Chicken sandwich at Burgette
Photograph: Courtesy Leo Cabal

The best fried chicken sandwiches in L.A.

Our love for fried chicken comes in sandwich form, too, and thankfully, fried chicken sandwiches can be found all over L.A.

Patricia Kelly Yeo
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It’s been years since Popeyes released its fried chicken sandwich, but L.A.’s chefs and restauranteurs keep dreaming of new ways to put a piece of crispy, deep-fried yardbird into a sandwich. The city is already full of amazing fried chicken options, but we went one step further and found the very best in sandwich form. While there’s some overlap between the two, a few restaurants around town make standout fried chicken sandwiches without necessarily frying up wings and tenders—so read on for the 15 best places to crunch your way through the city’s best fried chicken sandwiches. Stacked with outrageous sauces and slaws, these sandos will make you rethink your allegiance to a juicy burger the next time you’re craving a quick, greasy bite.

L.A.’s best fried chicken sandwiches

  • North Hollywood

Since first opening in 2015, Howlin’ Ray’s has spawned dozens of Nashville hot chicken sandwich imitators—many of which I’ve tried, and most of which I’ve found lacking. The sole exception, which manages to best the original, is North Hollywood’s Humble Bird, opened by former Howlin’ employees Louis Silva and Brandon Walthrop in 2021. Even at higher spice levels, the bone-in chicken here offers a depth of flavor that manages to cut through the burn (which I haven’t found to be the case at Howlin’ Ray’s). Somehow, Humble Bird reaches heights of fried chicken sandwich excellence I hadn’t thought possible with a juicy, perfectly cooked chicken breast and the perfect ratio of slaw, pickles and “comeback” (chili-inflected ketchup and mayo) sauce. If you consider yourself a Nashville hot chicken superfan, give Humble Bird a try. You’ll be glad you did.

  • Soul and southern American
  • Chinatown

Holy hot chicken! Howlin’ Ray’s Johnny Zone spent his early career working with the likes of Thomas Keller and Gordon Ramsay, but he’s more famous these days for being the chef who started L.A.’s Nashville hot chicken craze. Fried up and served by a dedicated, high-energy crew that keeps morale high when lines get long (and boy, do they get long), the wildly craveable chicken sandwich doesn’t hold any punches on flavor—or heat, for that matter. While you can choose between ordering the sandwich “hot” or “not,” we can’t see why anyone would want to forgo the face-tingling euphoria of Nashville hot chicken, here with a little extra sweetness. The butter bun, cabbage slaw, pickles and Southern spread help balance out the heat to keep each bite as delicious as the last. A newer Pasadena location offers more ample seating, plus beer and wine for on-site diners, but the Far East Plaza original still accepts walk-in orders and even offers local delivery.

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  • Italian
  • Silver Lake

A relative old-timer—and a true predecessor to L.A.’s now-booming fried chicken sandwich scene—Alimento’s chicken Milanese sandwich is a decadent, messy thing of beauty, so stuffed with ingredients that you might need to eat it with a knife and fork. A whole buttermilk-brined thigh is breaded and fried, then topped with a slice of prosciutto cotto, pepperoncini slaw and spicy chili mayo, and it’s also available in the “Zach’s Red Hot” (that’s chef-owner Zach Pollack’s take on Nashville) variety. We know most people come to this Italian spot for the pasta, but you’re going to need to switch up your order for your next visit—the sandwich is that good.

  • Sandwich shops
  • Westlake
  • price 1 of 4

After closing her critically acclaimed restaurant, Nightshade, during the pandemic, Mei Lin opened up this fast-casual hot fried chicken takeout operation—and boy, am I glad she did. Perched in a Silver Lake-adjacent strip mall, Daybird’s sandwich distinguishes itself with a unique Sichuan-style spice blend that delivers a dose of heat from a different part of the globe. Coated in rice flour and fried in rice bran oil, the lightweight, crispy pieces of jidori chicken seem to shatter on first bite in an enormous fried chicken sandwich piled high with jalapeño cabbage slaw. A massive plank of breaded Jidori chicken juts out of each sandwich, so you get an all-in-one tender and a sandwich experience. In short, it’s sheer culinary genius—and if you aren’t a fan of not being able to feel the bottom half of your face after a meal, Daybird now offers a much milder Taiwanese popcorn chicken spice blend.

