When a fried chicken sandwich is good, the juicy, tender, and well-seasoned meat swaddled in a crispy coating and nestled in a soft bun is hard to beat. And sure, you can get a tasty chicken sandwich at your local fast-food joint. But whether your politics or distance or personal motivation to be a frying pro keeps you from doing that, we have some tips for making the ultimate fried chicken sandwiches at home.
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10 ingredients. 45 minutes. Quick, easy, and fresh weeknight recipes.
Start with Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs
Chicken thighs stay juicy even through the intense heat of frying. Plus, they have more flavor than chicken breasts.
Marinate in Amped-Up Pickle Brine
Any acidic ingredient like buttermilk or pickle brine will make the chicken thighs more tender and juicy (so long as you don’t let them marinate too long). But the pickle brine adds an extra dose of salt and flavors that go well with fried chicken. Adding some extra dill, garlic, and dried mustard to the marinade drives home that pickle flavor.
Add Baking Powder to the Coating
Adding baking powder to a coating of flour and cornstarch adds a lightness that after frying makes it crunchy, not tough.
Pickle-Brined Fried Chicken SandwichesHow do you get bold pickle flavor deep inside your fried chicken?
And Make Extra Craggy Bits
Stirring ¼ cup of pickle brine into the dry flour mixture and rubbing it between your hands allows you to form craggy bits, aka extra-crunchy coating, once fried.
Let the Flour Hydrate
Letting the dry mixture sit on the chicken thighs for at least 30 minutes before frying hydrates the flour. This means it will stick to the chicken and not slough off during frying.
Buffalo Pickle-Brined Fried Chicken SandwichesHow do you get bold pickle flavor deep inside your fried chicken?
Fry Until the Chicken Hits at Least 175 Degrees
Chicken thighs can handle being cooked to at least 175 degrees without drying out. This gives time for that crispy coating to get deeply golden brown.
Sandwich in a Soft Bun with Toppings
Nestle the extra-crispy piece of fried chicken in a soft bun for textural contrast. Add in any toppings you want. For our version we reinforce the pickle flavor with a pickle-packed sauce and some crispy iceberg lettuce. But you could also make it with a nod to buffalo chicken. Toss the fried chicken in buffalo sauce, and then top it with celery and blue cheese. Then, enjoy with no waiting in the drive-through required.