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Hot Honey Chicken Sandwich

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Fried chicken thighs are crispy and golden-brown on the outside, tender and juicy on the inside, and slathered in hot honey sauce. Serve it on a buttery toasted bun with all your favorite toppings for the best hot honey chicken sandwich.

If you like spicy chicken sandwiches, you will love with this Hot Honey Chicken Sandwich recipe. The sauce is similar to our Old Bay Hot Honey Chicken Wings recipe.

We’re talking yard bird soaked in creamy buttermilk, dredged in a well-seasoned flour mixture, and fried to crispy perfection. It’s then drizzled in a sweet and spicy homemade hot honey sauce.

Throw it in a toasted burger bun and top with pickles and ranch dressing. If you’re not a thigh person, no worries – you can swap it out with boneless chicken breast or make these chicken tenders.

Ingredients

  • 6 chicken thighs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce (such as Louisiana, Crystal Hot Sauce, or your favorite brand)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour 
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons granulated garlic
  • 1 teaspoon granulated onion
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 packet Sazón seasoning
  • neutral oil, for frying (peanut oil, canola oil, vegetable oil, etc.)
  • 6 hamburger buns
  • hamburger dill pickle chips, for serving
  • condiments (ranch, mayonnaise, etc.)

Hot Honey Sauce

  • 1/2 cup hot sauce (such as Louisiana, Crystal Hot Sauce, or your favorite brand)
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • Cayenne pepper (optional)

Equipment and Tools

  • Meat mallet or tenderizer
  • Large bowl or ziplock bag
  • Deep fryer, Dutch oven, or deep cast iron skillet for frying
  • Large brown paper bag or mixing bowl
  • Two wire racks set over sheet pans
  • Paper towel lined plate (optional)
  • Whisk
  • Spoon or small ladle to drizzle Hot Honey Sauce

Recipe Notes and Variations

Chicken breast: Chicken breasts can be used instead of thighs, but frying the time will be shorter (8 to 10 minutes, or until they’re golden brown and the inside is cooked to 165°F.) Chicken breasts are more prone to drying out, so be careful not to overcook them.

Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich: Pair this sandwich with a Nashville Hot Sauce (made with honey, cayenne pepper, smoked paprika, and brown sugar) and serve it with pickles and a slice of white bread.

Barbecue sauce: For a tangy, smoky twist, use your favorite barbecue sauce instead of Hot Honey Sauce.

Grilled vs Frying: Instead of deep frying, you can grill chicken for a lighter and healthier alternative.

Directions

  • Tenderize:
    • Place the chicken thighs between two sheets of plastic wrap or parchment paper and gently pound the meat with a mallet or tenderizer to an even thickness. Be careful not to overdo it!
  • Soak in Buttermilk and Hot Sauce:
    • Use a large bowl or a ziplock bag and combine buttermilk and hot sauce.
    • Toss thighs in the buttermilk mixture and make sure they’re fully coated.
    • Seal it up and set it in the fridge for at least 3 hours, up to overnight.
  • Get Your Fryer Ready
    • We recommend using a deep fryer, a Dutch oven, or a deep cast iron skillet for frying.
    • If using a Dutch oven, fill the pot up with canola oil about 2 inches deep.
    • Heat oil to 340°F.
  • Dredge in Flour and Cornstarch:
    • Grab a large brown paper bag (the old-school way) or a mixing bowl.
    • Mix up flour, cornstarch, a pinch of salt, granulated garlic, granulated onion, chili powder, and sazón.
    • Shake it all up in the bag or whisk it in the bowl until it’s well incorporated.
    • Take chicken pieces, one by one, from the buttermilk bath to the seasoned flour mixture. Let any extra buttermilk drip off before dredging in the flour mixture.
    • Transfer coated chicken to a wire rack and set aside.
  • Deep Fry:
    • Add 2 or 3 chicken to that hot oil, one by one, using tongs.
    • Fry in batches for 12 to 14 minutes, or until they’re golden brown and the inside is cooked to a delicious 165°F.
    • If using a cast iron skillet, flip thighs halfway through frying so they get crispy and golden on both sides.
    • Carefully remove chicken from the oil using tongs or a large slotted spoon. Set on a paper-towel covered plate or wire rack set over a baking sheet. Keep warm in the oven on its lowest setting if desired.
  • Drizzle the Hot Honey Sauce:
    • Use a spoon or a small ladle and drizzle the warm hot honey sauce generously over chicken. You can also gently toss the chicken in the bowl to ensure an even coating of the sauce, or use a pastry brush to brush the sauce.
  • Assemble the Sandwich:
    • Spread condiments on the bottom half of each bun. Add the fried chicken and top with pickles and sauce. Top with the other half of the bun. Feel free to customize your sandwich with additional toppings like coleslaw or bacon.

Hot Honey Sauce

  1. In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.
  2. Add the hot sauce, honey, and garlic powder to the melted butter. Stir to combine.
  3. Let the mixture simmer over low heat for about 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. This allows the flavors to meld and the sauce to thicken slightly.
  4. Taste the sauce and adjust to taste with salt and black pepper. If you want it spicier, add a little cayenne pepper.
  5. Remove the saucepan from the heat and let it cool for a few minutes before using.

