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Easy Air Fryer Chicken Sandwich (Chick-fil-A Copycat)

This Air Fryer Chicken Sandwich (Chick-fil-A Copycat) recipe is the best homemade meal the whole family will love! The chicken is brined in pickle juice and buttermilk, which produces tender and juicy chicken with a crispy breading. Add in cayenne pepper and fresh veggies for the spicy deluxe!

air fryer chick-fil-a chicken sandwich in a bowl with pickles

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raw chicken breasts in a glass bowl, buttermilk in cup, and pickle juice in a cup

How to Brine and Marinate the Chicken

I love to use buttermilk to brine chicken, it also helps produce a nice, thick breading. The restaurant actually uses a combination of eggs and milk, which I have noted below in the substitutions if you prefer to use that.

The brine also includes pickle juice! I have found that most dill pickle juice will work well with this recipe.

There’s always a hint of pickle taste in just the breast alone, if you want more pickle flavor, then allow the chicken to soak in the pickle juice for a couple of hours.

raw chicken breasts in a glass bowl with pickle juice and buttermilk

Why is Pickle Juice Used?

Pickle juice has a lot of salt. It has often been used to brine chicken because salt will help carry moisture throughout the chicken to produce juicy chicken breasts. Have you ever wondered how the breast gets so juicy?!

Coupled with an air fried breast, you truly can’t go wrong.

What Type of Oil to Use

I like to use peanut oil because it’s what Chick-fil-A uses and it has a high smoke point, which is essential for air frying. During recipe testing, I also noted that peanut oil does help these sandwiches taste more like Chick-fil-A!

You can also use avocado oil or olive oil.

Oil is essential if you want a crispy, breaded chicken breast. It will help crisp the chicken. You don’t need much!

all purpose flour in a large glass dish with powdered sweetener and seasonings in separate bowls

How to Make Air Fryer Chick-fil-A Chicken Sandwich

  1. Drizzle the chicken breasts in buttermilk and pickle juice. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  2. Add paprika, Confectioner’s sweetener, garlic powder, salt, and pepper to a bowl large enough to dredge the chicken, along with all-purpose flour.
  3. Remove the chicken from the liquid and dredge it in the flour and place the chicken breast in the air fryer. (Optional to dredge the chicken in a beaten egg first).
  4. Air fry.
raw breaded chicken breasts in an air fryer

Air Fryer Temperature

I use 400 degrees.

How Long to Cook/Cook Time

Cook the chicken for 17-22 minutes total, until the chicken has reached your desired level of crisp.

person holding chick-fil-a chicken sandwich

How Many Calories Are in the Sandwich?

The standard chicken sandwich has 440 calories and 19 grams of fat. The deluxe has 500 calories and 23 grams of fat.

air fryer chick-fil-a chicken sandwich in a bowl with lettuce and tomato

How to Substitute Buttermilk

You can use 1 beaten egg along with 1/2 cup of milk instead of buttermilk in this recipe. That’s actually similar to what Chick-fil-A uses, but I find that buttermilk helps produce a thicker crust. Use what you prefer.

If you opt for this method, marinate and brine the chicken in pickle juice only. After 30 minutes, combine the beaten egg and milk. Dredge the chicken in the egg and milk mixture and then into the seasoned flour.

person holding chick-fil-a chicken sandwich

Homemade Chick-fil-A Sauce

To make your own sauce you will need Dijon mustard, yellow mustard, BBQ sauce, honey, and mayo. I often omit the mayo and still love the flavor.

More Air Fryer Chicken Recipes

Air Fryer Fried Chicken
Air Fryer Fried Chicken Wings
Air Fryer Chicken Tenders
Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets
Air Fryer Chicken Breast

Air Fryer Frozen Chicken Wings
Fried Chicken Salad

You may also enjoy my Chick-fil-A Copycat Frosted Lemonade recipe.

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air fryer chick-fil-a chicken sandwich in a bowl with pickles
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4.99 from 122 votes

Air Fryer Chicken Sandwich (Chick-fil-A Copycat)

This Air Fryer Chicken Sandwich (Chick-fil-A Copycat) recipe is the best homemade meal the whole family will love! The chicken is brined in pickle juice and buttermilk, which produces tender and juicy chicken with a crispy breading. Add in cayenne pepper and fresh veggies for the spicy deluxe!
Save this recipe here.
Course dinner, lunch
Cuisine American
Keyword air fryer Chick-fil-A, air fryer chicken sandwich, chick-fil-a-copycat
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 22 minutes
brine and marinate 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 2 minutes
Servings 2 chicken sandwiches
Calories 510kcal

Ingredients

Sandwich Toppings

  • 2 buns I use brioche.
  • 4 slices dill pickle chips
  • 2 slices leaf lettuce Optional for deluxe sandwich.
  • 4 slices fresh tomatoes Optional for deluxe sandwich.

Chick-fil-A Sauce

  • 1/4 cup mayo
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons BBQ Sauce hickory smoked
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum See substitution in the notes below.