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  • Fast food spots
  • Glendale
  • price 2 of 4
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Run by the same family behind longtime Lebanese restaurant Skaf’s, this fried chicken sandwich spot in Glendale serves seven different fried chicken sandwiches that bring varying levels of heat and flavor to the game. The one constant, however, is the juicy breaded chicken breast at the basis of each sando, which plays beautifully with sweet chili glaze (the Wok), habanero buffalo sauce (the Nitro) and a Nashville-esque house spice rub (the Heater). No matter which one you order, you can’t go wrong with the high-quality ingredients and quick turnaround time.
  • Gastropubs
  • Beverly Hills
  • price 3 of 4

This Beverly Hills neighborhood joint might be an upscale chain restaurant, but the Ding’s crispy chicken sandwich by Hillstone Restaurant Group continues to occupy prime real estate in the hearts and minds of fried chicken sandwich-loving Angelenos. The combination of baby Swiss cheese, sliced tomato and a thick layer of kale salad slaw atop a chicken cutlet is still a winner today, even amid the citywide explosion in chicken sandwich options. Since Hillstone is a chain, you can also snag this same exact sandwich at R+D Kitchen and Hillstone in Santa Monica, Houston’s in Pasadena and the other Honor Bar up the coast in Montecito.

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  • French
  • Santa Monica
  • price 3 of 4

The standout fried chicken sandwich at this newer gourmet burger bar in Santa Monica draws inspiration from its Swiss namesake. Each Chicken Cordon Bleu is served on a soft, ultra-shiny brioche bun from Inglewood’s Cadoro Bakery. The crispy buttermilk-brined chicken thigh comes topped with jamon de Paris, which adds hints of texture and flavor. What really makes the sandwich sing, however, is the generous dollop of Swiss-style velouté and the tangy, slightly spicy green relish made of asparagus and pickled peppers. At $22, Burgette’s fried chicken sandwich certainly isn't cheap, but the mix of creamy sauce and crunchy chicken, combined with a hint of heat, is a worthy splurge in our eyes.

  • Korean
  • Westlake
  • price 2 of 4

Inside a cramped West 8th Street strip mall, this new-school Korean fried chicken joint serves one of the best fried chicken sandwiches in town. While you can take or leave the regular chicken (and honestly, given the number of amazing Korean fried chicken joints, we’d leave it), Chimmelier offers a surprisingly delicious, Korean-inflected take on the humble fried chicken sandwich. A crispy chicken breast gets topped with a spicy pickled red cabbage slaw, dashi mayo, perilla leaf and lacto-fermented pickles. It’s massive and crunchy, and all those pickled goods give each bite a refreshing edge. There’s more than fried chicken, too, with sides such as chapsal cheese balls, cauliflower nuggets, and kimchi fried rice packed into a Shin Ramyun cup. You can also catch Chimmelier every Sunday at Smorgasburg in the Arts District.

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  • Japanese
  • Downtown
  • price 2 of 4

We aren’t the hugest fans of the tenders and buckets at Tokyo Fried Chicken, which recently moved to Downtown L.A. from Monterey Park. Kouji Yamanashi’s Southern-style batter with vaguely Japanese seasoning strikes us as a premium mediocre version of KFC rather than anything truly exceptional. That being said, we loved Tokyo Fried Chicken’s newer fried chicken sandwich, which offers an oversized chicken thigh with Japanese-style kewpie mayo and pickles on a housemade milkbread bun. Each bite is enveloped in just enough creaminess to balance the craggy bite of chicken, and the sandwich comes with excellent seasoned housemade potato chips.

  • Contemporary American
  • Culver City
  • price 2 of 4

This stall inside Culver City’s Citizen Public Market serves a mouthwatering gourmet fried chicken sandwich that delivers just a touch of heat—or none at all, if that’s more your style. Inspired by chef Brandon Kida’s childhood in Los Angeles, the deep-brown crust mimics L.A.’s classic, mostly long-gone Pioneer Chicken, but the Japanese-leaning marinade nods to Little Tokyo with white soy, kombu, shiitake and bonito flakes. Go Go Bird invokes Chinatown by finishing off the chicken with Sichuan chili oil and a light dusting of chili pepper. The end result? An extremely craveworthy, only-in-L.A. fried chicken sandwich that’s worth trekking for—and navigating downtown Culver City’s confusing new lane configurations. (Tip: During rush hour, stick to Venice Boulevard and park in the Cardiff parking structure.)

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  • Cafés
  • West Adams
  • price 1 of 4

Let’s face it: Most lunchtime fried chicken sandos will leave you in a food coma, but the Li’l Chicky Sando at this all-day café in West Adams (with a soon-to-open location in Highland Park) offers a lighter, still flavorful take on the dish. Chef Kat Turner uses tempura-fried chicken breast, creamy labneh, kewpie mayo and mint-spiked coleslaw on an oblong-shaped milk bun for one of the best fried chicken sandwiches in the city. The pickled onions and refreshing slaw counter the richness of the fried chicken for a satisfying snack or light meal.

