Here’s Why Chick-fil-A’s Chicken Sandwiches Are So Dang Good
Beyond their secret spice recipe, Chick-fil-A has some neat tricks up their sleeves for the perfect chicken sandwich. Here's what you need to know.
When you tear into a Chick-fil-A Chicken Sandwich (or something from the secret menu), it’s always a perfectly seasoned and juicy chicken breast. Chick-fil-A makes the sandwich sound so simple—a hand-cut chicken fillet dipped in an egg and milk wash, hand breaded and cooked in a pressure cooker. But somehow, the Chick-fil-A Chicken Sandwich seems to be more delicious than the others. What makes it so dang good?
There’s a Secret Recipe
The Chick-fil-A Chicken Sandwich is pretty straightforward—it’s served on a toasted, buttered bun with dill pickle chips. This legend is so simple that it should be easy to replicate. Right? Nope. The seasoning ingredients were developed by Chick-fil-A founder Truett Cathy. He perfected the sandwich in the 1960s, and more than 50 years later, the recipe remains unchanged! To keep the secret Chicken Sandwich recipe under wraps, it’s hidden in a safe in Atlanta, Georgia. The sauce recipe isn’t a secret, though—find out what’s in Chick-fil-A’s famous sauce, too.
Pickles play a big part
Every Chick-fil-A Chicken Sandwich is made with two dill pickle chips—an essential ingredient! To make the chips, cucumber slices are marinated for three days before ripening into crisp and delicious pickles.
That tidbit about soaking pickles has led to speculation about how Chick-fil-A chicken gets so juicy. Many bloggers and Chick-fil-A regulars believe that the chicken breast in the Chick-fil-A Chicken Sandwich is brined in pickle juice before it’s breaded and fried. This theory makes sense because pickle juice contains salt. This key ingredient helps carry moisture and flavor deep into the chicken in the same way it would help flavor a cucumber.
A soak in a salty liquid would also cause some proteins in chicken breast to break down, so you’re left with less stringy chicken and more juicy breast meat. The bright salty flavor and extra tender meat that result from brining are consistent with what we expect from this chicken-focused fast food chain! We also expect excellent service! It’s no wonder that Chick-fil-A has the best customer service in America.
Using pickle juice to tenderize meat
The company won’t confirm the theory that a pickle juice bath is the secret to the famous Chick-fil-A Chicken Sandwich, but this tenderizing trick still works on any kind of lean meat. Pork, turkey and, of course, chicken breast can soak in this zesty brine to pick up a moist texture and some dill flavor from pickling spices. So whether it’s for sandwiches, nuggets or fried chicken, save the pickle juice for an extra-tender treat.