Having grown up in the south, I feel a personal obligation to mastering the art of frying chicken. It took awhile to get it right, but now I’m ready to share how we do it! This crispy southern fried chicken burger is a great way to showcase southern fried chicken. For this recipe, we brine the breasts in pickle juice AND buttermilk to create a taste sensation you won’t soon forget. Let’s get after it!Jump to Recipe
“Step aside Colonel, we ain’t in Kentucky anymore”-JJ
What is a Crispy Southern Fried Chicken Burger?
What the hell is a chicken burger anyway? When I think of burgers, I think of a juicy hunk of meat slapped in between a warm bun with all my favorite toppings. Serve it up with some fried taters and cold beer and you can’t go wrong.
So with that loose definition we just swapped the normal ground beef hunk of meat for some crispy southern fried chicken. We don’t discriminate against cows, but once you try this crispy chicken burger, it may become your new favorite burger!
Some folks use ground chicken to make chicken burgers, and thats all fine and well, but you ain’t gonna get a crispy chicken burger that way. We fry our chicken breasts southern style to maximize the crispy to juicy ratio.
Buttermilk AND Pickle Juice Marinade
We’re not messing around here y’all, we soak our chicken in buttermilk AND pickle juice. Why you ask? Well, buckle up, my friend, because we’re about to take a ride on a tangy and tenderizing journey!
First and foremost, it’s all about the flavor baby. The pickle juice and buttermilk combo adds a zesty and slightly acidic taste to your chicken that’ll knock your socks off. You can taste the dill pickle in every bite, it’s truly glorious!
Furthermore, the buttermilk is like the fairy godmother of tenderizing agents. The lactic acids in it break down the proteins in your chicken, making it super tender and juicy. If you’re frying chicken, you should always be using buttermilk.
Some folks just do a buttermilk bath an hour before frying, but I like to go ahead and soak it with the pickle juice for as long as possible. It’s totally safe and really ensure a super tender juicy cook.
Oh, and one more thing! When you pair buttermilk with cornstarch, as we do here, you can achieve an ultra-crispy shell around your fried chicken. And thats kind of the name of the game here. It is a CRISPY southern fried chicken burger recipe after all!
CRISPY SOUTHERN FRIED CHICKEN BURGER RECIPE: BUTTERMILK & PICKLE JUICE MARINADE
Ingredients: Crispy Southern Fried Chicken Burgers
Here’s what you’ll need to make this crispy southern fried chicken burger recipe.
- Chicken: 2 Large breast work best for this recipe. We cut them in half to make 4 cutlets.
- Pickle Juice: A cup of pickle juice from that jar of Dill pickles sitting in the back of your fridge. Don’t toss it, this stuff is liquid gold.
- Buttermilk: There is no substitute, get buttermilk. It’s essential for tenderizing as well as getting a super crispy coat around your chicken.
- Cornstarch: When you combine the buttermilk and cornstarch it creates a super crunchy shell! Com’on baby, crispy chicken.
- Flour: All purpose flour works fine for these crispy fried chicken burgers breading.
- Spices: We love to spice up our crispy southern fried chicken burgers, so for the flour mixture we like to add in black pepper, cayenne pepper, smoked paprika, onion powder, garlic powder.
- Oil: Depending on what vessel you use, you’ll probably need almost a littler of canola oil to fry up these crispy chicken burgers.
- Garnish: lettuce, tomato, bacon, cheese, onion, pickles. Go crazy or keep it simple.
How to Make Crispy Southern Fried Chicken Burgers
Follow these step by step instructions to make this crispy southern fried chicken burger recipe.
Step 1: Tenderize and Cut
We like to use large chicken breasts for our crispy chicken burgers. Take two large breasts and cut them in half to make cutlets. Simply place one hand on the breast so it doesn’t move and then run a knife horizontally through the middle of the breast.
This will make the frying process a lot easier, and it gives you twice as many crispy chicken burgers! If you’re using smaller thinner breasts you can skip this step.
Now use two forks to puncture some holes on both sides of the chicken cutlets.
Step 2: Brine your Chicken
Generously season the chicken with salt and pepper and toss the breasts into a ziplock bag or a shallow air tight tupperware container. Pour the pickle juice and buttermilk over the chicken until the breasts are fully submerged.
Transfer the marinated chicken to the fridge for at least 4 hours and ideally up to 24.
*If you have a vacuum sealer you can use it to expedite this process, try and let everything marinate for at least an hour in the vacuum sealed bag.