  • Cocktail bars
  • Long Beach
  • price 1 of 4

Sure, Long Beach’s prime tiki den is full of some of the most fun drinks and best vinyl nights in the area, but it’s also home to one of L.A.’s most innovative fried chicken sandwiches. Forget a classic buttermilk brine—Bamboo Club adds Thai tea leaves to its mixture, soaking plump chicken breast in a flavorful marinade that lends the final product a creamy and familiar note, sans the sweetness from condensed milk you’d regularly find in the drink. There’s so much flavor in that tea-spiked brine, the final product gets imparted with earthy, complex notes making this chicken sandwich fun, creative and unlike any other in town. The buttery bun gets a slick of spicy house aioli, while it gets a little relief from a sweet, crisp cabbage slaw. Pair with a mai tai or three.

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  • Thai
  • West Hollywood

Once one of L.A.’s most beloved off-menu items and now one of L.A.’s iconic, no-longer-secret dishes, Night + Market’s crispy chicken thigh sandwich is a must-order whenever you’re at one of Kris Yembamroong’s party-hearty Thai restaurants. Surrounded by the curries and pastrami drunken noodles, though, you’ll want to save room for this Northern Thai-style chicken sandwich, which fries its bird skin-on for even more crunch and flavor. It’s hearty, and topped by papaya slaw, ranch dressing, cilantro and the sweet heat of jalapeños—all of which all pairs perfectly with a crisp Singha beer or any one of chef-owner Kris Yenbamroong’s favorite natural wines on offer.

  • Fast food spots
  • South Bay
  • price 1 of 4

This Gardena strip mall joint offers excellent fried chicken in the three ways most people enjoy: inside a sandwich, plus tenders and wings. You can get your chicken in 12 unique “flavas,” including lemon pepper, traditional, garlic parmesan and “Cali Heat,” Fyrebird’s take on a Nashville-style dry rub. While I’ve yet to try every single flavor and combination, I’ve found the quality to be remarkably consistent across all three menu items, particularly the tenders and wings. Plus, the fried chicken sandwich is easily one of the best in the South Bay, and a worthy contender for those who enjoy lemon pepper or saucy chicken flavors. Be sure to note there’s actually a patio out back for dining in—so you can enjoy your chicken minutes after it’s been plucked from the fryer basket.

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  • Soul and southern American
  • Fairfax District
This popular New York City chain on Fairfax offers fried chicken in any style you could possibly want: on a waffle, inside a biscuit, with fries and of course, between two halves of a bun. While we wouldn’t come here for the regular fried chicken, and actively warn against ordering Sweet Chick’s “Nashville” chicken sandwich (a shadow of the bright red chicken breasts you’ll find elsewhere), the OG fried chicken sandwich tastes like a higher quality version of the one offered at Popeyes. A healthy slather of herbed mayo and bread and butter pickles are all that’s needed to augment this straightforwardly delicious sando, and best of all, you can even get it via third-party delivery.
  • Shopping
  • Specialist food and drink
  • Mar Vista
  • price 2 of 4

At David Kuo’s new gourmet mini-mart in Mar Vista, you’ll find breakfast burritos, burgers, pizza and a surprisingly flavorful fried chicken sandwich. With elements of Taiwanese popcorn chicken, the Fatty Mart fried chicken sandwich—lifted from Little Fatty's old late-night menu—is one of the delicious fried chicken sandwiches on the Westside. Dredged in a five-spice and white pepper spice blend, Fatty Mart’s fried chicken thigh offers a lightweight sweet potato crust batter that balances out the housemade jalapeño coleslaw and Calabrian chili aioli. Compared to other sandos around town, the flavor doesn’t pack as much of a punch at first, but you’ll find yourself polishing it off to the very last bite before you even realize.

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  • Sports Bars
  • Boyle Heights
  • price 2 of 4

Jonathan Perez already makes some of the city’s best tacos at Boyle Heights’ Milpa Grille, but his newer brunch residency at this neighborhood bar nearby also offers one of the most delicious fried chicken sandwiches in town. The kitchen drizzles honey and salsa macha all over each piece of fried chicken, tops the whole thing off with cheesy scrambled eggs and sandwiches it between two halves of a brioche bun anointed with garlic aioli. For fried chicken sandwich lovers, it’s a destination-worthy brunch bite, available Tuesday through Saturday from 8am to 2pm. Just be careful with the heat—Perez doesn’t mess around with spice.

  • Japanese
  • Chinatown
  • price 1 of 4

This Chinatown brick-and-mortar sandwich shop (with a second location in San Gabriel) sells katsu and curry hot from the kitchen, plus cold and to-go sandos, onigiri and salads from the conbini-inspired refrigerated section. When it comes to those hot sandwiches, they come scorching-fresh from the fryer with a thin layer of crispy, crunchy coating. Flashier options such as the walnut shrimp sando and the special wagyu katsu steal the spotlight, but the  classic chicken katsu deserve just as much praise, especially once they’re dunked into Katsu Sando’s tasty gochujang aioli. Here, the team uses Jidori chicken and breads and fries it to still-succulent perfection, then tops it with a light slaw before surrounding it with fresh house-baked milk bread.

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