Chick-fil-A’s Honey Pimento Chicken Sandwich Just Reignited The Fast Food Chicken Sandwich Wars

Did Chick-fil-A’s new Honey Pimento Chicken Sandwich just reignite the fast food chicken sandwich wars? Yes… and no. Yes because the new sandwich is delicious, elevated, and complex, it’s a call to every other fast food brand that makes a great chicken sandwich to step up their game, yes, even Popeyes. No, because I think people are, excuse the pun, chickens, who are going to take one look at that pimento cheese and be horrified.

For Southerners, where Chick-fil-A is hands down the dominant brand in the fast food landscape, pimento cheese will be a welcome and sensible addition to the menu, but elsewhere? I’m not so sure. This is purely anecdotal but everyone I know here in Los Angeles has brimmed with curiosity when I’ve informed them that Chick-fil-A has a new chicken sandwich, only to immediately shut down when I show them a picture of what it looks like.

One friend just said, “I don’t like it.” When I asked them if they’ve ever had pimento cheese, they said “No, and I don’t want to if it looks like that.” So I’m just not sure that this chicken sandwich will catch on everywhere like Chick-fil-A hopes. Hopefully, I’m wrong, but… I’m not sure I am. Either way, I’m here to convince you to give this new sandwich a chance, because I really do think it’s what has been missing from Chick-fil-A’s menu and might even win over some of the people who dismiss Chick-fil-A’s chicken sandwich as bland and overhyped.

Why The Honey Pimento Chicken Sandwich Is A Big Deal

I don’t think this sandwich is a big deal just because it has some pimento cheese spread on it, but because this is the first new Chick-fil-A sandwich since the chain started selling a Spicy Chicken Sandwich.

Chick-fil-A operates on a “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” fast food model. It rarely updates its menu with new food and when it does the brand often goes for safe tweaks that will go unnoticed by most people, like a new milkshake flavor, a new iced tea, or a spicy version of a previously non-spicy item, like the breakfast chicken biscuit. This sandwich is something different.

Chick-fil-A gets a lot of criticism for being a relatively dry sandwich, the standard build features just a chicken filet and some pickles, and the deluxe build adds cheese, tomato, and lettuce, but still, the chicken is completely sauce and spread-free.

The brand’s strength is that its chicken is juicy, but it doesn’t matter how juicy and well prepared a chicken breast is, people have been conditioned to think that chicken sandwiches need some sort of sauce or spread to bring it all together, and while it may not be your personal preference, I wouldn’t say those people are wrong.

The Honey Pimento Chicken Sandwich answers that criticism thanks to the combination of pimento cheese (a spread made from cheddar cheese, pimento peppers, and mayo) and adds honey. No matter how successful this sandwich is, I don’t think it’ll join the menu permanently as pimentos are a late summer early fall seasonal pepper, but if this sandwich does end up selling a lot it gives the green light for Chick-fil-A to try more interesting sandwich builds, and as fans of good fast food we want to live in that world.

Alright enough talk, let’s get into what makes this sandwich good.

Honey Pimento Chicken Sandwich

Chicken Sandwich
Dane Rivera

Tasting Notes & Thoughts

Each bite is a journey for your taste buds. The sandwich begins savory, the salty pickle-brined chicken dominates the flavor before you’re hit with a heavily vegetal jalapeño flavor and some mild heat, followed by a sharp tang, and finishing with some floral sweetness. Everything is very well balanced and complimentary and each ingredient keeps the other in check so the sandwich is never too sweet, tangy, or spicy.

Even if you have a low spice tolerance, the pickled jalapeños are incredibly mild, adding more vegetal peppery notes than anything resembling heat. The full build consists the original Chick-fil-A chicken breast filet, a thick serving of pimento cheese, a few pickled jalapeños and honey spread on the bun.

We sampled the regular stock build of this sandwich, but it’s also available with both the spicy filet and the grilled filet. In hindsight, I wish I would’ve ordered the spicy version as I think the pimento cheese and honey are a natural pair for some cayenne-heavy spice, but I decided on ordering the sandwich the way Chick-fil-A has been advertising it.

But hitting the spicy filet instead is definitely something to consider if you like real heat.

The Bottom Line:

Chick-fil-A’s first major menu shakeup is a success. This sandwich remedies a lot of common complaints about the sandwich (that it’s too dry) while elevating what makes Chick-fil-A’s sandwich great. It features a medley of flavors that combine savory, tangy, sweet, and mildly spicy sensations that are a pleasure to experience.

Your move, Popeyes.

Find your nearest Chick-fil-A here.