How to Make a Fried Chicken Sandwich Without Buttermilk

You crave a fried chicken sandwich but don’t have buttermilk on hand. No worries – with a few simple substitutions you can make a crispy, juicy fried chicken sandwich without buttermilk. This easy recipe only requires ingredients you likely already have in your kitchen.In just 30 minutes you’ll be biting into a delicious fried chicken sandwich, hot and fresh out of the oil. The key is using ingredients that provide moisture and a slight tanginess to mimic buttermilk. With the right technique, no one will know the difference. Follow these simple steps and you’ll soon be enjoying a fried chicken sandwich that’s crispy on the outside, tender on the inside and full of flavor. Your taste buds will rejoice that you didn’t have to run to the store for buttermilk after all.

Intro to Fried Chicken Sandwiches Without Buttermilk

To make a delicious fried chicken sandwich without buttermilk, you’ll need a few key ingredients and tools.

Brining the Chicken

Brining the chicken helps it stay juicy when fried. For brining, you’ll need:

  • 4 chicken breast halves, boneless and skinless
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 4 cups cold water

Combine the salt, sugar and water until dissolved. Add the chicken and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to overnight.

Coating and Frying

For coating and frying, you’ll need:

  1. 1 cup all-purpose flour
  2. 1 teaspoon paprika
  3. 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  4. 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  5. 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  6. 1 cup buttermilk or 1 cup milk mixed with 1 tablespoon lemon juice or white vinegar
  7. Peanut or canola oil for frying
  8. Kaiser rolls or hamburger buns
  9. Your favorite toppings like pickles, shredded lettuce and mayonnaise

After brining, remove the chicken and pat dry with paper towels. Discard the brine.

Combine the flour, paprika, garlic powder, oregano and cayenne (if using) on a plate or in a shallow dish. Pour the buttermilk substitute into a separate dish.

Dredge the chicken in the flour mixture, then dip in the buttermilk, and dredge again in the flour, shaking off any excess after each step.

Fill a large skillet with oil to a depth of 1/2 inch. Heat oil over medium-high heat until it reaches 350 F. Fry the chicken until golden brown, about 5 to 6 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels.

Serve the fried chicken on buns with your favorite toppings. Enjoy!

Ingredients You’ll Need for Fried Chicken Without Buttermilk

To make a fried chicken sandwich without buttermilk, you’ll need the following ingredients:

Chicken breasts

For this recipe, boneless, skinless chicken breast halves work well. Two average-sized chicken breasts should yield enough for two sandwiches.


Eggs act as a binder, helping the coating stick to the chicken. Two large eggs should be sufficient for two chicken breasts.

All-purpose flour

All-purpose flour, also known as plain flour, is a versatile flour used in many cooking applications. Use about 1 cup of all-purpose flour to coat the chicken breasts.


To season the flour, add 1 teaspoon each of:

  • Paprika – gives the coating a reddish color and savory, slightly spicy flavor
  • Garlic powder – provides an savory garlicky flavor without the bitterness of fresh garlic
  • Onion powder – supplies flavor of onions without the texture
  • Dried or fresh thyme – adds an earthy, herbaceous note
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper – essential for enhancing the other flavors

Vegetable or canola oil

You want an oil with a high smoke point, like canola or vegetable oil, which can handle the high heat needed for frying without burning. Fill a large skillet or Dutch oven with 1 to 2 inches of oil.


Choose buns that will stand up to a crispy fried chicken breast and your favorite toppings. Brioche buns, potato rolls, or pretzel buns all work great.

With the right ingredients and technique, you can make a delicious fried chicken sandwich without buttermilk. Follow these steps and enjoy your crunchy, flavorful creation!

Prepping the Fried Chicken

Prepping the Fried Chicken

To prepare fried chicken without buttermilk, you will need to brine the chicken to ensure it remains juicy when fried. Brining involves soaking the chicken in a saltwater solution which allows it to absorb moisture and seasonings.

