People are picky about their chicken. And rightfully so. Nobody deserves to bite into a rubbery – or worse – undercooked chicken patty. And no chicken patty deserves to be sandwiched in between soggy – or worse – cold buns.
This is serious. It’s hard to mess up a burger, but when it comes to chicken, the stakes are high. There’s often too much mayo and not enough bun. Or, there’s too much chicken and not enough of everything else. We’ve ranked these fast-food chicken sandwiches by four key components: bun, toppings, texture, and flavor. So, which of the best chicken sandwiches will come out on top? Everyone act surprised.
Chick-Fil-A Chicken Sandwich
If you were in the middle of the recent Chick-Fil-A and Popeye’s feud, you may disagree with Chick-Fil-A stealing the number one spot for the best chicken sandwich. But, the sandwiches speak for themselves, and there is something undeniably perfect about Chick-Fil-A’s recipe. Sorry, not sorry.
To start, this is the only chicken sandwich that tastes different from the rest. Sure, every sandwich has its own flair, but for the most part, they all taste relatively similar. Except for Chick-Fil-A’s. The texture of the chicken patty has the ideal crispiness, while the bun is always warm and buttered. Plus, the toppings never overpower the rest of the sandwich, which is our number-one critique for the ones that are lower on our list.
And think about it… you don’t even need sauce to enjoy this sandwich. That’s unheard of. (But if you do need a condiment, Chick-Fil-A sauce is the way to go.)
Popeye’s Chicken Sandwich
For those of you ready to riot, let us explain why Popeye’s comes in a close second to the Chick-Fil-A Chicken Sandwich.
The Popeyes Sandwich is that person you meet in your prime that has everything you want: the appeal, the spiciness, and he hotness. It’s wonderful in every way. We also live in a culture that’s getting healthier by the minute (okay, maybe not quite that fast, but more and more people are concerned with clean eating nowadays.) A fried chicken sandwich should never be your first option if you’re dieting, but Chick-Fil-A’s ingredients are far cleaner than Popeyes.
Chick-Fil-A Spicy Chicken Sandwich
For you wild cards, Chick-Fil-A’s Spicy Chicken Sandwich is another solid choice. It’s the same concept as the original, but with a kick (nothing crazy here, it’s still Chick-Fil-A…). It is topped with dill pickle slices and sandwiched between a toasted, buttered bun. If you prefer something with more toppings, you can try the Deluxe Spicy Chicken Sandwich. You’ll be 60 cents poorer, but the cheese, lettuce, and tomato might be worth it.
If you can’t live without sauce on your sandwich, we recommend pairing the Spicy version with their buttermilk ranch. The peppery spice combined with the creamy ranch is a great duo and turns the volume down on the heat.
Wendy’s Spicy Chicken Sandwich
Another classic fast food chicken sandwich is the Wendy’s Spicy Chicken Sandwich. Seasoned with peppery spices and fried, the chicken breast is moderately juicy. Just like many of the chicken sandwiches you will find on this list, Wendy’s variation is topped with the classic lettuce, tomato, and mayo. It’s nestled in between a soft, toasted kaiser bun. We prefer the spicy variation of the Wendy’s Chicken Sandwich, simply because it’s a bit more flavorful. Sometimes, the original can be a bit blah.
If the spice is too much, cool down with a Frosty. There’s no better excuse to add dessert to your order.
Shake Shack Chick’n Shack
Shake Shack is known for its burgers, fries, and shakes – not it’s chicken sandwich. But, we’ll give anyone a chance, and we’re sure glad we didn’t let our preconceived notions hold us back from tasting this masterpiece. One of the best things about this sandwich is its size. If you’re hungry, it’s a great option because of how thick the chicken patty is. Don’t be alarmed by its size (although it looks like it just swallowed at least two Chick-Fil-A sandwiches) because the flavor is on point. It has just the right amount of crisp, seasoned to peppery perfection, and topped with lettuce, pickles, and mayo. Sandwiched between a potato bun, the Chick’n Shack far exceeded our expectations.
Keep in mind, the Chick’n Shack is a bit more expensive than most others on this list, but with the size of the chicken breast, we’re not the least bit surprised.