Fun Fact: This hot honey sauce was originally a wing sauce recipe for these Hot Honey Chicken Wings that Marrekus created, but since I don’t eat bone-in wings, I paired it with the fried chicken sandwich!

Tips and Techniques

Buttermilk brine: Don’t skip brining the chicken in buttermilk! This will enhance its moisture and flavor.

Season generously: This recipe uses salt, garlic, onion, chili powder, and Sazón seasonings. Consider adding your favorites like paprika or herbs to the flour mixture; it should be well-seasoned for maximum flavor.

Extra crispy coating: For extra crunch, after the first coating, double-dip the chicken in buttermilk and then back into the flour mixture for a second coat.

Frying: Frying in batches ensures that the chicken cooks evenly and maintains its crispiness. Use a thermometer and try to keep the oil temperature as consistent as possible throughout the frying process. You can also adjust the heat as needed to maintain the desired frying temperature.

Drain properly: After frying, place the cooked chicken on a wire rack set over a sheet pan or on paper towels to allow the excess oil to drain. This will help maintain the chicken’s crispiness.

Rest before serving: Allow the fried chicken to rest for a few minutes before serving on buns. This helps the juices redistribute, ensuring a juicier and more flavorful bite.

Toppings: Try crispy bacon and/or coleslaw for a flavorful addition.

Have you tried our delicious Hot Honey Chicken Sandwich recipe? Share your thoughts in the comments below! If you’re snapping pics or shooting videos of your culinary masterpiece, be sure to tag us at @cookswithsoul on Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok! We can’t wait to see and share your incredible creations with our community.

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Hot Honey Chicken Sandwich

  • Author: cooks with soul
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes + 3 hours marinating
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 48 minute
  • Yield: 6 sandwiches 1x
  • Category: main course, dinner
  • Method: deep frying
  • Cuisine: american

Description

Fried chicken thighs are crispy and golden-brown on the outside, tender and juicy on the inside, and slathered in hot honey sauce. Serve it on a buttery toasted bun with all your favorite toppings for the best hot honey chicken sandwich.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce (such as Louisiana, Crystal Hot Sauce, or your favorite brand)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour 
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons granulated garlic
  • 1 teaspoon granulated onion
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 packet Sazón seasoning
  • neutral oil, for frying (peanut oil, canola oil, vegetable oil, etc.)
  • 6 hamburger buns
  • hamburger dill pickle chips, for serving
  • condiments (ranch, mayonnaise, etc.)

Hot Honey Sauce

  • 1/2 cup hot sauce (such as Louisiana, Crystal Hot Sauce, or your favorite brand)
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • Cayenne pepper (optional)

Instructions

  1. Place chicken thighs between two sheets of plastic wrap or parchment paper and gently pound meat with a mallet or tenderizer to an even thickness. 
  2. Use a large bowl or a ziplock bag and combine buttermilk and hot sauce. Toss thighs in buttermilk mixture and make sure they’re fully coated. Seal and set it in fridge for at least 3 hours, up to overnight.
  3. Heat oil in a cast iron skillet or deep fryer to 340°F. Note: If using a Dutch oven, fill the pot up with oil about 2 inches deep. 
  4. Mix flour, cornstarch, a pinch of salt, garlic, onion, chili powder, and sazón in a large brown paper bag or a mixing bowl. Shake in bag or whisk in bowl until it’s well incorporated.
  5. Take chicken, one by one, from the buttermilk bath to seasoned flour mixture. Let any extra buttermilk drip off before dredging in flour mixture. Transfer coated thighs to a wire rack and set aside.
  6. Add 2 or 3 thighs to hot oil, one by one, using tongs. Fry in batches for 12 to 14 minutes, or until they’re golden brown and the inside is cooked to a delicious 165°F. Note: If using a cast iron skillet, flip chicken halfway through frying so they get crispy and golden on both sides.
  7. Carefully remove from the oil using tongs or a large slotted spoon. Set on a paper-towel covered plate or wire rack set over a baking sheet. Keep warm in the oven on its lowest setting if desired.
  8. Use a spoon or a small ladle and drizzle the warm hot honey sauce generously over the chicken. Gently toss the chicken in the bowl to ensure an even coating of the sauce, or use a pastry brush to brush the sauce.
  9. Spread condiments on the bottom half of each bun. Add the fried chicken and top with pickles and sauce. Top with the other half of the bun.
  10. Drizzle on extra sauce, if desired. Feel free to customize sandwich with additional toppings like coleslaw or bacon.

Notes

Chicken breast: Chicken breasts can be used instead of thighs, but frying the time will be shorter (8 to 10 minutes, or until they’re golden brown and the inside is cooked to 165°F.) Chicken breasts are more prone to drying out, so be careful not to overcook them.

Nashville Hot Chicken: Pair this sandwich with a Nashville Hot Sauce (made with honey, cayenne pepper, smoked paprika, and brown sugar) and serve it with pickles and a slice of white bread.

Barbecue sauce: For a tangy, smoky twist, use your favorite barbecue sauce instead of Hot Honey Sauce.

Grilled vs Frying: Instead of deep frying, you can grill chicken for a lighter and healthier alternative.

Keywords: hot honey sauce, hot honey fried chicken, fried chicken sandwich, hot honey chicken sandwich

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