  1. Rinse 1 pound of boneless, skinless chicken thighs and pat dry with paper towels.
  2. In a large bowl, combine 1/2 cup warm water, 1/4 cup kosher salt, and 1/4 cup sugar until dissolved. This creates a basic brine. You can also add spices like garlic powder, paprika, thyme, or chili powder to the brine for extra flavor.
  3. Add the chicken thighs to the brine and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours. Longer brining will result in a more flavorful and seasoned chicken, but for some the chicken can become too salty if left for over 2 hours. Check for your desired taste and tenderness.
  4. Remove the chicken from the brine and pat completely dry with paper towels. Discard the used brine.
  5. Set a wire rack in a rimmed baking sheet to allow air flow under the chicken. This will make the breading extra crispy.
  6. In a shallow dish, whisk 1 cup all-purpose flour, 1/2 teaspoon chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon paprika, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper.
  7. Dredge the brined chicken pieces in the flour mixture, shaking off any excess. Make sure the chicken is coated evenly and thinly for best results.
  8. Fill a large skillet with vegetable or canola oil to a depth of 1/2 inch. Heat oil over medium-high heat to 350 F.
  9. Carefully add the breaded chicken pieces to the oil in a single layer, being careful not to crowd the skillet. Fry until golden brown, about 3 to 5 minutes per side, turning once, until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 F.
  10. Drain on the prepared wire rack. Allow to rest for 5 minutes, then serve on buns with your favorite toppings like pickles, slaw, or honey mustard. Enjoy your buttermilk-free fried chicken sandwich!
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Breading and Frying the Chicken Without Eggs

To make fried chicken without buttermilk, you’ll need to find an alternative for the egg wash and buttermilk marinade typically used to help the breading stick to the meat. For the egg wash, you can use:

  • A mixture of flour, water, and spices. Combine 1 cup flour, 1 cup water, and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder. Whisk until smooth. This creates a batter-like consistency that will coat the chicken pieces.
  • Straight flour. Dredge the chicken pieces in 1 to 1 1/2 cups of flour seasoned with 1/2 teaspoon each of salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder. Tap off any excess flour and fry as directed. The flour will stick to the chicken, creating a light coating. You may need to pat the chicken with a paper towel to remove excess grease after frying.

To replace the buttermilk brine, create a marinade of:

-1/2 cup milk or water and 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar. The acid in the lemon juice or vinegar will lightly tenderize the chicken like buttermilk. Let the chicken marinate for at least 30 minutes to absorb more flavor.

-1/2 cup milk or water, 1 tablespoon hot sauce, and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder. The hot sauce adds kick and helps the spices penetrate the meat. Marinate chicken for at least 30 minutes.

Frying the Chicken

Heat 3 inches of vegetable or canola oil in a deep pot or Dutch oven to 350 F. Remove chicken from the marinade and dredge in the flour mixture, shaking off any excess. Carefully add chicken pieces to the hot oil in a single layer. Fry until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Remove and drain on paper towels. Let oil return to temperature and fry chicken again until cooked through and deep golden brown, 5 to 10 more minutes. An internal temperature of 165 F indicates the chicken is done.

Drain the fried chicken on paper towels and season with more salt and pepper. Serve on buns with your favorite toppings like pickles, coleslaw, and spicy mayonnaise. The chicken will be hot, juicy, and full of flavor thanks to the marinade and spices in the breading.

Assembling Your Crispy Fried Chicken Sandwich

Now that you have fried your crispy chicken filets, it’s time to assemble your fried chicken sandwich.


Select a bun that will stand up to a juicy chicken filet, such as a brioche bun, pretzel bun, or potato roll. Split the buns in half horizontally. Spread the cut sides with mayonnaise, aioli, or the condiment of your choice. Place the bottom halves of the buns on a plate or flat surface.


Romaine, green leaf, or red leaf lettuce leaves are all suitable options. Wash and pat the lettuce dry with paper towels or a salad spinner. Place two or three whole lettuce leaves or a handful of shredded lettuce on each bun bottom.


Choose a tomato that is ripe yet still firm, such as beefsteak or heirloom. Wash, core, and slice the tomato into 1/4-inch thick slices. Place a tomato slice on top of the lettuce on each bun bottom.

Fried chicken filets

Place one or two fried chicken filets on top of the tomato slice on each bun bottom. The chicken should cover most of the bun.

Condiments (optional)

You may wish to add extra condiments such as:

  • Pickles: Three to five pickle chips or slices.
  • Onion: Two to three thin slices of red or white onion.
  • Cheese: Two slices of melted cheddar, Swiss or pepper jack cheese.

