Tender, juicy, and flavorful buttermilk marinated chicken breasts that are double-breaded and shallow-fried until perfectly crispy and golden brown on the outside. Served on buttery, toasted brioche buns with a simple but delicious sweet and smoky aioli and all the fresh toppings! This Crispy Chicken Burger is the best!!
Making the most delicious restaurant-quality chicken sandwiches at home is easier than you may think! I'm sharing all my tips and tricks to make sure your fried chicken comes out perfectly crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. And don't skip on the sweet and smokey aioli! It really ties it all together.
For this recipe, I love shallow frying the chicken in a skillet or using my small electric deep fryer with just enough oil to come up an inch over the basket. This creates less mess and a crispy chicken burger with all the crunch and delicious flavor you love.
- Why you'll love this crispy chicken burger
- How to make the best crispy chicken burger
- Trick to getting crispy chicken
- What goes on a crispy chicken burger?
- Frequently asked questions
- Make ahead
- Storage & Reheating
- What to serve with a crispy chicken burger
- Buttermilk Crispy Chicken Burger with Smoky Aioli
Why you'll love this crispy chicken burger
Tender, juicy and flavorful chicken.
The chicken is marinated overnight or for at least two hours in a seasoned buttermilk mixture, creating the most tender, juicy, and flavorful chicken! This is a must.
Crispy golden brown crust.
The chicken is double-breaded in a seasoned flour and cornstarch mixture. This gives you a delicious, extra crispy, golden brown crust that seals in the juicy chicken.
Smoky aioli & all the toppings.
I am all about sauce and toppings when it comes to any kind of burger!! The smoky aioli is the perfect complement to fried chicken. It's a little tangy from dill pickle relish and a little smoky from smoked paprika. I always serve with extra on the side for dipping! I also love to serve my chicken burgers with all the fresh toppings, such as lettuce, tomato, pickles, and quick pickled red onion!
- Chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
- Hot sauce (I like to use Frank's)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- Black pepper
- Onion powder
- Garlic powder
- Smoked paprika
- Cayenne pepper
- Dijon mustard
- Dill pickle relish
- Lemon juice
- Smoked paprika
- Honey (or granulated sugar)
- Hot sauce
How to make the best crispy chicken burger
The best crispy chicken burger starts with perfectly fried chicken. Let's talk about it.
- Marinate the chicken. The chicken marinade is a simple, seasoned buttermilk mixture that will ensure your chicken comes out tender and juicy! Don't skip this step. If time allows, I recommend marinating the chicken in the fridge overnight.
- Bread the chicken. I like to use a combination of all-purpose flour and cornstarch plus some simple seasoning to bread the chicken. The cornstarch helps to get that golden crispy crust. I also like to double-bread the chicken by dipping back into the marinade and into the breading again for a second coat.
- Fry the chicken. Heat a skillet with about 1 inch of oil to shallow fry the chicken. The chicken only needs 3-4 minutes per side.
- Assemble and enjoy! Serve on buttery toasted buns with smokey aioli and your favorite burger toppings!
Scroll down to the recipe card for the full ingredient list and instructions.
Trick to getting crispy chicken
Getting perfectly crispy chicken isn't difficult, but there are some important steps!
- Ensure the chicken is the same thickness. Use a meat tenderizer to pound each chicken breast to about ½ inch thick to ensure even cooking. If one part of the breast is thicker than the other, you'll end up with under or overcooked chicken.
- Marinate the chicken. Marinating the chicken in a buttermilk mixture will result in tender, juicy, and flavorful chicken.
- Remove chicken from the fridge 30 minutes before frying. If the chicken is really cold when it's added to the oil, two things will happen. The temperature of the oil will drop and the breading on the chicken will finish cooking before the chicken does.
- Use a deep-fry thermometer. I like to use a dry fry thermometer in the oil to ensure the temperature stays about 350 degrees. If the temperature drops too low, the breading on the chicken will absorb a lot of oil because it will take longer to cook. If the temperature is too high, the breading will burn.
- Use a meat thermometer. Also very important: a meat thermometer. Every single person should own a meat thermometer, in my opinion. You will be shocked at the difference. No more under or overcooked meat. When the chicken is finished cooking, the internal temperature should be 165 degrees F.
- Don't overcrowd the skillet. When frying in a skillet, I like to fry two pieces of chicken at a time. Overcrowding will cause the oil temperature to drop, resulting in greasy chicken.
- Drain chicken on a wire rack. Transfer the fried chicken from the oil to a wire rack over a baking sheet. This will allow excess oil to drip off while also keeping the underside of the chicken crispy.
