Wendy’s Spicy Chicken Sandwich is one of my fast food favorites, so I was intrigued by this copycat recipe and decided to include it as part of a “fast food at home” dinner to see just how close it came to the original. I don’t usually expect these types of recipes to come out exactly like the originals because I know that I could never exactly duplicate the conditions in a restaurant kitchen, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. My hope is that I’ll come out with something close, made with fresher ingredients, that I won’t have to worry as much about when it comes to the state of my waistline.
This recipe made a pretty darn tasty sandwich, and there were even a couple of bites where I thought that I might be eating at Wendy’s. I don’t recall tasting any hint of Frank’s Red Hot in the original, but it added a nice flavor to the crispy coating in this recipe. I also added an egg to the hot sauce/water mixture so the breading would stick better to the chicken. For the sake of experimentation, I made some sandwiches by dredging in the flour mixture and egg only (minus the hot sauce). I actually thought those sandwiches tasted closer to Wendy’s version.
Tip: If you don’t want to bother with the setup and cleanup that deep frying entails, you can do what I did and pan fry the chicken in about 1/2 inch of oil.
adapted from Recipezaar
6-8 cups vegetable oil (if deep frying)
1 1/2-2 cups vegetable oil (if pan frying)
1/3 cup Frank’s Red Hot Sauce
1/3 cup water
1 cup all purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp. salt
4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper
1 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast fillets
1. If deep frying, in a deep fryer or cast iron pot, heat 6-8 cups of oil to 375 degrees. If pan frying, heat 1 1/2-2 cups oil (about 1/2 inch in the pan) in a large, heavy bottomed frying pan.
2. In a large bowl or pie pan, whisk together hot sauce, water, and egg.
3. In a shallow bowl or pie pan, combine flour, salt, cayenne pepper, black pepper, onion powder, paprika, and garlic powder.
4. Pound each chicken breast with a mallet/tenderizer until about 3/8 inch thick. The chicken may be much larger than the bun when it’s pounded thin. If so, you may want to cut the breast in half before breading to make the chicken fit better on the bun.
5. Coat each fillet in the flour, then in the hot sauce/water/egg mixture, then in the flour again. Repeat the dredge if you would like a thicker coating.
6. After all of the chicken is coated, deep fry for 8 to 12 minutes, or pan fry 4 to 6 minutes on each side. After frying, drain excess oil from the chicken by placing it on a cooling rack or on a plate covered with paper towels.
7. Grill the faces of the hamburger buns on a griddle or in a dry skillet (optional) and prepare sandwiches with chicken, mayonnaise, lettuce, and tomato.