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Chick-fil-A Chicken Sandwich Copycat Recipe
Chick-fil-A Chicken Sandwich
By Todd Wilbur

Recipe Type: Sandwich
Calories: 430
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Recipe Rating: 4.2 (56 reviews)

In 1946, twenty-five-year-old S. Truett Cathy and his younger brother Ben, opened a restaurant called The Dwarf House in Hapeville, Georgia. In the early sixties Cathy began experimenting with different seasonings and a faster cooking method for his original chicken sandwich. The finished product is the famous pressure-cooked chicken sandwich now served at all 460 Chick-fil-A outlets in thirty-one states.

Annual sales for the chain topped $324 million in 1991. That makes Chick-fil-A the fourth largest fast-food chicken restaurant in the world. And Cathy still adheres to the deeply religious values that were with him in the days of the first Dwarf House. That is why you won't find any Chick-fil-A restaurants open on Sundays. 

Source: Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

3 cups peanut oil
1 large egg
1 cup milk
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 teaspoons salt (previously 2 tablespoons)
2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, halved
4 plain hamburger buns
2 tablespoons melted butter
8 dill pickle slices

1. Heat the peanut oil in a pressure cooker (see Tidbits below) over medium heat to about 400 degrees F.

2. In a small bowl, beat the egg and stir in the milk.

3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, sugar, pepper, and salt.

4. Dip each piece of chicken in milk until it is fully moistened.

5. Roll the moistened chicken in the flour mixture until completely coated.

6. Drop all four chicken pieces into the hot oil and close the pressure cooker. When steam starts shooting through the pressure release, set the timer for 3 1/2 minutes.

7. While the chicken is cooking, spread a coating of melted butter on the face of each bun.

8. When the chicken is done, remove it from the oil and drain or blot on paper towels. Place two pickles on each bottom bun, add a chicken breast, then the top bun.

Makes 4 sandwiches.

Tidbits: Since my recipe was created, most manufacturers of pressure cookers have discouraged frying in their products, and warn that doing so could be hazardous. For that reason, you should NEVER use a pressure cooker to fry anything unless the manufacturer has specifically designed the cooker for this use. I understand that there are now only a few cookers available that you can fry in, and finding one may be difficult. The alternative is the pan fry or deep fry the chicken for roughly double the specified cooking time, until the chicken is golden brown.

It is very important that your oil be hot for this recipe. Test the temperature by dropping some of the flour coating into the oil. If it bubbles rapidly, your oil is probably hot enough. It should take about 20 minutes to heat up.

To make a "deluxe" chicken sandwich, simply add two tomato slices and a leaf of lettuce. Mayonnaise also goes well on this sandwich—it is a side order at the restaurant.

