Yum Yum Chicken Sliders Recipe

If there's one recipe you spend a little extra time on this weekend, let it be this one. These chicken sliders might be a little bit more work than your average 30-minute meal, but they are juicy, crispy, spicy, and delicious, and will seriously impress anyone (even if that someone is yourself). They also aren't hard to make, provided you have decent knife skills and a good pot for frying. The chicken is first brined in buttermilk for tenderness, then coated in flour and fried until crispy golden brown, placed on slider buns, and coated in homemade yum yum and spicy slaw. Never had yum yum sauce? First of all, you need to make the one in this recipe; secondly, you need to get yourself to a hibachi restaurant.

Yum yum sauce is essentially a ketchup-mayo blend with a few extra steps. Namely, the sauce contains butter, sugar, and spices like garlic powder and paprika, which give it the distinctly "yummy" flavor. It's not acidic, like ketchup, and instead takes on a buttery flavor that pairs deliciously with meat. It's a staple sauce at hibachi restaurants, being that it pairs so well with seared steak and shrimp.

This recipe crafted by developer Michelle McGlinn takes a simple yum yum sauce and pairs it with crispy fried chicken and spicy slaw for the best, most flavorful sliders you'll ever eat.

Everything you need to make yum yum chicken sliders

To fry the chicken, you'll need buttermilk, boneless, skinless chicken thighs, flour, and vegetable or canola oil. Thighs will be the most tender and the perfect size for sliders, but you can also opt for chicken breasts, if preferred. For seasonings, you'll need paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper, some of which you'll reuse for the yum yum. For the yum yum sauce, you'll also need mayonnaise, tomato paste, rice vinegar, sugar, butter, and water. For the slaw, you'll need one jalapeño, about a quarter head of cabbage (red or green both work), a small bunch of cilantro, Greek yogurt, garlic, and lime. Once you have all the elements, you'll just need 8 slider buns to put it together; we like plain white slider buns, but you can also opt for wheat, biscuits, or brioche.

Brining the chicken

The acid in buttermilk tenderizes the chicken, the milky texture keeping it moist while the salt breaks down the muscle proteins. The result is a juicy, tender chicken, with perfect all-around breading and plenty of moisture. To brine the chicken, just add the chicken to a sealable bag, pour in the buttermilk, add the salt, and seal the bag. You can also do this in a bowl, but the buttermilk will cover more chicken if locked into a pliable bag (plus, you avoid contaminating anything in your fridge). Leave the chicken for an hour or so for the best results; if you're short on time, try to brine the chicken for at least as long as it takes to prep everything else.

Mix together the slaw

If you don't love shredding cabbage, just use a pre-sliced, bagged coleslaw mix instead. Once you have your chopped and shredded veggies, all you have to do is combine them with yogurt, lime juice, garlic, and seasonings. The slaw is spicy; if you want to make a milder coleslaw, use less jalapeño or omit the pepper entirely. If your pepper's heat snuck up on you and the slaw is too spicy (in-season jalapeños can be extra hot), add more yogurt and lime juice until the heat is manageable.

Stir together the yum yum

The yum yum is super simple: Just stir the ingredients together with a spatula until smooth. While tempting, don't omit the splash of water here: The water tones down the spice and tomato, leading to that soft and buttery yum yum flavor. Don't skip the melted butter, either — that's the secret ingredient that makes yum yum sauce so good.

Frying the chicken

Before dredging the chicken, heat the oil so that each piece can go directly into the pot instead of sitting in flour likely to dissolve. The benefit to a buttermilk brine is that you don't need any eggs to help the flour adhere to the chicken, so take the chicken directly out of the brine and dredge in the seasoned flour. Add the dredged chicken directly into the hot oil (and if it isn't ready, you can place them on a sheet tray for a few minutes, re-dredging if needed).

The chicken should sizzle and brown immediately in the oil, first changing color then slowly becoming crisp. Flip to brown both sides, and remove from the oil once both sides have a firm, crunchy texture, without any soggy breading.

Assembling and serving the sliders

With the chicken fried, the slaw mixed together, and the yum yum ready, you can build the sandwiches. Place the chicken on a bottom bun, add a spoonful of yum yum, and place a handful of slaw on top. Close the sandwich with the top bun and dig in — because these are hefty sliders, plan to serve 2 per person. If using these for a main course, plan to serve with filling sides like a broccoli and bacon salad, mac and cheese, or potato salad. It's likely you'll polish off the sliders in one sitting, but if you do have leftovers, save the chicken separately and reheat in the oven or air fryer to keep crisp. Store the slaw and yum yum in separate, airtight containers in the refrigerator and plan to build the sliders fresh the next time you serve them.

Yum Yum Chicken Sliders Recipe
4.9 from 19 ratings
Learn how to make these fried chicken sliders topped with a creamy yum yum sauce and spicy slaw.
Prep Time
15
minutes
Cook Time
1.5
hours
Servings
8
Sliders
fried chicken slider on a table
Total time: 1 hour, 45 minutes
Ingredients
  • For the chicken
  • 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 3 cups buttermilk
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • Oil, for deep frying
  • 8 slider buns
  • For the slaw
  • 3 cups red cabbage, shredded
  • ½ cup finely chopped and seeded jalapeño
  • ½ cup roughly chopped cilantro
  • ½ cup Greek yogurt
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • 1 clove of garlic, grated or pressed
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of pepper
  • For the yum yum sauce
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • 1 tablespoon water
Directions
  1. Place the chicken in a gallon-sized bag and cover with buttermilk. Add 1 teaspoon salt and seal the bag. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  2. In the meantime, prepare the slaw and sauce. To make the slaw, add the cabbage, jalapeño, cilantro, yogurt, lime juice, garlic, salt, and pepper to a bowl. Stir well until the cabbage is completely coated with yogurt. Set aside.
  3. To make the sauce, mix the mayonnaise, tomato paste, paprika, garlic powder, vinegar, sugar, butter, and water together in a bowl until completely combined. If the sauce is too sour, add more water or another scoop of mayonnaise.
  4. To fry the chicken, heat 1-inch of oil in a skillet or Dutch oven until 350-365 F. While the oil comes to temperature, combine the flour, remaining teaspoon salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder in a large bowl. Take the chicken out of the buttermilk bath and dredge in the flour mixture until completely coated. If needed, place on a baking sheet until ready to fry.
  5. Once the oil is hot, place chicken carefully into the oil and fry until crispy, turning to fry each side, about 10 minutes total. Fry in batches of 4, or whatever best fits into the skillet without crowding.
  6. Once chicken is crispy and brown on each side, remove from the oil and drain on a wire rack.
  7. To build the sliders, add the chicken to a slider bun and top with yum yum sauce. Add a handful of cabbage slaw and top with the top bun.
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