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

Nutrition

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