Best Copycat Chick-fil-A Sandwich (And their Mayo!) (2024)

Welp, I finally had my first Chick-fil-A sandwich. We splurged, and the hubs went up to Brick, NJ, the nearest town that has one, and picked us up some lunch as a treat!

I was so tired, in a lot of pain, and I was so very grateful that my dear sweet hubby wouldn’t let me fix us anything! So he asked what I might like… I’ve been intrigued over the “big sensation” about this sandwich for several years now, so, curiosity finally got the best of me and I had to see for myself just what all the fuss was about!

The hubs loved it, but I honestly thought that it was just, well, “meh”. Sorry!!!! I know!! Just being honest here. Please don’t hate me!

But I carefully scrutinized every bite of this strangely popular sandwich anyways, in hopes that I could try and recreate it for my hubby (since he really did enjoy it), writing down every last ingredient that I (personally) could taste in it.

It was a quest.

As it is for all true foodies. And I think that my Best Copycat Chick-fil-A Sandwich is unsurpassed and about asspot on to theirs as it gets!

Only difference? Sorry Chick-fil-A….but mine were better. MUCH. (But homemade always is, isn’t it?) I think I should rename these to….Le-Man-sl-A-er. hehe. 😉

*The pic below is Chick-fil-A’s website photo. Ours, (the purchased ones), didn’t look quite like this, though, lol!!! Not by a LONG shot!! It was fine and all. Edible. But the chicken filet was MUCH thinner, as was the breading. Hardly any at all in fact, and very pale in color, kind of an “anemic yellow” color, and such a VERY thin coating it that didn’t even cover all of the chicken.

I wish that I would’ve thought to take a quick shot so that you could see, but I spaced it. I was tired, in pain, andhungry. What can I say. If we (ever) buy them again, I’ll be sure to remember to take a photo and add it to this post for a more realistic representation of what they actually serve and you can expect to receive when you purchase one from them.

Best Copycat Chick-fil-A Sandwich (And their Mayo!) (3)

My recipe is actually quite different than the hundreds of copycat recipes that I read later online, as I was in the kitchen experimenting and mixing like a mad scientist!

And I started to question myself. How could my ingredients that I jotted down as I was eating it be so different from everyone else’s??

So glad that I stuck to my tastebuds and sense of smell!

Though not exact, (the odds of getting struck by lightning are better!), in our opinion, it’s as close as you’re going to get to the real thing! (*And, NOT bragging…but…my hubby said it tasted just like them … except BETTER).

He proceeded to eat THREE of them. Yep. THREE. The best compliment in the WORLD!!!

OMG, I love that man!!!!

Something to Pin to your Pinterest boards
for safe keeping to make any time you want!

One big difference, right off the bat, was that I marinated them in a lemon-water bath. *Not pickle juice.

For some reason, everyone thinks that this is what they do at the restaurant. But after coming across several testaments by actual employees, the fried chicken filets are not, in fact (according to people who claim to work there), marinated in pickle juice.

Only the grilled chicken filets are.

Their pickles are highly vinegary, which is what may be lending that extra “dill pickle flavor” that has caused the assumption that they are marinated in pickle juice.

So I think that I may be right in what I did, as I swear, I could really taste lemon in the purchased sandwich. Not in the breading, but definitely in the chicken itself. If you taste each component separately, you’ll see what I mean.

I then gathered up a small armful of the herbs and spices that I personally tasted in there, and though it may seem like a lot, it’s just pantry stuff and comes together quickly!! Literally, in minutes! So don’t leave anything out!

The combination was wonderful and SPOT. ON. (But better!) 😉

I used onion powder, as that’s what I have on hand. But if you have “granulated onion”, (not to be confused with “dried minced onion”), you might want to use that instead.

Granulated is slightly more coarse than powdered and finer than dried minced onion, has a better flavor (milder and a little bit sweeter), and just might be what they use. But the onion powder worked just fine. So do just use what you have, either the powder or granulated (if you’re lucky enough to happen to have some!)

(*This is what granulated onion looks like:)

Best Copycat Chick-fil-A Sandwich (And their Mayo!) (6)

Lastly, I did cook mine partly with the lid on tight to help tenderize the meat and keep the filets nice and juicy inside. Most restaurants that serve fried chicken in quantity use what’s called a “pressure fryer“. They’re for commercial use only, and makes forthe best fried chicken in minutes!

I used to use one eons ago, when I worked in a small grocery store deli! I so miss cooking with one, and would all but kill to have one, but they are definitely not made for home kitchens! So to try and achieve the same tenderness, just follow how I do it for best results, versus just open-pan frying it on both sides. It really does make a huge difference!

I wish I could say that I used peanut oil, as that’s what they use, but that stuff costs literally twice as much as canola and vegetable oil, so I went with what I had, canola oil. It’s a light, clean tasting, all-purpose oil that has a high smoking point which makes it wonderful for frying! And that worked just fine for us.

