Copycat recipe review: Deluxe Chick-Fil-A sandwich with Chick-Fil-A sauce

Frying chicken without a fryer: Is it possible?

For the Epic’s copycat recipe project, I decided to replicate the Chick-Fil-A sandwich at home.

Graphic illustration by Allison Hsieh

For the Epic’s copycat recipe project, I decided to replicate the Chick-Fil-A sandwich at home.

Allison Hsieh

Ever since I was young, I have always gravitated toward chicken as my choice of meat. Fried, grilled, sauteed, you name it — I have tried and loved them all. As a result, when Chick-Fil-A, a fast food restaurant based on chicken-related menu items, rose in popularity, I instantly became a fan. Unfortunately, due to stay-at-home measures, I am no longer able to savor the flavors of the Chick-Fil-A deluxe sandwich as much as I used to, so I thought it was the perfect opportunity to try recreating this sandwich at home.

The ingredients needed for the sandwich and the sauce.

I used the recipe from Tastes Better From Scratch to make my sandwich. However, since the recipe did not specify the amount of each ingredient required, I also referenced Food Network’s recipe for the measurements of each ingredient. I made a few modifications, such as replacing the paprika and chili powder with black pepper because I was not willing to invest in two entire bottles of spices that I would most likely not use in the future. I also disregarded the pickles and pickle juice because I am not the biggest fan of pickles and always asked for no pickles in my sandwich. Additionally, I decided to follow Tastes Better From Scratch’s method of pan frying instead of deep frying the chicken thighs, which significantly cut down on the amount of oil I needed. I was able to find the rest of the ingredients laying around in my house and only had to make a trip to the grocery store for hamburger buns, which was quite convenient.

Mixing the dry ingredients together.

I have always been a terrible cook, but the recipe was surprisingly easy to follow for me, and I will admit that finding the right angle on a tripod to film myself was much more tedious than actually making the sandwich. 

Mixing the wet ingredients together.

I mixed the dry ingredients, onion powder, garlic powder, baking powder, powdered sugar, flour, salt and pepper, together in a bowl and mixed the wet ingredients, eggs and milk, in another. I then dredged the chicken, alternating between the wet mix and the dry mix to create a thick coat of batter that would hopefully become a crispy crust after frying.

Dipping the chicken in the wet and dry mix.

Next came pan-frying, which was the part of the process that worried me the most. I was fully aware that the crispy crust of the chicken in the original sandwich came from deep frying the chicken, and I was afraid that choosing to pan-fry over deep frying the chicken would transform my sandwich into a grilled sandwich instead of a fried one. However, as soon as I placed the chicken in the pan and heard a satisfying sizzle, I realized that I did not have to worry after all. After about ten minutes, both sides of the chicken were golden brown and crispy.

Pan frying the chicken.

Of course, a Chick-Fil-A sandwich would not be complete without the iconic Chick-Fil-A sauce, so while I left the chicken to fry, I decided to recreate the sauce using the recipe from Six Sisters Stuff

Making the sauce.

I was quite surprised that the sauce, which captured the hearts of many due to its unique combination of sweet, sour and salty, was made from only five ingredients: barbeque sauce, mustard, honey, lemon juice and mayonnaise. This recipe, like the one for the sandwich, did not specify the ratio of ingredients, so I had to experiment on my own to find the perfect balance. I realized halfway through making the sauce that I did not have any lemon juice. Still, two packets of honey mustard, two packets of barbeque sauce and three dollops of mayonnaise were enough to create a mini-bowl’s amount of sauce that tasted identical to the original, although the color was more on the red side. 

Assembling the sandwich.

After toasting the hamburger buns with butter and assembling the sandwich with a piece of lettuce and two slices of tomatoes, the fried chicken and the Chick-Fil-A sauce, I was done! Overall, I was very satisfied with this recipe. The sandwich turned out better than I expected despite the ambiguous ratios the recipe provided. I did notice that the crispy exterior of the chicken did not cling to the meat as well as the original, but the sandwich tasted just like the one I had enjoyed so much for so long. In fact, my father liked my copycat sandwich even more than the original, enjoying the softer, thinner crunch of the chicken crust. I would give this recipe a 9.5 out of 10 sauce packets because it was perfect besides the peeling crust, and I would not change any steps the next time I make this sandwich. This sandwich was super easy to make, and I highly recommend all Chick-Fil-A lovers out there to try this recipe, too.