Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Chick-Fil-A Style Sandwich with Crispy Sweet Potato Fries

Just about everyone loves Chick-Fil-A. Now that they are available in southern California, the places are packed. Being from Atlanta, I grew up with them. I can't say that I have the same religious fanaticism about their sandwiches as many people do, but I do enjoy them. 

My daughter loves chicken and fries. She calls them "chickenfries". Admittedly, we've gone to many a fast food joint when pinched for time and she's has grown to love the various kids meals featuring said menu items.

We haven't had chickenfries in a while, so I decided to make her favorite for dinner. 

I found a copycat recipe for Chick-Fil-A that looked great. The biggest difference is that it calls to brine (really "pickle") the chicken in pickle juice before frying. 


It's amazing the difference it makes, and while it's not an exact clone of Chick-Fil-A sandwiches, this recipe is BY FAR the best pan fried chicken patties I've ever made, and easily stacks up to the best I've had. 

Also tacked onto this recipe are some crispy sweet potato fries. If you love SP fries but always fail (like I do) at making them not soggy, this recipe actually works. So if nothing else scroll down for that. 

Let's do this.

Chick-Fil-A Style Sandwich with Crispy Sweet Potato Fries
(from here and here)

Chicken Sandwiches

2 large chicken breasts, boneless & skinless
1 cup pickle juice (more or less) (I used Claussen because those pickles rock my face)
2 eggs
1 cup flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon basil
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
Hamburger Buns
1/2-1 cup of vegetable oil (for frying)

Sweet Potato Fries

2 sweet potatoes (Mine were about 2.5 lbs total)
2 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika


I made nuggets and sandwiches. 

I diced up one of the breasts into bite sized pieces first for the nuggets.

The other breast was gigantic. I managed to get 5 cutlets from it. 

You want to try to get all the pieces the same thickness. If they aren't the same size, it's not that big of a deal. I used 4 for sandwiches and the other as a standalone "tender".

Just pound them out as best you can.

Toss them into a ziplock bag.

Pour in the pickle juice. I think I ended up using close to 2 cups in all. I just wanted to cover the chicken and I had plenty to spare in the near empty jar. 

Refrigerate the chicken for at least an hour. All day is good, overnight is better. 

I did mine overnight and you can see the effect the pickling liquid had on the chicken. 

Drain the pieces and rinse them well. 

I laid mine on a stack of paper towels to dry. You want most of the liquid gone to get them nice and crispy. 


Meanwhile, we can start the fries.

Get your sweet potatoes together.

Peel them and try to even up any obscenely pointy ends. Wash well.

Cut into fry shapes and soak in water for 30 minutes.

This will remove some of the starch and allow the insides to be fluffy when baked.

When your soak is up, preheat the oven to 425F and separate 2 egg whites into a bowl.

Add the smoked paprika, salt and pepper.

Whisk until foamy.

Add a few handfuls at a time to the bowl and toss to coat.

Tossed. Blurry.
Lay the fries out on a sheet pan lined with parchment. 

Try to keep them separated as best you can. 

Repeat with another pan (if you need to, I did).

Bake for 30-40 minutes (if using 2 pans). Your time will vary a bit, so check them every 10 minutes or so. You can toss them then as well so all sides get some color. Rotate the pans if they are cooking unevenly too.


While the fries are going, make your coating.

Combine the spices:

2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon basil
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder

with the cup of flour...

and whisk to combine.

Beat the eggs in a bowl and pour the flour in a shallow dish of some sort to dredge the chicken in. 


When you're ready to cook, get the oil in a large pan and get it up to temperature over med/high heat.

Toss the chicken pieces in the egg wash. 

Coat well.

Toss the coated pieces in the flour.

Stir to coat well.

Carefully put the chicken into the hot oil.

Cook for about 5 minutes or until the bottoms are browned.

Flip to cook the other side, about 2 minutes.

Remove and drain on paper towels.

Repeat for the larger pieces, add more oil if the first batch was too nasty. 

When your chickenfries are done, build your sandwich.

It's pretty simple. 

Pickles on the bottom. (I just cut some halves from the jar for my chips).

Beautiful chicken on top.

Garnish with mustard or mayo, or both. Obviously you can add the full compliment of cheese, garden and bacon if you choose, but I went spartan today.

Bottom line, this chicken was awesome. The pickle brine showed through very well. I was afraid it was going to be too overpowering, but it was just right. The breading was outstanding too. I polished off everything my daughter didn't eat with a side of BBQ sauce. Delicious.

Just look at these and tell me they don't remind you of Chick-Fil-A. At least a bit.

The sweet potato fries turned out pretty good, though I thought they were a little under seasoned. At least they were crispy, so that made up for it. They actually went really well with the sandwich too.

Overall, like I said, this was the best pan fried chicken I've ever made, and If I was served this at a restaurant, I'd be perfectly content paying for it.

If you worship and the alter of Chick-Fil-A, I implore you to try this recipe. You won't be disappointed.



  1. I hate frying stuff because it always pops hot oil on me. Always. But I'm trying this.

  2. Oil will always splatter a bit when pan frying. If you're getting BAD oil popping you could have too much oil in a too shallow pan. Just use enough to cover the bottom of the pan. It'll be enough. Your oil could also be too hot. I start on medium heat. Let the oil get up to temperature. Use a thermometer and don't let your oil go over 350-375. It is super dangerous hotter than that. Also, make sure the food you pan fry is DRY before frying. Any liquid will cause major poppage. If you still have problems, get one of those splatter guards (http://www.amazon.com/o/ASIN/B00004SU1E?tag=adapas-20). They help a lot.

    I hope you give this a try. They were awesome and Roger will kill three or four of them, easy.


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