Hot Honey Chicken Sandwich


5 from 9 votes
Jump to Recipe

This post may contain affiliate links. See my disclosure policy.

Treat yourself to a homemade hot honey chicken sandwich! Made with crisp and juicy buttermilk fried chicken and sweet and spicy honey sauce, it’s even better than the drive-thru.

hot honey chicken sandwich.

Skip the takeout or drive-thru the next time you crave a spicy chicken sandwich because this hot honey chicken sandwich is way better! The buttermilk fried chicken is incredibly crispy and juicy, while the hot honey sauce takes every bite to the next level.

This epic hot honey chicken sandwich recipe is inspired by both the discontinued Wendy’s hot honey chicken sandwich and classic Nashville hot chicken sandwich, which was my all-time favorite. Luckily, this captures the same irresistible crispy textures and spicy flavors while still being easy to make from scratch. 

Table of Contents
  1. Ingredients needed
  2. How to make hot honey chicken sandwiches
  3. Tips to make the best recipe
  4. Variations
  5. How to store leftovers
  6. Frequently asked questions 
  7. More epic sandwich recipes to try
  8. Hot Honey Chicken Sandwich (Recipe Card)

Recipe highlights

  • It features out-of-this-world flavors. Each element in this sandwich, from the crispy chicken to the honey sauce to the toppings, brings balance and complements each other perfectly. It’s an indulgent meal that’s savory, spicy, and sweet!
  • There is an epic amount of CRUNCH. There’s nothing quite like sinking your teeth into a gorgeously golden and crunchy piece of fried chicken. My family BEGS me to make it for a treat.
  • You can play with the toppings. There are plenty of topping and sauce options you can add to a crispy chicken sandwich. Check out the Variations section for plenty of delicious ideas!
wendy's hot honey chicken sandwich.

Ingredients needed

This fiery fried chicken sandwich recipe calls for a short list of ingredients you may already have in your kitchen. Here is everything you’ll need: 

  • Hot honey sauce. You can use store-bought hot honey, but making it from scratch is very easy. All you need is honey, apple cider vinegar, and red pepper flakes. 
  • Chicken thighs. Use skinless and boneless chicken thighs. This recipe works just as well with two chicken breasts sliced in half if you prefer white meat. 
  • Buttermilk. Marinating chicken in buttermilk helps to break down the protein structures so the meat is extra tender and juicy. No buttermilk at home? No problem. Combine one tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar with 1 cup of milk, and let the mixture stand for about 5 minutes before using it. 
  • Spices. Salt, pepper, cayenne, garlic powder, and onion powder are used to season the buttermilk and the flour.
  • All purpose flour. To coat the chicken after soaking it in the buttermilk.
  • Oil. For frying the chicken. Use an oil with a high smoke point, like vegetable oil, sunflower, or peanut oil. 
  • Brioche burger buns. Soft, buttery, and slightly sweet brioche buns pair perfectly with hot and spicy crispy chicken. 
  • Mayonnaise. Spread the buns with regular mayonnaise, or crank up the heat with spicy mayonnaise!
  • Lettuce and tomato. Both of these toppings add a crisp and cooling element to the spicy sandwich.

How to make hot honey chicken sandwiches

I’ve included step-by-step photos below to make this recipe easy to follow at home. For the full printable recipe instructions and ingredient quantities, scroll to the recipe card at the bottom of this post.

Step 1 – Marinate the chicken in buttermilk. Whisk the buttermilk, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper together in a bowl. Place the chicken thighs in the bowl, making sure each one is completely covered in the seasoned buttermilk. Cover the bowl and place it in the fridge for 1 hour.

chicken marinating in buttermilk.

Step 2 – Coat in flour. Whisk the flour, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, garlic, and onion powder together in a separate bowl. After the chicken is done marinating, dip each piece in the flour mixture, making sure to coat both sides.

chicken breading mix.

Step 3 – Fry the chicken. Heat the oil in a deep pot on the stove. Once it’s sizzling but not smoking, fry the dredged chicken. Flip when the breading is golden and crispy on the bottom and repeat on the other side.

frying breaded chicken.

Step 4- Cool. Transfer the fried chicken thighs to a paper towel-lined plate to allow the excess oil to drain.

fried chicken on paper towel.

Step 5 – Make the hot honey sauce. If you haven’t already, make the hot honey sauce by heating the honey and apple cider vinegar in a saucepan over low heat. Take it off of the heat when it simmers, then stir in the red pepper flakes.

how to make hot honey sauce.

Step 6 – Assemble the sandwiches. Place a piece of lettuce on the bottom half of each bun, then place a piece of fried chicken on top. Add a drizzle of hot honey and top with a slice or two of tomato. Slather the mayo on the top half of the bun, place it on top, then enjoy!

hot honey sauce on fried chicken.

