The 15 Best Fried Chicken Sandwiches in America
These days, fried chicken has flown to the top of sandwich menus across the United States with the best chefs in the country luring hungry eaters with their finest renditions. From classic Southern renditions and fiery Nashville hot chicken to new-school versions with global influences, we tracked down the best fried chicken sandwiches in America for your eating pleasure. So forget that diet, grab some napkins and prepare to chow down on the best birds in the country.
Location: Asheville, North Carolina
This bustling brick-walled eatery boasts some of the best whole-hog barbecue in the country, but you definitely don't want to miss the legendary fried chicken sandwich. At Buxton Hall Barbecue, the chicken is first smoked, dipped in buttermilk, and fried to a golden crisp. Then it's topped with pimento and American cheese, bread-and-butter pickles, and white barbecue sauce, and served on a plush buttery bun, delivering a powerhouse of smoky-tangy-cheesy flavor.
At this casual sandwich and burger counter inside Krog Street Market, you'll find a stellar fried bird worth waiting for. The hugely popular chicken sandwich at Fred's features plump, farm-fresh chicken with a delicately crisp crust, and is topped with spicy cucumbers, lettuce, red onion, lettuce, a peppery harissa mayo, and a mango sauce to balance the heat, all served on a thick, sesame-studded bun. Also, don't leave without ordering the famous fries.
Location: Austin, Texas
Austin offers plenty of great fried chicken options, including quality fast-casual options like Flyrite and now Shake Shack. But if you're looking for an exceptional option any time of day, then look no further than 24 Diner. This comfort-fare favorite features both a breakfast-inspired version with choice of crispy dark or white meat, red chili flakes, brown sugar butter, and honey on a flaky buttermilk biscuit; as well as the same great chicken on a pain au lait bun with apricot slaw and chipotle remoulade.
Location: Brookline, Massachusetts
You know you have a quality sandwich when there's an entire day devoted to it. This small gourmet sandwich shop outside of Boston, run by a well-seasoned husband-and-wife duo, celebrates Super Cluckin' Sunday only once a month. On that day, Cutty's ceases making other sandwiches and instead fries up delicious buttermilk-brined chicken coated in 12 herbs and spices. You can opt for the New-School with tangy barbecue sauce and house ranch dressing or the OG with honey mustard and sharp cheddar, both with shaved sweet onions, shredded iceberg lettuce, and a buttered, griddled sesame bread. Be sure to get there early.
Location: Bozeman, Montana
This cozy shack brings the flavors of the South to Rocky Mountain country, and its fried chicken sandwich is not to be missed. At Roost, you can opt for the classic Southern fried version with a crunchy, bronzed exterior, or if you prefer a bit of heat, go for the fiery Nashville Hot, both served on a fluffy bun with crunchy lettuce, pickles, and the addictive housemade comeback sauce -- a mayonnaise-based mix with a garlicky spice.
Location: Charleston, South Carolina
A relative newcomer, Boxcar Betty's was founded with the goal of bringing high-quality, locally sourced fried chicken sandwiches to the people, and by all accounts, it's succeeded mightily as the reigning champ. Its signature Boxcar sandwich features crunchy, fried-to-order chicken that's made tender and juicy thanks to a long brine, and served on top of oozing pimento cheese with peach slaw, house pickles, and spicy mayo, and a freshly baked bun. Oh, and you're going to need a few napkins.
A sustainably minded favorite in the city's Avondale neighborhood,Honey Butter Fried Chicken is committed to using only top-notch, local ingredients, and that devotion comes through in its superlative fried-chicken sandwiches. It begins with antibiotic-free, humanely raised chickens that are butchered in-house and then brined for up to 18 hours with chili and citrus. The chicken is then dredged in buttermilk and seasoned flour before receiving a wonderfully light, crisp fry. Go for the OG with its excellent candied jalapeño mayo and crunchy purple slaw or try the sweeter namesake with honey butter.
Tucked inside the popular Old Major restaurant, Red Rooster is a weekday lunch-time-only spot, and it devotes much of its short menu to excellent fried chicken sandwiches. The Classic features crisp fried chicken thighs, topped with dill pickles, house mayo, and lettuce, on a squishy bun. You can also opt for great variations, including a spicy one, a French one with house ham, Swiss and thyme, or a Korean one with kimchi and kewpie mayo.
Location: Los Angeles
The talented husband-wife duo behind Howlin' Ray's brought the heat of on-trend Nashville hot chicken to L.A., and have kept the bar high (and lines long) with a phenomenal sandwich. It features a huge boneless breast with a flavorful crust, and topped with sliced pickles, cole slaw, and Southern-style comeback sauce on a buttered and toasted bun. Pick your heat level on a scale from cool Country to the searing Howlin' -- just be ready for the delicious burn.
This ode to Southern hospitality in South Beach features a fried chicken sandwich that comes as a pair in case you want to share -- but you probably won't. Using a recipe from one of the owner's grandmothers, Yardbird brines the chicken for over a day, then dredges it in cayenne-spiced flour before frying. It's then served on flaky and buttery biscuits with the sweet heat of pepper jelly. You can also find Yardbird in Las Vegas and soon in L.A.
Location: Nashville, Tennessee
In a town famous for its hot chicken, you'll find plenty of great options, but relative newcomer Hattie B's is the leading contender. With a fiery red crust, the tender chicken breast is served with cole slaw, comeback sauce, and a kosher pickle on a squishy, buttery bun. Choose your heat level, but be ready for some serious spice.
Location: Portland, Oregon
As a major foodie destination, Portland offers plenty of excellent fried chicken options, but Basilisk -- named for the chicken monster in "Harry Potter" -- has grabbed the crown with a monstrously towering sandwich. A huge juicy thigh with a flaky crust is served with house pickles and cabbage slaw on a buttered bun. You might want to use a napkin as a bib.
Location: San Francisco
The Bird has gradually expanded its menu from fried chicken sandwiches, curly fries, and beer, but that's still what you want to order first. For just $8, you get a crispy free-range bird with a gluten-free crust that's seasoned with a North African berbere spice blend, and topped with house-made celery-onion-apple slaw, mayo, and pickles on a freshly baked bun.
At this Southern comfort-fare specialist, you'll find one of many compelling options with Aunt Annie's fried chicken sandwich. The crowd favorite at the Wandering Goose features chicken thighs with the skin on that have been brined in buttermilk and fried to order. The chicken's topped with a tangy housemade Creole mustard, bread-and-butter pickles, and honey from the rooftop hives, all sandwiched between warm house biscuits. It's a winner.
Location: New York
There are plenty of exceptional fried chicken sandwiches in New York these days, but chef-extraordinaire David Chang has devised a deceptively simple version that is currently leading the pack. At Fuku, the chicken is first brined in a habañero puree for an underlying heat, then coated in buttermilk and spices, and fried to a golden crisp. It's served on a squishy potato roll with house-made butter and pickles.