Chicken/ Hearty Dinners

Crispy Chicken Burgers

April 21, 2020 by Chris Collins

These fried chicken burgers are ultra crispy and absolutely bursting with flavour. Better still, they couldn’t be easier to make!

chicken burger sat on slate with 3 more blurred in the background

The ULTIMATE KFC Style Chicken Burger!

For real though, is there anything better in life than wrapping your chops around a burger from KFC when you’re beyond hungry? No is the answer. No is the ONLY answer. However, I’d like to throw my 2 pence in and suggest this homemade version may, just may, be more satisfying than any chicken burger you’ve ever tried (please don’t sue me KFC). Here’s why you’re gonna LOVE these chicken burgers:

  • Ultra Crispy – Here I’ll show you some tips and tricks to getting teeth-shatteringly-crispy chicken.
  • Tender and Juicy – No more tough and dry chicken, these burgers are melt in your mouth tender!
  • Bursting with flavour – Both the chicken and fillings offer an absolute killer combo of flavours.

Whilst frying up chicken may seem like a hassle, I promise you it’s really straight forward. Even if you’re not experienced with deep frying. Follow me…

closeup shot of honey sriracha pouring down chicken

Chicken Breast Burger

For this recipe we’re going with boneless skinless chicken breast. Most chicken burger recipes you’ll find use breast, mainly because they’re larger than thighs. It gives you more of that classic flavour too, thighs tend to be used more in fried chicken sandwiches or more Asian dishes.

Pound that chicken!

I mean pound the chicken breast. Not an actu… nevermind. Pounding the chicken serves two purposes:

  1. It ensures the breast is even thickness, which will ensure the chicken cooks evenly.
  2. It tenderises the meat and reduces the risk of it coming out tough & chewy.

You can use a mallet, heavy pan or a rolling pin (as I use here). Just cover with cling film and pound until the breasts are even thickness.

How to pound chicken - 4 step by step photos

Buttermilk Marinated Chicken

Buttermilk is absolutely KEY to the deliciousness of these burgers. Marinating chicken in buttermilk tenderises the meat and acts as a great gateway to inject the spices into the chicken.

How long to marinate the chicken?

Ideally you’re looking for 4 hours, over night is even better. Having said that just marinate for as long as you have time for. Even just 30mins makes the world of difference!

Just mix your spices in with the buttermilk, mix in the chicken then tightly cover and rest in the fridge. Once you’ve marinated the chicken, it’s important to get the chicken out the fridge 30mins before needed. You want the chicken close to room temp before it’s fried. Frying cold chicken will cause it to seize up and become tough/chewy.

How to marinate chicken - 3 step by step photos

Dredge that chicken!

Alrighty, chicken sufficiently marinated, let’s talk dredging. For this stage all you’ll need is a second round of spices, baking powder (reacts with the oil and causes extra bubbles to ensure the batter turns out extra crispy) and flour.

My two main tips at the dredging stage are:

  1. Ensure you completely blend the spices in the flour to ensure they’re evenly distributed across the chicken.
  2. Really take the time to ensure every nook and cranny of the chicken is dredged with flour. Really press it into the chicken to ensure it’s all completely coated.

Once you’ve dredged, give the chicken a good shake to get rid off any excess flour, then place to one side.

How to dredge chicken - 4 step by step photos

Deep Fried Chicken Burger

Please don’t be put off by this stage. It’s a fairly fool proof step and because you’ve pounded the chicken, it’s fairly quick as well. Let’s hit some questions straight off the bat:

How hot should the oil be?

I highly recommend getting a kitchen thermometer for deep frying. You want the oil to get to 180C/356F. Once the chicken hits the oil the temp will drop, which is fine, but you’ll want to keep it at a steady 165C/300F. After each batch get it back up to 180C/356F.

What’s the best oil to use?

You’ll want to use an oil with a high smoking point like vegetable/sunflower/rapeseed oil. Olive oil is not suitable for deep frying as it has a low smoking point.

How long to deep fry the chicken?

This will entirely depend on the thickness and size of your chicken, but as a rough guide you’re talking around 4-5mins, then flip and continue for another 2-3mins until fully golden and crisp. But again, this will depend on the size of your chicken. In all cases you want the internal temp of the chicken to reach 75C/165F. Also take into consideration the chicken will continue to cook slightly once removed from the oil.

holding fried chicken above oil with tongs

Ultra Crispy Chicken!

From there, you’ll want to rest your chicken on a wire rack. I don’t recommend placing on paper towels, I actually find this causes the chicken to steam into the paper towel and dampen the batter.

Top Tip – For EXTRA crispiness sprinkle a pinch of salt over the chicken when it’s fresh out the fryer. This will draw out any final bits of moisture from the batter.

