Fried. Chicken. Say no more...I’m there. Does anyone hate fried chicken? If you happen to be that .0001% that doesn’t like it…then feel free to move on to the next recipe….because this post is all about that juicy, crispy, savory fried chicken that (most) of us adore.
This recipe inspiration came from one of Ina Garten’s cookbooks… where she drew inspiration from Shake Shack’s famous fried chicken sandwich. I tweaked the recipe a bit and added and took away ingredients here and there. The end product? Absolutely incredible.
You can buy a fried chicken sandwich at pretty much any fast food chicken or burger joint. Chick-fil-A, Zaxby’s, McDonalds, Whataburger, Shake Shack, etc. You can also find them on the menu at some bars and American restaurants. My point is…is that fried chicken sandwiches are everywhere. I’ve had plenty of great ones in my lifetime and have made them at home dozens of times. It’s a lot of work but the final product is worth all the sweat and mess. The secret to the perfect fried chicken? In my opinion, it’s the buttermilk marinade. The overnight buttermilk marinade (made with a touch of pickle juice, spices and jalapeño) insures that the chicken is juicy and flavorful. Buttermilk is essentially vinegar and milk combined…and it’s the vinegar element that breaks down that chicken to make it tender. You don’t want to marinate it too long though. Overnight or up to 24 hours is the perfect amount of time. I like to prepare everything in advance. The night before I’m making the sandwiches, I put my chicken in the marinade and back into the fridge. You can also prepare the herby mayo, and slice the vegetables in advance as well. This will make everything go more quickly when it comes time to cook.
The recipe itself is pretty straightforward, simple and not a whole lot of ingredients. Is it time consuming? Yes. Set aside an hour or so to make these sandwiches. (And prep the night before if possible) Also be aware that it will get messy. I’ve never fried something before…and not made a mess. It comes with the territory. Luckily my sweet husband always helps out with the dishes. This is our system: I cook dinner and he cleans dishes. It’s the way we’ve been doing things for years and it works for us!
Okay, back to the chicken. After it’s been marinated you’ll need to whisk together the flour based breading mixture. Grab two bowls and drain most of the buttermilk out of the bag where the chicken was marinating. This excess buttermilk will be used when “double breading” the chicken. Double breading basically means dipping it twice and it will create a thicker crust. Piece by piece, take the chicken and place in the flour mixture. Once covered with the flour, then dip the chicken into the extra buttermilk. Place it back into the flour mixture once more and then into the hot oil. You’ll fry each piece at 350 degrees F for about 5-6 minutes until it is golden and crispy. The temperature of the oil might fluctuate up and down a bit…so adjust the temperature as needed. Once done frying, place on a drying rack over a baking sheet. Place in the oven at 300 degrees F to keep warm. Repeat until all the chicken is fried and then assemble the sandwiches! You can add anything you’d like on your sandwich.
- Herbed mayo
- Bibb lettuce
- Red onion
- Pickled onion
- Spicy ketchup
You can dress the sandwiches up as much as you want and make it as personal as you’d like. Or you can keep it simple and have it plain. It’s up to you!
What to serve on the side? I’ve got you covered.
PRODUCTS I LOVE:
BUTTERMILK FRIED CHICKEN SANDWICH WITH HERBED MAYO
Prep time: 12-24 hours (see recipe)
Cook time: 40 minutes
Total time: Up to 24 hours
Serves: 6 fried chicken sandwiches
- 1 gallon canola oil, (enough to fill a large pot 4-5 inches tall….or other high temp oils like peanut or vegetable)
- 3 chicken breasts
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 1 jalapeño, sliced in half lengthwise
- 2.5 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (can omit)
- 1 tbsp pickle juice brind
Breading: whisk all ingredients together
- 4 cups all purpose flour
- 4 tsp baking powder
- 1.5 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp celery salt
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
Herbed Mayo: mix all ingredients together and place in the fridge till ready to use
- 1 cup mayonnaise (like Hellmann’s)
- 2 tbsp buttermilk
- 3 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp dried parsley
- 2 scallions, sliced thin
- 1 pinch dried thyme
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 2 dashes worcestershire
- Bibb lettuce, washed and dried
- Red onion, sliced paper thin
- Pickles, sliced thick
- Potato sandwich/burger buns
- Take each piece of chicken and place between two pieces of parchment paper. Use a rolling pin to pound each breast to 1/2 inch thick. Proceed to then cut each piece of chicken in half to create two equal pieces. (If you are using larger breasts, cut the chicken in thirds to create 3 equal pieces.
- Place the chicken in a sealable bag and add in the remaining marinade ingredients. Toss together and then place in the fridge overnight or up to 24 hours.
- Mix together the herbed mayo ingredients. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Place a cooking wire rack over a baking sheet. Set aside.
- Fill an extra large pot (like a Le Cruset/ or cast iron pot) with enough canola oil so that the chicken will be submerged when cooking… about 4 inches deep. Be careful not to fill the pot too high or oil will spill out when frying. Use a thermometer to heat the oil to 350 degrees F. Keep an eye on the oil and adjust temperature controls if needed.
- Next, drain most of the buttermilk from the marinated chicken bag into a large bowl. Leave a small amount of buttermilk with the chicken so that the chicken is still coated.
- In another large bowl, whisk together the flour based breading mixture ingredients.
- Take a piece of chicken from the marinade and submerge it into the breading mixture. Shake the chicken so that the excess flour falls off. From there, place the chicken in the bowl with the extra buttermilk. Submerge the chicken. Lift and shake excess buttermilk off the chicken and place it back into the flour mixture. Lift the chicken once more and shake off the excess flour.
- Place the chicken in the hot pre-heated oil and fry for 5-6 minutes. Don’t overcrowd the pot. I fried 2 chicken breasts at a time. Flip it throughout to make sure the chicken is crisp on both sides. The chicken should be cooked through and golden brown at this point. Transfer to the wire rack/baking sheet and sprinkle with salt immediately. Place in the oven to keep warm while cooking the rest of the chicken.
- Repeat till all the chicken is cooked.
- Toast buns in the oven for 10 minutes. (Can omit)
- To assemble: bottom bun, lettuce, onion, chicken, pickle, top bun with herbed mayo spread. Enjoy while hot!