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Stacie’s Favorite Fast Food–Style Fried Chicken Sandwich

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If you’re going to master chicken, you need to know how to fry it up. But remember: we’re curating a handful of fun, vibrant, simple recipes here. So going with bone-in, skin-on pieces for an all-out Sunday-night fried chicken dinner didn’t feel right. (Though the method for that isn’t much different, except that you’ll need more of everything, from flour to oil, and a longer cooking time.)

Borrowing from a more recent fast food history, to which I can speak more honestly (having grown up on the stuff) and that I share with my kids (who are obsessed with the Shake Shack chicken sandwich, and now with this recipe, too), I decided to go with a fried chicken sandwich instead. Plus, the combination of shredded lettuce, pickles, and special sauce gets me every time. Feel free to put your own twist on this sandwich.

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Stacie's Fast-Food Style Fried Chicken Sandwich from the Winner! Winner! Chicken Dinner cookbook | Didn't I Just Feed You

Stacie’s Favorite Fast Food–Style Fried Chicken Sandwich

  • Author: Stacie Billis
  • Yield: 4


4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 cup buttermilk
Canola oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
2 teaspoons dill pickle brine
2 teaspoons mustard, preferably Dijon
4 sandwich rolls, preferably potato rolls
Unsalted butter, for the rolls
Iceberg lettuce, preferably shredded, for serving
Sliced tomato, for serving
Dill pickle slices, for serving


1. MAKE THE CHICKEN: Add the chicken and buttermilk to a bowl with a lid or to a large food storage bag and seal. Set on the counter to marinate for 1 hour or place in the refrigerator for longer, up to overnight. If you don’t have even an hour to spare for marinating, you can use the buttermilk as a dip before dredging the meat in flour, skipping this step altogether. The chicken will not be quite as tender, but it will still be juicy and delicious.

2. When ready to cook, prepare your frying station: Set a cooling rack on top of a large sheet pan next to the stove. Pour enough oil into a large pot so that it comes 1 inch up the sides. Clip a frying thermometer to the side of your pot.

3. Whisk together the flour, corn- starch, garlic powder, salt, black pepper, and cayenne in a wide, shallow bowl. Start heating the oil over medium-high heat as you dredge the chicken in the flour mixture to coat well. (I like to do this in batches as the oil is ready so that the coating doesn’t get wet before frying from sitting too long on the chicken.)

4. Once the oil reaches around 360°F (180°C), shake excess flour off of a couple of chicken pieces and drop them in the oil, being careful not to overcrowd the pot (I fry in a pot that is 12 inches in diameter and cook two thighs at a time). Fry for 5 minutes, using tongs to carefully flip the pieces halfway through.

Note: You’ll need a frying thermometer to monitor the heat of the oil.

Transfer the fried chicken to the cooling rack, and allow it to rest for 5 minutes. Repeat until all pieces are done. If desired, lightly dab the chicken with paper towels to soak up any excess oil before serving.

5. MAKE THE SANDWICHES: To make the sauce, whisk together the mayonnaise, chives, pickle brine, and mustard. If not assembling the sandwiches right away, set the sauce aside in the refrigerator.

6. Toast the rolls and butter both sides. Slather the top half of each roll with sauce. Place a chicken thigh on the bottom half of each roll and top with lettuce, sliced tomato, and dill pickle. Add the top half and serve immediately.

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