clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile
A fried chicken sandwich on brioche with fries.
Wazwan’s fried chicken on brioche is a popular item.
Wazwan

20 Killer Fried Chicken Sandwiches in Chicago

From hot to mild and everything in between

View as Map
Wazwan’s fried chicken on brioche is a popular item.
| Wazwan

The fried chicken sandwich was one of those comfort items that soared in popularity during the pandemic thanks to ease of portability. Many restaurants began offering one offs thanks carryout focused menus. As Chicago distances itself from March 2020 and the start of the pandemic, it should be no surprise that restaurant owners have opted to keep chicken sandwiches on their menus. For restaurants that specialize in the delicacy, there’s nothing to adapt to — they’ve got customers hooked. So from spicy to mild, panko-crusted to sauces, here are some of the best fried chicken sandwiches in the city.

For classic fried chicken, check out Eater Chicago’s 20 essential spots.

For updated information on coronavirus cases, please visit the city of Chicago’s COVID-19 dashboard. Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; it may pose a risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial COVID transmission. The latest CDC guidance is here; find a COVID-19 vaccination site here.

Read More
Eater maps are curated by editors and aim to reflect a diversity of neighborhoods, cuisines, and prices. Learn more about our editorial process. If you buy something or book a reservation from an Eater link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics policy.

Mother Cluckers Kitchen

Copy Link

Southern fare gets the mother cluckin’ love it deserves in Sauganash. Po’ boys, ribs, and broasted chicken — which is cooked in a pressure fryer — are some of the specialties offered at Mother Cluckers. For the chicken sandwich, the kitchen packs a roll with breaded breast filet, lettuce, tomato, onions, and sauce. There’s a second location in Palatine.

Hermosa

Copy Link

Hermosa owner Ethan Lim has created a unique lineup of sandwiches at this spot on the Northwest Side. His Cambodian-influenced fried chicken sandwich features a thigh marinated in fish sauce, soy sauce, sugar, and an herbal spice paste known as kroeung. The best seller gets an additional flavor assist from its toppings — sweet-and-spicy papaya salad, chopped long beans, and Asian herbs

3 Little Pigs

Copy Link

3 Little Pigs, which recently found a home inside a ghost kitchen, is producing some first-class Chinese-American food. The salt & pepper chicken sandwich is extra crispy with a small burst of heat. It’s a tribute to the dish, adorned with red peppers, that many Cantonese restaurants around the country have served for decades. There’s also a sweet and sour chicken.

Reno’s wood-fired pizzas get much of the praise but its fried chicken sandwich — currently available on the weekend brunch menu — is a similarly remarkable creation. Dubbed the “Pine,” it boasts juicy thigh meat with crackly-crisp skin on a grilled trinity bun. White cheddar, dill pickles, and hot honey sauce help round out the flavor profile.

Although it’s billed as a burger joint, retro-themed Lucy’s most popular item is actually its spicy fried chicken sandwich. The crisp and juicy meat is served on a brioche bun alongside coleslaw, pickles, and a slice of American cheese. Guests can add super hot hot sauce for a kick. A second outpost recently opened in Uptown.

Dave's Hot Chicken

Copy Link

This LA fast-casual chain has celebrity backers like Samuel L. Jackson, Drake, and Maria Shriver. They offer chicken tenders in a variety of spice levels. The Chicago location stands across from Lane Tech High School. Dave’s offers its tenders — slightly breaded with a flavorful rub that hints Carolina-style barbecue — in between slider buns. An order of two or three make for a hearty meal.

Dave’s Hot Chicken
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

BRUNCH N BURGERS CHICAGO

Copy Link

Where’s the beef? When customers order the Crispy Yardbird Sammich at Brunch N Burgers, they won’t miss the restaurant’s signature items. This is a simple crispy sandwich with chicken thighs topped with Sriracha mayo and tomatoes, mixed greens, and pickles.

