The Secret to the Perfect Chicken Sandwich

Make the perfect version of your favorite buzzworthy sandwich at home
The Secret to the Perfect Chicken Sandwich


The perfect fried chicken sandwich includes crunchy slaw and a warm, grilled bun.

The humble chicken sandwich has been pretty buzzworthy lately. In fact, competition is springing up everywhere with some of the most well-known chefs in America throwing their hat into the ring. Even David Chang opened Fuku in New York City to celebrate the extraordinary flavor of a fried chicken breast sandwiched between two pieces of bread.

Then, the fast food chain Shake Shack, owned by celebrated restaurateur Danny Meyer, created its own homage to the sandwich in the form of its Chick’n Shack sandwich. But what makes a chicken sandwich worth waiting in line for? We’ve broken down the anatomy of the perfect chicken sandwich, so whether you live near or far from one of these food meccas, you too can participate in this mouthwatering trend.

To understand the origin of this fan-favorite sandwich, we have to take a look at its origin. All the way back in 1946, Atlanta restaurant owner Truett Cathy wanted to create a hamburger alternative, and chock it up to a good idea or his deep-fried roots, the Chick-fil-a chicken sandwich was born.

Now, to condense all our taste buds' notes into one perfect sandwich:

The Brine
Since chicken sandwiches are fairly no-fuss, the flavor of the chicken is crucial, so brining is a must. Not only will brining your chicken keep it juicy as it fries in the oil, the right combination of buttermilk and just a hint of paprika for heat and pickle juice will give your fried chicken breast the perfect tang. For even more heat, consider swapping out that dash of plain pickle juice for a splash of pickled jalapeño flavor straight from the jar.

Deep Frying
Chick-fil-A’s classic sandwich is tender and juicy, but not as crunchy as we would like our own, so to achieve this superior crunch you have to dredge your chicken twice. Dip your chicken in the egg, then the flour, and then back into the egg, before one final dip in the flour. We recommend going with a two-to-one all-purpose flour-to-cornstarch ratio for superiorly crunchy chicken.

The Bun
The softer the bun the better, which is why potato rolls are the chosen vessel to carry the perfect fried chicken patty to your mouth. Across the board, the best fried chicken sandwiches use bread toasted in butter. This isn’t the time to be wary of the calorie tally when deep fried goodness is so close to touching your taste buds.

Simplicity is key. A creamy, homemade herbed mayo is the perfect simple sauce for your simple sandwich. 

A crunchy coleslaw crowned with two dill pickles should crown your perfect chicken sandwich. Combine sliced cabbage, carrots, and fresh chives with mayonnaise, a squeeze of honey for sweetness, and just a drizzle of vinegar for the perfect tangy slaw.