Welp, I finally had my first Chick-fil-A sandwich. We splurged, and the hubs went up to Brick, NJ, the nearest town that has one, and picked us up some lunch as a treat! I was so tired, in a lot of pain, and I was so very grateful that my dear sweet hubby wouldn’t let me fix us anything! So he asked what I might like… I’ve been intrigued over the “big sensation” about this sandwich for several years now, so, curiosity finally got the best of me and I had to see for myself just what all the fuss was about! The hubs loved it, but I honestly thought that it was just, well, “meh”. Sorry!!!! I know!! Just being honest here. Please don’t hate me! But I carefully scrutinized every bite of this strangely popular sandwich anyways, in hopes that I could try and recreate it for my hubby since he really did enjoy it, writing down every last ingredient that I (personally) could taste in it. It was a quest. As it is for all true foodies. And I think that my Best Copycat Chick-fil-A Sandwich is unsurpassed and (just about) spot on to theirs! Only difference? Sorry Chick-fil-A….but mine were better. MUCH. (But homemade always is, isn’t it?) I think I should rename these to…. Le-Man-SL-A-er. hehe. 😉
*The pic below is Chick-fil-A’s website photo. Ours, (the purchased ones), didn’t look quite like this, though, lol!!! Not by a LONG shot!! It was fine and all. Edible. But the chicken filet was MUCH thinner, as was the breading. Hardly any at all in fact, and very pale in color, kind of an “anemic yellow” color, and such a VERY thin coating it that didn’t even cover all of the chicken. I wish that I would’ve thought to take a quick shot so that you could see, but I spaced it. I was tired, in pain, and hungry. What can I say. If we (ever) buy them again, I’ll be sure to remember to take a photo and add it to this post for a more realistic representation of what they actually serve and you can expect to receive when you purchase one from them.
My recipe is actually quite different than the hundreds of copycat recipes that I read later online, as I was in the kitchen experimenting and mixing like a mad scientist! And I started to question myself. How could my ingredients that I jotted down as I was eating it be so different from everyone else’s??
So glad that I stuck to my tastebuds and sense of smell! Though not exact, (the odds of getting struck by lightning are better!), in our opinion, it’s as close as you’re going to get to the real thing! (*And, NOT bragging…but…my hubby said it tasted just like them … except BETTER). He proceeded to eat THREE of them. Yep. THREE. The best compliment in the WORLD!!!
OMG, I love that man!!!!
Something to Pin to your Pinterest boards
for safe keeping to make any time you want!
One big difference, right off the bat, was that I marinated them in a lemon-water bath. *Not pickle juice. For some reason, everyone thinks that this is what they do at the restaurant. But after coming across several testaments by actual employees, the fried chicken filets are not, in fact (according to people who claim to work there), marinated in pickle juice. Only the grilled chicken filets are. The pickles are highly vinegary, which is what may be lending that extra “dill pickle flavor” that has caused the assumption that they are marinated in pickle juice. So I think that I may be right in what I did, as I swear, I could really taste lemon in the purchased sandwich. Not in the breading, but definitely in the chicken itself. If you taste each component separately, you’ll see what I mean.
I then gathered up a small armful of the herbs and spices that I personally tasted in there, and though it may seem like a lot, it’s just pantry stuff and comes together quickly!! Literally, in minutes! So don’t leave anything out! The combination was wonderful and SPOT. ON. (But better!) 😉
I used onion powder, as that’s what I have on hand. But if you have “granulated onion”, (not to be confused with “dried minced onion”), you might want to use that instead. Granulated is slightly more coarse than powdered and finer than dried minced onion, has a better flavor (milder and a little bit sweeter), and just might be what they use. But the onion powder worked just fine. So do just use what you have, either the powder or granulated (if you’re lucky enough to happen to have some!)
(*This is what granulated onion looks like:)
Lastly, I did cook mine partly with the lid on tight to help tenderize the meat and keep the filets nice and juicy inside. Most restaurants that serve fried chicken in quantity use what’s called a “pressure fryer“. They’re for commercial use only, and makes for the best fried chicken in minutes! I used to use one eons ago, when I worked in a small grocery store deli! I so miss cooking with one, and would all but kill to have one, but they are definitely not made for home kitchens! So to try and achieve the same tenderness, just follow how I do it for best results, versus just open-pan frying it on both sides. It really does make a huge difference!
I wish I could say that I used peanut oil, as that’s what they use, but that stuff costs literally twice as much as canola and vegetable oil, so I went with what I had, canola oil. It’s a light, clean tasting, all-purpose oil that has a high smoking point which makes it wonderful for frying! And that worked just fine for us.
