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15 Best Chicken Chains in America

Whether you want something grilled, fried, or smothered in sauce, there's a chicken spot out there for you.
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There's no denying America's love for chicken. According to Statista, broiler chicken (or chicken raised for meat, not eggs) is the most consumed meat in the country, coming in at 98.8 pounds per person annually. Demand is not slowing down, either. That figure is expected to rise to 107.5 pounds per capita by 2033.

So, it's hardly a surprise to see so many chicken chains across the country. Whether you prefer fried or grilled, as a thigh or a wing, or in between two buns, there's an option for you. There are probably several options, actually. In addition to chicken hotspots, burger chains have also increased their chicken offerings. BurgerFi recently rolled out two new chicken sandwiches, marking this major launch by temporarily rebranding the chain "ChickenFi."

With so much competition, a select few chains will rise to the occasion, providing customers with that perfect blend of taste and texture. While some chicken chains stand out for their flavor, others climb to the top for more objective reasons: franchise size, sales, and so on. It's hard to ignore when some chicken chains seem to be on every street corner, but that just speaks to the popularity of their offerings. From national giants to regional darlings, here are some of the best chicken chains in America.


Bojangles food
Bojangles / Facebook

Best known for its fried chicken and biscuits, Bojangles is a major player in the chicken game, as evidenced by its rapid expansion. Operating over 800 locations across 17 states, the chain plans to ramp up growth even further, recently announcing plans to enter Los Angeles with 30 new locations.

At Bojangles, customers can choose from a variety of chicken options, including chicken sandwiches, chicken tenders, and whole pieces of fried chicken. While the chain is most commonly associated with its fried chicken, Bojangles also offers a lighter grilled chicken sandwich option. To pair with its signature chicken, the chain boasts a selection of Southern-style dishes, such as dirty rice, coleslaw, macaroni and cheese, and mashed potatoes and gravy.

 10 Fast-Growing Chicken Chains You're About to See Everywhere


popeyes 6 piece chicken wings

When it comes to popular fast-food chains, it's hard to compete with Popeyes. The chain and its signature fried chicken consistently receive high marks, earning the top spot from Eat This, Not That! in recent taste tests of the best chicken tenders and chicken sandwiches in the business.

The key to the chain's chicken? Popeyes marinates its poultry for 12 hours in "traditional savory Louisiana herbs and seasonings." Beyond its signature chicken meals, sandwiches, and tenders, Popeyes recently expanded its offerings with the rollout of its new wings . These come in several flavors: Honey Lemon Pepper, Sweet 'N Spicy, Ghost Pepper, Honey BBQ, Roasted Garlic Parmesan, and Signature Hot.

 I Tried All the New Wings at Popeyes & the Best One Tastes Like Fiery Candy


chick-fil-a spicy chicken sandwich
Courtesy of Chick-fil-A

Chick-fil-A might not be everyone's first choice of fast food when they're in the mood for chicken, but it's hard to argue with its popularity or the sheer national reach of the chain. In fact, Chick-fil-A is not only America's largest chicken chain by sales, but it's also the third largest fast-food chain in America, according to data from the research firm Technomic. Plus, Chick-fil-A was previously named America's favorite fast-food chain.

The chain's high status is attributed to more than just great chicken, though. Chick-fil-A's sauces are also a fan favorite, and its customer service is among the best in the fast-food industry,

 I Tried Chick-fil-A's Entire Breakfast Menu—and One Item Blew Me Away

Dave's Hot Chicken

dave's hot chicken chicken tenders and pickles
Dave's Hot Chicken / Facebook

What started out as a parking lot stand in 2017 has flourished into a fast-growing chicken chain with more than 140 locations across the U.S. and Canada. Today, Dave's Hot Chicken draws customers in with its Nashville-style hot chicken, which customers can order in multiple spice-level varieties. For customers who dare to seek the ultimate hot chicken experience, the "Reaper" packs the most heat.

Going forward, Dave's Hot Chicken has no intention of slowing down, with the chain's development pipeline boasting over 900 locations across five countries, according to QSR Magazine.

Raising Cane's

raising canes box combo extra sauce
Courtesy of Raising Cane's

There are likely plenty of fried chicken connoisseurs—or "Caniacs"—who agree on this one: Raising Cane's is among the best in the country. It's constantly recognized for beating out other fast-food chains across various metrics. One reviewer previously noted that the sauce at Raising Cane's put Chick-fil-A's sauce to shame. The chain even took the distinction of being the favorite chicken chain in its home state of Louisiana back in 2022, beating out its more sizable competitor Popeyes. When it comes to popularity and fan adoration, this chicken chain has proven that it's tough to outrank.

 8 Best & Worst Fast-Food Chicken Tenders, According to Dietitians


Wingstop Original Hot Wings
Wingstop / Facebook

When it comes to chicken wings, Wingstop knows how to generate major hype. Even chefs rave about Wingstop, praising both the quality of the cooked meat, as well as the variety of sauces available. It's worth noting, too, that the wings at Wingstop are usually less greasy than what you would find at competing chicken wing chains, helping them earn high marks with fans. Wings may seem like a dime a dozen, but Wingstop may change your outlook on what a great chicken wing can be.

 Every Wingstop Flavor, Ranked From Worst to Best


kfc chicken bucket

When you think about fried chicken chains, what's the first one that comes to mind? For many, it's none other than KFC. Sure, it may not have the sauces that Wingstop or Chick-fil-A offer their customers, and when put to the test, KFC may have a hard time competing on the simple grounds of flavor against Popeyes or Raising Cane's.

But there's no denying KFC's global reach and its success due to sheer volume alone. At present, there are over 25,000 locations across 145 countries. Is it the best in terms of quality and flavor? That's up to the customer to decide. But does it reign supreme in terms of franchise size and worldwide popularity? Well, the numbers speak for themselves.