Raising Cane’s Chicken Sandwich
When Raising Cane’s founder had the idea to start a chicken finger restaurant, nobody thought he would succeed. However, more than two decades later, it has become one of the most beloved fast food chains in the country, specializing in, you guessed it – chicken fingers. With a Louisiana-style flare (Raising Cane’s was first opened in Baton Rouge), you can’t go wrong with any chicken dish, but what if you can’t decide what to order? Don’t panic. Raising Cane’s Chicken Sandwich is your answer, combining the two options with three chicken fingers sandwiched in between a kaiser roll and topped with lettuce and Cane’s Sauce. We love how they took such a classic favorite and turned it into a sandwich.
Price: $5.98 (combo)
Wendy’s Homestyle Crispy Chicken Sandwich
We almost feel guilty for placing the Wendy’s Chicken Sandwich a few ranks below its spicy chicken counterpart. But the competition is stiff, what can we say?
This chicken sandwich has never disappointed us – truly. It’s a classic, beautiful example of what a chicken sandwich should be. The patty itself is just the right thickness and fried to perfection. The lettuce is cold and crunchy, as it should be, while the tomato slices are thin and not overpowering. And the make-or-break element of the sandwich, the mayo, is drizzled – not dumped on top. To top it all off, literally, the bun is warm and buttery, yet sturdy enough to hold everything together. Well done, Wendy’s, well done.
Burger King Original Chicken Sandwich
The Burger King Original Chicken Sandwich can be like you with your spouse when you hit your late 30’s. Sometimes you may question whether or not it’s still good enough to keep you happy. In the end, it gets the job done.
Zaxby’s Southern TLC Sandwich
If you’re wondering what in the world Zaxby’s is, you either live under a rock or you are from the northern US. Zaxby’s is primarily located in the southern states, but as it expands, they are making their way into other areas of the country, so get ready to unbutton your pants because this southern gem will be your next fast food addiction.
Onto the important part…the chicken sandwich. The Southern TLC has only been on the Zaxby’s menu for a little over a year, so how in the world did it make it on our list of the best chicken sandwiches? Well, let’s start with that fried buttermilk chicken breast flavored with “custom seasonings,” AKA, a secret recipe not even Pinterest will ever get its hands on. Topped with lettuce, tomato, and mayo, this is the ideal comfort food. Pair it with Crinkle Fries and you’ll be stuffed for the next two days.
Culver’s Crispy Chicken Sandwich
People go to Culver’s for their butterburgers, not their chicken. But somehow, they’ve managed to perfect their chicken sandwich, as well, claiming it is “crispy on the outside, juicy and tender on the inside.” But does it really live up to their bold statement?
The chicken breast says it all – white meat, perfectly-seasoned breading with hints of onion, garlic, and cayenne pepper, and just the right thickness. The sliced tomato, pickles, and lettuce complements the peppery chicken, and we’ll bet you won’t even notice there is no sauce on this sandwich. It’s exactly what you want from a chicken sandwich, with high-quality ingredients you won’t feel guilty about eating.
Arby’s Buttermilk Crispy Chicken Sandwich
Nobody goes to Arby’s for their chicken sandwich, but if you ever get tired of the same ole roast beef sandwich, opt for the Buttermilk Crispy Chicken Sandwich. It’s actually quite delicious. Arby’s so proudly boasts of their meat, so it’s only fair to give their chicken some attention, too. Topped with tomatoes, lettuce, mayo, this sandwich is a no-fail option if you’re craving chicken. Pair it with curly fries, mozzarella sticks, or a cookie if you’ve got a sweet tooth.
Whataburger Honey BBQ Chicken Sandwich
Whataburger’s chicken sandwich is a refreshing change that looks nothing like the rest of the sandwiches on our list. Sandwiched in between two pieces of buttery Texas toast are chicken strips, BBQ sauce, and Motery jack cheese. What’s there not to love? There’s no secret sauce or artisan bun – just simple, down-home southern ingredients.
In fact, the Honey BBQ Chicken Sandwich is so beloved by Whataburger fans that it earned itself a permanent spot on the menu after being introduced as a seasonal item. It’s a part of the “All-Time Favorites” section of the menu, giving it the true honor and glory it deserves after all these years.
