The chicken sandwich is an American staple, one that restaurants all across the U.S. try to replicate in original ways. From towering fried chicken sandwiches to unique fusion spins on classic dishes, the menus of many fantastic chicken joints throughout the United States feature something for everyone — but you have to know what’s possible. To that end, we’ve profiled some of the best and most original chicken sandwiches out there; fried or other and with a world of toppings like creamy macaroni and cheese, heavy-handed spoonfuls of gravy, and fresh, snappy additions of tart green tomatoes or shredded papaya salad.
These sandwiches have the proper ratio of bread to chicken and toppings. Each one is full of exciting flavor profiles and textures destined to deliver the ultimate relaxed eating experience. Yet, they are all different takes on the same dish. Better still, no matter where you are in the country, there’s sure to be a tasty chicken sandwich near you. If you’d prefer to dine in and test your culinary skills, you can always learn the secret to an incredible plate of fried chicken or tempt your tastebuds with one of the best sandwiches out there. You could end up on this list one day.

In Los Angeles, California, you can find a lavish bite of Bangkok in the form of a chicken sandwich that fuses several culinary traditions in a glorious burst of flavors. Night + Market’s Fried Chicken Sandwich is a luxe combination of juicy chicken, fresh and spicy papaya salad, and creamy ranch dressing, plus a generous slice of tomato, jalapeno, and fresh herbs for garnish.
Papaya salad, or som tum (via Taste Atlas), is a staple in Thai cuisine, hailing from Issan. It’s a sweet, spicy, briny, and rich blend of papaya, carrots, spices, and peanuts. Although papaya salad is not traditionally served with ranch dressing, the pairing makes sense, as the coolness of the ranch cuts through the spiciness of the salad for a balanced and utterly devourable dish. According to Los Angeles Magazine, Night + Market’s owner is a ranch dressing connoisseur who created his yummy rendition from scratch after touring the city to sample a slew of styles

Even if you consider yourself a fried chicken sandwich connoisseur, there’s a good chance that you’ve never had a hot and hearty chicken sandwich like the one at SAW’s Soul Kitchen in Avondale, Alabama. SAW’s Sweet Tea Fried Chicken Sandwich is next-level good, with bright notes of sweet tea flavor playing off creamy dressing and tangy dill pickles. The chicken is classically cooked, with a crunchy exterior and moist white meat interior that plays perfectly with the sweeter and tarter flavors in the dish.
It’s a fun little riff on southern flavors and given SAW’s Soul Kitchen’s award-winning team of chefs (via CBS 42), it’s no surprise that they nailed this inspired blend of southern fried chicken and delicious sweet tea. So, if you’re looking for a chicken sandwich with familiar flavors and an expected, special twist, get your hands on the Sweet Tea Fried Chicken Sandwich from SAW Soul Kitchen as soon as possible.

Proving that you don’t have to think way outside the box to make a killer chicken sandwich, Beasley’s Chicken + Honey in Raleigh, North Carolina, serves up honest, tasty food made out of quality ingredients. It’s simple, wholesome, and true to Beasley’s Chicken + Honey’s sweet southern roots. Take the Chicken Biscuit with Pickled Green Tomatoes, topped with honey, and Dijon mustard, for example. It’s clear that the chefs thought out every element of the dish, from the airy biscuit to the perfectly cooked and fried chicken breast crowned with rounds of zinging green tomatoes. A drizzle of honey is optional, but adding it is bliss. Every bite has an outstanding balance of neutral carbs, flavored fat, and fresh veggies.
According to The News & Observer, Beasley’s Chicken + Honey uses humanely-raised chicken to fill out its collection of sandwiches and dishes. The ingredients have a fuller quality and it is integral. Beasley’s chicken and green tomato biscuit sandwich are exceptional for those who want a tart and crunchy treat, but you can also go with a Belgian waffle and chicken dish for another decadent meal.

On Badmaash’s secret menu, you’ll find a butter chicken sandwich worth risking it all for (via TimeOut). One of Los Angeles’ most inspired and exciting bites, the Badmaash Butter Chicken Sandwich takes two cherished favorites and combines them into one fabulous dish. According to Thrillist, Badmaash’s secret to success lies in its calculated mismatching of different cuisine flavors, like Chicken Tikka Poutine. With that in mind, it’s really not surprising that they opted to put one of the most delicious Indian-inspired dishes on a bun.
As with many of the best sandwiches on our list, Badmaash’s Fried Butter Chicken Sandwich comes down to complementing flavors and textures. The juicy chicken plays great with the crunchy pickles, which give a new acidity to the decadent butter chicken sauce that permeates every bite. It’s a balanced, well-thought-out dish that takes the concept of fusion cooking to a comfortable new level. You might not see it on the menu, but make sure you do yourself a favor and ask for this amazing sandwich.

