These Crispy Fried Chicken Sandwiches are perfect comfort food and they turn out just like restaurant chicken sandwiches – super crispy outside, moist and juicy inside.
I used to have to go to the popular chicken place nearby to get my crispy chicken sandwich fix. I love their sandwiches because they’re really crispy, but they aren’t dry. They taste just as good as they look. Good thing I tried to make one at home, because I learned that I could make it just as good at home.
What’s the secret to these breaded chicken sandwiches? Using boneless, skinless chicken thighs instead of breasts. Chicken thigh meat can be cooked longer without losing its juiciness, so you can get the outside super crispy with a breading of panko crumbs, while the interior stays nice and juicy.
The best part is that this sandwich is that it’s really easy to make at home, so you can have it any time you want. I almost always have frozen chicken thighs in the freezer.
Top it with some cabbage or lettuce, some yum yum sauce, and you’ve got a fantastic homemade chicken sandwich for less than half the price.
What You’ll Need
- Chicken thighs – Boneless, skinless thighs about 6 ounces each. In a pinch you could use chicken breast. Remember to take the chicken out of the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes before cooking.
- Panko bread crumbs – Panko is drier than regular breadcrumbs and creates a crispier, less greasy product when frying. You could use regular bread crumbs.
- Flour and salt
- Brioche buns – Use the softest, chewiest buns you can find, like brioche. The bread does make a big difference. I also think you must toast the inside of the bun first (with or without butter).
- Cabbage – Shredded to add crunch and texture.
- Yum yum sauce – Often called Japanese Hibachi sauce, because it’s a sauce that was popularized at Hibachi restaurants. Try this recipe to make it at home and see why we use it with everything.
How to Make a Crispy Fried Chicken Sandwich
As I already mentioned, the secret to this sandwich is using chicken thighs instead of breasts. They also need to be a uniform size, if possible. Trim them down a bit to fit the size of your buns, if necessary, but do remember that they will shrink up as they cook.
The second rule is that the chicken shouldn’t be fried straight out of the refrigerator. If added to the oil cold, it will lower the temperature of the oil and lead to a less crispy exterior. So let the chicken sit at room temperature for at least 20 minutes before breading.
Breading the Chicken
You’ll need to create a breading station for yourself. I like to use these Pampered Chef breading trays. I also recently came across this fun breading container that makes the process a lot less messy. You can always just use bowls/plates.
Dredge the chicken pieces through the egg, shaking off the excess. Then set it in the Panko mixture and flip it a few times to thoroughly coat the outside.
Frying the Chicken
If you don’t have a deep fryer, use a heavy and deep skillet or dutch oven. Pour the cooking oil into the pan until there is a solid layer of oil in the bottom, about 1/8 inch high. The oil needs to be heated to and stay at 350 degrees F for the perfect fry.
A note about the oil. You need to use a cooking oil with a high smoke point for this job. Don’t use olive oil or avocado oil. They don’t hold up to the heat. Instead, use vegetable, canola or peanut oil. I personally prefer vegetable.
Also make sure to test the temperature of the oil before adding the chicken and as you go along to make sure it maintains the correct temperature. I like to use the Thermapen ONE thermometer. It’s an instant-read digital thermometer that you can quickly dip in to measure the temp.
You want the internal temperature of the meat to get to 165 degrees. So be sure to take the temp of the meat too.
Creating a Chicken Sandwich
Use the softest, chewiest buns you can find. For me that’s a brioche bun, like the one pictured. The bread does make a big difference. I also think you must toast the inside of the bun first (with or without butter).
To top it, I always add Yum Yum Sauce. It adds a lot of flavor and I find it truly irresistible. Add some crunchy cabbage and cilantro, or a slice of tomato, maybe even some avocado. It’s the perfect chicken sandwich.
What to Serve it With
On the side, you can serve homemade guacamole or a classic wedge salad. If you like corn, try this Bacon and Jalapeno Corn Salad. And for all the Mac & Cheese lovers, this creamy stovetop mac & cheese will blow you away.
Looking for more great side dishes? Try these 20 Simple & Tasty Sides. There are endless possibilities for sides to serve with this crispy chicken sandwich recipe!
Other recipes to try
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does it take to fry chicken?
The oil needs to be heated to and stay at 350 degrees F for the perfect fry. Cook for 5-6 minutes a side. Watch for the panko to turn a golden brown color. Always check the internal tempurature with a thermometer. It should get to 165° F.
What is the correct oil to use?
You need to use a cooking oil with a high smoke point for this job. Don’t use olive oil or avocado oil. They don’t hold up to the heat. Instead, use vegetable, canola or peanut oil. I personally prefer vegetable.
Crispy Chicken Sandwich
- Dredge the chicken pieces in the egg, shaking off the excess. Then set the chicken in the Panko mixture and flip it a few times to thoroughly coat the outside.
- Using a heavy and deep skillet or dutch oven, pour the cooking oil into the pan until there is a solid layer of oil in the bottom, about 1/8 inch high. The oil needs to be heated to and stay at 350 degrees F for the perfect fry.
- When the oil reaches 350 degrees, add the chicken and cook on each side for 5 minutes or until the Panko looks golden brown. When the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165 degrees F, remove the chicken to a wire rack. Season with salt.
- To assemble the sandwiches, add sauce to the bottom bun, then add the chicken and top with cabbage, cilantro and more sauce, as desired.
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Laura is a home cook, with 25 years experience behind the stove, who spends an extraordinary amount of time in the kitchen cooking. She loves making new recipes and finding wonderful new things to eat, both at home or abroad. She spends a lot of time researching, crafting, and perfecting her recipes and currently has a cookbook in development.