Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Copycat Chick-Fil-A Sandwich #fantasticalfoodfight

This month's Fantastical Food Fight challenge is Fast Food Copycats, in honor of National Fast Food Day tomorrow.

My husband and I try (not always successfully) to avoid too many trips to fast food places, but that doesn't mean we don't sometimes have a desire for it.

As I was thinking about what to make for this challenge, I remembered that when we were in Germany, it had occurred to me that the iconic Chick-Fil-A sandwich was basically a chicken schnitzel with a pickle.

And in fact, the use of pickle juice to marinate the chicken likely points to some sort of German influence back in its initial creation before it became the signature sandwich of the chain.

I have no idea if that's so or not (but cool story!) - but I may at some point try brining schnitzel meat in sauerkraut juice just to see what happens.

Oops, sorry - I got lost in thought there for a minute.

I've seen several recipes for this particular copycat over the years, but I can't really say if mine tastes like the 'real thing' because it's been so long since I've been to Chick-Fil-A, I've forgotten exactly how they taste.  But I have noticed that the secret (other than their secret spice blend in the coating) seems to be that pickle and using its juice to brine the chicken.

What this recipe does do, if you season it how you prefer, is make a great chicken schnitzel sandwich.  I served this in a bun with a bit of mayo and some waffle fries - but it would be great without the bun as well.

To make my life easier, I used a pack of thin-sliced boneless breast cutlets.  My kitchen is very tiny, and I feel like I'm going to rattle everything off the walls when I try to pound meat in there.  But cutlets cost a lot more than plain boneless breasts, so if you want to do this the right way for less cost, begin by putting the chicken into a large baggie and flatten them.

You could even let them brine in the same bag once you have done that, if you like.

Copycat Chick-Fil-A Sandwiches
(Makes 4)

4 chicken breast cutlets (or 2 boneless breasts, cut in half and flattened)
1/2 cup pickle juice from the jar
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup flour
a pinch Celery Salt
a pinch Garlic Powder
Other seasonings as desired (I added an Italian seasoning blend from Penzey's and a few red pepper flakes)
peanut oil
4 hamburger buns
Mayo if desired

Put the flattened chicken into a large baggie or a container that can be sealed and flipped (I have an old Tupperware marinade container that is older than my adult children.)

Pour pickle juice over the chicken, seal the container and flip a couple times to coat the meat. Let brine in the refrigerator for at least an hour, up to overnight, flipping occasionally.

Discard the brine when you're ready to cook.

Set up two dishes - one with the eggs and milk, whisked, and the other with the flour and spices mixed together.

Put peanut oil in a frying pan, to about a quarter inch deep. (The cutlets are thin and cook fast - you can use a full deep fryer, but they'll cook fine without being fully immersed in oil.)  Heat to about 350F.

My cutlets were so thin that I folded each one in half so they were about  the size of the buns before coating.

To coat, dunk a cutlet into the egg mixture and then into the flour, turning as needed to fully cover.  Then repeat the process, dunking it back into the egg and then into the flour - this will give it a good crispy coating.  Set on a clean dish and prepare the remaining cutlets.

At this point, prepare the buns - butter each side, and let them lightly toast in the oven while the chicken is cooking. (I had already baked some waffle fries at 450F, so I just turned off the oven and let them lightly toast in the still hot oven. The advantage of this is that you don't suddenly find yourself juggling frying foods and buns that need to be rescued from burning right this very moment.)

With tongs, place the coated chicken into the frying pan, avoiding crowding them (I did two at a time - too much in the fryer will lower the temperature of the oil, making them greasy).   Let it cook about two minutes, then turn and cook another two minutes until the chicken is golden brown.

Set on a plate covered with a paper towel to drain.

Put together the sandwiches, spreading a little mayo on the buns if desired and topping the cutlets with a pickle chip or two.


Check out these other Fantastical Food Fight Fast Food Copycat entries:


  1. Oh my word..we just got a Chik-fil-A nearby and it was my first time trying the famous sandwich- so good. Honestly, the sauce is the best. But this...looks so yummy! I would make the schnitzel in a heartbeat- Love the idea of marinading in pickle juice!

  2. Marinating in pickle juice is genius! This looks amazing and I can't wait to try it.

  3. The idea of marinating in pickle juice sounds really good... an easy sandwich to make and flavorful too...

  4. There are no Chick Fil A near us but this sandwich does sound good.

  5. I love love love Chick Fil A - definitely the one fast food place that I can't keep away from -- except if it's Sunday LOL. I think the pickle marinade is genius and I will have to try that next time I make it. I think that the seasoning has a little sugar in it too - it's got a sweetness to it. The copycat I made has powdered sugar in the mix, but I think pickle juice would help for authenticity. Thank you for joining in!

    1. Aha! It's been so long, I forgot the sweetness - but I was thinking using bread and butter pickle juice might have been better. Two birds with one stone!

  6. I really want this sandwich right now! Thanks so much for sharing with us at Full Plate Thursday. Come to next weeks Thanksgiving party on Tuesday at 8:00 am, CST, see you then!
    Miz Helen

  7. This looks delicious - my kids will LOVE me if I can pull off a copy :)

  8. I love Chick-fil-A's chicken. Thank you for the copy cat recipe of their sandwich. The sandwich looks so delicious!

    - Natalie A.

  9. Looks yummy! Thanks for sharing at Friday Frenzy Link Party! PINNED!

  10. Oh my, this looks tasty. Thanks for sharing at My Busy Beehives BEE PARTY!