For a big ol’ bite of chicken, cheddar, avocado, bacon, and tons of fixins’, it has to be Crack Shack’s Double Clucker. This monumental sandwich features two whole chicken patties, so you’ll get your money’s worth in every bite. Everything works harmoniously together, with a kaleidoscope of different textures and complementary flavors in every single bite. Plus, the Crack Shack uses free-range, locally-raised chicken for its sandwiches, setting a high bar for both quality and sustainability (via San Diego Tribune). Jidori birds are said to have an incomparable taste, much like specialized A5 Wagyu beef, per Jidori Chicken
One of the key reasons people visit the Crack Shack, aside from the ridiculously good food, is the star power. Top Chef fan fave Richard Blais was once affiliated with the eatery (via CN Traveler). Whimsical and appropriately over-the-top dishes like the Double Clucker reflect his particular style and flair. Make sure that you save room for a side dish alongside your massive Double. Chicken oysters, a unique and rare cut, aren’t something you’ll find on most menus.

New York City’s Double Chicken Please has a menu packed with non-traditional chicken sandwiches, but the Salted Duck Egg chicken sandwich indeed rules the roost. One of the most genius elements of this sandwich is the fact that it plays off traditional textures and flavors while adding a surprising twist to every bite. Per Eater New York, this sandwich is a finely illustrated taste of Taiwan. Duck egg yolk, thick and full of minerality, stands in as the sauce. Salty shrimp adds another level of brined umami to the dish.
With a thick chicken breast, rich duck egg yolk, salty shrimp, and soft bread, the palate needs something light to cut through. The good chefs at Double Chicken Please have diners covered with paper-thin slices of cucumber and a generous fresh topping of butter lettuce. It’s crisp, sumptuous, and authentic — and it’s like nothing you’ve ever tasted before.

Krungthep Tea Time in Winter Park, Florida, is a small, whimsical cafe that serves up top-notch tea alongside interesting and exciting chicken sandwiches. According to the Orlando Sentinel, Krungthep Tea Time snagged the publication’s 2019 Foodie Award for Best Lunch, thanks to its unique pairings and high-quality dishes. On a menu of greats, the Gra-Prow Chicken sandwich shines bright. This stack of bread and fillings are Thai-inspired, but the sandwich also has comfort food elements like mozzarella cheese and bushels of bright basil.
If you’re in the mood for a stellar chicken sandwich but don’t want to sink your teeth into anything fried, the Gra-Prow Chicken sandwich from Krungthep Tea Time is a good bet. Tender, perfectly spiced chicken mingles with red pepper, basil, a touch of onion, and plenty of creamy cheese. The whole combination fills with heat thanks to spicy mayo and a touch of Thai chili. Gra-Pow Chicken is a balanced, beautiful dish that overachieves without overpowering.

Located in Atlanta’s Krog Street Market, Fred’s Meat & Bread specializes in exactly what its name indicates — meat and bread. Visitors expect epic examples of classic sandwiches when they visit, and they are rarely (if ever) disappointed. Although you can sink your teeth into meaty, flavorful burgers and piping hot crispy fries at Fred’s Meat & Bread, one of the star items is the restaurant’s take on a Korean cheesesteak (via Eater Atlanta). You’ve never had a cheesesteak quite like this one.
The Korean cheesesteak, which comes in both beef and chicken varieties, is an exceptional blend of classic American and traditional Korean flavors. The chicken is smothered with American cheese and a sprinkle of green onion before it gets the Korean treatment of complex gochujang sauce. Garlic aioli and candied jalapenos add another world of flavor and texture, striking the coveted happy place between savory and sweet to an absolute tee. 

Leave it to Las Vegas, Nevada, to feature a chicken restaurant that serves up an excessive amount of indulgent food all on one hedonistic homemade waffle. Enter the Mac and Cheese Chicken Tender Waffle Sandwich found at Mama Bird Southern Kitchen. This restaurant does weekends right, with a fried chicken sandwich perfect for brunching. Strap your stomach in for a flavor overload of juicy, crisp chicken tenders, tomato, pickles, and lettuce stuffed into a colossal waffle and topped with a heaping spoonful of macaroni and cheese. Savvy visitors know that they should eat this sandwich in bites where everything combines, savoring the creamy mac, crunchy chicken, and decadent waffle.
According to the Review-Journal, Mama Bird’s fried chicken and barbeque are known throughout Vegas, so make sure that you stop by this iconic restaurant next time you’re trying to win it big on the slot machines. In addition to their massive and fantastic chicken sandwiches, Mama Bird serves up a mean watermelon soft serve ice cream. Stay cool out there.

Austin, Texas’ Pollos Las Abuelas makes comfort-food chicken sandwiches with twin influences from the United States and Mexico. Although you can’t go wrong with some of its more classic offerings, like The Original, true foodies flock to Pollos Las Abuelas to devour El Martin on the weekends. El Martin is only available on Saturdays and Sundays. A limited run doesn’t mean limited flavor. This chicken sandwich is a beautiful concoction made with hot sauce-brined chicken breasts, expertly cooked egg, Jack cheese, chipotle mayo, and the cherry on top — bacon glazed with Mexican Coca-Cola.
It’s a sinfully sumptuous, sweet, meaty meal that ticks off all of the boxes. According to Austin 360, Pollos Las Abuelas’ sandwiches qualify as some of the best in the city, thanks to their balanced ingredients, smart preparations, and the litany of different options. So if you don’t find yourself in Pollos Las Abuelas on the weekend, don’t worry. You can still sample some of its other gorgeous chicken sammies. Just, don’t wait until this food trailer has been up and moved. 