Added pepper
Submitted on: 04/26/17
Took basic and read suggestions, so less salt, a bit more pepper, overnight in pickle juice, drained and 2 hours in buttermilk and egg. I also breaded the chicken several times in the flour mix, fried in a traditional wok and let the oil heat up for about 15 minutes before frying. My Chick-Fil-A guinea pig high school senior declared, "Spot On!!".
Submitted on: 09/05/16
Got to have MSG (aka Accent) to make it taste similar.
Pressure cookers
Karl Lembke  
Submitted on: 07/23/16
Since manufacturers of pressure cookers are recommending against frying in the cookers, you might want to specifically search for "pressure fryers". I found two on Amazon without much effort.
change the pickle
Submitted on: 07/22/16
I found using OVALS Pickle Slices and the juice makes this closer to Chick-fil-a
Pressure Fryer - not Pressure Cooker
Patty Mason  
Submitted on: 07/22/16
A presser fryer is not the same as a pressure cooker. Ware-Ever Chicken Buckets are not manufactured anymore but you can find them on E-Bay and garage sales. Make sure you get the instruction/recipe book with it and follow the manufacturers instructions regarding cooking time. Todd's recipe is perfect for cooking in the Chicken Bucket.
marinate in pickle juice
chick fil a lover  
Submitted on: 01/31/16
Meat must be marinated in pickle juice before coating. That's the missing step
Close, but not you forgort a few things
Col Sanders  
Submitted on: 01/04/16
Chick Fil A uses pickle juice to marinate the chicken in. They also use buttermilk instead of regular milk. They also remove the cartilage in the breast by hand.
It is Delicious!
Submitted on: 08/22/15
I cook all of the time and this is excellent! Eat while warm. You'll see. I think it is as close as anyone can get! Use good small tender boneless chicken breast and fresh buns ingredients it can't be beat. I have a cooking blog and featured this recipe shared back giving credit to Todd.
Pretty Darn Close!
Amy Sue  
Submitted on: 08/15/15
I marinated in pickle juice over night, and I will make this again for my Chick-Fil-A loving family. But to Cape...I say get over yourself, this is about recipes not politics. But since you brought it up....I stood in line to give them my money the day after...no racism here just expressing his beliefs like you are free to do. ;)
Something is Missing
Submitted on: 06/10/15
I did the pickle brine but it still doesn't taste like Chick-fil-A. It was very yummy but something is not right - sandwich-wise. Making tenders to go along with the special sauce somehow tastes just the same.
C. Baker  
Submitted on: 06/06/15
Three cups of peanut oil is a little expensive, so I only used about one cup and cooked the chicken in my electric wok (with a lid) at 350° for four minutes per side (eight minutes total). It came out perfect. Brown and crispy on the outside and moist and tender inside. I marinated the chicken for about an hour in just enough pickle juice to cover. I also breaded the chicken about an hour before cooking to allow the coating to stick. I served it on a toasted kaiser roll with lettuce, tomato.
Submitted on: 06/01/15
This is the only batter recipe I use, MANY times and love it! The one difference I make is instead of milk I soak the cut up chicken in water/egg mixture with kosher salt, adding lots of ice cubes to make it very cold, for a few hours. Straight from the brine into the flour mixture (which I change nothing from the recipe above). Let them sit a few minutes then deep fry. If using large chicken breast halves, three sandwiches can be made from one, so I usually make 12 sandwiches at a time with four halves,
X Chick-fil-a employee
Submitted on: 05/21/15
The only chicken marinated w/ pickle brine is the grilled chk.
What about spicy?
Submitted on: 05/09/15
What about the spicy chicken sandwich?? That's my all-time favorite there. How do they get it so deliciously spicy? Oh, and thanks so much for the simple, easy-to-follow recipe!!!
It was okay...
Submitted on: 05/07/15
But it was def not chic fil a. I used the peanut oil, and I even took recommendationsnfornmarinating in dill pickle juice. Not even close.
Very close
Larry Bland  
Submitted on: 05/02/15
To me this is better than chick fil a And it cost less
Chik Fil A
Robyn Grace  
Submitted on: 04/25/15
Sorry not even close. I managed a Chik Fil A for awhile here in Texas and this and many more of the CC recipes just do not get close. The secret is the milk wash and the coating. of course the cooking process is very important.
marinate first
Submitted on: 04/06/15
If you marinate the chicken in pickle juice first it taste just like Chick Fil A
Please read of the danger of frying in pressure cooker....
Submitted on: 03/10/15
This does not even come close to Chik Fil A. Definitely brine chicken for at least an hour in dill pickle juice prior to coating with egg mix & flour. Also flour needs more seasonings. If your breading falls off when you bite into finished product... it is because you fried it immed. after breading. You can't do that, you have to let it sit for a while before dipping in oil after breading it to give the flour time to stick to chicken! Most importantly, please NEVER use your pressure cooker to fry