Overall, I think Chick-fil-A is putting out a much, better than average, chicken sandwich for being a fast-food establishment. It’s definitely a real chicken breast, not “pieces parts”, and has a nice mellow flavor.

The regular sandwich with just pickles and my copycat recipe for Chick-fil-A’s “secret mayonnaise” is all you really need. And that’s how I made mine when I recreated them.

The hubs went “Deluxe”, so that’s how I made his! No matter how you make these, I think that you’ll really enjoy them, and I hope that they compare to Chick-Fil-A to you, too, as much as we think they do! We were very happy with them! Enjoy!!

*Be sure to check out the secondary recipe right below this one! My Copycat Chick-fil-A mayonnaise!

Best Copycat Chick-fil-A Sandwich (And their Mayo!) (9)

Yield: 4 sandwiches


For Chicken:

  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut in half at a slight angle cutting thicker part a little smaller
  • 1/3 cup cold water
  • 1 Tbl. lemon juice concentrate

For Egg Bath:

  • 1 egg
  • 1/8 cup whole milk

For Seasoned Flour:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 Tbl. powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 2 tsp. regular table salt
  • 1 tsp. regular black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. celery salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground rosemary powder
  • 1/2 tsp. dried dill weed
  • 1/4 tsp. dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp. sage
  • 1/4 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp. celery seeds
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne

Rest of Ingredients:

  • peanut or canola oil, enough until pan is 1/2" deep
  • 4 hamburger buns, buttered and lightly toasted
  • 1/2 stick softened butter, (4 Tbl.)
  • 8 -12 dill pickle slices, 2-3 per sandwich as preferred


  • Place chicken breast pieces, one at a time between 2 sheets plastic wrap. Before covering with second top sheet sprinkle chicken with a few drops of water evenly. This will help to pound them easily. Cover with top sheet and flatten with meat mallet until about 1/2" thick. Repeat with other 3 pieces.
  • In bowl or ziplock baggies, marinate chicken pieces in lemon water while you prepare the rest of your ingredients.
  • In pie dish, beat eggs, beat in milk until well combined.
  • In doubled brown paper lunch bags, add flour and seasonings, twist top closed and shake until well combined.
  • In large deep frying pan, heat oil to about 350º F.
  • Drop each piece, one at a time, into seasoned flour mixture, twist top closed, and shake coating well. Shake off excess flour.
  • Dip each piece of chicken into the egg mixture, coating both sides well and letting excess drip off. Then coat again well in flour mixture. Place each as you go along onto a cooling rack placed over a baking sheet, sprinkle with a little more of the flour mixture, and let rest while you heat up the oil to 350º F. in frying pan over medium heat.
  • Place chicken pieces, pretty side up into hot oil over Medium heat and fry until golden on bottom, about 5 minutes, with lid OFF. Turn pieces over, COVER with tight fitting lid, reduce heat to LOW immediately, and fry for 5 minutes. Remove lid, turn pieces back over, return heat to Medium, and fry 5 more minutes with lid OFF. (*I did only two pieces at a time as to NOT overcrowd the pan. Highly recommended. Only takes 15 minutes per batch. No biggie).
  • Place cooked pieces onto paper towel-lined (clean) cooling rack placed over a baking sheet to absorb any excess oil. Move pieces several times while making second batch to make sure all excess oil is absorbed.
  • Spread insides of sliced buns well with butter and place onto flat griddle or frying pan, buttered sides down, and "fry" until lightly toasted. OR, place buttered side up onto baking sheet and broil, watching carefully, until lightly browned on top. Place 3 dill pickle slices onto each bun bottom, top with chicken filets, place top buns on. *Serve with my Copycat Chick-fil-A Mayonnaise spread on inside of top bun if desired. Recipe below separately.
  • Enjoy!!
  • Notes

    *To make it "Deluxe", onto bottom bun place pickles, then lettuce, 2 tomato slices, hot chicken filet, and a slice of cheese. Top with hot buttered and toasted bun.
    **Chick-fil-A offers the following cheeses: American, Co-Jack, Pepper Jack, and sometimes Provolone. You can also place them on a whole wheat bun, too, if you choose.
    So make it how you like it!

    Best Copycat Chick-fil-A Sandwich (And their Mayo!) (10)

    Yield: 4 tablespoons

    Prep Time: 5 minutes

    Total Time: 5 minutes


    • 3 Tbl. heavy mayo such as Dukes or Hellmann's
    • 1 Tbl. Miracle Whip Salad Dressing
    • 1/4 tsp. apple cider vinegar
    • 1/16 tsp. garlic powder
    • 1/16 tsp. cayenne


  • In small bowl, whisk ingredients together well with mini whisk, or stir well with small spoon, until creamy.
  • Chill until needed.
  • Enough for 4 sandwiches. (*Spread on top buns only).

