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5 Biggest Fast-Food Items Launching This Summer

These recent menu additions are the most interesting releases of the season.

This summer is rife with new fast-food releases, as major national chains launch the buzziest, most in-demand new food items. From crispy chicken to the most innovative new plant-based options, here are the fast foods that are stealing the spotlight this summer.

And for more, check out 5 Best-Rated New Fast-Food Items Of 2021, According to Food Critics.

1

Wendy's Spicy Black Bean Burger

wendys black bean burger
Courtesy of Wendy's

Burger juggernaut Wendy's is jumping into the plant-based category with its latest burger creation, but will stand out from the competition in one major way: the chain is betting on a good old-fashioned veggie burger instead of a meat alternative. The Spicy Black Bean Burger became available on June 28 in three test markets—Columbus, Ohio; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and Jacksonville, Florida—pending a wider release.

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2

Arby's Premium Chicken Nuggets

arbys chicken nuggets
Courtesy of Arby's

Arby's may have upset fans by discontinuing potato cakes earlier this year, but their latest menu addition has sure received a lot of buzz. The chain just launched its first-ever chicken nuggets, made with all-white meat in a crispy seasoned breading, served alongside a dipping sauce. The Premium Chicken Nuggets are available nationwide, as are the new crinkle-cut fries.

3

Popeyes Chicken Nuggets

popeyes chicken nuggets
Courtesy of Popeyes

Popeyes has finally closed up a gaping nugget-shaped hole on its menu. The chain is rolling out long-awaited Chicken Nuggets nationwide and according to a press release, they're going redefine the nugget experience, a category shakeup similar to the one caused by their Chicken Sandwich back in 2019. Since they're chicken experts, we have no doubts. Catch them starting on July 27.

4

Panda Express' Beyond Orange Chicken

plant based orange chicken in a bowl
Courtesy of Panda Express

The biggest Asian fast-food chain in America has partnered with Beyond Meat for its own version of tasty plant-based chicken. Panda Express is launching a new vegetarian version of their iconic Orange Chicken, which will taste every bit as sweet, spicy, and tangy as the original. Several test markets will get to try the new dish starting July 26, pending a nationwide rollout based on demand.

5

Taco Bell's Nacho Fries

taco bell nacho fries
Courtesy of Taco Bell

Taco Bell's most successful limited-time menu item in history is making a comeback. The Nacho Fries will be available nationwide starting July 22, and you'll be able to get them in their original crispy-spicy state as well as in a brand new side dish: Loaded Taco Style Fries. The combo will feature seasoned beef, warm nacho cheese sauce, spicy ranch sauce, red strips, lettuce, cheddar cheese, and tomatoes.

For more, check out the 108 Most Popular Sodas Ranked By How Toxic They Are.

Mura Dominko
Mura is a Deputy Editor leading ETNT's coverage of America's favorite fast foods and restaurant chains. Read more