Alrighty, time to build a burger (build a bear you were so last year..) Here’s the usual suspects in my chicken burgers:

Chicken Burger Toppings

  • ColeslawHomemade is preferable, but your favourite store bought can sub!
  • Honey Sriracha – Just mix up runny honey and sriracha, I usually go for a 50/50 split but work to preference.
  • Bacon – Need I justify this?!

overhead closeup shot of fried chicken on wire rack

What to serve with chicken burgers?

Honestly, these are pretty intense by themselves. However if you’re looking for a few nibbles to go along side check out these:

If you’re looking for similar recipes check out these beauties too:

Alrighty, let’s tuck into the full recipe for these crispy chicken burgers shall we?!

chicken burger on slate with 3 more levitated and blurred behind

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How to make Homemade Chicken Burgersย (Full Recipe & Video)

chicken burger sat on slate with 3 more blurred in the background

Crispy Chicken Burgers

These fried chicken burgers are ultra crispy and absolutely bursting with flavour. Better still, they couldn't be easier t0 make! Check recipe for marinating times.
5 from 6 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings (click & slide): 4
Calories: 539kcal
Cost per serving: ยฃ4 / $5

Equipment:

  • Cling Film & Rolling Pin or Mallet (for pounding chicken)
  • Large Pot & Tongs (for deep frying)
  • Large Deep Bowl (for marinating)
  • Large Shallow Bowl or Curved Tray (for dredging)
  • Sharp Knife & Chopping Board
  • Cooling Rack
  • Kitchen Thermometer
  • Small Pot (for honey/sriracha)
  • Paper Towels

Ingredients (check list):

Burger

  • 4 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts (see notes)
  • 1 cup Coleslaw or as needed
  • 8-12 rashers of Bacon, cooked to preference (2-3 per burger)
  • Honey + Sriracha (50/50 ratio, quantity to preference)
  • 4 Burger Buns, toasted
  • 3-4 cups / 750ml-1litre Vegetable Oil (see notes)

Wet Mix

  • 1 1/4 cups / 300ml Buttermilk
  • 1 tsp EACH: Paprika, Salt
  • 1/2 tsp EACH: Onion Powder, Garlic Powder, White Pepper, Cayenne Pepper

Dry Mix

  • 1 3/4 cups / 250g Plain/All Purpose Flour
  • 2 tsp Paprika
  • 1 tsp EACH: Baking Powder, Oregano, Salt
  • 1/2 tsp EACH: Onion Powder, Garlic Powder, Cayenne Pepper
  • 1/4 tsp Black Pepper

Instructions:

  • Lay chicken breasts on a flat surface and cover with a sheet of cling film (pinch around the edges so no juices escape). Pound with a rolling pin or mallet until even thickness, but not so much they start to tear apart. You're looking for around 3/4" thickness. If the breasts are particularly long you can cut off the very end of the tail to make them more circular and burger shaped (keep in mind they will also shrink slightly when frying).
  • In a large bowl, combine 1.25cups/300ml buttermilk with 1 tsp paprika & salt and 1/2 tsp onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne pepper and white pepper. Place in your chicken breasts, use tongs to fully coat then tightly cover with cling film and marinate in the fridge. I highly recommend a minimum of 4 hours (up to overnight), but just as long as you have time for. Take the chicken out the fridge 30mins before needed to bring close to room temp (see notes).
  • In a large shallow bowl (or curved tray) combine 1.75cups/250g flour with 2 tsp paprika, 1 tsp oregano, baking powder & salt, 1/2 tsp onion powder, garlic powder & cayenne pepper and 1/4 tsp black pepper. One by one coat the breasts in the flour, making sure you completely coat each time. Really get in all the cracks and crevices of the chicken. Place to one side.
  • In a large pot or deep pan heat up your oil to 180C/356F. In batches of 1-2 (depending on pot size), carefully place your chicken in the hot oil. The temp will likely drop, and that's fine, but make sure the temp stays at around 165C/300F as the chicken fries. Depending on the size and thickness of your breasts you're looking at around 4-5mins on one side, then flip and continue frying until golden. The internal temp of the chicken should reach 75C/165F. Carefully remove and rest on wire rack with paper towels underneath (don't place directly on paper towel or they'll lose crispiness). Bring oil temp back up to 180C/356F between each batch.
  • Stack burgers in the following order: bottom bun, coleslaw, chicken, bacon, honey sriracha, top bun. Enjoy!

Quick 1 min demo!