The Best! w 1 exception
Dr Farnsworth  
Submitted on: 01/14/15
This receipe is great! But the exception is the brine. I only added 2 teaspoons of koshar salt and I brined it in dill pickle juice for 3 hrs. It was perfect! The brine is the key. Receipe is good the brine makes it great. Thanks
2 TSP SALT!!!!
Submitted on: 10/06/14
i have made this in nugget form twice in the last week. The first time, i made it exactly as written...holy crap that was salty. The first bite did, in fact have the right flavor. However, the immediate salt rush that followed was almost unbearable. i imagine the pickle juice adds saltiness so the chicken, because i made it tonight with the only modification being 2 tsp of salt versus 2 TBS. My family ate the ALL of the nuggets in no time.
Great recipe
Submitted on: 09/08/14
I used just vegetable oil instead of peanut. Still was great. Tasted just like the sandwich at Chick-fil-a.
Really close to Chik Fil A
Submitted on: 07/24/14
I marinated the chicken overnight in pickle juice. Dipped in egg mixture, then flour and fried in canola oil til done. Toasted bun in pan with butter and added claussen pickles. Delish. Definitely making again.
Dill pickle juice
Submitted on: 05/06/14
I read the reviews first and figured the people who insisted you soak the chicken in dill pickle juice should know. This is the most important step. I sacrificed a jar of pickles for the juice but the pickles were still fine without the juice. These sandwiches are unbelievable! I used peanut oil. I experimented with one small piece cooked in vegetable oil and there's no comparison to peanut oil.
Submitted on: 04/25/14
If you want it to be tender soak in buttermilk for 30 before putting in flour mixture makes it great.
Submitted on: 04/06/14
Cut breasts in half so not too thick. Used Larry the Cable Guy mix after soaking in milk. Fried in peanut oil and added pickles on the bun. Simply good!
Not even close
Submitted on: 03/25/14
I don't know how people can even say this recipes tastes remotely like a Chik Fil A sandwich. The MOST IMPORTANT part of the recipe has been left out! You have to marinate the chicken breasts in hamburger dill pickle juice overnight. I should know, I worked there.
Abigail Samdord  
Submitted on: 03/19/14
So I used vegetable and canola oil instead, and cooked in a skillet, and it was so good!! Definitely will be making again!
Submitted on: 03/10/14
So, being in Hawaii, they do not have Chick fil A. Working at his amazing fast food restaurant was my first job. I had the opportunity to make this for my friends and family and they absolutely loved it!! The taste of this sandwich came super close to the ACTUAL chick fil a sandwich. Thank you so much!
Submitted on: 03/02/14
Fantastic recipe, although the best part of this mouth watering goodness is that. the ingredients of hate have been removed! i.e. Homophobic & Racist!
Submitted on: 02/11/14
This was excellent, I will be making this again for sure. The one thing I did different was instead of making sandwiches I cut chicken into nuggets then soaked them in pickle juice for couple of hours and they turned out wonderful!!!!
Need to add MSG
Submitted on: 01/26/14
Chic-fil-A taste so amazing because it is loaded with MSG (monosodium glutamate) So there is no comparison.
not bad
Submitted on: 12/17/13
This was a very good sandwich. i just added 1 tb of cyenne pepper. I will use this on pork also and fried chicken. i dont think it was to salty but i like salty food.
Submitted on: 12/07/13
I was craving a Chick-Fil-A original chicken sandwhich, but didn't want to spend any money when I could just make it myself. This is a terriffic recipe after decreasing the amount of called for salt (I'm sure it's just a typo). While It's not exactly Chick-Fil-A, it did the job of satisfying my craving.
Pickle juice makes it.
Submitted on: 11/15/13
I only used 1.5 tsp salt. I wish I would have pounded out some of my chicken breast. To think it was hard to cook the middle the outside was getting to dark. Cooked in cast iron skillet
Submitted on: 10/16/13
Pickle juice is the key. Have been doing that for years with my chicken tenders before frying them.
Submitted on: 09/26/13
I don't have a pressure cooker so I just pan fried the chicken. Can't believe how good this recipe is...Chick-Fil-A is one of my favorite places to eat and this came very very close! Thanks for the recipe...
Submitted on: 08/26/13
Family loved it and will do again! Definitely brine in pickle juice and reduce salt to 2 teaspoons.
it's ok
Submitted on: 08/05/13
nothing spectacular..a little bland and the batter falls right off when you bite in
Tweaked to perfection!
N. O  
Submitted on: 07/04/13
