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The Four Alarm Chicken Sandwich

Wendy’s, we know you don’t want us to have this. We know you’re trying to protect us from ourselves. But your attempt at setting boundaries has led us to defy you. Some sandwiches are too important to be limited by your authoritarian whim, and besides, you have to let us make our own mistakes.

To assemble a homemade imitation of the Wendy’s Four Alarm Chicken Sandwich, you’ll need to assemble the four key parts. First, you’ll need something resembling a Spicy Chicken Breast. Then you’ll need Chipotle Sauce. The other two Alarms are just pepper jack cheese and fresh jalapenos (which is at least five points better and hotter than the original, because Wendy’s gave us pickled jalapenos like we were some kind of suckers who wouldn’t know the difference), so we’ll spend the majority of our time on the first two.
Oh, hang on, one more thing before I give you this recipe. My mom compared it to the stated nutrition facts for the Wendy’s 4-Alarm, and now I know you can expect two things. First, you can expect this sandwich to be fresher, more delicious, less greasy, easier to eat. But secondly, you can expect to trim at least 200 calories and 10 grams of fat off the fast food original. (Whoa.)

Pretendy’s Four Alarm Chicken Sandwich
Makes Four Sandwiches
Chipotle Mayonnaise:

  • One can of chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • One or two cloves fresh garlic (optional, but tasty)

Spicy Chicken Breast (from, with changes):

  • 7 cups vegetable oil [Oops! You don’t need this!]
  • 1/3 cup Red Hot Pepper Sauce
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 4 chicken breast fillets

Other fixins:

  • 4 fresh rolls
  • 4 slices pepper jack cheese
  • 2 fresh jalapeno peppers, sliced
  • Lettuce, sliced tomato, sliced onion


  1. Start with the chipotle mayo. Open the can of chipotle peppers and place some into a blender. Blend it up into a paste. You’re aiming for about 2 tbsp of the paste after it’s blended. If you want it hotter, put more of the pepper in.
  2. Add the rest of the chipotle mayo ingredients and blend that all up together. Done! Set aside.
  3. Now make the chicken. Turn on the broiler, with a shelf about five to seven inches away from it. Cover a jelly roll pan or cookie sheet in foil and spray lightly with olive oil spray.
  4. Mix the pepper sauce and water in a shallow bowl.
  5. Combine the flour, salt, cayenne pepper, black pepper, onion powder, paprika and garlic powder in a different shallow bowl.
  6. Pound each of the chicken pieces until about 3/8-inch thick. Trim, if necessary, to help it fit on the bun. (For easy cleanup, place the chicken in a zipbag before pounding.)
  7. Coat each piece of chicken with the flour, then roll it in the hot sauce/water mixture. Coat the chicken again in the flour mixture and set it aside. Repeat for other fillets.
  8. Line the chicken breasts up on your pan and place them under the broiler for five or six minutes on each side, or until they’re not pink when you cut into them, and the breading gets crispy. Remove them from the oven.
  9. Toast your buns. I like to toast mine face-down in the toaster oven, but face-up under the still-hot broiler works, too.
  10. Put a sandwich together. The assembly order is trivial, and if you want to enjoy it sans bread, that’s fine, too. But here’s how I like to stack mine: Bottom bun, shmear of chipotle mayo, chicken breast, slice of cheese, dollop more chipotle mayo (to glue the peppers down), three slices of jalapeno, onion, lettuce, tomato, top bun.

Tip: This sandwich is really hot. Enjoy it with a big glass of milk and maybe an extra bun on the side.

Kristina Ackerman

Kristina Ackerman is a busy freelance web designer, living and DIYing with her fella and their little fella in a cute old house in Atlanta, GA, USA.