Step 3: Dredge your Chicken
Set out two large bowls and a sheet pan or plate large enough to hold the chicken without overlapping them. Take your marinated chicken out of the fridge and transfer it to one of the bowls. Mix in an egg and the hot sauce to the buttermilk/pickle juice marinate.
In the other bowl, mix tougher the flour, cornmeal, cornstarch, black pepper, cayenne pepper, smoked paprika, onion powder, and garlic powder. Use a fork or a whisk to make sure everything is evenly mixed.
We love to us Bob’s Red Mill Cornmeal because its high quality AND they’re an Oregon company. You can find it online or in most grocery stores. If we can’t get finely ground, we just pop the coarse ground into a food processor for a few seconds.
Use tongs to lift the chicken out of the marinate, let the excess run off, and then transfer to the flour mixture. Dredge the chicken through the mixture, making sure the entire breast is evenly coated. Transfer to the baking sheet & repeat.
Step 4: Fry your Chicken
In a cast iron skillet or a dutch oven heat a couple inches of canola oil to 350F degrees . Ideally, you want enough oil so the chicken is entirely submerged. Use tongs to gentle lay the chicken breasts into the oil. Cook for 5 minutes. They should be golden brown, crispy, and 165F degrees in the thickest part.
You could use less oil and shallow fry your chicken. This requires a longer cook time usually 6-7 minutes on each side. We don’t like to do this because the more you handle the chicken the more the breading can fall off. Either way works though, just be gentle.
Step 5: Assemble your Crispy Fried Chicken Burger & Enjoy!
Warm a bun in toaster or microwave for a few seconds. Lather mayo or cilantro lime crema on both buns. Place the crispy fried chicken breast onto the bun, followed by your choice of cheese, onion, pickle, tomato, cilantro, and lettuce.
Insert directly into face hole and celebrate yourself for making a kick ass crispy southern fried chicken burger!
Crispy Southern Fried Chicken Burgers: Buns, Cheese, & Toppings
It’s hard to beat a soft fluffy potato bun. Its a perfect vessel to carry these delicious crispy southern fried chicken burger in. They soak up all the excess fried grease juice without getting soggy. They’re also just a little bit sweet, which pairs wonderfully with the tart pickle brined fried chicken.
I like a sharp cheddar cheese or for a little more kick I’ll use pepperJack. You can’t really go wrong here, just use whatever cheese you like on your crispy southern fried chicken burger.
Let your freak flag fly! Or keep it simple like Chic-fil-a and just top it with a few pickles. Personally I like to load my crispy southern fried chicken burger up with lettuce, tomato, pickles, some jalapeños and some crunchy bacon.
DON’T FORGET the Cilantro Lime Crema! It really makes these crispy southern fried chicken burgers pop off! And it’s so easy to make. Just blend together some mayo, sour cream, lime juice, cilantro, and salt.
Fries with that?
We love potatoes, probably a little too much. Sometimes I think making southern fried chicken burgers more about the side of fries than it is about the burgers. Then I bite into the chicken burger and the battle in my mind rages all over again. Good thing I don’t have to choose, because I can have my burger and eat my fries too!
Here are a couple of our favorite ways to eat potatoes, they are all great options to pair with these crispy southern fried chicken burgers.
Air Fryer Sweet Potato Wedges. We use 8 different spices and toss them in duck fat! They’re super easy to make in the air fryer or in the oven.
Spicy Air Fryer Home Fries or Country Potatoes. Whatever you call em, these little potato nuggets are a flavor sensation.
Garlic Parmesan Fries. So garlic-y and chessy, these are my favorite fries to eat with a chicken burger, hands down.
And if you can’t shake your burger craving, check out our Duck Fat Turkey Smash burgers recipe! They are to die for!
Southern Fried Chicken Burger FAQ’s
How can I make these southern fried chicken burgers spicy?
Instead of brining your chicken burgers in pickle juice, try using the juice from a jar of pickled jalapeños. You can also add hot sauce to the buttermilk/pickle brine marinate.
Can I make Southern Fried Chicken Burgers healthier?
You can make a Southern Fried Chicken Burger healthier by grilling the chicken breasts, but then you wouldn’t be as happy. You could also make it a low carb situation and lose the bun. Wrap that sucker in lettuce and call it a day.
What toppings go well on a Southern Fried Chicken Burger?
There are so many toppings that go well on a Southern Fried Chicken Burger, its really dealers choice here. Use what you like. We like lettuce, tomato, pickles, cheese, onions, jalapeños, and even bacon sometimes! Be sure to lather it up with our cilantro lime cream, or just use a good mayo.
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