying a 3-4oz chicken thigh for 5 to 8 minutes at 350F oil would work.For anything bigger than that, you would need to finish them in the oven. Bake your fried pieces for 15-20 minutes in the oven also set to 350F.Just keep in mind when cooking that the inner temperature of your chicken pieces must reach 165F.Wow what an amazing fried chicken recipe! My husband is amazed!I used breasts instead of thighs and the result was still really juicy.If I could pick my last meal on earth, this is it. I make it every year for my birthday.AnonymousMadison, WI 03/21/20I haven't made this recipe yet but I don't have access to Frank's hot sauce (don't live in the U.S.). If you were to pick between harissa, sriracha, piri piri, or tabasco, which would you pick to replace it?jacquelinep21Paris, France03/09/20Really great recipe! Reduced the cayenne and hot sauce just because my family doesn’t like a lot of spice. Otherwise it was really good. Best crust I’ve ever made on chicken, and the secret truely is adding some of the buttermilk mixture to the flour like the recipe suggests. It’s brilliant!AnonymousChicago, IL09/07/19Have made this recipe a few times now, it comes out delicious every single time. Wouldn't change a thing.leannetheentCherry Hill, NJ08/26/19The breading was too thick and made it difficult to enjoy the chicken sandwich. Also I didn't find there to be a lot of flavor in the breading.RmstadeDamariscotta, Maine04/30/19my favorite way in which i boycott chik-fil-a and their egregious acts towards the LGBTQ community is making this sandwich, which turns out to be so much better than anything on their menu.THE BEST. Thank you, BA. This is a keeper. No modifications - just as is.AnonymousSan Francisco, CA02/17/19tavernabosqueSweden10/17/18OMG! These were delicious! I made a double batch and I am eating one for breakfast now. I followed the instructions to a T (except used Rye whisky instead of bourbon). I sampled one out of the fryer and it was good. But the combo of the mayo,lettuce slaw, bun...truly the best fried chicken sandwich ever. Hits all the right notes. Thanks for this great recipe.suezzeElora, Ontario, Canada01/13/18It is a good recipe. Having followed the steps, I was not pleased that the color of the crust was so dark brown (due to spice mix and the length of time needed to fry to assure done-ness...I might stop it sooner and finish it in the oven to have a more golden color in the final product). I was pleased with the crunch and the spicing. Now, this is more on the "bread-y" fried chicken spectrum but is a perfectly viable fried chicken recipe. I want to also confirm that I would make it again. I am continuously trying out fried chicken recipes as I come across them for my fried chicken blog (thefriedchickenblog, that is) that I maintain. I would not hesitate to recommend this recipe to anyone.Jay FrancisHouston, Texas01/11/18I thought it was great, I am not a huge pickle person, but they made this sandwich! Oh and the slaw directions are the last paragraph at the bottom.Sandwich came out great, I was in sure about the sweet pickles but it went well with the sandwich.MadlyGeekyCalifornia11/26/17I do not see anywhere in this recipe where it tells you how to prepare the slaw.

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