What goes on a crispy chicken burger?
When it comes to burgers, I'm all about the toppings! Here's what I like to add to my fried chicken burger.
- Lettuce. I love to use butter lettuce for this burger, but really any kind of lettuce will work from romaine to iceberg.
- Tomatoes. Thinly sliced tomatoes are the perfect fresh addition, especially if it's summer!
- Quick pickled red onion. Pickled red onions are a must! They are incredibly simple to make and add the perfect tang with a mellow onion flavor.
- Pickles. You can never go wrong with just simple hamburger dill pickles. Bread and butter pickles would be delicious too!
- Cheese. I don't always add cheese, but it's a nice touch. Havarti, gouda, or a mild cheddar would be great.
- Smokey aioli. When it comes to chicken burgers, give me all the sauce! I want sauce on the burger and a side for dipping. This smokey aioli is the perfect complement to fried chicken.
- Burger bun. Brioche buns are perfect for fried chicken burgers! They're buttery, a little sweet, and hold up well to the fried chicken. But, of course, you can really use any hamburger bun you like.
Frequently asked questions
Is crispy chicken the same as fried chicken?
Fried chicken is often the same as crispy chicken. Fried chicken is coated in a seasoned breading made with flour and cornstarch then fried in oil to create a crispy, golden breading on the chicken.
Is flour or cornstarch better for crispy chicken?
Using a combination of flour and cornstarch will give you the best results! The addition of cornstarch gives you extra crunch and nice golden brown exterior.
How much cornstarch to add to flour when frying chicken?
Add ¼ cup cornstarch to every 1 cup flour for fried chicken breading.
Can I use chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts?
Yes, most definitely. I still recommend pouring the chicken to about ½ inch thickness. You may need to 4 chicken thighs versus just 2 chicken breasts.
Can I use a deep fryer?
Yes! Instead of stinking up the kitchen, sometimes I'll pull out our small electric deep fryer and set it up on the back porch. I add just enough oil to shallow fry the chicken, about 1 inch above the basket. Using an electric deep fryer is also great because you can set the temperature.
When it comes to crispy chicken, it's best served hot and freshly made! That said, I recommend frying the chicken right before serving, but you can certainly marinate the chicken and make the smokey aioli ahead of time! This can be done the night before. Place both in airtight containers and store in the fridge.
Storage & Reheating
If you have leftover chicken, store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
To reheat leftover fried chicken, place the chicken on a wire rack over a baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes, or until the breading is crispy and the chicken is heated through.
What to serve with a crispy chicken burger
You can't go wrong with fries, potatoes, or a cold salad!
If you enjoyed this recipe, please leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating and a comment below! I'd love to hear from you! If you’re on Instagram, share a picture of the food you created and tag me at Modern Farmhouse Eats! I enjoy seeing all the pictures! 😊
Buttermilk Crispy Chicken Burger with Smoky Aioli
- 2 large chicken breasts, boneless and skinless (or 4 small)
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon hot sauce
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon each salt, black pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, and smoked paprika
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons dill pickle relish
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 1 ½ teaspoons honey (or granulated sugar)
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- pinch of salt
- few dashes of hot sauce (or to taste)
For the burgers
- 4 hamburger buns (I like to use brioche)
- quick pickled red onion
- vegetable oil, for frying
- Place the chicken breasts between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and use a meat tenderizer to pound the chicken to about ¼-1/2” thickness so they cook evenly. If using large chicken breasts, cut them in half, giving you 4 pieces of chicken.
- In a large shallow bowl, combine the marinade ingredients. Add the chicken, turning to coat, then cover and refrigerate for at least two hours or overnight. Remove the chicken from the fridge about 30 minutes before frying.
- Make the smoky aioli and refrigerate until you’re ready to serve.
- In a small bowl, mix together the breading ingredients.
- Working with one piece of chicken at a time, remove from the marinade and dip into the flour breading, turning to coat both sides and pressing to adhere the breading. For a thicker breading, repeat this step by dipping the chicken back into the marinade and then into the breading again. Transfer to a wire rack and repeat with the remaining chicken.
- Add about 1 inch of oil to a skillet with tall sides and heat over medium until the oil reaches 350 degrees F.
- Add two pieces of chicken at a time and fry for 2-3 minutes per side, or until golden brown and the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F. Transfer to a clean wire rack over a baking sheet to catch oil drips.
- Butter the buns and toast under the broiler or in a frying pan until golden brown.
- Assemble the chicken burgers with your favorite toppings and smoky aioli.