The Tandoori Honey Chicken sandwich — cheekily referred to as the “THC sando” balances sweet and savory with a blend of South Asian flavors. That doesn’t mean there’s an abundance of heat — this handheld is milder than Nashville hot by a long shot. It’s a solid choice fo a late-night bite or a casual meal.

The Biscuit Man

Copy Link

Housed inside one of the city’s best beer bars, the Long Room, this counter-service spot focuses on biscuit sandwiches. The fluffy biscuits are a paragon of the form and filled with fried chicken breast and dill pickles. Make it even better by adding a sauce and toppings such as eggs, bacon, and pork sausage.

A fried chicken biscuit sandwich.
Biscuit sandwiches don’t get much better than the ones at this Lakeview kitchen.
Jeffy Mai/Eater Chicago

R U Hungry

Copy Link

This no-frills Back of the Yards establishment exemplifies soul food at its finest. Everything is made from scratch and the kitchen marinates the chicken in spices before frying it. Call ahead for quicker service.

Big Jones

Copy Link

Paul Fehribach’s temple of southern cooking is an essential Chicago restaurant for good reason. Its fried chicken is among the best in town, based off Edna Lewis’s classic recipe that calls for the chicken to be brined and then fried in leaf lard, ham drippings, and clarified butter. It’s offered on an egg bun along with mayonnaise, lettuce, and chow-chow.

The Roost Carolina Kitchen

Copy Link

A deep, lingering burn can be an immensely pleasurable feeling and that’s just what the Roost delivers at its multiple locations. The Nashville hot chicken is one of the spiciest versions in Chicago, and available on a brioche roll or a fluffy biscuit. Guests can build their sandwich with various toppings or go with pre-customized combos like the “Sunrise” (over easy egg, bacon, cheddar).

Three fried chicken sandwiches on a table.
The Roost doesn’t play around when it comes to spice.
The Roost [Official Photo]

Fry the Coop

Copy Link

Fly the coop and head over to West Town for hot chicken. Influenced by venerable Nashville restaurants like Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack and Hattie B’s, owner Joe Fontana brings the heat. The intensity ranges from mild to “lil insanity” and diners can get their sandwiches with spicy honey butter or on a glazed doughnut. Fry the Coop also has suburban locations in Oak Lawn, Elmhurst, Tinley Park, and Prospect Heights.

Three House

Copy Link

In West Town, Three House — a hip counter service cafe from the co-owners of Half Evil, a street wear company — have a knockout fried chicken and biscuit sandwich that’s dripping with a hot sauce. This is a messy ordeal, but soul satisfying.

Frontier

Copy Link

Chef Brian Jupiter is known for wild game cooking but his lodge-themed gastropub also puts out an excellent fried chicken sandwich. It features juicy chicken thighs, pickled banana peppers, provolone, and molasses mustard.

The Budlong

Copy Link

Some like it hot but others like it really hot. The Budlong’s signature Nashville hot chicken is slathered in fiery cayenne paste for a lip-numbing experience. Choose a level of heat — ranging from classic to extra hot — and savor it on a brioche bun with slaw, pickles, and Budlong’s comeback sauce. The restaurant has four locations across Chicago.

Roister Restaurant

Copy Link

Alinea Group’s casual restaurant in Fulton Market has brought back its signature dish from its opening menu, albeit in a handheld form. Opening chef Andrew Brochu crafted a sandwich with buttermilk-brined chicken thighs that’s fried with panko and comes with a sunchoke hot sauce.

Roister Roister

Big Boss Spicy Fried Chicken

Copy Link

It’s hard to miss this fried chicken specialist in Bridgeport. The façade and interior are covered in graffiti artwork and the Big Boss sandwich is equally eye-catching. Chef Jassy Lee takes Belizean marinated chicken and smothers it in Nashville-style sauce. The massive, boneless thigh overshadows the bun and is complemented with coleslaw and jalapenos. Spice lovers will be happy to know there are five different levels of heat.

