Crispy Chicken Sandwich

crispy_chicken_Sandwich_recipe_1

Crispy Chicken Sandwich Recipe

Tender juicy chicken breasts brined in pickle juice and buttermilk, then topped with a crispy breaded coating make up these crispy chicken sandwiches.  The ultimate comfort food meal and budget-friendly option to skip the drive-thru!

My kids love Chik-fil-A.  It’s their favorite fast food restaurant, but at almost $5 a sandwich, I wanted to recreate a crispy chicken sandwich at home for a fraction of the price, and this recipe nails it!

Pick up fresh boneless, skinless chicken breasts on sale at Safeway and save on vegetable oil and pickles this week as well to make this budget-friendly meal at home. 

I tested two methods of brining the chicken to see which method the family would prefer and it was an obvious choice that the pickle brined chicken was better than the traditional buttermilk chicken brine.   I was inspired to use the pickle brine after my pickle brined chicken tenders disappeared in five minutes flat!

The first method was a traditional buttermilk brine for 2 hours and the second method was marinating the chicken in a pickle brine before the buttermilk brine and the pickle juice solution infused the chicken with an amazing flavor – it was the clear winner in my family. 

They loved both the buttermilk brined fried chicken and the pickle brined chicken – but they could taste a subtle difference in the pickle brined chicken that all 4 members of my family said they preferred. 

Ingredients for Fried Chicken 

Chicken Brine:

  • 2 large chicken breasts, cut into 3 even cutlets
  • 1 cup pickle juice
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce (I used Tabasco)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

Breading for Fried Chicken

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
  • ~3 cups vegetable oil for frying chicken
  • for spicy chicken, add 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper to the breading

Buns, sandwich garnishes like pickles, tomatoes, mayo, etc.

crispy_Chicken_Sandwich_ingredients

How to Make a Crispy Chicken Sandwich

Just as with anything in life, crispy fried chicken has a few steps, but they are easy and as long as you plan ahead, you can have tender, crispy fried chicken any night of the week.  

Slice the chicken breasts into 3 even 1/2 inch cutlets lengthwise.   If you are using smaller chicken breasts, you may only be able to get 2 cutlets from each breast. 

Place the chicken in a food storage container and cover it with pickle juice.  Let the chicken sit in the pickle juice for one hour or up to 4 hours. 

Prepare the buttermilk brine – in a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, hot sauce, salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder.

After the chicken has marinated for one hour in the pickle brine, pour out the pickle juice and add the buttermilk brine to the food storage container.  Let the chicken marinate in the buttermilk for one hour or up to 4 hours. 

Prepare the breading.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.  If you want to make the sandwich spicy, you can add cayenne pepper here as well (optional).

Prepare a dredging station by placing the breading mixture in a large flat container or bowl next to the marinated chicken and an empty plate for the breaded chicken. 

 

crispy_Fried_Chicken_Dredging_Station

Remove a piece of chicken from the buttermilk and dredge in the flour mixture, coating on both sides.  Place the breaded chicken on a plate. 

Heat one inch of oil in a large Dutch oven or soup pot to 350° F.  

Just before frying the chicken, dredge it in the flour mixture again for a thick crispy coating.  Add the chicken to the hot oil 2 pieces at a time.  Cook the chicken for 3 minutes, then using tongs, flip the chicken and cook for another 2-3 minutes on the other side until crisp and browned all over. 

Remove the fried chicken from the oil and immediately place it on a wire rack so that the breading stays crispy. 

Repeat until all chicken pieces are cooked.  If the oil cools down, it may take a little longer for the last few pieces of chicken to be cooked, so check the oil temperature in between batches to be sure it is hot. 

Serve the chicken on toasted buns with your choice of garnish.  We served it with mayo, sliced tomato, pickle slices, and a pickle slaw – which is chopped cabbage, mayo, pickle juice, chopped pickles, salt, and pepper. 

crispy_Chicken_Sandwich_recipe

 

 

 

Make your Own Buttermilk

If you don’t have packaged buttermilk on hand, you can make your own by combining 1 1/2 cups milk and 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice or white vinegar.

 

What to Serve with a Crispy Chicken Sandwich

I served the fried chicken on a toasted bun with mayo, sliced tomato, pickles, and slaw with air-fried tater tots on the side.   The tater tots cooked in the air fryer for 12 minutes and were crispy and delicious without heating the oven!

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crispy_chicken_Sandwich_recipe_1

Crispy Chicken Sandwich

Tender juicy chicken breasts brined in pickle juice and buttermilk, then topped with a crispy breaded coating make up these crispy chicken sandwiches.  The ultimate comfort food meal and budget-friendly option to skip the drive-thru!
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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Crispy Chicken Sandwich, Fried Chicken Sandwich, Pickle Brined Chicken Sandwich
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Brine/Marinate Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 40 minutes
Servings: 6 sandwiches
Calories:
Author: Eva Fry

Ingredients

Chicken Brine:

  • 2 large chicken breasts cut into 3 even cutlets
  • 1 cup pickle juice
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce I used Tabasco
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

Breading for Fried Chicken

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper freshly ground
  • ~3 cups vegetable oil for frying chicken
  • for spicy chicken add 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper to the breading

Instructions

  • Slice the chicken breasts into 3 even 1/2 inch cutlets lengthwise.   If you are using smaller chicken breasts, you may only be able to get 2 cutlets from each breast.
  • Place the chicken in a food storage container and cover it with pickle juice.  Let the chicken sit in the pickle juice for one hour or up to 4 hours.
  • Prepare the buttermilk brine - in a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, hot sauce, salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder.
  • After the chicken has marinated for one hour in the pickle brine, pour out the pickle juice and add the buttermilk brine to the food storage container.  Let the chicken marinate in the buttermilk for one hour or up to 4 hours.
  • Prepare the breading.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.  If you want to make the sandwich spicy, you can add cayenne pepper here as well (optional).
  • Prepare a dredging station by placing the breading mixture in a large flat container or bowl next to the marinated chicken and an empty plate for the breaded chicken.
  • Remove a piece of chicken from the buttermilk and dredge in the flour mixture, coating on both sides.  Place the breaded chicken on a plate.
  • Heat one inch of oil in a large Dutch oven or soup pot to 350° F.
  • Just before frying the chicken, dredge it in the flour mixture again for a thick crispy coating.  Add the chicken to the hot oil 2 pieces at a time.  Cook the chicken for 3 minutes, then using tongs, flip the chicken and cook for another 2-3 minutes on the other side until crisp and browned all over.
  • Remove the fried chicken from the oil and immediately place it on a wire rack so that the breading stays crispy.
  • Repeat until all chicken pieces are cooked.  If the oil cools down, it may take a little longer for the last few pieces of chicken to be cooked, so check the oil temperature in between batches to be sure it is hot.
  • Serve the chicken on toasted buns with your choice of garnish.  We served it with mayo, sliced tomato, pickle slices, and a pickle slaw - which is chopped cabbage, mayo, pickle juice, chopped pickles, salt, and pepper.

Additional Chicken Recipes

Air Fryer BBQ Chicken Thighs

Instant Pot Buffalo Chicken

Skillet Chicken With Creamy Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Spinach

French Onion Chicken

Grilled BBQ Chicken Flatbread

Sheet Pan Chicken Shawarma Bowls

pickle_brined_Crispy_Chicken_Sandwich

 

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