Sink your teeth into this fresh and juicy Spicy Chicken Sandwich. Marvel at how easy it was to make, then high-five yourself for opting for this homemade delight over a (inferior) chicken sandwich at the drive-through.
Chicken breasts bathed in a spicy buttermilk marinade, coated in seasoned panko breadcrumbs, then baked to crispy perfection and nested in your favorite bun with a creamy sriracha sauce.
A Grilled Chicken Sandwich is tasty, but when you’re craving crunch, your instincts may guide you to fast food chains for your favorite crispy chicken sandwich.
Stop right there!
I insist you give homemade spicy chicken sandwiches a go instead.
Spicy Chicken Sandwiches at Home
Making your own spicy chicken sandwich is shockingly simple!
- No frying is required (yay for less mess and no butter or vegetable oil).
- The breasts for these spicy chicken sandwiches are baked.
- No multiple dredging steps or flour mixture; just marinate the chicken then coat in panko.
The chicken breasts are incredibly juicy inside (no dry chicken allowed!), while being crispy outside.
Smothering our spicy chicken is a simple sauce that’s a healthy version of spicy mayo: a mix of nonfat Greek yogurt and sriracha.
How to Make a Spicy Chicken Sandwich
The key to this spicy chicken sandwich is the baking setup.
By placing the chicken on a wire cooling rack over a rimmed baking sheet, it’s able to crisp on all sides.
Tip for Tender Chicken
For evenly baked, tender chicken, pound it first. This will tenderize the meat as well as make the breast an even thickness. For mess-free tenderizing, place the chicken in a ziptop bag, and then pound.
- Buttermilk. Marinating the chicken in seasoned buttermilk makes it oh-so tender and juicy.
- Spices. The marinade and breadcrumbs are simply but powerfully seasoned with salt, onion powder, and cayenne pepper. This flavor is just-right spicy.
- Breadcrumbs. Use Panko over regular plain breadcrumbs as their larger texture makes for a crispier coating.
- Sriracha. To drive home the “spicy” in spicy chicken sandwich, it’s marinated with sriracha and served with a yogurt sriracha sauce. It gives the sandwich the perfect bite.
- Greek Yogurt. Mixed with the sriracha, nonfat Greek yogurt makes for a creamy, healthier sauce.
- Buns. Serve your baked spicy chicken on your favorite type of hamburger bun; I think brioche buns are divine.
- Pound the chicken breasts to an even 1/4-inch thickness.
- Whisk together buttermilk, sriracha, salt, and onion powder.
- Marinate chicken.
- Dredge chicken in seasoned Panko mixture.
- Set prepared chicken on an oven-safe wire rack on top of a rimmed baking sheet, then mist the chicken with nonstick spray.
- Bake the spicy chicken at 425 degrees F for 20 to 25 minutes until the chicken reaches 165 degrees F and has crispy edges.
- Make the sauce: combine the yogurt, sriracha, and salt in a small bowl. Serve spicy chicken on toasted buns with the sauce and toppings. ENJOY!
- To Store. Store leftover chicken separately (rather than assembled sandwiches) in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days. The sauce will last in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days.
- To Reheat. Reheat spicy chicken in an air fryer, toaster oven, or at 350 degrees F in the oven so the chicken re-crisps.
- To Freeze. The texture of thawed and re-warmed frozen spicy chicken will not be as crispy, but you can freeze the leftover chicken for up to 3 months in an airtight, freezer safe container.
You’ll be excited to have any extra chicken fillets after serving your sandwiches. Slice and serve your leftovers over a salad for lunch the next day, or eat on its own for dinner alongside green beans and bread.
What to Serve with a Spicy Chicken Sandwich
- Fries. To round out our “fast food healthy at home” theme, serve a spicy chicken sandwich with Air Fryer French Fries or Sweet Potato Fries.
- Salad. This 7 Layer Salad is gorgeous and makes me think of fancy picnics along with these chicken sammies. Potato Salad would also be an excellent choice.
- Roasted Veggies. You could opt to serve the crispy spicy chicken sans bun and with a side of veg to make this meal even healthier. Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Roasted Broccoli are easy sides to add greens to any meal.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Wire Baking Rack. For so much more than cooling cookies.
- Rimmed Baking Sheet. Your tool for so many one-pan meals.
- Mixing Bowl. A size for every mixing need.
Hot. Crispy. Tender. Juicy.
YES, this chicken sandwich has it going ON.
Frequently Asked Questions
This sandwich would be equally great with chicken thighs or chicken breasts. A bonus with using chicken thighs would be they could nicely fit on a bun due to their smaller size.
If you don’t have buttermilk, in a pinch you can make your own by mixing 1 tablespoon of white vinegar with 1 cup milk.
To make a crispy, spicy chicken sandwich gluten free, simply coat the chicken in gluten-free breadcrumbs and serve it without the bun or on a gluten-free bun.
My vote is extra sandwich-style sliced pickles and lots of the sauce! Lettuce would add a nice crunchy addition, with tomatoes for a cooling factor.
Spicy Chicken Sandwich
For the Spicy Chicken Sandwiches
- 4 hamburger buns
- pickles (homemade Refrigerator Pickles recipe)
For the Sauce
- 1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
- 2 teaspoons sriracha
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- Place two pieces of the chicken in a gallon-sized zip-top bag. With rolling pin or the flat side of a meat mallet pound the chicken to an even 1/4-inch thickness. Repeat with the remaining chicken.
- In a bowl or container, stir together the buttermilk, sriracha, 1 teaspoon of the salt salt, and the onion powder. Add the chicken, toss to coat in the marinade, cover, and refrigerate to marinade for at least 1 hour and up to overnight.
- When ready to make the sandwiches, place rack in the center of your oven and preheat to 425℉. Place an oven-safe wire rack on top a rimmed baking sheet. Coat the rack with nonstick spray.
- In a shallow dish, combine the panko, remaining 1 teaspoon salt, and cayenne. Working one at a time, remove a piece of chicken from the marinade, shake off the excess, and dredge it on both sides in the panko mixture, pressing as needed to coat. Set the coated chicken on the prepared wire rack. Mist the chicken with nonstick spray.
- Bake the spicy chicken for 20 to 25 minutes, until the chicken reaches 165℉ on an instant-read thermometer.
- While the chicken cooks, make the sauce: In a small bowl, combine the yogurt, sriracha, and salt.
- To serve, toast the buns (if desired—this is easy to do in the oven) and spread sauce on the top and bottom. Add the lettuce to the bottom bun, followed by the tomato and chicken. Top with pickles.
In place of buttermilk, you can use 1 cup of whole or low-fat milk mixed with 1 tablespoon of white vinegar.
The cooking time will depend on the size of the chicken breasts, it’s best to look for smaller ones (they’re also easier to fit into a sandwich)
You could swap in chicken thighs (the size would even work better)
- TO STORE: Store leftover chicken separately in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days. The sauce will last in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days.
- TO REHEAT: Reheat spicy chicken in an air fryer, toaster oven, or at 350 degrees F in the oven so the chicken re-crisps.
- TO FREEZE: The texture of thawed and re-warmed frozen spicy chicken will not be as crispy, but you can freeze the leftover chicken for up to 3 months in an airtight, freezer safe container.
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