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I spend a LOT of time thinking about food. It’s kind of the name of the game for food bloggers of course, but I’ve pretty much always been that way. Meal planning is fun for me, a Sunday ritual I sit down on the couch for with a glass of wine and a good TV show. Buuuut sometimes best laid plans fall apart and I still find myself staring in the fridge scrambling to create on the spot. Those nights sometimes surprise me though and yield some of the tastiest meals, like my Dr. Pepper Braised Short Ribs or these Crispy Chicken Sandwiches!
This was not a recipe that came from my extensive ‘make for the blog’ list. No it was an ‘uh oh’, the lettuce went bad and I have less chicken than I thought kind of recipe. What started as a ‘oh no’ recipe however, quickly turned into a recipe that’s part of the regular rotation. With fresh peppers, avocado, and herbs in abundance, it’s perfect for dinner all season long.
This is the kind of recipe that has several steps, but they aren’t complicated ones and they start with simple ingredients. Once the chopping is out of the way, you’re half done!
Crispy Chicken Ingredients
- Boneless, skinless chicken breast – You’ll need about 1 lb of chicken breast. This happened to be one HUGE one for me, but use whatever adds up to that amount.
- Brown Rice Flour – I love experimenting with new flours, and brown rice flour is quite simply, brown rice ground into flour. It’s great for those with gluten sensitivities, and it also delicious. It crisps beautifully and only needs water to make a coating. For rice flours, it’s best to store opened flour in the fridge to help it last as long as possible.
- Salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, and cayenne – The seasoning blend that gets added to the flour to flavor the chicken.
- Oil – Just enough to shallow fry the chicken on both sides.
- Water – You’ll need a bit to mix with half the rice flour to make a pasty coating that gives the chicken it’s crisp.
Onions & Peppers
- Red or Orange Bell Peppers – Either works well, just choose the best looking fresh bell peppers at the market.
- Yellow Onion – I used a yellow, not sweet, onion
- Salt & Pepper – Yes! Of course.
- Oil – Get’s the happy mix of onion and peppers cooking to perfection.
For more information on picking good peppers and how to use them, check out my Bell Peppers post!
- Avocado – I used two small California Avocados, you can also use one large Hass avocado or whatever your market has.
- Parsley – This grows in our garden pots prolifically, and it’s a nice fresh grassy note to the avocado.
- Lime Juice – I feel like avocados are best friends with lime juice, and this is no exception.
- Salt – Salt really does make natural flavors stronger, so it amplifies the avocado spread too.
Then of course, you’ll need some bread or buns! My go to homemade bun recipe actually comes from a fellow blogger Christina Lane over at Dessert for Two. The ones in my pics are from her Small Batch Hamburger Buns recipe, they turn out perfect every time! I admit…I usually triple her small batch and stow the extras in the freezer so I have buns at the ready!
How to Make Crispy Chicken Sandwiches
Okay, ingredients assembled, and you’re thinking, wow okay this looks like a lot of stuff! But I promise, it comes together quite nicely very quickly.
Step 1 – Mise en place
There are some recipes that I feel wholly comfortable doing prep and cooking at the same time, like my Red Wine Cherry Cobbler. But for this particular recipe, having everything ready to go before anything touches a pan is very helpful. This is called having your mise en place ready, or ‘everything in it’s place’. It’s a technique chefs use to help the cooking process be efficient and successful.
For this recipe that means a few simple things.
- You’ll need two wide saute pans, so get those on the stove to heat up over medium heat.
- Slice the onions and peppers into long strips and place together in a bowl.
- Dice the avocado and mince the parsley. Add that to the bowl with salt and lime juice to taste, and mix well. Pop that in the fridge for later.
- Next slice the chicken into thin layers and set aside.
- Finally measure out the flour into two bowls, equal parts in each, and add half the spices into each. Get the water ready, but off to the side, don’t mix it yet.
Step 2 – Start Cooking
Okay, pans are ready, go ahead and add some oil to one of your pans. About 1 tablespoon. Add in the peppers and onions and season with salt and pepper. You’ll need to stir them occasionally but otherwise, let them do their thing and get nice and tender. This was about 10 to 15 minutes over a gentle medium heat.
Add your oil to the second pan for the chicken. This time about 1/2 a cup. Once that oil is hot (it should happen fast if your pan was already hot), go ahead and start coating the chicken.
To do so mix the water with one of the dry flour bowls and stir to combine. Stir the seasonings into the other bowl until well combined and then follow this process:
- Coat with dry flour on both sides.