Instructions

  • You can use a sealable bag or a large bowl to brine the chicken. Add the chicken breasts to the bowl or sealable bag along with the pickle juice and buttermilk. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  • Add the flour, paprika, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and sweetener to a large bowl, large enough to dredge the chicken. Stir to combine.
  • Add the egg to a bowl large enough to dredge the chicken.
  • Spray the air fryer basket with cooking oil.
  • Remove the chicken from the marinade and dredge both breasts in the beaten egg and then the flour. Place the chicken in the air fryer basket. (The use of the egg is optional and will help keep the breading intact on your sandwich. I often make this without using the egg).
  • Spritz the top of the chicken with peanut oil. Spray from a distance.
  • Air fry on 400 degrees for 15 minutes.
  • Open the air fryer and flip the chicken. Be careful with tongs. You don't want to lose any of the breading on the chicken. Your chicken may be fully cooked at this point and you may only need a couple of minutes to crisp this side of the chicken. Spritz this side of the chicken.
  • Air fry for an additional 5-7 minutes until the chicken is crisp. You should also use a meat thermometer to ensure the chicken has reached an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees.
  • Every air fryer model and brand will cook at varying speeds. Monitor your results carefully, and adjust as needed.
  • For toasted buns, toast the buns for 3-4 minutes on 400 degrees.
  • Remove the chicken from the air fryer and assemble the sandwich.

Chick-fil-A Sauce

  • Combine the mayo, honey, BBQ sauce, and mustard in a bowl. (I often omit the mayo and still love the flavor. Feel free to adjust the ingredients to fit your taste).
  • Add the xanthan gum to a separate bowl along with 2 teaspoons of the sauce. Stir to thicken and add it to the bowl with the sauce.
  • Stir to thicken.

Video

Notes

  • You can substitute buttermilk for 1/2 cup of milk instead of buttermilk in this recipe. If you use milk, you will need to use the beaten egg. That’s actually similar to what Chick-fil-A uses, but I find that buttermilk helps produce a thicker crust. Use what you prefer. Marinate and brine the chicken in pickle juice only. After 30 minutes, combine the beaten egg and milk. Dredge the chicken in the egg and milk mixture and then into the seasoned flour.
  • If you have issues with the breading staying intact, be sure to use a beaten egg. Dredge the chicken in the egg prior to the flour.
  • Chick-fil-A serves their buns buttered. Feel free to butter that bun.
  • You use powdered sweetener as opposed to granular for a softer texture in the breading. With granular, you will be able to taste the grains of the sweetener. 
  • You can add more sweetener if you wish.
  • I use peanut oil because it’s what Chick-fil-A uses. You can also use olive oil or avocado oil.
  • I go light on the salt because the pickle juice is salty. Adjust to taste.
  • You can easily make these nuggets, by chopping up the chicken breasts into 1-2 inch chunks.
  • Instead of xanthan gum you can combine 1 teaspoon of cornstarch and 1 teaspoon of water, stir and add it to the sauce.
Recipe Tools Used in this RecipeAs an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition (displayed with net carbs)

Serving: 1sandwich | Calories: 510kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 43g | Fat: 14g
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Recipe Rating




Regina

Sunday 11th of April 2021

Customized to make it a grilled version, and so good! Definitely a family hit. Made grilled nuggets and grilled sandwiches, which for a family of 5, costs over $60 at the restaurant and did it for a quarter of the price at home!

staysnatched

Sunday 11th of April 2021

Sound great. Glad you enjoyed it.

Melissa

Thursday 8th of April 2021

As a Canadian who can't cross the border anytime soon, THANK YOU! This was delicious! As close as can be without a deep fryer but I feel way better about eating it (and eating it often)! Also, I've been scared to bread with flour in the air fryer, have been using bread crumbs and it's not the same. So thank you for showing me it's possible!

staysnatched

Sunday 11th of April 2021

Yay! You can enjoy it now.

Christina Smith

Friday 26th of March 2021

Brannnndi! My kids came in the kitchen asking what smelled so good. When I told them I was making Chick-fil-A sandwiches they kinda smacked their lips & walked off like "Yeah right."(There are NO Chick-fil-A in Hawaii). Fast-forward to about 15 minutes later when I'm laying their plates down in front of them to Feast their EYES- one bite & they went BONKERS! "MOM! How'd you do that?!". When the children are happy(quiet with mouths full), Mama's happy!

staysnatched

Saturday 27th of March 2021

Haha! Yes! I enjoyed reading this.

Kia

Friday 19th of March 2021

I give this recipe five stars! So so good it makes your want to slap ya mama(ok maybe think about it ..haha) The recipe is easy to follow and one that I make often.

staysnatched

Monday 22nd of March 2021

haha! I love the slap yo mama.

Kia

Friday 19th of March 2021

Oh so good! This is one is my favorites. This recipe is so is to follow and comes out flavorful and just plain delicious.

staysnatched

Monday 22nd of March 2021

I'm glad it's easy to follow.