Who Makes the Best Fast-Food Chicken Sandwich?
There are lots and lots to choose from, but all fast-food chicken sandwiches are not created equally. From the most popular chicken sandwiches to the best spicy chicken sandwiches and more, we look at the best fast-food chicken that comes on buns.
Popeyes' Spicy Chicken Sandwich
The wildly popular chicken sandwich from Popeyes is a thing of legend. It continually tops most of the best-of lists you'll find online for a few good reasons. First, it's massive, one the biggest chicken patties around (the sandwich weighs in at around 700 calories!). The sweet brioche bun, the buttermilk batter, and the thick pickles create an amazing mix of flavors. But the Popeyes offering truly cements its place in the Chicken Sandwich Hall of Fame with its seasonings and spicy mayonnaise.
The chicken sandwich from Church's has drawn comparisons to Popeyes' for a few obvious reasons: the brioche bun, spicy mayo, and massive hand-breaded breast fillet. But Church's does have a distinctly seasoned batter and adds the nice touch of brushed honey-butter on its toasted bun. In essence, the choice between Church's and Popeyes comes down to which batter you prefer.
We can also look to the massive success of the Popeyes chicken sandwich as the reason KFC upped its chicken-sandwich game. It's no coincidence that after Popeyes took the fast-food world by storm, KFC rolled out a similar mammoth chicken sandwich on a toasted brioche bun with thick pickles. The new-and-improved KFC chicken sandwich still uses the original recipe of the Colonel's 11 herbs and spices, and so still tastes very KFC.
Wendy’s Asiago Ranch Chicken Club
While most fast-food chains were busy trying to recreate the magic of the Popeyes sandwich, Wendy's went for a simpler solution: bacon. Specifically, the Applewood bacon on its Asiago Ranch Chicken Club. With a patty that’s marinated in a blend of peppers and spices and breaded with heavy batter, the sandwich comes with Asiago cheese, smoked bacon, lettuce, and tomato on a toasted bun.
Chick-fil-A With a Slew of Sauces
America's best-selling chicken sandwich is also one of its best tasting. The name Chick-fil-A is almost synonymous with chicken sandwiches. Whether you go with a Spicy Deluxe chicken sandwich with pepper jack cheese or keep things Old School with the Original, you're getting a freshly battered boneless breast on a toasted, buttered bun, with dill pickle chips. And perhaps the greatest thing about a chicken sandwich from Chick-fil-A is the selection of sauces: barbecue, garden-herb ranch, honey mustard, Polynesian, sweet-and-spicy sriracha, and zesty buffalo to name a few.
McDonald’s Crispy Chicken Sandwich
The McDonald's chicken sandwiches can't compete with Popeyes or Church's in terms of size. And you won't be overwhelmed by a variety of special sauces with Mickey D's. But McDonald's keeps things classic and reliable with a good bun, tasty mayonnaise, and some decent variety with their latest Spicy version with hot pepper sauce, and the Deluxe chicken sandwich with lettuce and Roma tomatoes. Or just go with a standard McChicken—it's basic in the best sense and the low price is nice.
Utah aside, you can only get a Zaxby’s chicken sandwich south of the Mason-Dixon line, with over 600 locations across the U.S. South. And this massive sandwich, which comes in at around 1100 calories, gives Popeyes competition both in size and flavor. A double-hand breaded breast patty comes on a toasted potato bun with tart thick-cut pickles chips and "famous Zax Sauce." While the sauce gets only mediocre reviews, the chicken gets big points for being juicy and crispy.
Shake Shack is another chain you won't find everywhere; there are just under 200 restaurants across the U.S. But the fast-food chain is growing at a rapid rate and you can credit some of its success to its Chick’n Shack sandwich. Major props to the crispy buttermilk batter, herb-infused mayonnaise, and thick-cut pickles, plus the shredded lettuce is a nice touch.
Jollibee's Chicken Sandwich Classic
While there are fewer than 40 Jollibee franchises in the United States right now, plans are in the works to have 150 restaurants in the U.S. in the year 2023. The Filipino chain has over 1,200 outlets worldwide. And what makes their classic chicken sandwich great is a unique marinade/batter combo with garlic, peppers, and other seasonings that make it taste like no other fast-food chicken sandwich you'll find.
Burger King Spicy Crispy Chicken Sandwich
Burger King seriously upped its chicken sandwich game earlier this year with the rollout of its Spicy Crispy Chicken Sandwich. This new creation bears little resemblance to the sub-style chicken sandwich BK has been serving for decades. The new Spicy Crispy offering is a big hearty white-meat fillet with spicy breading, served with lettuce, tomato, and mayonnaise on a potato bun.
Fast food restaurants may never rise to gourmet cuisine, but they may be your best bet if you’re looking to satisfy a craving for a crispy chicken sandwich.
Written by William McCleary for Knockaround.