Air-Fried Chicken Sandwich

This air-fried chicken sandwich delivers all the pleasure and satisfaction of a fried chicken lunch, but with much less guilt! Air-frying keeps it nice and moist, but fulfills your fried food fix without the mess and stress of deep-frying.

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It’s true this sandwich takes a little work. It’s not as simple as putting some deli meat between two slices of bread, but the payoff in flavor is so worth the effort. The juicy fried chicken with the tang and crunch of coleslaw, the sweet bread and butter pickles and the zesty special sauce between two toasted bun halves is something you won’t soon forget. It may take a little time, but none of the work required to put this sandwich together is difficult.

Coated chicken pieces in an air fryer basket being sprayed with oil.

Start by getting chicken breasts that are not too big so that when you cut them in half and pound them a little, they are a reasonable size to put in a sandwich. If over-sized chicken breasts are all you can find, try slicing them in half horizontally so that they are thinner to begin with and then cut each half into two pieces. Marinating the chicken in buttermilk does help keep it moist and tender, so don’t skip that step if you can help it.

Air-fried chicken pieces in an air fryer basket.

Spritz the chicken a couple of times during the cooking process. A little extra oil will help brown and crisp the coating on the outside of the chicken and if you are using an EVO bottle of olive oil it will only deliver ¼ teaspoon with each trigger pull – enough to do the job without breaking the calorie bank.

The makings of an air-fried chicken sandwich on a wooden board - coleslaw, special sauce, buns and fried chicken.

You can use coleslaw that you’ve made yourself or you can purchase a bag of coleslaw. It’s also a great way to use up any leftover coleslaw that you might have around. If you don’t have coleslaw, just a slice of tomato and lettuce will finish the sandwich off nicely too. Of course, you could always do both – tomato and lettuce on the sandwich and coleslaw on the side. For that matter, why not throw some Homemade French Fries into the air fryer and make a serious meal of this sandwich! 

Assembling an air-fried chicken sandwich with a bottle of beer in the background.

If this seems like too much work for lunch… make it dinner. Either way, just make it. You won’t regret it. I should have called this the No Regret Air Fried Chicken Sandwich.

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Air Fried Chicken Sandwich

  • Prep Time: 15 m
  • Cook Time: 25 m
  • Marinating Time: 3 h
  • Total Time: 40 m
  • Servings:
    4

Ingredients

  • 2 boneless chicken breasts (6- to 8-ounces each)
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon celery seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon dried sage
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 4 Kaiser or brioche rolls
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter softened
  • cup coleslaw
  • bread and butter pickle chips
Special Sauce:
  • 4 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon BBQ sauce
  • ½ teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • pinch of cayenne pepper

Instructions

  1. Cut the chicken breasts into two pieces, making the thicker end slightly smaller than the thinner tapered end. Pound each piece with the flat side of a meat mallet, so both pieces are even in size and thickness.
  2. Combine the buttermilk, lemon juice and cayenne pepper in a bowl. Add the chicken and coat both sides with the mixture. Refrigerate the chicken and let it marinate for at least 3 hours to overnight.
  3. Set up a dredging station with two bowls. Place the beaten eggs in one bowl. Combine the flour, powdered sugar, salt, black pepper, celery seeds, dried sage, dried thyme and baking powder in the second bowl.

  4. Working with one piece of chicken at a time, remove the chicken from the buttermilk marinade, letting it drip for a second or two before transferring it to the flour bowl. Coat the chicken on all sides in the flour and then transfer the chicken to the egg bowl. Coat all sides of the chicken with the eggs and then transfer it back to the flour a second time, making sure all sides are coated.
  5. Pre-heat the air fryer to 380°F.
  6. Place the coated chicken in air fryer basket and spritz well with oil. Air-fry at 380°F for 12 minutes. Spray the chicken again and increase the temperature to 400°F. Air-fry for 4 minutes. Flip the chicken over and air-fry for an additional 4 to 5 minutes until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F on an instant read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken.
  7. While the chicken is air-frying, make the special sauce by combining the mayonnaise, barbeque sauce, apple cider vinegar and cayenne pepper in a small bowl. Cut the rolls in half and butter each half. Transfer the cooked chicken to a resting plate. Working in batches, air-fry the rolls, buttered side up, at 390°F for 2 minutes until toasted.
  8. Assemble the sandwiches. Spread the sauce on the toasted buns. Place a piece of the air fried chicken on the bottom of each bun. Top the chicken with coleslaw and pickles and finish with the top bun. Serve with Homemade French Fries or Potato Chips.
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Comments (10)Post a Reply

    1. Definitely! You could use gluten-free flour or any gluten-free flour substitute like rice flour or corn starch.

    1. Hi Katheleen. If you click on “Print Recipe”, it should take you to another page with a printable version of the recipe. From there, just print from your browser and it should work.
      Thanks. ML


  1. Wow! Worth every bit of the effort! My family gave the highest of praise to these sandwiches! Thank you for this recipe and all of your recipes and videos. You make everything seem doable! BTW- I’ve got your pizza dough waiting in the fridge for tomorrow. Can’t wait to see how it turns out for me. Making Strombolis instead of pizza, though.

  2. Just curious where the celery seed come into play? Did I miss it in the instructions? I guess you add it to the seasoned flour? Sounds yummy!

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