This spicy, Air Fryer Chicken Sandwich inspired by Chick-fil-a is made with lean chicken breast brined in pickle juice and buttermilk, served with pickles and sriracha mayo – SO good!
Air Fryer Chicken Sandwich
Fast-food fried chicken sandwiches are my weakness. So, it doesn’t get much better than a healthier air fried chicken sandwich you can make right in your kitchen, anytime! These Pickle-Brined “Fried” Chicken Sandwiches are so good with moist, juicy meat brined in a combination of pickle juice and buttermilk served on a soft potato roll with pickles and spicy mayo. I have a ton of healthy air fryer recipes and an air fryer cookbook if you’re new to air frying! Some favorites are this bonelss, skinless Air Fryer Chicken Breast, Air Fryer Chicken Thighs and these Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets.
Although this recipe needs to soak a few hours, once it’s ready it takes under to minutes to make! You can let it brine in the morning, then come home and cook it later, or leave it overnight for extra flavor.
What does pickle juice do to chicken?
Pickle juice is the perfect marinade for chicken breasts since they are so lean and can dry out easily. The salt in the pickle brine tenderizes the chicken, so it’s moist and gives it a pickle flavor.
If you love pickles, this chicken sandwich recipe is definitely for you! If you’d like a more subtle pickle flavor, marinate the chicken for six to eight hours instead of overnight.
How to make fried chicken sandwich in air fryer
Inspired by Chick-fil-a I started with breast meat then cut the breast in half. I brined it a few hours in pickle juice and buttermilk to make the chicken extra flavorful. Then it gets coated in a seasoned flour, then in egg and back into the flour. I have the G0Wise 7-quart air fryer (affil link). To air fry, I used special parchment paper with holes to prevent the coating from sticking to the air fryer and lightly sprayed the chicken with oil. This gets air fried 380F 14 to 18 minutes, turning halfway.
Do you have to use perforated parchment paper in an air fryer?
I had to test this recipe several times because the flour kept sticking to the air fryer basket before turning over the chicken. The solution that worked for me was using special air fryer parchment paper with holes for the airflow. The perforated parchment paper ensures you don’t clog the air vents, which can cause a fire.
It’s important to note you don’t want to put the parchment in the air fryer unless you have food on top. Without any food, it will blow around and burn. Of course, if you want to make this fried chicken and don’t have parchment, the chicken still tastes fine if some of the breading sticks to the basket and comes off.
More Air Fryer Chicken Recipes You’ll Love:
- Air Fryer Chicken Milanese with Baby Arugula
- Air Fryer Chicken Tenders
- Air Fryer Chicken Breast – No Breading
- Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets
- Air Fryer Chicken Parmesan
Air Fryer Chicken Sandwich with Sriracha Mayo
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, 16 ounces
- 1 cup 1% buttermilk
- 1 cup pickle juice
- 1 large egg, beaten
- Kosher salt
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- olive oil spray
- 4 tablespoons light mayo
- 1 tablespoon sriracha
- 12 dill pickle chips
- 4 whole wheat potato rolls, such as Martins
- Pound out the thicker end of the chicken breast to make the thickness even on both ends, about 1/2-inch thick, this will ensure the chicken cooks even, then cut each breast in half to make 4 pieces.
- Whisk buttermilk and pickle juice in a bowl.
- Add chicken and toss to coat; cover with plastic wrap and chill at least 6 hours or overnight.
- Combine flour, garlic powder, paprika, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and cayenne pepper in a shallow bowl.
- Whisk egg in another bowl.
- Line the air fryer basket with an air fryer parchment liner (these are sold on Amazon, look for parchment with the holes).
- Working with one chicken breast at a time, dip chicken in flour mixture, shaking off excess. Then into the egg and back into the flour, using the back of a fork to coat well so it adheres.
- Shake excess then transfer to the prepared air fryer basket and spray tops with oil. (For best results, let the chicken sit 15 minutes or refrigerated longer help keep the breading on)
- Air fry in batches as needed 380F until golden and cooked through, about 15 to 18 minutes, turning halfway depending on the thickness, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast reads 165°F.
- Meanwhile combine sriracha and mayo in a small bowl.
- To assemble sandwiches, place the mayo on the top of rolls, place the chicken on the bottom roll followed by the pickle chips and tops of rolls.