A spicy fried chicken sandwich.
The spicy chicken sandwich at Big Boss will satiate even the hungriest appetites.
Big Boss Spicy Fried Chicken [Official Photo]

DryHop Brewers

Copy Link

Beer and fried chicken are a perfect pairing and this Lakeview brewpub excels at both. A buttermilk-brined breast is blanketed with white cheddar pimento cheese, sweet pickles, and slaw. Diners can dial it up by having the chicken coated in Nashville-style hot sauce.

A fried chicken sandwich on a plate next to mac and cheese and salad.
DryHop Brewers offers its chicken sandwich two ways.
Galdones Photography/DryHop Brewers

Hot Chi Chicken & Cones

Copy Link

A former Harold’s in Chatham has taken to use Middle East flair to liven up its fried chicken offering, called “Popeye’s Ain’t !@$%.” Aided by the garlic condiment toum and sumac, this sandwich has a unique zest that will make customers forget about that spinach-loving sailor.

Mother Cluckers Kitchen

Southern fare gets the mother cluckin’ love it deserves in Sauganash. Po’ boys, ribs, and broasted chicken — which is cooked in a pressure fryer — are some of the specialties offered at Mother Cluckers. For the chicken sandwich, the kitchen packs a roll with breaded breast filet, lettuce, tomato, onions, and sauce. There’s a second location in Palatine.

Hermosa

Hermosa owner Ethan Lim has created a unique lineup of sandwiches at this spot on the Northwest Side. His Cambodian-influenced fried chicken sandwich features a thigh marinated in fish sauce, soy sauce, sugar, and an herbal spice paste known as kroeung. The best seller gets an additional flavor assist from its toppings — sweet-and-spicy papaya salad, chopped long beans, and Asian herbs

3 Little Pigs

3 Little Pigs, which recently found a home inside a ghost kitchen, is producing some first-class Chinese-American food. The salt & pepper chicken sandwich is extra crispy with a small burst of heat. It’s a tribute to the dish, adorned with red peppers, that many Cantonese restaurants around the country have served for decades. There’s also a sweet and sour chicken.

Reno

Reno’s wood-fired pizzas get much of the praise but its fried chicken sandwich — currently available on the weekend brunch menu — is a similarly remarkable creation. Dubbed the “Pine,” it boasts juicy thigh meat with crackly-crisp skin on a grilled trinity bun. White cheddar, dill pickles, and hot honey sauce help round out the flavor profile.

Lucy's

Although it’s billed as a burger joint, retro-themed Lucy’s most popular item is actually its spicy fried chicken sandwich. The crisp and juicy meat is served on a brioche bun alongside coleslaw, pickles, and a slice of American cheese. Guests can add super hot hot sauce for a kick. A second outpost recently opened in Uptown.

Dave's Hot Chicken

This LA fast-casual chain has celebrity backers like Samuel L. Jackson, Drake, and Maria Shriver. They offer chicken tenders in a variety of spice levels. The Chicago location stands across from Lane Tech High School. Dave’s offers its tenders — slightly breaded with a flavorful rub that hints Carolina-style barbecue — in between slider buns. An order of two or three make for a hearty meal.

Dave’s Hot Chicken
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

BRUNCH N BURGERS CHICAGO

Where’s the beef? When customers order the Crispy Yardbird Sammich at Brunch N Burgers, they won’t miss the restaurant’s signature items. This is a simple crispy sandwich with chicken thighs topped with Sriracha mayo and tomatoes, mixed greens, and pickles.

Wazwan

The Tandoori Honey Chicken sandwich — cheekily referred to as the “THC sando” balances sweet and savory with a blend of South Asian flavors. That doesn’t mean there’s an abundance of heat — this handheld is milder than Nashville hot by a long shot. It’s a solid choice fo a late-night bite or a casual meal.

The Biscuit Man

Housed inside one of the city’s best beer bars, the Long Room, this counter-service spot focuses on biscuit sandwiches. The fluffy biscuits are a paragon of the form and filled with fried chicken breast and dill pickles. Make it even better by adding a sauce and toppings such as eggs, bacon, and pork sausage.

