Spicy Fried Chicken Sandwich Bon Appetit BA Best

Spicy Chicken Sandwich, BA’s Best

Yanno, I’m always trying new recipes and this Chicken Sandwich from Bon Appetit’s March issue caught my eye. See, I was just down in Georgia and had an opportunity to eat at Chick Fil A for the second time, ever. I think it’s the best fast food – and I don’t usually quite lower myself to eat fast food! I know, I know, I’m a snob about some things…life is just too short for mediocre food.

Spicy Fried Chicken Sandwich

Spicy Fried Chicken Sandwich

So of course, I wanted to see how this Chicken Sandwich from Bon Appetite’s Best Of series would compare. It was delicious. The breading was divine. Mind blowing, really. It was so crispy and had just the right enough spice. Not enough to be “hot” but just enough to give the chicken some interest. “Personality,” my Dad would say.

Given that, it was a good bit of work to make. Plus, there was a lot of “resting” time – which is really critical, and does have to be taken into consideration in the planning of this recipe. Also the recipe seemed a bit daunting, which it really wasn’t, so I’m going to reorder things a bit here and add in some helpful hints.

Spicy Fried Chicken Sandwich

Spicy Fried Chicken Sandwich

For instance, I made sure (the second time around) to really trim the chicken thighs well and lightly pound – the connective tissue is very unappealing when eating if this isn’t done, and not being much of a thigh person, I hadn’t thought about this. Then, on the second go, I pounded the thighs a bit. The first time around, the chicken didn’t cook evenly & the crust was too dark by the time the chicken cooked through. I also pan-fried, not deep-fried, the chicken.

Now given all that, was the sandwich worthy of my blog? One I know I’ll make again sometime? I’m giving this a resounding “yes!” As in Yes, Yes, Yes! Besides, I got out of Chick Fil A with a tab around 10 bucks for the sandwich and waffle fries – This whole recipe can be made for less than one fast food sandwich.

Plan ahead on this recipe: the chicken needs to  be spiced and then rest for 2 to 24 hours before being breaded; once breaded, it needs to rest another 30 minutes to 12 hours. And do make the Seasoned Mayo and use the Bread and Butter Pickles. They really help “make” the sandwich.

Spicy Fried Chicken Sandwich

Spicy Fried Chicken Sandwich

Spicy Chicken Sandwich

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

Chicken: First Step, Dry Brine or Rub

  • 1 tablespoon Diamond Crystal or 2 teaspoons Morton kosher salt or about 1 1/2 teaspoons table salt. See conversion guide.
  • 1 teaspoon light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 4 skin-on or skinless, boneless chicken thighs

Trim chicken carefully of pieces of fat and ligament. Gently pound to an almost even layer.

Mix salt, sugar, and baking powder in a small bowl. Season chicken all over with salt mixture and rub in (you won’t need all of it). Chill uncovered on a wire rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet, at least 2 hours and up to 1 day.

Chicken: 2nd Step, Cook

  • cups all-purpose flour
  • cup cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 large egg, beaten to blend
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons hot sauce (such as Frank’s)
  • Peanut or vegetable oil (for frying; enough  to come halfway up the sides of the chicken)

Whisk flour, cornstarch, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, cayenne, and 2 teaspoons salt in a medium bowl. Whisk egg, buttermilk, bourbon (if using), and 3 tablespoons  hot sauce in another medium bowl.

Working with 1 piece at a time, dredge chicken in flour mixture, turning to coat and packing into crevices. Shake to remove excess; return to rack. Dredge all four pieces, then continue.

Pour 3 Tbsp. buttermilk mixture into flour mixture and work in with your fingers. The mixture will be crumbly.

Dip chicken into remaining buttermilk mixture, allow excess to drip off, then pack moistened flour mixture firmly onto chicken. Gently shake off excess; return to rack. Chill at least 30 minutes and up to 12 hours.

Pour oil into a large heavy pot fitted with thermometer to come halfway up sides. Heat over medium-high until thermometer registers 350°. Working in 2 batches, fry chicken, turning as needed and adjusting heat to maintain temperature, until deep golden brown, 5–8 minutes per batch. Transfer to a clean wire rack set over paper towels to drain.

Chicken: 3rd Step, Assemble

  • Spicy Fried Chicken
  • 4 toasted buns
  • 2 to 3 cups shredded iceberg lettuce
  • Bread & Butter pickles
  • Seasoned Mayonnaise
  • Hot Sauce, if desired

BA suggests using 2 tablespoons of the Seasoned Mayonnaise thinned with a tablespoon of the pickle brine to toss the lettuce in, making a kind of lettuce slaw.

Regardless, slather some of the Seasoned Mayonnaise on the bottom of the toasted bun. Add your Bread & Butter pickles, then the breast and top with the slaw or a bit more of the mayo.


  • Four hamburger buns
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons butter

Heat a dry large skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium. Brush cut sides of buns with butter and, working in batches, cook, cut side down, until deep golden brown, about 2 minutes per batch.

from the kitchen of http://www.frugalhausfrau.com, slightly adapted from Bon Appetit Best Of series.

I’ll be linking this recipe to our Throwback Thursday Link Party and to the Country Cook’s Potluck as well as Angie’s Fiesta Friday, cohosted this week by Judi @ cookingwithauntjuju and Cynthia @ eatmunchlove.

24 thoughts on “Spicy Chicken Sandwich, BA’s Best

    • I’ve only gotten to eat at Chick-fil-A twice, when I was in Georgia, so I don’t really know. Both times I ordered a spicy Chicken Sandwich. I just know this is really, really good! And it might be a place to start! I know that Melt Down feeling!!

  1. HI Mollie! I’m an avid Bon Apetit reader and saw this sandwich– but wasn’t as brave as you to dig in and make it! You version looks perfect (in spite of your couple of disclaimers)– wish I had one here on a plate right now! It does look worth the work– so fun to read your blog! thanks.

    • Thanks for hosting! The sandwich really was exceptional – while I love Bon Appetit, I always hesitate when they make something “down homey” but they really hit the mark on this! 🙂

  2. This looks so good! But I would have to use Clausen refrigerated sandwich slice pickles and chicken breast, I am not a fan of sweet pickles and thigh, however, recently I have had some chicken thigh dishes that were pretty danged good!

  3. Kathryn

    That chicken looks so crispy and crunchy and delectable! I’m all about making it at home versus fast food, so I love that you redid this recipe. Know my family will love it!

    • I hear ya, and this was pretty amazing – that breading! I like knowing what’s in my food – whether it’s good for me or maybe not so much, at least I know when I make it at home.

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