Notes:

a) Chicken - You're looking to get breasts around 7oz/200g each. You can substitute boneless skinless thighs, they'll just obviously be slightly smaller, so adjust the cooking time accordingly (same temps). Important to make sure you don't fry the chicken if it's still cold, otherwise it'll seize up when it hits the oil and come up slightly tough/chewy - hence bringing it out the fridge 30mins before needed.
b) Coleslaw - Highly recommend a homemade coleslaw (I use the same recipe for my BBQ Chicken & Coleslaw Wraps). I also discuss make ahead options in that post too!
c) Honey Sriracha - This really is as simple as combining runny honey and sriracha. I usually go for a 50/50 ratio (I love spice) but you can adjust to your spice preference. I usually do about 1 tbsp per burger but again, just work to preference.
d) Oil - Important to use an oil with a high smoking point e.g vegetable, canola, rapeseed, sunflower etc. Please do NOT use olive oil, not suitable for deep frying.
e) caloriesย - Only a rough estimate, very difficult to tell how much oil, flour and buttermilk is soaked up by the chicken. This is based on 1/2 cup buttermilk staying attached, all the flour, 2 tsp oil per burger and using 4 chicken breasts at 200g/7oz each. Calories only for chicken, not for toppings/bun.

Nutrition:

Nutrition Facts
Crispy Chicken Burgers
Amount Per Serving
Calories 539 Calories from Fat 138
% Daily Value*
Fat 15.28g24%
Saturated Fat 2.829g14%
Trans Fat 0.074g
Polyunsaturated Fat 6.42g
Monounsaturated Fat 3.586g
Cholesterol 147mg49%
Sodium 1315mg55%
Potassium 947mg27%
Carbohydrates 45.31g15%
Fiber 2.2g9%
Sugar 1.83g2%
Protein 51.99g104%
Vitamin A 915IU18%
Vitamin C 0.5mg1%
Calcium 116mg12%
Iron 3.81mg21%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition is based on the absence of salt unless stated as a measurement in the ingredients. Cost is worked out based on ingredients bought from UK supermarkets, then divided by the number of servings. In both instances these values are just for guidance. Please check out my FAQ Page for more info.
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15 Comments

  • Reply
    James
    May 28, 2020 at 9:32 am

    5 stars
    Absolutely amazing. This is the tastiest thing I’ve ever made. Can’t wait to show this recipe off at uni.
    The spices used in the marinade and flour was perfect.
    The whole family loved it and my step-dad doesn’t usually like burgers.

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      May 28, 2020 at 9:41 am

      James, this is awesome to hear! Glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thanks for popping back to leave a review ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    Craig
    May 9, 2020 at 3:38 pm

    5 stars
    Hi Chris. This looks amazing. Was going to try it but canโ€™t seem to get plain flour anywhere ๐Ÿ™ could you use self raising flour?

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      May 9, 2020 at 4:12 pm

      Hey Craig! I’ve never actually used self raising flour in this recipe, so can’t make any promises, but my instinct is you’ll be fine. Self raising flour is essentially all purpose flour with added salt and baking powder. I can’t imagine you’ll taste the slight difference in salt increase (do feel free to reduce the quantity if at all weary), but I would remove the 1 tsp baking powder. Hope this helps! Chris.

  • Reply
    Luci Petlack
    April 29, 2020 at 1:29 am

    5 stars
    YES!!!! I’m an all or nothing person with crispy chicken sandwiches/burgers. The chicken HAS to be crispy. These photos have my mouth watering – it all looks perfect!!

  • Reply
    Beth Pierce
    April 29, 2020 at 1:11 am

    5 stars
    I made this for my husband for lunch the other day and he loves it. Definitely his favorite. Thank you!!

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      April 29, 2020 at 10:02 am

      That’s great to hear! Glad it went down well ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    stephanie
    April 29, 2020 at 12:58 am

    5 stars
    My family loves fried chicken. This was such a yummy recipe.

  • Reply
    Anita
    April 29, 2020 at 12:04 am

    5 stars
    I miss going out and get some good burger. I’m definitely going to go into the kitchen and start marinating. We will be eating a glorious lunch tomorrow. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    Simon Roberts
    April 26, 2020 at 10:27 pm

    Hi Chris, just got your email. These look amazing!

    One question, I live in France and can’t seem to find buttermilk anywhere. Would Greek yoghurt be a suitable replacement? Raw milk from the farm next door? Fromage blanc?

    So many dairy products here but no buttermilk, dagnammit!

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      April 27, 2020 at 12:30 pm

      Hey Simon!

      Yogurt has a similar PH level so will tenderise the chicken nicely. However it’s thicker than buttermilk, so I can’t imagine it’ll dredge through the flour as well (may end up too thick/clumpy). I’ve never subbed for this recipe before but I reckon your best bet is 3/4 cup plain unsweetened yogurt mixed with 1/4 cup milk to thin out.

      Another good buttermilk sub is 1 cup milk mixed with 1 tbsp acid (white vinegar or lemon juice). Mix together and let it sit for 10mins before mixing in the chicken. This is a slightly thinner solution than buttermilk, so if you’re doing this just make sure you give it a thorough dredge through the flour.

      Hope this helps!

      • Reply
        Simon Roberts
        April 27, 2020 at 2:45 pm

        Thanks very much for the reply Chris, will make these after the weekly lockdown shop!

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