Air Fryer Chicken Sandwich (Chick-fil-A copycat recipe) – crispy, golden outside – juicy chicken inside served up on a toasted brioche bun with lettuce, tomato and creamy smoky sauce.
It’s been months since Chick-fil-A opened in our area and multiple lines still wrap around the building every day with hungry people waiting for a Chick-fil-A fix.
My kids raved about their chicken but stressed – “you’ve got to have the sauce, too. It’s sooo good”.
Family visiting from Florida knew all about Chick-fil-A too. How much buildup can one take before caving into an hour-plus long line? Well, it turns out that chicken was definitely worth the hype.
Worth the hype – yes – worth the line? Nope. Not for this gal. This is my take on the Chick-fil-A Chicken Sandwich. A tad healthier because it’s air fried and in my rarely humble opinion, this air fryer chicken sandwich tastes even better than the original.
What’s in this Air Fryer Chicken sandwich?
- boneless skinless chicken breasts
- dill pickle juice (leftover liquid in pickle jar)
- buttermilk (see below – how to make buttermilk)
- all purpose flour
- garlic powder
- salt and pepper
- corn starch
- powdered sugar
- cooking spray
- brioche or other buns
What’s the pickle juice for?
Don’t let the pickle juice scare you off. It brines for the chicken keeping it incredibly moist and juicy while adding some really good flavor. 15-20 minutes gives the chicken a hint of pickle taste. If you prefer it stronger leave it in the marinade a bit longer.
how to make buttermilk:
If you don’t want to buy a carton of buttermilk whisk milk (any kind you have on hand) with 1/2 tablespoon of white vinegar OR lemon juice then let it sit for 5 minutes. Give it a stir and it’s ready to use.
prepping the chicken for air frying:
If your chicken breasts are extra thick in the middle, you’ll want to pound them a bit so they’ll cook more evenly. Place the chicken breasts in a gallon size zip top bag, remove most of the air then pound the thickest part a few times using a meat mallet, rolling pin or even a wine bottle!
Once the chicken is pounded, add the dill pickle juice to the bag then seal and refrigerate 15-20 minutes.
Set up a dredging station:
Bowl #1: Whisk the egg and buttermilk.
Bowl #2: Combine the flour, garlic powder, paprika, salt, pepper, corn starch and powdered sugar.
Remove the chicken from the refrigerator, drain and discard the pickle juice.
Dredge the chicken in the flour mixture shaking off excess. Next dip the chicken into the egg mixture letting it drip off then back into the flour gently pressing to make sure it’s completely coated.
how to air fry chicken breasts:
Preheat the air fryer to 400° then spray the air fryer basket with cooking spray.
Place the chicken in the air fryer basket then spray the top of each breast with cooking spray until the flour is lightly coated.
Air fry 10 minutes then carefully turn them over so you don’t disturb the breading. Spray any exposed flour spots then continue air frying 2-4 more minutes or until the internal temp of the chicken is 165° on a meat thermometer.
Cooking times vary with air fryer models and the size of the chicken breasts so adjust your time as necessary.
assembling the air fryer chicken sandwich
If you want to toast the buns place them face down in the air fryer at 400° for 2-3 minutes or until lightly golden. Optional: butter the buns for extra buttery taste.
Remove the buns from the air fryer and assemble the sandwich with your favorite toppings and a slather of Chick-fil-A (copycat) sauce (recipe below):
- pickle chips
- tomato slices
chick fil-A sauce:
Just 4 basic ingredients you probably already have on hand for a creamy, sweet-savory, slightly smoky dipping sauce that takes this chicken sandwich to the next level.
In a small bowl, whisk the mayonnaise, mustard, barbecue sauce, honey and a small pinch of salt together until smooth. That’s it.
- yellow (ballpark style) mustard
- barbecue sauce (any kind you have on hand)
what goes with this air fryer chicken sandwich?
looking for more air fryer recipes?
These are just a few of the recipes I’ve made in my air fryer to rave reviews:
Chicken Taquitos – spicy shredded chicken and cheese packed into corn or flour tortillas air fried until golden and crispy.
Chicken Tenders – buttermilk air fried chicken. Crispy outside, juicy inside cooks in under 15 minutes.
Buffalo Cauliflower – easy, healthy appetizer made in just minutes! Crispy outside, tender inside and loaded with bold flavor.
Teriyaki Salmon – the BEST salmon recipe, perfectly cooked in just 10 minutes. Brushed with an easy teriyaki glaze – juicy inside, lightly crispy outside and loaded with flavor. Ideal weeknight meal.
Sausage and Peppers – quick and easy weeknight dinner cooks completely in the air fryer in under 20 minutes with flavors of the outdoor grill. Use whatever sausage you prefer – Italian, Polish, Brats.
If you tried this Air Fryer Chicken Sandwich recipe or any other on the blog then I hope you’ll leave a comment and some stars!
Air Fryer Chicken Sandwich (Chick-fil-A copycat recipe)
- 2 4-6 ounce each boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1/2 cup dill pickle juice leftover liquid in pickle jar
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup buttermilk see body of post re: how to make buttermilk
- 3/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
- cooking spray
- sliced tomato
Copycat Chick-fil-A Sauce:
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon yellow (ballpark style) mustard
- 1 tablespoon barbecue sauce any kind you have on hand
- 1 tablespoon honey
- small pinch salt
Prepping the chicken:
- If your chicken breasts are extra thick in the middle, pound them to an even thickness so they cook evenly. Place them in a gallon size zip top bag, remove most of the air then pound the thickest part a few times using a meat mallet, rolling pin or even a wine bottle!
- Add the dill pickle juice to the zip top bag then seal and refrigerate 15-20 minutes.
- Bowl #1: Whisk the egg and buttermilk together. (see body of post for How to Make Buttermilk if don't have any). Bowl #2: Combine the flour, garlic powder, paprika, salt, pepper, corn starch and powdered sugar.
- Remove the chicken from the refrigerator, drain and discard the pickle juice.Dredge the chicken in the flour mixture shaking off excess. Next dip the chicken into the egg mixture letting it drip off then back into the flour gently pressing to make sure it’s completely coated. Basically: flour, egg, flour.
- Preheat the air fryer to 400° then spray the air fryer basket with cooking spray.Place the chicken in the air fryer basket then spray the top of each breast with cooking spray.
- Air fry 10 minutes then carefully turn them over. Spray any exposed flour spots then continue air frying 2-4 more minutes or until the internal temp of the chicken is 165° on a meat thermometer. Cook times vary with air fryer models so adjust as necessary.
- To toast your buns (optional), place them face down in the air fryer at 400° for 2-3 minutes or until lightly golden.Remove the buns from the air fryer and assemble the sandwich with your favorite toppings - lettuce, tomato, pickle chips and a slather of sauce.
- Whisk the ingredients together in a small bowl until smooth. Slather on your sandwich or serve as a side for dipping.