This beer-battered chicken sandwich, which has chicken breasts coated in an airy tempura-like batter and tucked inside a tender sesame seed bun with plenty of lime slaw, is truly irresistible.
Nearly everyone loves a fried chicken sandwich. This chicken sandwich recipe does not disappoint. The batter is light and airy, similar to tempura. Choose a malty ale or a good seasonal beer from your favorite local brewery. A rich brew helps the flavors hold up all the way through frying. Using 2 cups beer leaves you some extra in the bottle, not a bad problem to have—just drink it!–Rebecca Lang
LC Chicken’s Answer To The Pulled Pork Sandwich Note
With its ethereally crisp, airy beer batter and sassy slaw, this fried chicken sandwich is chicken’s answer to the pulled pork sandwich.The unsung hero of this fried chicken sandwich recipe? Nope, it’s not the beer batter. That would be way too obvious. It’s actually the sassy lime slaw that accompanies the sandwich, situated atop this fried chicken sandwich recipe in the same way that a plop of old-fashioned cole slaw completes a pulled pork sandwich.
Beer-Battered Fried Chicken Sandwich
- Deep-fry or candy or instant-read thermometer
For the brine
- 1/4 cup kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar firmly packed
- 3 cups cold water
- 1 white onion thinly sliced
- 2 cups ice
- 6 to 8 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts pounded to an even thickness of about 1/2 inch
For the beer batter
- Peanut oil or a combination of peanut and canola oil for frying
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper or to taste
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 cups beer, preferably a brown ale
- Lime Slaw for serving
- 6 to 8 sesame seed buns
Make the brine
- In a medium saucepan, combine the kosher salt, sugar, and water over medium-low heat and whisk until the salt and sugar dissolve. Remove from the heat and stir in the onion and the ice. Place the chicken in a large resealable bag. As soon as the brine has cooled and the ice has melted, pour it over the chicken, seal the bag, and refrigerate for 5 to 6 hours.
Make the beer batter
- In a deep fryer or large, deep stock pot, heat 3 inches peanut oil over medium-high heat until it registers 335°F (168°C). Place a rimmed baking sheet near the fryer and place a wire rack on the sheet. Remove the chicken from the brine and drain it, discarding the brine.
- In a bowl, whisk together the flour, cayenne pepper, sea salt, and beer.
- Dip the chicken pieces in the batter, allowing any excess to drip off. Carefully add the chicken to the oil. Depending on the size of your fryer, you may need to fry the chicken in 2 batches. Fry the chicken for 4 to 6 minutes per side, until golden brown on the surface and cooked through. You want to keep an eye on the thermometer and maintain an oil temperature of 320°F to 325°F (160°C to 163°C).
- Using tongs, transfer the chicken to the clean wire rack. Shimmy the fried chicken on the sesame seed buns and top with the slaw.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
I’ve never deep-fried anything before, so I really wanted to try this fried chicken sandwich recipe, but I was a bit nervous I’d burn my kitchen down in the process. Boy, am I glad I gave it a go, because this is one delicious sandwich! The brine came together easily. I left the chicken in the brine for 5 hours. Then I prepped my stock pot and my brand new deep-fry thermometer and quickly realized I underestimated how much peanut oil I’d need to reach a depth of 3 inches. I did some quick research and found out that I could mix canola oil with peanut oil when frying as long as the temperature that I needed to reach was below the smoke point of the canola oil. It was, so I was good to go. I ended up frying in half peanut and half canola oil.
The batter also came together quickly and easily. I was nervous that the cayenne would make it too spicy for my kids, but there was nothing to worry about. The final product wasn’t really spicy—just delicious. The recipe called for pounding 6 chicken breasts to even thickness. (It’s worth noting that I had quite a bit of batter left. If I had more chicken breasts, I would have coated them, too.)
Between my inexperience and perhaps my electric stovetop, maintaining a frying temperature of 320°F to 325°F was difficult. My first batch was running at about 345°F for a few minutes of the cooking time. Medium-high heat was about where I needed to be to keep the temperature in the desired range. I cooked the chicken in 2 batches, taking about 5 minutes in between to bring the temperature back up to 335°F for the second batch.
Finally, I threw the slaw together at the last minute, and it was fantastic. It was excellent on the sandwich and tasted delicious on its own. It remained crunchy the next day, and I enjoyed it as a salad with grilled chicken on top. I used an entire small head of cabbage to get the desired yield of 6 cups.
This recipe is pretty forgiving because I had trouble keeping the right temperature when frying, and the results were still delicious.
Oh yes, this fried chicken sandwich recipe was a hit. The batter was so much easier than breading cutlets for chicken Parmesan—you just dunk and go. Choose your beer carefully because it really adds flavor here. Now, a little confession on the “fried” part of this recipe—instead of deep-frying, I just poured 1/2 inch oil into a cast-iron skillet. I purchased chicken cutlets at the grocery store, which usually come in a range of thicknesses. I thought the thinner pieces were better, probably because they didn’t require as much cooking time, so I’d recommend taking the time to pound out a thinner cut. I fried 2 cutlets at a time on medium-high heat for approximately 4 to 5 minutes per side. And the coleslaw! Great zip from the lime and truly amazing with the fried chicken sandwiches, so don’t skip it!
This makes a really good fried chicken sandwich. I generally don’t use a brine, so I wasn’t sure whether it would really add anything to the final product, but I followed the recipe and brined my chicken for about 4 hours. I was very surprised at the amount of flavor that this process added to the chicken. It turned out very juicy and not at all dry! I really liked the crust that the beer batter added to the chicken. It fried up nice and golden, just like the picture. I will say that I probably used a little more beer than the recipe called for, probably because the foam made it difficult to get an exact 2-cup measurement. I had to add a bit more to get the batter to a consistency that would easily coat the chicken. I ended up using about 2 1/2 cups, but this probably varies depending on the beer you’re using (not sure since I’m not a big beer aficionado). I used an amber ale. Although the slaw isn’t required, I thought that it added a really nice acidity to the sandwich. All the Dijon, red wine vinegar, and lime gave the dish a nice pop. Really enjoyed this sandwich!
Originally published July 15, 2015