Wendy's Is Launching a New Chicken Sandwich & 2 Other Items Today
With summer quickly approaching, the weather is about to get a whole lot warmer, and Wendy's is dialing up the heat on its menu to match. Though the fast-food chain already offers a lineup of spicy items, including the Spicy Chicken Nuggets and Spicy Chicken Sandwich, it is now going one step further with the addition of an ultra-spicy pepper.
Starting today, Wendy's customers can enjoy a brand-new Ghost Pepper Ranch Chicken Sandwich, a new version of the fan-favorite Ghost Pepper Fries, and the returning Strawberry Frosty. For any who are unaware, the ghost pepper is so spicy that it can fall at around one million Scoville Heat Units (SHUs) on the Scoville spice scale. A regular jalapeño pepper, for comparison, typically measures between 2,500 and 8,000 on the Scoville scale.
In developing these fiery menu items, Wendy's wanted to meet the growing demand from consumers for more heat, as well as provide great flavor. Wendy's Vice President of Culinary Innovation John Li said that when a ghost pepper dish is designed right, you can taste that intense spice plus "the fruitiness of a ghost pepper that you don't get with a lot of different peppers."
The Ghost Pepper Ranch Chicken Sandwich layers the spice and flavor by using Wendy's Spicy Chicken as the base for ghost pepper-infused American cheese, ghost pepper-seasoned crispy onions, lettuce, tomato, and a creamy ghost pepper-infused ranch sauce.
Meanwhile, the newly-launched Ghost Pepper Fries won't look exactly like the versions customers have enjoyed in the past. First introduced in 2015, the older version of Ghost Pepper Fries featured fries topped with a cheese sauce, diced jalapenos, shredded cheddar cheese, and a ghost pepper sauce. The new version of the menu item is made using Wendy's Hot & Crispy French Fries—which were revamped in 2021 to stay hotter and crispier for longer—coated in a spicy fry sauce.
This spicy sauce packs more of a punch than just throwing dry seasonings onto fries, since the spices have the opportunity to "bloom" and reach their full flavor potential, Li said.
"We wanted to make sure we did this right so we actually tested all the dry seasonings. It is easier, but it just wasn't as good, which is why we went this route to make sure that we're delivering the flavor," he added.
Li said that these fries are "no joke" in terms of spice and customers can expect a heat level of eight on a scale of one to 10. Those who are more sensitive to heat may even rank them as a nine, he added.
The third and final item that just launched at restaurants nationwide, and a potential cure to the heat brought by the ghost pepper items, is the returning Strawberry Frosty. This highly-requested item launched for the very first time in June 2022, and Li said that the positive customer reception to the Strawberry Frosty during that initial launch convinced Wendy's that it was worthy of a relaunch. In fact, they brought it back even earlier in the year for this new limited-time launch to extend the period of time that customers will have access to the cold treat.
Today's debut of these three menu items follows up another major Wendy's launch in March that introduced the new Grilled Chicken Ranch Wrap, Grilled Chicken Cobb Salad, and a Blueberry Pomegranate Lemonade. The chain is also offering a series of meal deals and giving out cool freebies through mid-May while Mercury is in retrograde.