Overall, I think Chick-fil-A is putting out a much better than average chicken sandwich for being a fast-food establishment. It’s definitely a real chicken breast, not “pieces parts”, and has a nice mellow flavor. The regular sandwich with just pickles and my copycat recipe for Chick-fil-A’s “secret mayonnaise” is all you really need. And that’s how I made mine when I recreated them. The hubs went “Deluxe”, so that’s how I made his! No matter how you make these, I think that you’ll really enjoy them, and I hope that they compare to Chick-Fil-A to you, too, as much as we think they do! We were very happy with them! Enjoy!!
*Be sure to check out the secondary recipe right below this one! My Copycat Chick-fil-A mayonnaise!
- For Chicken:
- 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut in half at a slight angle cutting thicker part a little smaller
- ⅓ cup cold water
- 1 Tbl. lemon juice concentrate
- For Egg Bath:
- 1 egg
- ⅛ cup whole milk
- For Seasoned Flour:
- 1 cup flour
- 1 Tbl. powdered sugar
- 1 tsp. paprika
- 2 tsp. regular table salt
- 1 tsp. regular black pepper
- ½ tsp. onion powder
- ½ tsp. garlic powder
- ½ tsp. celery salt
- ½ tsp. ground rosemary powder
- ½ tsp. dried dill weed
- ¼ tsp. dried basil
- ¼ tsp. sage
- ¼ tsp. dried thyme
- ¼ tsp. celery seeds
- ⅛ tsp. cayenne
- Rest of Ingredients:
- peanut or canola oil, enough until pan is ½" deep
- 4 hamburger buns, buttered and lightly toasted
- ½ stick softened butter, (4 Tbl.)
- 8 -12 dill pickle slices, 2-3 per sandwich as preferred
- Place chicken breast pieces, one at a time between 2 sheets plastic wrap. Before covering with second top sheet sprinkle chicken with a few drops of water evenly. This will help to pound them easily. Cover with top sheet and flatten with meat mallet until about ½" thick. Repeat with other 3 pieces.
- In bowl or ziplock baggies, marinate chicken pieces in lemon water while you prepare the rest of your ingredients.
- In pie dish, beat eggs, beat in milk until well combined.
- In doubled brown paper lunch bags, add flour and seasonings, twist top closed and shake until well combined.
- In large deep frying pan, heat oil to about 350º F.
- Drop each piece, one at a time, into seasoned flour mixture, twist top closed, and shake coating well. Shake off excess flour.
- Dip each piece of chicken into the egg mixture, coating both sides well and letting excess drip off. Then coat again well in flour mixture. Place each as you go along onto a cooling rack placed over a baking sheet, sprinkle with a little more of the flour mixture, and let rest while you heat up the oil to 350º F. in frying pan over medium heat.
- Place chicken pieces, pretty side up into hot oil over Medium heat and fry until golden on bottom, about 5 minutes, with lid OFF. Turn pieces over, COVER with tight fitting lid, reduce heat to LOW immediately, and fry 5 for minutes. Remove lid, turn pieces back over, return heat to Medium, and fry 5 more minutes with lid OFF. (*I did only two pieces at a time as to NOT overcrowd the pan. Highly recommended. Only takes 15 minutes per batch. No biggie).
- Place cooked pieces onto paper towel-lined (clean) cooling rack placed over a baking sheet to absorb any excess oil. Move pieces several times while making second batch to make sure all excess oil is absorbed.
- Spread insides of sliced buns well with butter and place onto flat griddle or frying pan, buttered sides down, and "fry" until lightly toasted. OR, place buttered side up onto baking sheet and broil, watching carefully, until lightly browned on top. Place 3 dill pickle slices onto each bun bottom, top with chicken filets, place top buns on. *Serve with my Copycat Chick-fil-A Mayonnaise spread on inside of top bun if desired. Recipe below separately.
**Chick-fil-A offers the following cheeses: American, Co-Jack, Pepper Jack, and sometimes Provolone. You can also place them on a whole wheat bun, too, if you choose.
So make it how you like it!
- 3 Tbl. heavy mayo such as Dukes or Hellmann's
- 1 Tbl. Miracle Whip Salad Dressing
- ¼ tsp. apple cider vinegar
- 1/16 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/16 tsp. cayenne
- In small bowl, whisk ingredients together well with mini whisk, or stir well with small spoon, until creamy.
- Chill until needed.
- Enough for 4 sandwiches. (*Spread on top buns only).