While most crunchy chicken sandwiches on our list are deep-fried to perfection, Local Foods in Houston, Texas, takes a slightly different path to an exceptionally good ending. Instead of deep-frying the chicken breast for its Crunchy Chicken Sandwich, the team at Local Foods oven roasts it, shreds it, and surrounds it with two hyper-crackling layers of great ingredients. The result is a sandwich that gives you the satisfying mouthfeel of fried chicken with a totally different flavor profile and texture.
According to the Houston Press, the heavenly combo of all-white meat chicken, crushed potato chips and nuts, and creamy mild provolone is downright delicious. Everything works in harmony, from the cool lettuce and tomato to the briny housemade pickles that come with a crunch. Dressing it all is a premium ranch dressing. This chicken sandwich, stacked with a pretzel bun, straddles the best of both worlds; it is hearty without ever leaving you feeling overly full. For a unique spin on crispy chicken, it’s got to be Local Foods.

In Morgantown, West Virginia’s Dirty Bird, there’s one thing that you need to order — its namesake breakfast dish. Yes, the Dirty Bird at the Dirty Bird is a breakfast diner masterpiece, dripping in homemade gravy and topped with a flaky buttermilk biscuit. Although the restaurant might look humble from the outside, make no mistake that you’re in for something special as soon as you sit down (via Only in Your State).
Order the Dirty Bird, and you’ll find that the fried chicken has a crispy, light exterior and gorgeously moist meat. The 100% white meat breast is positioned precariously on top of a buttermilk biscuit, drenched in a generous spoonful of gravy, and topped with a rustic, heartily prepared egg. If you cut it right down the center, you’ll get a bite packed with egg, chicken, and buttery biscuit. Almost heaven, West Virginia. This plate is one of the closest things to divine that you’ll experience in your life.

If we’re talking biscuits, the southern states have something to say. You’ll find one of the best chicken sandwiches in the country at Empire State South in Atlanta, Georgia. This big, rich, loaded sammie hits all of the comfort food buttons with a great mix of fluffy biscuits, perfectly fried chicken, scrambled eggs, and popping pimento cheese. Top it with some gravy or marmalade, and you have a host of different flavors and textures that are good for breakfast or anytime at all.
One of the key reasons the Fried Chicken Biscuit with Pimento Cheese sandwich sings is the quality of its ingredients. The chicken is not greasy or heavy, but instead, you get an incredible, juicy flavor in every bite. Pimento adds an exciting pop. It’s the mouthful you dream of. The biscuit tastes homemade and luscious. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Empire State South’s breakfast sandwich is in a class all of its own. When you consider what kind of serious competition it has, especially in the South, that’s saying something.

Nashville, Tennessee’s Biscuit Love is a love letter to all things chicken, with tons of different biscuit and chicken sandwiches for every taste. According to CN Traveler, the Biscuit Love is a great, friendly restaurant where you can pass a lazy Sunday afternoon sipping on boozy brunch cocktails and sinking your teeth into all manner of sustaining chicken preparations. From donut-chicken hybrids, obligatory Nashville-style hot chicken, to Bloody Marys made your way, Biscuit Love excels at welcoming its guests. 
However, if there’s one stand-out in this menu of winner-winner-chicken-dinners, it has to be the East Nasty. Biscuit Love’s East Nasty is a relatively simple dish with only a few ingredients. However, it is executed flawlessly, creating elevated comfort food that immediately hits the sweet spot. Bon appétit heralds the East Nasty as a buttery, rich ode to chicken, biscuits, and gravy. It’s probably the finest example of this Southern staple in the state (and maybe even the country), so next time you find yourself in Nashville, make sure that you pay Biscuit Love a visit.

Devil Dawgs, located in Chicago, Illinois, is the beloved home of many comfort food favorites, especially in the form of chicken sandwiches. Still, you’d be hard-pressed to find one that rivals Brochu’s World Famous Chicken Sandwich. The brainchild of Michelin-starred and James Beard considered Andrew Brochu, this world-famous blend of crispy fried chicken, floral chamomile mayonnaise, and sunchoke sauce (plus all the fixins’) made its debut at Roister Restaurant in Chicago (via Savannah Magazine). Then, Brochu took the sandwich to the menu at Devil Dawgs (via The Infatuation).
According to Vogue, this titular fried chicken sammie is heading down south to Savannah, where it will take pride of place at a new restaurant, Brochu’s Family Tradition. Thanks to a few key components, this tasty sandwich enjoys accolades wherever it goes. First, it absolutely nails the balance between crispy veggies and juicy fried chicken. Secondly, the chamomile mayo is delicate but still robust enough to bloom along with the pickles, chicken, and sunchoke sauce. Brochu’s World Famous Chicken Sandwich is a rollercoaster of fab flavors in every bite.

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