Fried Chicken Sandwich

Prep Time:
40 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 5 mins
4 sandwiches

A buttermilk fried chicken thigh with unbelievably crisp skin is the centerpiece of this hearty sandwich. It's served on a squishy bun with homemade tartar sauce, shredded lettuce, and dill pickles—an easy, perfect lunch.


Tartar Sauce

  • ½ cup mayonnaise

  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

  • 1 teaspoon capers, rinsed, drained, and chopped

  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper


  • 4 small boneless chicken thighs, lightly pounded (12 ounces total)

  • 4 cups vegetable or other neutral-flavored oil, for frying

  • 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature

  • 1 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning or hot sauce, such as Frank's RedHot

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

  • 2 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour

  • Unsalted butter

  • 4 soft potato rolls or sesame rolls, split

  • Shredded lettuce and dill pickle slices, for serving

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder


  1. Tartar Sauce: Whisk together mayonnaise, lemon juice, and Dijon. Stir in capers and tarragon; season to taste with salt and pepper. (Makes 1/2 cup.)

  2. Sandwich: Remove oysters from chicken thighs and set aside. Working with one at a time, pound each thigh between two pieces of plastic to an even 1/8-inch thickness. Let sit, covered with plastic, at room temperature while preparing remaining ingredients, at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour.

  3. Fill a medium heavy pot, preferably cast-iron, about halfway with oil. Heat oil over medium-high to 375 degrees. Meanwhile, whisk together buttermilk and Old Bay or hot sauce in a medium bowl; season with salt and pepper. In a shallow dish, season 1 cup flour with salt and pepper; whisk to combine. In a separate shallow dish, season remaining 1 1/2 cups flour with baking powder, salt, and pepper and whisk to combine. Add 1/3 cup buttermilk mixture and stir together to create ragged clumps. Working with two pieces at a time, dredge chicken in plain flour mixture, then buttermilk mixture. Let excess drip off, then dip in clumpy flour mixture, pressing firmly to adhere and making sure chicken is completely coated. If wet spots are visible, press in more coating.

  4. Fry until golden brown and cooked through, adjusting heat as needed to keep oil between 360 and 380 degrees, about 3 minutes. Drain on a rimmed baking sheet fitted with a wire rack. Repeat with remaining chicken. To serve, lightly butter both sides of roll and place in the oven to lightly toast. Spread roll with tartar sauce, then top with chicken, lettuce, and pickles.

    fried chicken sandwich
    Bryan Gardner

Cook's Notes

The Secret to Perfectly Crispy Fried Chicken
Adding a small amount of liquid to half the dry mixture will create craggy pieces that cling to the chicken and fry up extra crispy. Also important for crisp, not soggy chicken: bring ingredients to room temperature at least 30 minutes before cooking to keep the oil temperature from dropping too much.

Bonus Fried Chicken Snack
After frying chicken thighs, toss the removed oysters (the small tender piece of meat that hangs from the inside of each thigh) in remaining flour and buttermilk mixtures and fry until golden and cooked through, about 2 minutes. Serve as a side snack with tartar sauce.

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