Bun tops

Place the top halves of the buns on top of the fillings and press down gently. Slice the sandwiches in half diagonally and serve immediately. Your crispy fried chicken sandwiches are ready to enjoy!

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Serving Suggestions for Your Fried Chicken Sandwich

Serving Suggestions for Your Fried Chicken Sandwich

Once your fried chicken sandwich has been assembled, there are a few ways you can serve it to maximize enjoyment.

A classic side for a fried chicken sandwich is coleslaw. The crunchy cabbage and carrots pair well with the crispy chicken. You can make your own coleslaw with shredded cabbage, mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, and spices or purchase pre-made coleslaw from the refrigerated section of your grocery store.

Another option is french fries or potato chips. The saltiness complements the flavor of the fried chicken. For homemade fries, cut russet potatoes into wedges, toss with oil and salt, and spread on a baking sheet. Bake at 450 F, stirring occasionally, until browned and crisp, about 25 minutes. Commercial potato chips also work great as a side and require no preparation.

On a more nutritious note, a simple green salad, vegetable sticks, or fresh fruit are healthy alternatives. A tossed green salad with vinaigrette dressing or fresh cut veggies like cucumbers, carrots, celery and cherry tomatoes give the sandwich a bright, crunchy accompaniment without a lot of extra calories. Sliced apples, berries or melon are refreshing choices for warmer weather.

No matter which side you choose, a cold beverage is a must. An ice-cold glass of sweet tea, lemonade, or beer pairs perfectly with a fried chicken sandwich. The chilled temperature contrasts nicely with the hot, crispy chicken. For an adult beverage, a cider, stout or hoppy IPA stand up well to the bold flavors.

With the right combination of sides and a cold drink, your fried chicken sandwich will be a balanced and satisfying meal. Experiment with different options to find your favorite pairing for this Southern classic. The possibilities for accompaniments are endless, so get creative and enjoy!

Tips for Extra Crispy Fried Chicken Without Buttermilk

To achieve an extra crispy fried chicken sandwich without buttermilk, follow these tips:

Use Cold Ingredients

Make sure your chicken, flour, eggs, and oil are all cold before breading and frying the chicken. Cold ingredients will lead to a crisper crust. Let the chicken rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes after breading to allow the coating to adhere better.

Double Coat the Chicken

For ultra crispy chicken, coat the chicken in flour, then dip in beaten egg, and then dredge again in flour. Make sure the chicken is coated evenly and thoroughly on all sides. Gently shake off any excess flour and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Use a Blend of Flours

Using a blend of all-purpose flour and cornstarch or flour and rice flour will create an lighter, airier coating. A blend of 3 parts all-purpose flour to 1 part cornstarch or rice flour works well. You can also add 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder per cup of flour for extra lightness.

Add Spices to the Coating

Adding spices like paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, thyme, oregano, and crushed red pepper flakes to the flour coating will boost the flavor of the fried chicken. Start with 1/2 teaspoon of each spice and add more to taste.

Double Fry the Chicken

To get chicken extra crispy without buttermilk, double frying is key. Fry the breaded chicken pieces in oil heated to 325 F for about 5-7 minutes until light golden brown. Remove and drain, then increase the oil temperature to 350-375 F. Return the chicken pieces to the oil and fry until cooked through and deep golden brown, about 3-5 minutes more. Drain on paper towels or wire racks.

Use Peanut or Vegetable Oil with a High Smoke Point

Use an oil with a high smoke point like peanut, canola, sunflower, soybean, or vegetable oil. This allows the oil to get hot enough to properly fry the chicken without burning. Make sure the oil reaches the proper temperature before frying.

Drain on Wire Racks

Draining fried chicken on wire racks instead of paper towels allows air flow all around the chicken pieces. This helps the chicken stay crispy as it drains. Flip the pieces over halfway through draining for even crispness.

Troubleshooting Common Issues When Frying Chicken

Troubleshooting Common Issues When Frying Chicken

When frying chicken sandwiches without buttermilk, a few common issues may arise. By anticipating and mitigating these potential problems, you can achieve perfect fried chicken every time.

The oil temperature may drop too low when adding the chicken pieces. To prevent this, only add a few pieces of chicken to the oil at a time. Adding too much chicken at once reduces the oil temperature dramatically, resulting in greasy, undercooked chicken. Check the oil temperature with a kitchen thermometer and allow it to return to the proper temperature between batches.

