Online Recipe Book

Fried Chicken Sandwiches 1

American Classics, by America's Test Kitchen, c2002, p169
4 sandwiches
Prep info
15 min prep + 3 hr brine + 2 hr chill + 15 min prep + 15-30 min fry
Prep time
Not set
Cook time
4 hours
Time required
4 hours
Oven preheat
Mains - Misc


  • 2 chicken breasts (boneless, skinless, about 7oz each; either pound to about 1/2" thickness and cut in half, or butterfly but cut all the way through, either way ending up with 4 pieces, each roughly the size of one bun)
  • Brine:
  • 60 g salt (preferably coarse sea salt (6T + 2t), or table salt (3T+1t))
  • 4 t sugar
  • 2 t paprika
  • 1 garlic bulb (medium, cloves separated)
  • 1 bay leaf (crumbled)
  • 2.25 c buttermilk (plus 1/2 cup later)
  • Coating:
  • seasoning (as desired)
  • 1 c Flour (Plain)
  • 1/2 egg (large)
  • 1/2 t baking powder
  • 1/4 t baking soda
  • 1/2 c buttermilk
  • The Rest:
  • oil (vegetable oil, refined peanut oil, or vegetable shortening, for frying)
  • 4 buns
  • lettuce (as desired, for serving)
  • sliced tomatoes (as desired, for serving)
  • sliced onion (as desired, for serving)


1. Prepare the chicken breasts: either pound them to about 1/2"-3/4" uniform thickness and cut in half, or butterfly but cut all the way through.  Either way you need to end up with four pieces, each about the size of a bun.  Set aside.

Make the brine:

2. In a large thick plastic bag (use a freezer bag if you have one), combine the salt, sugar, paprika, garlic cloves, and bay leaves.  With a rubber mallet or flat meat pounder, smash the garlic into the salt and spice mixture thoroughly. 

3. Pour the mix into a medium plastic container or nonreactive stockpot.  Add 2.25 cups buttermilk and stir until the salt is completely dissolved.  Immerse the chicken breasts, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until fully seasoned, 2-3 hours.  

4. Remove the chicken from the buttermilk brine and shake off any excess; place it in a single layer on a large wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet.  Refrigerate uncovered for 2 hours.  (After 2 hours, the chicken can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 6 hours longer).

Make and apply the coating:

5. Measure the flour into a large shallow dish.  Beat the egg, baking powder, and baking soda in a medium bowl; stir in the remaining 1/2 cup buttermilk (mix will bubble and foam).

6. One at a time, season each chicken piece as desired, then coat each with flour, shake off the excess; then dip into the egg mixture, shake off the excess; then coat in flour again, shake off the excess; return to a wire rack.

Fry the chicken:

7. Heat the oil (which should have a depth of 4" or more in the pot) to 375F over medium-high heat in a large, deep pot.  Be sure to fill the pot no more than 2/3 full with oil.

8. While that heats, adjust an oven rack to the middle position, set a second wire rack over a second rimmed baking sheet, and place it on the oven rack; heat the oven to 200F.  Line a large plate with a double layer of paper towels.  

9. Place two chicken pieces at a time in the oil, cover, reduce the heat to medium, and fry until deep golden brown, 6-8 minutes.  After about 3 minutes, lift the chicken breast(s) with tongs to check for even browning; move if it's not browning evenly.  (Spot-check the oil temperature; after the first 6 minutes of frying, the oil should be about 325F.  Adjust the burner if necessary).  Turn the chicken over and continue to fry, uncovered, until it is a deep golden brown on the second side, 6-8 minutes longer.

10. Using tongs, transfer the chicken to the paper towel lined plate; let stand 2 minutes to drain, then transfer to the rack in the warm oven.  Replace the paper towel lining on the plate.  

11. Return the oil to 375F and fry the rest of the chicken.  When done, transfer it to the paper towel lined plate to drain.  Remove the wire rack with the other breast from the oven, and transfer the just-cooked chicken from the plate to the rack.

12. Serve on buns with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and condiments as desired.


SJ Note: I've altered this recipe, which was for fried chicken pieces, to be suitable for a sandwich.  (I don't think a fried chicken leg would do too well on a sandwich).  I've also pared it down to work for two people.  We'll see how it does!

SJ Note 9 Apr 2012: Tasty!  A keeper.  I made us each a chicken breast, pounded thin, which made HUGE sandwiches.  I've adjusted it now so that you use half a chicken breast per sandwich, which I'm sure will be much more reasonable.  Next time, I'll try brining two breasts (since the buttermilk brine quantity worked out perfectly for two breasts), and then freezing one and see how it does.  Chris wants it to be spicier; I've added a step to season the chicken pieces before dredging them, so we'll use Slap Ya Mama or something there; you could use mixed herbs, or whatever you wanted.