Checker’s/Rally’s Big Chicken
Rally’s comes through with their late-night hours when you’re out and have had one too many, or you need something greasy to go with your latest Netflix binge. Many locations are open until 3 a.m., so you have no excuse not to get your Big Chicken. It’s comparable to the McChicken but slightly less peppery and bigger in size (it’s a quarter-pound). This classic chicken sandwich is topped with lettuce and mayo, which is really all you need. And if you don’t get a side of fries, you will be harshly judged because they are the best of the best.
If you want a little something more, go for the Big Chicken Deluxe, which comes with American cheese, lettuce, tomato, and mayo.
KFC Crispy Colonel Sandwich
The Crispy Colonel Sandwich is kind of like high school prom – you’re expectations are high, but it’s never as good as you thought it would be. For a place that specializes in fried chicken, you’d think this sandwich would be drizzled with liquid gold or something, but it’s nothing spectacular. The most impressive part of it is the size of the fillet – it’s thick and juicy, well-proportioned, and topped with pickles and mayo. And when they say “crispy,” they really mean it, which is where many fried chicken sandwiches fall short.
Bojangles’ Cajun Filet
Life is too short to eat plain chicken. Bojangles’ goes all out on flavor with their Cajun Filet, sandwiched in between two buttermilk biscuits. Sounds like a dream if you ask us.
BurgerFi Grilled Chicken Sandwich
It a world full of fried chicken and globs of mayo, BurgerFi is our saving grace with its Grilled Chicken Sandwich. If you’ve ever been to one of these restaurants, you know that it’s more fast-casual than fast food – and its ingredients are higher quality than most local drive-throughs. For a grilled option, it’s not bad, though it is nowhere near as flavorful as the options that rank before it.
McDonald’s Artisan Grilled Chicken Sandwich
Meet the more sophisticated version of the McChicken. No breading, no BS – just grilled chicken, tomatoes, and lettuce on an artisan roll. Fancy, huh? Many people love this sandwich because it’s one of the healthiest menu items at McDonald’s. The golden arches boast that this sandwich has “no artificial preservatives, flavors, or colors,” which is kind of unheard of when it comes to fast food. With only 360 calories, you won’t need to feel guilty for indulging, and it leaves room for you to add a side or dessert to your meal. We give this our stamp of approval if you’re looking for a healthy alternative, although it’s pretty mild-tasting all things considered.
We’ve mentally prepared to receive angry emails from those of you who stand by the McChicken. See, the McChicken is like ordering a well drink at a bar. You don’t order it because it tastes good. You order it because it’s cheap and gets the job done. If you’re hungry, a McChicken will only cost you $1, and it will fill you up (for five minutes until you get a stomach ache from the pound of mayo and rubbery chicken, that is).
But, we know the McChicken has a cult-like following, so we’ve considered some of the reasons why. The McChicken has a delightful peppery flavor that is complemented well by the creamy mayo. It’s on the small side, but filling enough to hold you over for a while, and it’s a nice change of pace if you’re used to ordering a burger.
Dairy Queen Crispy Chicken Sandwich
Dairy Queen has never failed us when it comes to ice cream. However, their food has sadly always been mediocre, and its Crispy Chicken Sandwich is no different. The flimsy bun doubles as a sponge for the heaps of mayo, while the lettuce looks (and tastes) like it’s been sitting out for five hours. The chicken patty isn’t half bad, but when everything else is a fail, it’s hard to enjoy it. You almost have to order a Blizzard to wash it all down (maybe that’s their plan, after all).
Jack In The Box Chicken Sandwich
Jack In The Box is home to some of the greatest cheap fast food of all time, but their chicken sandwich doesn’t fit the bill. It’s even worse than Dairy Queen’s, and deserves nothing more than a dead-last placement.
Okay, that was a little harsh, so let us explain. Jack In The Box’s Chicken Sandwich is only $1, so you can’t expect much to begin with. The chicken patty is rubbery and flavorless, while the lettuce is limp, and the mayo makes everything soggy. The bun is no saving grace either, simply holding together this sad excuse for a chicken sandwich.
In fact, it’s almost as if the restaurant is admitting to its sub-par-ness, describing the Chicken Sandwich as a “breaded chicken patty, real mayonnaise, and lettuce, all on a regular bun.” Glad to know we’re not eating fake mayo on an extraordinary bun.