The breading may fall off the chicken during frying. To achieve maximum breading adhesion, thoroughly coat the chicken pieces in the flour mixture, shaking off any excess. Next, dip the breaded chicken in the egg wash, allowing the excess to drip off. Finally, coat the chicken in bread crumbs, pressing firmly so they stick. Fry the breaded chicken immediately – do not allow it to sit. The breading must set in hot oil.

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The chicken may be undercooked in the center. To ensure the chicken is cooked through, fry the pieces in batches to maintain oil temperature. Do not crowd the pot. Fry the chicken for the recommended time, then cut into the thickest piece to check that the meat is white and opaque with no pink, and the juices run clear. The internal temperature should reach 165 F.

The chicken may be too dark and burnt on the outside before cooking through. To prevent this, reduce the oil temperature to medium or medium-low. Fry the chicken at a lower temperature, around 325 to 350 F. The lower heat will allow the chicken to cook through gently without burning the outside. You can also flip the chicken pieces more frequently, every few minutes.

By monitoring the oil temperature, allowing proper breading adhesion, checking the internal chicken temperature, and reducing the heat, you can achieve perfectly fried chicken sandwiches without buttermilk. Enjoy your delicious creation!

FAQ – Answers to Your Fried Chicken Sandwich Questions

Many people have questions about making a fried chicken sandwich without buttermilk. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions and their answers:

Do I have to use buttermilk?

No, buttermilk is not essential for making fried chicken. You can use several substitutes for buttermilk in your fried chicken sandwich recipe:

•Plain yogurt or sour cream – Use the same amount of yogurt or sour cream as the buttermilk called for in the recipe. The acidity helps tenderize the meat like buttermilk.

•Milk and lemon juice or vinegar – For every cup of buttermilk, use 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar plus enough milk to make 1 cup. Let it sit for 5 minutes before using. The acid in the lemon juice or vinegar sours the milk.

•Coconut milk – Use the same amount of coconut milk as buttermilk. Coconut milk will add a subtle coconut flavor to the fried chicken.

•Club soda or sparkling water – Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar to 1 cup of club soda or sparkling water. Let sit for 5 minutes before using. The carbonation helps lighten the batter like buttermilk.

•Plain milk – As a last resort, you can use the same amount of plain milk or a milk alternative like almond milk in place of buttermilk. The fried chicken may be slightly less tender but will still work.

Can I use all-purpose flour instead of a flour blend?

Yes, all-purpose flour can work as a substitute for a flour blend in fried chicken. However, a blend of all-purpose flour and cornstarch or flour creates an especially light, crispy crust. If using only all-purpose flour, you may need to increase the amount of seasoning in the flour to boost the flavor.

How do I get the fried chicken really crispy?

To get crispy fried chicken, there are a few key steps:

  1. Coat the chicken pieces thoroughly in the flour mixture, shaking off any excess.
  2. Make sure the oil is hot enough, around 350-375 F. If the oil is not hot enough, the chicken will absorb oil and be greasy rather than crispy.
  3. Do not crowd the pot or skillet. Cook the chicken in batches so the pieces are in a single layer. This allows for even cooking and crisping.
  4. Once the chicken is browned, flip only once or twice more while cooking. Too much flipping will release moisture and prevent crisping.
  5. Drain the fried chicken on wire racks or paper towel-lined plates after cooking. This allows air flow to keep the crust crispy.
  6. Season the fried chicken immediately after cooking with more salt and your favorite spices. Seasoning sticks best to hot fried chicken

Conclusion: Crispy chicken sandwich

You now have all the ingredients and instructions to make a crispy fried chicken sandwich without the use of buttermilk. By marinating the chicken in a mixture of spices, herbs, and dairy or non-dairy milk, you’ve imparted loads of flavor into the meat. Dredging the marinated chicken in a coating of flour, cornstarch, and seasonings creates a crust that is light yet crunchy. Frying the breaded chicken until golden brown and topping it with your favorite fixings like coleslaw, pickles, or barbecue sauce yields a delicious sandwich perfect for any meal. With a few simple ingredients and techniques, you’ve mastered how to make a classic Southern dish in your own kitchen. Enjoy your fried chicken sandwich!


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