A fried chicken biscuit sandwich.
Biscuit sandwiches don’t get much better than the ones at this Lakeview kitchen.
Jeffy Mai/Eater Chicago

R U Hungry

This no-frills Back of the Yards establishment exemplifies soul food at its finest. Everything is made from scratch and the kitchen marinates the chicken in spices before frying it. Call ahead for quicker service.

Big Jones

Paul Fehribach’s temple of southern cooking is an essential Chicago restaurant for good reason. Its fried chicken is among the best in town, based off Edna Lewis’s classic recipe that calls for the chicken to be brined and then fried in leaf lard, ham drippings, and clarified butter. It’s offered on an egg bun along with mayonnaise, lettuce, and chow-chow.

The Roost Carolina Kitchen

A deep, lingering burn can be an immensely pleasurable feeling and that’s just what the Roost delivers at its multiple locations. The Nashville hot chicken is one of the spiciest versions in Chicago, and available on a brioche roll or a fluffy biscuit. Guests can build their sandwich with various toppings or go with pre-customized combos like the “Sunrise” (over easy egg, bacon, cheddar).

Three fried chicken sandwiches on a table.
The Roost doesn’t play around when it comes to spice.
The Roost [Official Photo]

Fry the Coop

Fly the coop and head over to West Town for hot chicken. Influenced by venerable Nashville restaurants like Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack and Hattie B’s, owner Joe Fontana brings the heat. The intensity ranges from mild to “lil insanity” and diners can get their sandwiches with spicy honey butter or on a glazed doughnut. Fry the Coop also has suburban locations in Oak Lawn, Elmhurst, Tinley Park, and Prospect Heights.

Three House

In West Town, Three House — a hip counter service cafe from the co-owners of Half Evil, a street wear company — have a knockout fried chicken and biscuit sandwich that’s dripping with a hot sauce. This is a messy ordeal, but soul satisfying.

Frontier

Chef Brian Jupiter is known for wild game cooking but his lodge-themed gastropub also puts out an excellent fried chicken sandwich. It features juicy chicken thighs, pickled banana peppers, provolone, and molasses mustard.

Related Maps

The Budlong

Some like it hot but others like it really hot. The Budlong’s signature Nashville hot chicken is slathered in fiery cayenne paste for a lip-numbing experience. Choose a level of heat — ranging from classic to extra hot — and savor it on a brioche bun with slaw, pickles, and Budlong’s comeback sauce. The restaurant has four locations across Chicago.

Roister Restaurant

Alinea Group’s casual restaurant in Fulton Market has brought back its signature dish from its opening menu, albeit in a handheld form. Opening chef Andrew Brochu crafted a sandwich with buttermilk-brined chicken thighs that’s fried with panko and comes with a sunchoke hot sauce.

Roister Roister

Big Boss Spicy Fried Chicken

It’s hard to miss this fried chicken specialist in Bridgeport. The façade and interior are covered in graffiti artwork and the Big Boss sandwich is equally eye-catching. Chef Jassy Lee takes Belizean marinated chicken and smothers it in Nashville-style sauce. The massive, boneless thigh overshadows the bun and is complemented with coleslaw and jalapenos. Spice lovers will be happy to know there are five different levels of heat.

A spicy fried chicken sandwich.
The spicy chicken sandwich at Big Boss will satiate even the hungriest appetites.
Big Boss Spicy Fried Chicken [Official Photo]

DryHop Brewers

Beer and fried chicken are a perfect pairing and this Lakeview brewpub excels at both. A buttermilk-brined breast is blanketed with white cheddar pimento cheese, sweet pickles, and slaw. Diners can dial it up by having the chicken coated in Nashville-style hot sauce.

A fried chicken sandwich on a plate next to mac and cheese and salad.
DryHop Brewers offers its chicken sandwich two ways.
Galdones Photography/DryHop Brewers

Hot Chi Chicken & Cones

A former Harold’s in Chatham has taken to use Middle East flair to liven up its fried chicken offering, called “Popeye’s Ain’t !@$%.” Aided by the garlic condiment toum and sumac, this sandwich has a unique zest that will make customers forget about that spinach-loving sailor.

Related Maps