Kevin Pang, Editorial Director, America’s Test Kitchen
Air-Fryer Spicy Fried-Chicken Sandwich
Why This Recipe Works
Crunchy, juicy, and slicked with mayo, a spicy fried-chicken sandwich is a lunchtime favorite, and using the air fryer means you don’t need to heat up a skillet of oil whenever the craving strikes. For our sandwich to live up to its name, we added heat in three stages. First, we whisked hot sauce into the egg-flour dredging mixture to ensure that the heat would directly coat the chicken rather than get lost in the breading. Combining more hot sauce with mayonnaise for a creamy spread upped the heat level further. An unwritten rule of fried sandwiches states that a pickled element is a must; this was our opportunity to add even more heat with fiery sweet pickled jalapeños in lieu of pickle chips. Shredded lettuce provided a crisp, fresh component that tempered the heat a bit. You can use your air fryer to toast the buns; see page 410.
Total Time 40 minutes
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large egg
- 3 tablespoons hot sauce, divided
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon table salt, divided
- ⅛ teaspoon plus pinch pepper, divided
- 2 (8-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- 4 hamburger buns, toasted if desired
- 2 cups shredded iceberg lettuce
- ¼ cup jarred sliced jalapeños
1. Toss panko with oil in bowl until evenly coated. Microwave, stirring frequently, until light golden brown, 1 to 3 minutes. Transfer to shallow dish and set aside to cool slightly. Whisk egg, 2 tablespoons hot sauce, flour, garlic powder, ⅛ teaspoon salt, and ⅛ teaspoon pepper together in second shallow dish.
2. Pound chicken breasts to uniform thickness. Halve each breast crosswise, pat dry with paper towels, and sprinkle with remaining ⅛ teaspoon salt and remaining pinch pepper. Working with 1 piece of chicken at a time, dredge in egg mixture, letting excess drip off, then coat with panko mixture, pressing gently to adhere.
3. Lightly spray base of air-fryer basket with vegetable oil spray. Arrange chicken pieces in prepared basket, spaced evenly apart. Place basket in air fryer and set temperature to 400 degrees. Cook until chicken is crisp and registers 160 degrees, 12 to 16 minutes, flipping and rotating chicken pieces halfway through cooking.
4. Combine mayonnaise and remaining 1 tablespoon hot sauce in small bowl. Spread mayonnaise mixture evenly over bun bottoms, then top each with 1 piece chicken, lettuce, jalapeños, and bun top. Serve.