A Magical Chick-fil-A Spicy Chicken Sandwich Recipe

I do love Chick-fil-A. Their sandwiches are the best. So one day I was on the Internet and searched for a recipe to make a Chick-fil-A style chicken sandwich. This led me to the basis for this post, a Serious Eats Food Lab article on how to make one. The detailed experiment post is here, while the actual recipe is here.

Let me be clear. The Serious Eats sandwich recipe is completely awesome. That makes crazy delicious chicken.


Some people order the spicy sandwich. My wife is definitely one of those people. So in order to please her (and I often do like spicy, too), I did some experimenting to make a Chick-fil-A spicy chicken sandwich recipe. This is the result. It is based on the Serious Eats recipe, with my experimental additions in bold. Ashley gave it her seal of spicy approval, so it will be spicy. In fact, it’s probably spicier than the real spicy chicken sandwich from Chick-fil-A, but if you like spicy that’s a good thing.

So without further ado, here’s the details:

Stage One: Brining


  • Water
  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • Two chicken breasts, cut into a total of four sandwich-sized pieces


Brining is easy. Fill a pot with water, mix in lots of salt and some sugar (the exact amounts aren’t really important), and then put the chicken and the brine solution into a Ziploc bag or something similar. Let it sit for 6 hours or more. Overnight is pretty convenient. 

Stage Two: Preparations


Spice Mix

  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon something else spicy (my preference is jalapeno, but not everyone has that)
  • 1 teaspoon powdered MSG (optional)

Milk/Egg Wash

  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce (any kind works)


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons powdered non-fat milk
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons spice mix (from above)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar


  1. Prepare the spice mix in a tiny bowl. Set aside.
  2. Prepare the milk/egg wash in a medium-small bowl. Set aside.
  3. Prepare the breading in a bigger bowl. Drizzle 3 tablespoons of the milk/egg wash in the breading and mix in to make it somewhat coarse and clumpy.
  4. Start heating up your oil to 350°F. Peanut oil is ideal, but I use vegetable for cost.
  5. Now take your chicken out of the brine. Dry each piece as much as possible (paper towels work), then cover them completely with the spice mixture. 

Stage Three: Getting Cooking


  • Butter. Lots of butter.
  • Hamburger buns.
  • Pickle slices (if you’re into that sort of thing)


  1. Start battering the chicken. One piece at a time, dip them in the egg, then let the excess drip off and transfer to the flour.
  2. Make sure when battering the chicken to press lots of breading firmly against the chicken to get as much to stay on as possible.
  3. As you’re preparing to cook the chicken, you should probably start working on the buns. Just big-time butter a skillet or griddle and cook the buns in the butter.
  4. Before putting the chicken in the oil, sprinkle them with a last dash of spices.
  5. Now put the chicken pieces one by one into the oil. In my case, each piece took about 6 minutes to cook all the way though.
  6. When done, take them out one by one and immediately sprinkle some more spices on them.
  7. Take the buns off the skillet, stick the pickles and chicken on them, and eat super-spicy, super-delicious chicken!

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3 Thoughts to “A Magical Chick-fil-A Spicy Chicken Sandwich Recipe

  1. I would say that Caleb is well on his way to being MACHARTIZED. A Machart lives on chicken and spices.

  2. When the spicy chicken sandwich first came out several years ago I was at my usual Chick-Fil-A and talking to the manager. The manager told me that the chicken breasts meant for the spicy sandwiches were brined separately from the normal Chic-Fil-A sandwich breasts and that the brine itself was spicy. I assume he was told this from a Chic-Fil-A marketing person who came by the store but his implication was that the sandwich would be spicy even without the breading and this made it superior to other fast food spicy sandwiches (read: Wendy’s).

    I haven’t tried your recipe yet (though it sounds delicious) but I thought you might find that interesting.

So what do you think?