What goes well with hot honey fried chicken?

This hot honey sandwich pairs perfectly with all of your fast food favorites, like baked curly fries, air fryer french fries, air fryer baked potatoes, air fryer frozen green beans, and air fryer sweet potato fries.

Tips to make the best recipe

  • Marinate the chicken overnight. You can marinate the chicken in the buttermilk for 1 to 4 hours, or overnight. The longer it marinates, the more tender and flavorful the meat will be!
  • Heat the oil to 180ºC/350ºF. This is the perfect temperature because it won’t burn the breading and will cook the chicken to perfection.
  • Don’t overcrowd the skillet. Crowding the chicken in the pot will cause the temperature of the oil to drop. As a result, the chicken absorbs too much oil and will have a harder time crisping up. Work in batches and only fry 1 or 2 pieces of chicken at a time if you need to!
  • To check for doneness. Insert a meat thermometer into the chicken’s thickest end to ensure that the internal temperature has reached 165ºF.


Feel free to make this spicy chicken sandwich your own by swapping the honey sauce and toppings for any of these alternatives:

  • Sauces. Drizzle big mac sauce, katsu sauce, honey mustard, ranch dressing, teriyaki sauce, or sweet chili sauce over the crispy chicken instead of the honey.
  • Cheese, bacon, and pickles. Create a copycat Wendy’s hot honey chicken sandwich by topping the sandwich with pepper jack cheese, Applewood smoked bacon, and dill pickle chips. 
  • Coleslaw. A scoop of creamy coleslaw will cool down the spicy bites. 
  • Cut the carbs. Make a keto fried chicken sandwich by topping keto fried chicken on keto buns with a drizzle of red pepper flake-infused keto honey.

How to store leftovers

To store: You can keep the fried chicken in an airtight container in the fridge for 2 to 3 days. Store the homemade hot honey in a jar or bottle at room temperature for 6 months to 1 year.

To freeze: The fried chicken can be stored in the freezer in a ziplock bag for up to 6 months.

honey hot chicken sandwich.

Frequently asked questions 

Can you air fry or bake the chicken instead?

Sure! If you want to lighten things up and cook the chicken with significantly less oil, you can easily air fry or bake the chicken in the oven without losing the crispy texture. Check out my air fryer fried chicken and crispy baked chicken thigh recipes for cooking times and temperatures. 

How spicy is this chicken sandwich?

The hot honey sauce and fried chicken pack a punch, but you can easily adjust the heat level to your liking. Either omit the cayenne in the buttermilk and breading or reduce the amount to ¼ teaspoon. As for the honey sauce, only use ½ to 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes.

More epic sandwich recipes to try

hot honey chicken sandwich recipe.

Hot Honey Chicken Sandwich

5 from 9 votes
Inspired by Wendy's, our hot honey chicken sandwich recipe features crispy chicken slathered in a hot honey sauce. It has the perfect combo of heat and sweetness to satisfy fast food cravings!
Servings: 4 sandwiches
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 15 minutes


  • 4 chicken thighs boneless and skinless
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder

To assemble

  • 1/4 cup hot honey sauce click the link for the recipe
  • 4 leaves lettuce
  • 1 large tomato sliced
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 4 brioche buns


  • Combine the buttermilk, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper in a bowl and whisk together.
  • Add the chicken thighs and mix until all are covered in the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least ten minutes or up to an hour.
  • Combine the flour, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder in a small bowl.
  • Dip each marinated chicken thigh in it, coating both sides well and shaking off any excess. 
  • Add 1-2 inches of oil into a deep pot. Once hot, fry the chicken fillets for 7-8 minutes, until golden and crispy. Place them on a paper towel to soak up excess oil. 
  • Assemble the sandwiches by dividing the bun in half and layering the lettuce, fried chicken, hot honey sauce, tomatoes, and mayonnaise. 


TO STORE: You can keep the fried chicken in an airtight container in the fridge for 2 to 3 days. Store the homemade hot honey in a jar or bottle at room temperature for 6 months to 1 year.


Serving: 1sandwichCalories: 449kcalCarbohydrates: 40gProtein: 34gFat: 19gSodium: 1714mgPotassium: 511mgFiber: 1gVitamin A: 1477IUVitamin C: 7mgCalcium: 140mgIron: 2mgNET CARBS: 39g
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Author: Arman Liew
Tried this recipe?Give us a shout at @thebigmansworld or tag #thebigmansworld!

Arman Liew

I’m a two time cookbook author, photographer, and writer, and passionate about creating easy and healthier recipes. I believe you don’t need to be experienced in the kitchen to make good food using simple ingredients that most importantly, taste delicious.

You May Also Like

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating