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We Tested 10 Fast Food Chicken Sandwiches, and This is the Best!

We graded based on nutrition, taste, and texture to determine which 'wich is deemed valedictorian.
We Tested 10 Fast Food Chicken Sandwiches, and This is the Best!
We Tested 10 Fast Food Chicken Sandwiches, and This is the Best!
We graded based on nutrition, taste, and texture to determine which 'wich is deemed valedictorian.

If you’re hitting up the drive-thru for a chicken sandwich, you’re either convinced you’re making a waistline-conscious decision or you’re just really craving some well-seasoned poultry. Whether your motives are driven by health or hankerings, the last thing you’d look forward to is biting into a lackluster patty and a few wilted tomatoes that disintegrated the bun. But what exactly qualifies the best fast food chicken sandwich out there as the top of its class?

Given the countless fast food chains and the even more innumerable chicken sandwich options, we’ve tested the most popular ones out there to determine which fast food ‘wich reigns king. We graded these meals based on taste, texture, and, of course, nutrition. And when you’re hungry for beef, don’t miss The Best & Worst Burger From Every Popular Fast Food Chain.

How We Graded Them

List checkmark boxes Shutterstock

Here are the three metrics we used to determine each sandwich’s final grade.

Nutrition

Just because poultry has fewer calories and fat than beef, doesn’t mean choosing a chicken sandwich over a hamburger will help you achieve your body goals faster. Even if you’re splurging on fast food, your lunch shouldn’t pack in a day’s worth of sodium or a doughnut’s worth of sugar.

Appearance & Consistency

When the wilted bun can’t hold up to the chicken and the patty is nothing like pictured on the overhead menu, we call that catfishing. And we docked points for that.

Taste

If you’re cruising through the drive-thru for a chicken sandwich, then we only expect your motivation to be fueled by cravings rather than diet. That’s why, when taste-testing all ten chicken sandwiches, we valued taste slightly above all the other metrics.

From Worst… To Best

10

Burger King Grilled Chicken Sandwich

Burger king grilled chicken sandwich

Nutrition: 470 calories, 19 g fat (3.5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 850 mg sodium, 39 g carbs (6 g fiber, 6 g sugar), 37 g protein

Appearance & Consistency: Everything about this ‘wich screamed fast food: You have the shiny-topped potato bun, lettuce, tomato, and mayo. And the chicken was decorated with grill marks.

Taste: This is where BK lost us. The first thing we noticed was that the chicken was dry and—get this—boasted jarring floral nuances within its seasoning. The second caveat: The bun got stuck to the roof of my mouth, and not in the good peanut butter kind of way.

Eat This, Not That! Verdict:

This sandwich is, no doubt, not worth the nearly 500 calories. We were expecting a mediocre filet of grilled chicken that was made flavorful by the pepper and herb seasoning and creamy mayo, but received nothing less than an unacceptable eating experience. The most deceptive aspect of it all: the grill marks only made the poultry look more authentic—however, the chicken strip tasted all kinds of artificial. We still can’t get over the filet’s nuanced floral notes.

9

Popeye’s Chicken Po’Boy

Popeyes sandwich Courtesy of Popeye's

Nutrition: 600 calories, 33 g fat (8 g saturated fat, 1 g trans fat), 1,770 mg sodium, 55 g carbs (2 g fiber, 3 g sugar), 25 g protein

Appearance & Consistency: Instead of getting two chicken tenders sandwiched between a French baguette, as advertised, our ‘wich was stuffed with small chunks of tempura chicken that closely resembled tater tots.

Taste: Coming from a pickle fan, these fermented cucumbers tasted nothing like what you’d find in those giant glass jars—which was the most alarming aspect of this sandwich.

Eat This, Not That! Verdict:

The pickle had an artificial aftertaste, the mayo was clumped in the center, and the heaping mound of lettuce just overpowered the entire sandwich. The chicken was undeniably crunchy (but mostly just breading) while the baguette was on the road to staletown.

8

McDonald’s Classic Chicken Sandwich

mcdonalds chicken sandwich Courtesy of McDonald's

Nutrition: 510 calories, 24 g fat (4 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 1,040 mg sodium, 49 g carbs (3 g fiber, 6 g sugar), 25 g protein

Appearance & Consistency: A buttermilk crispy chicken fillet is topped with Mickey D’s signature sauce and sliced pickles. The texture was oddly gummy and discouraged us from taking more than two bites.

Taste: Tacky texture aside, we’re not fans of McDonald’s classic pick. The chicken itself didn’t feel like real chicken but more like chewy plastic.

Eat This, Not That! Verdict:

Given the stringy texture of the chicken and the bun’s distracting stickiness, we wouldn’t recommend shelling out a few dollars for this pick. Even if we look past the off-putting mouthfeel, we really can’t ignore the fact that this meal packs in as much sodium as four packs of medium-sized McDonald’s fries.

7

Burger King Original Chicken Sandwich

Burger king original chicken sandwich

Nutrition: 660 calories, 40 g fat (7 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 1,170 mg sodium, 48 g carbs (2 g fiber, 5 g sugar), 28 g protein

Appearance & Consistency: Burger King’s OG offering looked more like a six-inch from Subway. The sesame seed bun was oddly heavy and the chicken tender looked very dense, almost compact.

Taste: This pick tasted like what you’d expect a fast food chicken sandwich to taste like. Rather than a solid fillet, the chicken was made up of ground, condensed meat and the mayo dressing was overpowering.

Eat This, Not That! Verdict:

Burger King’s Original Chicken Sandwich has been around since 1979, and we can’t help but wonder why. The poultry itself was dense, oversalted, and unimpressive—just like the overall sandwich.

6

McDonald’s McChicken

Mcchicken

Nutrition: 410 calories, 22 g fat (4 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 590 mg sodium, 39 g carbs (2 g fiber, 5 g sugar), 15 g protein

Appearance & Consistency: One of the smaller sized options on this list, the McChicken consists of a boneless patty, shredded iceberg, mayo, and a regular wheat bun. Texture-wise, the individual ingredients meshed into one cohesive consistency.

Taste: The flavor profile mimicked the sandwich’s homogeneous texture. The bun and mayonnaise slightly overpowered the protein while we got zero crunch from the lettuce shreds.

Eat This, Not That! Verdict:

For a dollar, you can’t really go wrong with this ‘wich. Although no single component particularly stood out and the chicken patty tasted just like a McNugget, we didn’t have any harsh criticism. Surprisingly, we preferred this dollar-menu find over the pricier Classic Chicken Sandwich.

5

Wendy’s Homestyle Chicken Sandwich

Wendys homestyle chicken sandwich

Nutrition: 470 calories, 20 g fat (3.5 g saturated fat, 0.2 g trans fat), 1,040 mg sodium, 47 g carbs (2 g fiber, 5 g sugar), 24 g protein

Appearance & Consistency: Wendy’s kept this sandwich simple with a hearty fried chicken tender, lettuce, tomato, and mayo.

Taste: The lightly battered chicken was undeniably tender while the bun held up well to the satisfying fixings.

Eat This, Not That! Verdict:

Unlike a good chunk of the chicken sandwiches we tested, Wendy’s Homestyle boasts a hearty piece of fried chicken, which takes center stage. The flavors were classic to a fast food chicken ‘wich and done right.

4

Chick-fil-A Grilled Chicken Sandwich

Chick-fil-A grilled chicken sandwich

Nutrition: 310 calories, 6 g fat (2 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 820 mg sodium, 36 g carbs (1 g fiber, 5 g sugar), 29 g protein

Appearance & Consistency: Chick-fil-A’s marinated and grilled boneless breast is nestled in between green-leaf lettuce, tomato, and a multigrain bun. While the lettuce retained its sturdiness, the bottom bun was growing soggy. Fortunately, the chicken was thin yet tender.

Taste: We appreciated that the chicken joint opted for a multi-grain bun, but the bread was too sweet for our liking and overpowered the protein. We would’ve loved to see the bright, lemony seasoning shine.

Eat This, Not That! Verdict:

For a relatively small sandwich, there’s way too much sodium in here—and we’d say that the majority of the blood-pressure-spiking stuff is in the meat. If you’re looking for a lighter option at Chick-fil-A, don’t knock this option down—just refill your water glass.

3

Wendy’s Grilled Chicken Sandwich

Wendys grilled chicken sandwich

Nutrition: 370 calories, 10 g fat (2 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 830 mg sodium, 38 g carbs (3 g fiber, 8 g sugar), 34 g protein

Appearance & Consistency: The toasted bun was shiny and the sandwich boasted a generous helping of sauce and mixed greens.

Taste: While the chicken was a tad tough, it was tastier than most of the other grilled offerings we tested. The tomato added much-needed moisture and the sauce resembled a tangy salad dressing.

Eat This, Not That! Verdict:

Overall, this sandwich had the most salad components, which made the pick seem like the healthiest option. And the nutritionals don’t beg to differ. For just under 400 calories, this packs in a solid dose of both protein and fiber without loading up on sodium. And the flavor profile didn’t disappoint: the chicken was acceptable and the salad greens drenched with smoky honey mustard really tied the ingredients together.

 

2

Shake Shack Chick’n Shack

Shake shack chicken sandwich Courtesy of Shake Shack

Nutrition: 595 calories, 36 g fat (7 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 1,300 mg sodium, 43 g carbs (3 g fiber, 8 g sugar), 28 g protein

Appearance & Consistency: When considering aesthetics, this ‘wich takes the cake. The crispy chicken breast is inviting, and the lettuce and pickles practically scream freshness.

Taste: After admiring how well-stacked this meaty masterpiece is, the taste did not disappoint. We expected nothing less than juicy chicken from Shake Shack, but the velvety herb mayo brought this sandwich over the edge.

Eat This, Not That! Verdict:

Shake Shack’s first-ever chicken sandwich is also the only permanent poultry item on the menu, so we expected it to win us over big time—and it did. We especially liked that the fillet was well-seasoned and did without excessive breading, albeit being a tad tough. However, the combo of the quality chicken, the buttermilk herb mayo, and the crunchy-meets-briny pickles made for a truly award-winning flavor.

1

Chick-fil-A Original Chicken Sandwich

Chick fil a fried chicken sandwich Courtesy of Chick-fil-A

Nutrition: 440 calories, 19 g fat (4 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 1,350 mg sodium, 40 g carbs (2 g fiber, 5 g sugar), 28 g protein

Appearance & Consistency: Leave it to Chick-fil-A to smack a generous portion of protein in between a buttered bun and a few dill pickle chips. The fried-to-perfection chicken juxtaposed against the crunchy pickle made for a satisfying texture.

Taste: The poultry was everything we expected of Chick-fil-A: juicy, tender, and perfectly crisped out the outside. The briny pickle chips added juiciness while the warm, buttery bun amalgamated the ingredients seamlessly.

Eat This, Not That! Verdict:

We were quite amazed that Chick-fil-A requires just three traditional ingredients to create a sandwich so simple yet undeniably spot-on. One euphoric bite is all it takes to transport your taste buds onto cloud nine, and everything clicks: This ‘wich is exactly why Chick-fil-A is the definitive Home of the Chicken Sandwich.

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