Fried Chicken Sandwiches are the ultimate summer food! These are made with basic ingredients, and a technique simple enough for anyone to pull off. Load up your sandwiches with plenty of toppings – we love pickles, slaw, tomatoes, and of course – our honey mustard sauce – and stuff them in a toasty brioche bun for summertime perfection!
The first time I ever made fried chicken was last Labor Day, and I was cooking for 8 people. Honestly, it went better than expected! I tell you that not because I think you should make something you’ve never made before when you’re cooking for 8 people on a holiday, BUT because I want you to see that fried chicken isn’t that difficult to make. I’ll walk you through the whole thing!
How to Make Easy Fried Chicken:
First, slice up your chicken breasts – most chicken breasts are huge and will burn before you can cook them through. Slice them in half, lengthwise, and possibly in half the other way as well – this gives you about 3-4 pieces per chicken breast. Let the chicken hang out in a mix of milk, egg, and some spices (paprika, salt, pepper, etc.) for a couple of hours!
Once you’re about ready to start cooking, heat about an inch of vegetable oil in a large pan on the stovetop. I usually start at medium heat so it doesn’t get too hot too fast – burnt fried chicken is no fun! Keep an eye on the temp with a thermometer like this one (affiliate link) – that’s the one essential piece of equipment you’ll need to make this recipe! The good news is that you can grab one in most grocery stores or online for under $10. we’re looking for 350 degrees F, give or take a few degrees.
While the oil is heating, whisk up your dry mix. All we’re using is flour, corn starch, salt, baking powder, and a little paprika. Coat each piece of chicken thoroughly in this mixture and then let the pieces hang out on a clean plate while you check the temperature of the oil.
Once the oil is at about 350 degrees, add 2-3 pieces of chicken. Don’t add too many at once – you’ll crowd the pan and they won’t cook as evenly. If the oil is too hot, you’ll be able to tell pretty quickly – here’s a burnt test piece that I fried when my oil was too hot.
Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side, and then cut into the thickest part of the piece to check doneness. You’ll start to get the hang of knowing when each piece is done as you go.
The chicken will be EXTREMELY hot when it comes out of the oil, so let it sit on a paper-towel lined cooling rack over a baking sheet – this also helps to remove the excess oil. Here’s what the fried chicken should look like when you’re done! It’s nice and golden brown, and pretty even in color.
That’s all there is too it! It may seem intimidating, but I promise it’s not as hard to make as you might think. Oh – and for the Honey Mustard Sauce? It’s as simple as whisking together some mayonnaise, honey, and honey mustard! That’s it. A 3-ingredient wonder that you will NOT be able to stop putting on everything!
Don’t forget allll the toppings! Toast your brioche buns in the oven or in the toaster to get them warm and a tad crisp, spread on that honey mustard sauce, add a slice of tomato, plenty of slaw, and a few pickles for the perfect summertime sandwich.
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Fried Chicken Sandwiches with Honey Mustard Sauce
For the Chicken "Marinade"
- 4 large chicken breasts about 2.5 to 3 lbs
- 1 cup buttermilk see note for sub
- 1 TBSP paprika
- 1 t salt
- pinch of pepper
- 1 and 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 large egg
For the Dry Mix
- 1 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup corn starch
- 1 and 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp garlic powder
For the Honey Mustard Sauce
- 3/4 cup mayonnaise
- 2 TBSP honey mustard
- 2 TBSP honey
- Prep the Chicken: Mix all chicken marinade ingredients together in a large tupperware container. Slice chicken breasts in half so they're not so thick - it'll be very hard to fry them without burning them if you don't do this step. I ended up cutting some of the chicken breasts in half through the thick part, and then if one piece was twice as big as the other, I cut that in half across the width of it too. Toss chicken in the marinade mixture, pop the lid on, and let sit in the fridge for 1-2 hours.
- Mix up the Honey Mustard Sauce: Stir all sauce ingredients together, and adjust to taste. Store in the fridge until ready to use.
- Get Your Oil Heating + Mix the Dry Ingredients: At this point, you want to get your oil heating up since it can take a bit. Add about 1 inch of vegetable oil to a sturdy pan or dutch oven and let it heat up over medium heat. Keep an eye on the temp - we're frying our chicken at 350 degrees. I don't recommend making this recipe without a thermometer like this one to check the oil temp. Any hotter, it'll burn, and any colder, it won't fry up nicely. Whisk together the dry mix ingredients in a large shallow bowl. Set a cooling rack over a baking sheet and line the cooling rack with a few paper towels. This is where you'll place the fried chicken pieces as they come out of the oil to cool a bit + to drain.
- Dredge + Fry the Chicken: Coat each piece of chicken in the dry mix, flipping each piece over and back a few times to make sure it's well coated. Set these on a clean plate while you check the oil temp - remember, 350 is the magic number! (It helps if they rest for a few minutes before you begin frying. You can do a few pieces at a time, and then while you're waiting for each batch of 2-3 pieces to fry, you can be dredging the next few pieces). I always fry a smaller piece first as a test piece. If the oil is too hot, the skin on the outside will burn and you'll know to turn the heat down. Once the heat is right, add 2-3 pieces of chicken. Note that each time you add something to hot oil, it will reduce the temperature, so keep an eye on it and adjust as needed. It sounds complicated and scary but I promise you'll get the hang of it! Fry the chicken for about 2 minutes on each side, or until golden brown, and then flip it over. Cook another 2 minutes or so on that side, or until golden brown. Remove a piece and set it on the prepared rack - cut into the thickest part of the chicken to check doneness. Return to the oil for a minute or so if it's still pink. It's hard telling exactly how long to cook each piece for since the size will vary. You'll get a feel for it as you start doing it! Place fried chicken pieces on the prepared rack to let the oil drain and to let them cool a bit - they'll be SUPER hot when you take them out of the pan, so they'll need a little bit of time to cool. Remember to check your oil in between batches as the temperature will fluctuate.
- Serve + Store: Serve with toasted brioche buns, honey mustard sauce, slaw, tomato slices, pickles, and anything else you can dream up! Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4-5 days. It's best fresh, of course, but the chicken reheats pretty well for a few days after, too.
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