  • Best Copycat Chick-fil-A Sandwich (And their Mayo!) (2024)


    What is the secret ingredient in Chick-fil-A chicken? ›

    That ingredient is monosodium glutamate, more commonly known as MSG.

    What does Chick-fil-A use to marinate their chicken? ›

    Chick-fil-A's secret to juicy chicken lies in their bringing process. Brining is the process of soaking meat in a solution of salt, sugar, and water. This helps to tenderize the meat and infuse it with flavor. Before cooking it, Chick-fil-A soaks its chicken in a solution of salt, sugar, and milk for up to 24 hours.

    Does Chick-fil-A sell their mayo? ›

    What dipping sauces and condiments does Chick-fil-A offer? In addition to our variety of dipping sauces and dressings, restaurants also offer mayonnaise, mustard, hot sauce and ketchup packets that you can request. Was this answer helpful? Still have a question?

    Does Chick-fil-A use pickle juice in their batter? ›

    There are two crucial ingredients chick-fil-a uses that most recipes dont have- pickle juice and sugar. They also use MSG- but its also ok without it if you dont like it. Just cut up the breasts into chunks and follow recipe for nuggets.

    What does soaking chicken in pickle juice do? ›

    Why marinate chicken in pickle juice? Marinating your chicken in pickle juice is the same as creating a brine for it. The pickle juice helps keep moisture in so it's super tender when cooked and doesn't dry out.

    Does Chick-fil-A marinate their chicken in? ›

    “That's the real magic of our grilled chicken,” says Farmer. Before the chicken is grilled though, it is seasoned and marinated. But finding the perfect recipe wasn't easy. In fact, it took several years for the Chick-fil-A culinary team to test 1,200-plus seasoning combinations.

    Does Chick-fil-A use pickle juice to marinate their chicken? ›

    Yes, it's true that Chick Fil A includes pickle juice in their marinade, but it's not the sole ingredient responsible for the chicken's taste. Pickle juice serves as a flavor enhancer, adding a tangy and slightly acidic note to the chicken.

    Does Chick-fil-A soak their chicken in peanut oil? ›

    Does Chick-fil-A use peanut oil? Ever since our founder Truett Cathy created the Chick-fil-A® Chicken Sandwich, we've been cooking our hand-breaded chicken exclusively in fully refined, heat-processed peanut oil.

    What 3 states have no Chick-fil-A? ›

    There are only three states in the United States that do not have a single Chick-fil-A restaurant. They include Alaska, Hawaii, and Vermont.

    What is the most ordered thing from Chick-fil-A? ›

    When it comes to Chick-fil-A, their waffle fries cannot be beat. The crispy potato treats have been the fast-food chain's most popular menu item for years—and for good reason! That deep-fried side is downright delicious.

    Why is opening a Chick-fil-A so cheap? ›

    Startup costs for Chick-fil-A franchises are relatively low. That's because, unlike other franchises, Chick-fil-A actually purchases the real estate and all of the equipment required to open the business, and then leases them to you via monthly rent payments.

    What brand of pickles does Chick-fil-A use on their sandwiches? ›

    But Why Are Its Pickles So Good? It turns out that the pickles Chick-fil-A gets from Bay Valley are a little different from standard pickles. The company selects cucumbers specifically for size and texture, of course, but what really makes the difference is the brine.

    Is Chick-fil-A chicken real or processed? ›

    Because chicken is at the center of our menu, we serve only real breast meat with no fillers, artificial preservatives, or steroids. Like other chicken in the United States, ours contains no added hormones. We source our chicken from farms in the U.S. in accordance with our Animal Wellbeing Standards.

    Why is Chick-fil-A chicken so juicy? ›

    A juicy Chick-fil-A sandwich is all about the brine

    Turns out that the sandwich's pickled tang is just a side effect of the mouth-watering pickles that come with it. Brining is a food preparation method designed to keep meat tender and moist during the cooking process.

    How does Chick-fil-A make their chicken so moist? ›

    Using Pickle Juice to Tenderize Meat

    Pork, turkey and, of course, chicken breast can soak in this zesty brine to pick up a moist texture and some dill flavor from pickling spices.

    What gives Chick-fil-A its flavor? ›

    Our Produce

    We source a variety of produce – from tomatoes, lettuce, and kale to blueberries, chopped apples and more. These fruits and vegetables are freshly delivered to our restaurants up to six days a week for the best quality and flavor and are used to craft many of our menu items in our restaurant kitchens.

    What ingredient did they find in Chick-fil-A that was a negative ingredient? ›

    People continue to stand in long lines at Chick-fil-A for their chicken sandwiches. Why are these foods so seemingly addictive? Some accuse the chains of hiding ingredients and describe the items as “chemical-laced” sandwiches. One of the main culprits most likely is monosodium glutamate (MSG).

    Does Chick-fil-A use 100% real chicken? ›

    Nuggets done right. #cfaappleton #chickfilahack #chickfilamoms. #chickfila #appletoneats #appletonwisconsin.

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