Fresh boneless chicken breast is marinated in a special buttermilk seasoning mix then breaded and air fried to juicy perfection. Served on a toasted bun with lettuce, tomato and an optional spicy mayo, this air fryer buttermilk spicy chicken sandwich is a delicious dream come true.
It seems like every week there’s a new specialty chicken joint opening up somewhere nearby. And when they do, I can never believe the lines of people! Where I live in suburban Chicago, there’s several within a 10 minute drive and they are always packed. Even the nationwide fast food restaurants have chicken sandwiches that everyone wants to get their hands on. Can we make our own with our air fryer? You bet we can!
We want to start with chicken breasts that are about 10-12oz in size. The first step is to cut them in half. We want our chicken sandwiches to be able to fit on a bun so we’ll cut the chicken breast in half crosswise, then pound them down a bit. We don’t want to pound them thin, just enough to even out the thicker parts. Next we pour 1 cup of buttermilk into a large zip top bag and mix it with paprika, garlic powder and a teaspoon of salt. Place the chicken into the buttermilk mixture, seal the bag and let it sit in the fridge for at least a couple of hours. Several hours is even better and overnight is even best! The buttermilk is a very special ingredient that tenderizes the meat and infuses a juiciness and flavor that’s simply awesome.
After the chicken breast spends some time marinating, we’ll setup our breading station. We let as much buttermilk as possible drip off the chicken, then it gets a quick coating of flour. Next is gets a dunk into the beaten eggs. Finally, we let any excess egg drip off before we place it onto a plate of Panko bread crumbs. Press it right into those breadcrumbs and get it good and coated. Place the breaded chicken on a plate and repeat the process with the remaining chicken.
Spray some cooking spray into the air fryer basket and preheat at 390°(F) for 5 minutes. Then place the chicken into the air fryer and give them all a good spray with the cooking spray. This is important! Even though we’re not deep frying, there still needs to be some oil sprayed on to get a nice golden crisp. Now air fry the chicken at 390°(F) for 12 minutes. Flip halfway through cooking.
Spicy Mayo and Toast Your Buns!
Now it’s time to build your sandwich and one of the foundations of a good spicy chicken sandwich is the bun. I love using fresh brioche buns. They hold up well and keep everything together. Spread a little butter on the inside of the buns and toast them first for optimum results. Then we need a spread on the sandwich which we’ll get by combining ½ cup mayonnaise with a teaspoon of hot sauce. Mix them together and it’s the perfect spread with just enough spiciness to add to the overall sandwich. Finally, add some fresh lettuce and tomatoes and of course… pickles!