There are plenty of times when, with care and attentive work, you can make a copycat recipe that yields a food that’s as good as the original it seeks to mimic. Then there are other occasions, rare though they may be, when what you cook at home is even better than the genuine article. And you’re in luck, because you just found something in the latter category. Chef and recipe developer Angela Latimer of Bake it with Love says of this copycat Wendy’s Chicken Sandwich: "It definitely is a taste-test winner, with the added bonus that you can add whatever seasoning you really like in your breading."
Given that ingredient flexibility and the freshness you’ll get when you cook the chicken and assemble the sandwich yourself, maybe the success of this recipe is no surprise. Just make sure you don’t go too far off-script, because Wendy’s created this as an elegantly simple sandwich for a reason. Adding too many more spices, or even adding ketchup, mustard, or sliced tomato, would crowd out the flavors of the suggested ingredients rather than enhance them.
Gather the ingredients for a Copycat Wendy’s Chicken Sandwich
To create your very own taste-test topping copycat Wendy’s Chicken Sandwich at home, you’ll need plenty of vegetable oil for frying (about 3 to 4 cups, likely — you need enough to submerge the chicken for deep frying and at least an inch depth for pan frying), boneless, skinless chicken breasts (trimmed to fit the buns, and pounded or sliced to a 1/2 inch in thickness), water, a large egg, beaten, all-purpose flour, salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, hamburger buns, mayonnaise, and leaves of iceberg lettuce.
Note that this recipe is for 4 sandwiches, so scale ingredients as needed. And if you do want to add anything, take a tip from Latimer and make it more lettuce. "I absolutely love that I can pile this sandwich with lots of lettuce and enjoy it as-is," she says, adding: "It really doesn’t need much else to be perfect."
Heat the oil and prep the chicken and breading
Heat your frying oil in a deep fryer, Dutch oven, or a large heavy-bottom frying pan, warming until it reaches 375 F. Meanwhile, combine the water and beaten egg in a shallow bowl (or a pan) that will fit the chicken breasts.
In a second shallow dish, combine the all-purpose flour and the seasoning, meaning the salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder, stirring them together well.
Then, if your chicken breasts are thick, cut them butterfly-style in half or use a meat tenderizer and pound them between two sheets of plastic film, and, beginning at the center and working your way toward the edges.
Bread and then fry the chicken
Dredge the chicken breasts starting by coating both sides of each breast in the egg and water mixture, then transferring it to the flour mixture, pressing both sides down into the seasoned flour.
Once both sides of a chicken breast are coated in the flour, place it onto a tray with paper towels or a wire rack while you prep the other pieces and as you cook in batches (if needed).
Deep fry the chicken pieces for 8 to 12 minutes or pan-fry the chicken for 3 to 5 minutes per side, until the chicken has an internal temperature of 165 F using either cooking method. Remove the fried chicken to a fresh paper towel-lined tray or plate, or a clean rack.
Assemble your copycat Wendy’s Chicken Sandwich, then enjoy
Toasting the buns is optional but recommended, so go ahead and lightly toast the buns once the frying is almost finished.
Now assemble your sandwiches by generously spreading mayo on both the top and bottom bun pieces, then place the chicken breast on the bottom bun. Add leaves of the lettuce atop the fried chicken, then close the sandwich with the top bun.
Now grab some chips or fries (or even a light side salad) and dig into a tasty, satisfying sandwich that will thrill everyone at the dinner table, including you.
This copycat Wendy’s Chicken Sandwich is "a taste-test winner," says recipe developer Angela Latimer, and you can season the breading however you like.
- Vegetable oil for frying, about 3 to 4 cups
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (trimmed to fit buns, pounded or sliced to ½ inch in thickness)
- 1 cup water
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- 4 hamburger buns
- 4 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 4 to 6 leaves iceberg lettuce
- Heat your frying oil in a deep fryer, Dutch oven, or large heavy-bottom frying pan to 375 F (when frying in a pan, you’ll need at least 1 inch of oil).
- Combine the water and beaten egg in a shallow bowl that will fit the chicken breasts.
- In a second shallow dish, combine the all-purpose flour, salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder.
- If the chicken breasts are thick, cut them butterfly-style in half or use a meat tenderizer and pound them until they’re thinner.
- Dredge the chicken breasts by coating both sides of each chicken breast in the liquid mixture, then transferring them to the flour mixture.
- Once both sides of the chicken are coated in flour they can be placed onto a tray or rack while you cook them in batches if needed (based on the pan size).
- Deep fry the chicken pieces for 8 to 12 minutes or pan-fry the chicken for 3 to 5 minutes per side until the chicken has an internal temperature of 165 F.
- Remove the fried chicken to a paper towel-lined plate or tray.
- Toasting the buns is optional but recommended.
- Assemble your sandwiches by spreading mayo on both the top and bottom bun, then placing the chicken breast on the bottom bun.
- Add a leaf of lettuce, then close the sandwich with the top bun and enjoy.