Followed the previous advice, marinated in pickle juice overnight, reduced salt to just 1 teaspoon. I also fried the chicken in a frying pan. I literally just gobbled up 2 sandwiches alone. The pickle juice marination is key to that first bite tasting just like the real thing! I'm going to be saving some dollars being able to feed a dozen people for the price 9 (or less) of 2 bought sandwiches :)
a good start
Submitted on: 06/10/13
This is a good recipe..but like everyone's been saying,use 2 tsp of salt instead. Also, definitely marinate in pickle juice at least 2 hours. It makes a difference. I added some paprika and garlic powder...I also baked the chicken. I'm sure frying tastes better, but it was pretty darn good. =)
Submitted on: 05/21/13
Loved this recipe. Definately follow advice of others and use a lot less salt and marinate/brine for at least 2 hours. Also, adding a little paprika made mine better. One tip is if you add a 1-2 teaspoons of egg/milk mixture to flour mixture and mix with your hands so it resembles wet sand you can get the crunchy little bits on the outside like the real thing.
Great recipe
Submitted on: 04/02/13
Marinated in pickle brine & reduced salt to 1tsp. Perfect!
Darlene Jolly  
Submitted on: 02/12/13
This is an awesome recipe....but I agree with the other reviews about the amount of salt, I think that is a misprint. I used 2 tsp of salt. I also, to give it that pickle juice flavor, as soon as you take the chicken out of the oil, put your pickles on the chicken and let them sit for a few mins to absorb the pickle juice....It has become one of our favorite recipes!
kenny rasnake  
Submitted on: 01/12/13
I have done some chix for this company . And they marinate it over night in dill pickle juice . That is what gives it its unique flavor .
Spot -on
jerry runyon  
Submitted on: 09/12/12
Making it again for second time ...
less salt
mike weeks  
Submitted on: 07/29/12
I experimented with different amounts of salt. 1 1/2 tablespoons was about right to me. Biggest trick is getting pressure cooker open before the chicken starts burning after 3 minutes of cooking. Tried a batch with some cinnamon thrown in the mix for some extra flavor... not bad!
chick-fil-a chicken sandwich
Cindy Varrone  
Submitted on: 05/26/12
This was fantastic!! My family loved it. We live in Connecticut and there is not a Chick-fil-A near us. The only time we can get to enjoy this sandwich is when we go to Florida for vacation. But now I'm able to make this for family anytime. I did follow the review suggestion about the salt and reduced the salt to 2 teaspoons. I also cooked my chicken in a cast iron frying pan and it worked just fine. Nice and crispy and juicy.
Salt Teaspoons Not Tbsps
Just Peachy  
Submitted on: 05/01/12
This is a good recipe EXCEPT i think it's a misprint on the salt. I have seen identical recipes to this except the salt is 2 TEASPOONS NOT 2 tablespoons.... ummmm, yeah no wonder it's salty! lol Reminds me of when I was a teenager and doubled the cookie recipe and quadrupled the salt...lol.
Very Close
Submitted on: 01/03/12
It was too salty, so I reduced the salt tremendously. Other than that it was very close. I can't quite put my finger on it though. I'm going to try the marinade in pickle juice suggested by another rating and see if thats it!
andrea alexandre  
Submitted on: 01/03/12
Absolutely amazing.. I did just what Doreen said, because I too have heard that they marinate it in pickle juice...and it came out almost exactly a like!!!! i did this for a Canadian group of friends i have here in Canada that LOVE chik-fil-a (since we dont have one in canada) and we were all so happy!!!
Not Good!
Mary Brown  
Submitted on: 11/30/11
I tried this last night. It was awful! So salty my tongue was burning, and I couldn't taste any sweetness in the flour mixture at all. Will never make it again.
Chik Fil a Sandwich
Michael Horn  
Submitted on: 11/08/11
This is an awesome recipe that works. My wife and son loved them. Next time I will try to do it in a pressure cooker for the added flavor.
Doreen Campbell  
Submitted on: 05/03/11
I wasn't even going to try this one because it's missing one vital ingredient and here it is. Before frying the breasts, marinate the meat in pickle juice for about 48 hours in the fridge. Use a good dill pickle brine. Then you can fry it anyway you please. That is the real secret and I promise you will thank me.
Vanessa Rayburn  
Submitted on: 04/19/11
I didn't have a pressure cooker but my cast iron skillet was a great substitute. The taste and texture were as good as the "real thing." It also helps to add your own salt to taste as I think the "original" has become quite salty in recent months. This recipe is a hit!
Okay but not great
Jennifer Eden  
Submitted on: 01/12/11
I made this following the recipe exactly, and let's just say the results were less than desirable. My pressure cooker won't let me open the lid until the pressure goes down, so my chicken was WAY overcooked. Next time I'll try it in the deep fryer. The chicken breading was spot on, and cooking it in peanut oil made it even better. I'd also recommend finding small chicken breasts, because cutting the large ones in half really makes them too small for a sandwich.