I turned simple air fryer chicken into coronation chicken and it's fit for a king

Coronation chicken sandwich
(Image credit: Future / Victoria Woollaston)

There are only so many ways you can use leftover air fryer chicken before it all starts to get a bit repetitive. 

I've added it to salads and curry sauces many times but in all my time testing the best air fryers I've never thought about using it to make my own sandwich fillers. Until now. 

This coronation chicken recipe means you can make deli-style sandwiches, jacket potatoes, or salads quickly, and with very few ingredients. 

Below, I show how easy it is to make air fryer chicken and a coronation sauce to go with it.  

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Air fryer chicken with coronation sauce recipe

This recipe works just as well with leftover chicken as it does with fresh-air-fried chicken. Just make sure you let the chicken cool down so as not to cause the mayonnaise to curdle. 

Air fryer chicken ingredients

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

Coronation chicken sauce ingredients 

The recipe I've made is a simple and affordable version that my kids love and includes ingredients that should be easy to find. However, as it's such a versatile sauce, you can experiment and adjust to taste.  

  • 6 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp of mango chutney
  • 2-3 tsp of curry powder
  • 1-3 tbsp of sultanas – you can also use dried apricots
  • Pinch of salt and pepper 

Coronation chicken ingredients

(Image credit: Future / Victoria Woollaston)

To make air fryer chicken and coronation sauce you will need the following:

Step 1: Remove the visible fat from each chicken breast and place them in a bowl. Coat the breasts in the seasoning and oil and place them into the air fryer basket.

Step 2: Set the air fryer to 350°F / 180°C for 20 minutes. 

After 10 minutes, turn the chicken breasts over and return to the air fryer. 

Chicken in air fryer

(Image credit: Future / Victoria Woollaston)

Step 3: While the chicken is cooking, mix the mayonnaise, curry powder, sultanas, mango chutney and seasoning in a medium-sized bowl. 

Coronation sauce in a bowl

(Image credit: Future / Victoria Woollaston)

Step 4: Remove the chicken from the air fryer and while warm use two forks to pull and shred the meat into thin strips. You can do this when the chicken is cold but I find it easier to do when it's still soft. 

Step 5: Leave the chicken strips to cool.

Shredding chicken

(Image credit: Future / Victoria Woollaston)

Step 6: Once cool, add the chicken strips to the coronation sauce and mix thoroughly so all the chicken is coated in the creamy, mildly spicy sauce. 

Step 7: Add to sandwiches, or jacket potatoes, and enjoy! 

The sauce can be stored in an airtight container for two to three days. 

Why is it called coronation chicken?

Coronation chicken was designed by Le Cordon Bleu London cookery school to celebrate the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953.

The school had been commissioned to create the full royal coronation banquet at a time when the country was still feeling the effects of World War II and was under post-war rationing. 

The original recipe – called Poulet Reine Elizabeth and devised by the cookery school's founder Rosemary Hume –  consisted of roasting young chickens in red wine and water with carrots, a bouquet garni, salt, peppercorns before adding the cooked chicken to a cream of curry sauce.

To make the recipe easier and more accessible for everyday people, it was renamed coronation chicken and has been simplified and modified over the years as the availability of ingredients has changed. 

What is coronation chicken made of?

Coronation chicken is made of shredded or diced chicken coated in a mayonnaise and curry powder sauce. 

The original recipe for the coronation banquet combined chicken with spring onions, curry powder, turmeric, mayonnaise, crème fraîche, tomato ketchup, apricot jam), lime juice, coriander leaves and seasoning. 

Notably, the one ingredient that has since become synonymous with modern coronation chicken recipes – sultanas – was not in the original. 

The recipe has since evolved to include a range of modifications from dried apricots, to whipped cream, lemon juice, sultanas, mango chutney, and spices such as cinnamon and allspice. Yet the mayo and curry powder base has remained. 

Air fryer chicken and coronation sauce verdict

I always choose coronation chicken when I'm buying sandwiches and wraps but I had no idea how it was made, or how easy it was to do at home. 

It's a great way to use up air fryer chicken leftovers and if you like the sauce more creamy, or more spicy, it's easy to dial up the amount of mayonnaise or curry powder you use.  

It's not quite the traditional coronation chicken recipe, but it tastes just as good and is a cheaper, easier alternative for when you want a quick and easy, deli-quality snack without a high price tag. 

If you're still sitting on the fence and wondering whether to buy an air fryer, you may want to read our article to decide whether air fryers are worth it? 

Victoria Woollaston is a freelance science and technology journalist with more than a decade’s experience writing for Wired UK, Alphr, Expert Reviews, TechRadar, Shortlist and the Sunday Times. She has a keen interest in next-generation technology and its potential to revolutionise how we live and work.