 Every New KFC Saucy Nugget, Tasted & Ranked


Jolibee USA / Facebook

The thought of fried chicken and spaghetti might seem like an unlikely duo, but for customers at Jollibee, it's a match made in foodie heaven. The Filipino fast-food chain is found across the United States, though most are located in California. Jollibee serves up tasty fried chicken along with dishes like Jolly Spaghetti, which comes with a sweet-style sauce featuring banana ketchup, and Palabok Fiesta, a traditional Filipino noodle dish. The chain's chicken is made even more memorable thanks to the dipping sauces like Pineapple BBQ Dip.

 10 Best Fried Chicken Sandwiches in America, According to Chefs

Hattie B's Hot Chicken

Hattie B's Hot Chicken
Hattie B's Hot Chicken / Facebook

When it comes to hot chicken, few restaurant chains can hold a candle to Hattie B's in Nashville, which has just over a dozen locations. The small chain serves up both grilled and fried chicken, which can range in heat level from "Southern," meaning no heat, to "Damn Hot!! Shut the cluck up!!!," which is geared toward the adventurous "Enthusiasts only." Customers can choose from a selection of Southern-style sides that are scratch-made daily, such as pimento mac and cheese, bacon cheddar grits, and Southern greens.

 10 Fast-Growing Chicken Chains You're About to See Everywhere

Church's Texas Chicken

Church's Texas Chicken
Church's Texas Chicken / Facebook

Church's Chicken figured out a recipe for success back in 1952 and has stuck with it ever since. The chain's chicken is admittedly on the smaller size—but sometimes, great things come in small packages. There are the usual suspects when it comes to cuts of chicken, along with tenders and side dishes. Its chicken sandwich is one of the highlights, made with top-quality ingredients.

El Pollo Loco

el pollo loco 4 piece chicken meal
El Pollo Loco

In a world where it seems most fast-food chains put an emphasis on fried chicken, El Pollo Loco stands out for its high-quality grilled chicken. The Mexican-inspired fast-food chain touts its fresh, never frozen, fire-grilled chicken as a highlight, featuring it in everything from tacos and tostadas to salads and full-plated dinners. Founded in Mexico in 1974, El Pollo Loco has since expanded to operate around 500 locations across seven states, primarily on the West Coast.

 6 Mexican Chains Where Chefs Actually Eat


Bonchon chicken wings
Bonchon / Facebook

This Korean fried chicken chain is located across the United States and is known for its ultra-crispy, double-fried wings and drumsticks. There may be only a few flavors available to customers—Soy Garlic, Spicy, Korean BBQ, or Half & Half—a selection which pales in comparison to the dozen or so options at Wingstop. But Bonchon outshines its competition with its indisputable crunchiness, making this chain one that chefs cannot stop raving about. Bonhon also stands out for its Asian fusion starters and sides, including potstickers, pork buns, edamame, and bulgogi fries.

7 Fast-Food Chains That Serve the Best Chicken Wings


nando's chicken on a plate with bowls of rice and macho pies
Nando's PERi-PERi / Facebook

Best known for its peri-peri chicken, South Africa-based Nando's differentiates itself from other chains by flame-grilling its chicken instead of frying it. The chain states on its website that its never-frozen chicken is hand-marinated for 24 hours and basted to the customer's preferred flavor and spice level.

The defining ingredient to Nando's offerings? The peri-peri pepper, which Nando's grows across Southern Africa. In addition to providing the food with flavor and spice, this pepper acts as a natural preservative, which prevents Nando's "from adding weird or unnatural ingredients" to its sauces, according to the chain. The signature sauce features a blend of peri-peri, salt, garlic, lemon, onion, oil, and vinegar.

At Nando's, customers can order from a selection of chicken sandwiches, wings, bowls, salads, and more. The chain currently operates over 40 locations across Washington, D.C., Illinois, Maryland, Texas, and Virginia.

bb.q Chicken

bb.q chicken korean fried chicken
bb.q Chicken US / Facebook

This Seoul-founded chain was created with the goal of serving "great-tasting, high-quality Korean fried chicken to the world," according to its website. The chain's name even emphasizes this objective, with "bb.q" standing for "Best of the Best Quality."

The chain notes that its chicken is fried using a traditional method, which includes being hand-brushed, hand-battered, and fried at lower temperatures for longer stretches of time. The chicken is then tossed in one of the chain's signature sauces, such as honey garlic, soy garlic, or galbi. Flavors vary by restaurant.

Some of these options are available as a whole chicken with wings, breasts, and thighs, while others are only available in certain styles. Customers can also order boneless and traditional wings. bb.q Chicken currently operates more than 3,500 locations across 57 countries, with over 250 restaurants in North America.

 10 Restaurant Chains That Serve the Best Korean Fried Chicken

Gus's World Famous Fried Chicken

gus's world famous fried chicken
Gus's World Famous Fried Chicken / Facebook

This Memphis-based chain serves up Southern spicy chicken, which, as pointed out on the website, is "not to be confused with Nashville hot chicken." Beyond its made-to-order, hand-battered fried chicken, Gus's makes its sides in-house daily. A few options include the baked beans, slaw, and potato salad.

This Southern chain has racked up multiple accolades, earning a spot on the Dallas Observer's list of best fried chicken spots in 2023. Since opening its doors in 1973 as—originally as Maggie's Short Orders—Gus's World Famous Fried Chicken has expanded its presence to about 40 locations across the U.S.

This story has been updated to include new information, fact checking, and copy edits.

Brianna Ruback
Brianna is a staff writer at Eat This, Not That! She attended Ithaca College, where she graduated with a degree in Journalism and a minor in Communication Studies. Read more about Brianna