- Dip into wet flour, making sure a coating sticks. I found dragging the chicken in a smooth motion across the bottom of the bowl worked best.
- Carefully set into hot oil.
Then just cook for 3 to 5 minutes on each side, or until brown and crisp, and cooked through. This took two batches for me. How long the chicken takes to cook through depends on how thinly it’s sliced. Once a thermometer registers at 165°F, the chicken is done. Set on a cooling rack to allow airflow and prevent the chicken from going soggy on one side.
Step 3 – Start to Assemble
While your peppers are cooking and chicken is frying, you can go ahead and get your buns or bread ready. Our favorite way to have these is to spread avocado on the bottom.
Then layer the chicken over the top of that. We like two pieces per sandwich (or three if we’re hungry). Then drape those glistening tender peppers and onions over the top, and cap the sandwich with your second part of the bun.
You can of course put avocado on the top too, but I’d recommend making extra if you want to do that and still have enough for 4 sandwiches! Or, if you want to spice things up a little more (without actual spice), check out this Red Pepper Aioli, which goes really nicely with these flavors!
Eat your Crispy Chicken Sandwiches!
All that’s left is to eat and enjoy! I love how simply these came together, they’re like a version of fried chicken sandwiches with a bit of California flair, fresh avocado spread, summer bell peppers and a crispy fried chicken without buttermilk and deep fat frying (don’t worry, I’ll share a recipe for that someday too!). They’re satisfying and fantastic to serve for a family dinner.
We like to serve our crispy chicken sandwiches with a simple side or two, here are a few ideas for inspiration!
- Easy Oven Roasted Potatoes
- Avocado Corn Salad with Roasted Red Peppers
- Great Grandma’s Easy Potato Salad
Those last two can even be made ahead, for a simple dinner!
Can I use something other than chicken breast?
Of course! You can absolutely use chicken thighs, though I do suggest skinless cuts regardless for the best coating. Definitely don’t do bone in cuts of course! If you’re not in the mood for slicing chicken yourself you can use pre-sliced chicken cutlets.
Can I pound the chicken flat instead of slicing?
You bet! Since I had such huge chicken breasts, it was way simpler for me to slice, but you can do whatever works best for you.
I don’t have any fresh limes…
Don’t stress, you can easily replace the lime juice in the avocado spread for a little splash of white or red wine vinegar. Just a touch, then taste, it’s a bit stronger of a flavor than the lime juice.
I can’t find brown rice flour!
While I find that most supermarkets carry rice flour, they may not have brown rice flour. You can absolutely use white rice flour, or any version of it you can find. If you’re still not having luck, you can order what I used from amazon here, or you can use sorghum flour or even a very finely ground corn flour. If you want to go with all purpose flour, I recommend trying a process like the ones used for these Crispy Fried Chicken Tenders from the Feast and Farm blog.
- 4 hamburger buns or 8 slices of bread
- 1 lb chicken breast boneless, skinless
- 1 cup brown rice flour divided
- 2 tsp onion powder divided
- 2 tsp garlic powder divided
- 2 tsp salt divided
- 2 tsp black pepper divided
- 1/4 tsp cayenne divided
- 3/4 cup water
- 1/2 cup oil grapeseed, or other high heat oil
- 2 small avocados
- 2 tbs parsley minced
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1 tbs lime juice or to taste, 1/2 a lime
Peppers & Onions
- 1 large Bell Pepper red or orange
- 1/2 yellow onion
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tbs oil
- Get two saute pans heating over medium heat while you prep your other ingredients.
- Slice the peppers and onions into thin strips, set aside.
- Dice the avocado and chop parsley, combine with salt and lime juice, mix to creamy spread and place in fridge.
- Slice chicken into thin, about 1 inch thick, slices. Divide flours and spices between two bowls and measure out water. Set aside.
- Add the 1 tbs of oil to one saute pan and add peppers and onions. Season with salt and pepper and let it cook. Saute until tender, between 10 to 15 minutes.
- Add 1/2 cup of oil to other pan. Begin chicken by adding water to half of the flour and stirring to combine. Bread the chicken by dipping in fry flour/spice mix then into the wet mixture. Coat with wet mixture by dragging the chicken lightly through the batter on both sides.
- Fry on both sides in the oil for 3 to 5 minutes per side or until crispy and internal temperature reads at 165°F. Remove from oil to a cooling rack to prevent sogginess while finishing other chicken. Don't overcrowd the pan, and fry in batches.
- Slice the bread, spread avocado spread on bottom and place 2 to 3 pieces of chicken on top, then add peppers and onions to top. Close sandwich and serve!