I'm not one to frequent fast food establishments, but Chick-fil-A is one drive thru I get excited about. Yes, I know it's full of awful ingredients that aren't good for my body, but I believe in moderation, and... that chicken is GOOD. But, having one member of my house being dairy free and one avoiding gluten, it's just not an option for my family right now. So, I set out to recreate it at home, and the result is pretty darn close to the real thing. And dare I say just a bit healthier.
If you've read my other posts you've probably seen me mention the importance of the gluten free flour that you choose. I use Bob's Red Mill 1 to 1 gluten free flour in this, and had great results. Your results could vary depending on which flour you use, so be sure to leave a comment if you try something different than I'm using here.
I use avocado oil to fry the chicken in this recipe because it's claimed to contain more healthy fats than other oils. It does have a green tint to it, but I don't find that it affects the color of my chicken too much. Chick-fil-A uses peanut oil, but any neutral tasting cooking oil will work or this.
The ingredients you use to make this sauce will greatly affect the overall flavor, especially the mayonnaise and barbecue sauce because they're the pretty much the stars of the show. I typically like to use Primal Kitchen's avocado mayo, but for this I found Hellman's mayonnaise got me a result closer to the flavor from Chick-fil-A. I love the Classic BBQ sauce from Noble Made, and the flavor is perfect for this. Try to find something smoky and sweet with a hickory flavor to it, and that will get you a result close to the real thing. Any leftover sauce you have will keep for a few days in the refrigerator.
Copycat Chick-fil-A (Gluten and Dairy Free)
- 2 chicken breasts skinless, boneless
- ¼ cup water
- ½ cup pickle juice I used kosher dill
- ½ cup unsweetened almond milk or your favorite milk option
- ½ tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup gluten free flour I used Bob's Red Mill 1 to 1
- 3 tablespoon powdered sugar
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 1//2 tsp baking powder
For The Sauce
- ½ cup mayonaise
- 2 teaspoon barbecue sauce
- 2 tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 3 teaspoon yellow mustard
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- Trim your chicken breasts of fat, and carefully slice them in half horizontally, essentially creating two thinner chicken breasts.
- In a shallow dish, combine your water and pickle juice. Add in your chicken, cover, and marinate for at least 30 minutes.
Make The Sauce
- Add all of your ingredients for the sauce in to a bowl, and give it all a good whisk until the honey is well combined. Cover the bowl and refrigerate the sauce until you're ready to use it.
Cook The Chicken
- In a shallow bowl or dish, mix together your almond milk and ½ tablespoon vinegar. Set it aside and let it sit for at least 15 minutes, which will give it time to curdle. You want it to curdle because this essentially will create a nondairy buttermilk.
- In another shallow dish or bowl, combine your flour, baking powder, sugar, paprika, chili powder, salt, and pepper.
- After your milk has been sitting for 15 minutes, give it a mix and add in your egg. Combine that all together.
- Heat your oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. You want to get it to about 350°F.
- Remove your chicken from the marinade and dry it completely with a paper towel. This step is important because it helps the coating stick to the chicken.
- Dip your chicken breasts in to the flour mixture, then in to the milk, then back in to the flour. Make sure each piece is evenly coated.
- Add your chicken gently in to the pan with the oil. Don't crowd the pan or you'll lower the temperature of the oil. Fry in batches if you need to. Cooking time will depend on how thick your chicken is, but it's typically 4-5 minutes per side. Use a meat thermometer if you have one, and remove the chicken when it reaches 165°F.
- I like to lightly toast my burger buns for these sandwiches. Smother both sides of the buns with the sauce that you made, then layer your chicken, lettuce, tomatoes, and pickles. I serve these with a side of baked waffle fries and more sauce for dipping!