Power Ranking The Best Fast Food Chicken Sandwiches

I want to be very clear (on the record) that I, Allison Noelle Sanchez, unequivocally did not want to eat more fast food. In the days to come, you might hear otherwise from people on the street, workers I encountered, coworkers, or even my own traitorous husband. They’ll tell you that I willingly and with delight entered into this contract of consuming seven fast food chicken sandwiches. There will even be rumors that I ordered fries, and shakes, and extra items off the menu; items which fell outside of the scope of the article.

These people can seem very convincing. They might even provide receipts or security camera footage. BUT YOU CANNOT BELIEVE THEM — THESE ARE VICIOUS LIES SPREAD BY THE FAKE NEWS. The fact is, the last thing I wanted was to travel from one fast food establishment to the next, in an ever-worsening shame spiral.

See, when this nightmare started, I was clean and sober, I swear. It had been weeks since my last salty fry. Then my editor (whose name starts with an “S” and ends with “teve Bramucci”) badgered — nay threatened — me into doing this. I did not save our correspondence out of fear being called out as a whistle blower, but believe me: it was harrowing.

So I ventured out into the world, sobbing, and cold, and ate chicken sandwich after chicken sandwich until I’d kept my promise. I do not encourage this behavior. It wears on a person. But if you are going to eat a fast food chicken sandwich, heed my advice, below. Don’t race ahead to #1, read them all so that you can learn from my missteps.

Let not my work have been in vain.

7. Burger King’s Classic Chicken Sandwich

Look: 2

Taste: 3.5

Overall Experience: 3

Here’s the thing: All of these sandwiches were good for the first bite. Every single time, I’d think, well, this is delicious. But, unfortunately, the rate in which the taste and (often times) texture deteriorated for me was disturbing. In this case, by the second bite things had really gone downhill.

So the Burger King offering…. To start with the positive stuff: There’s a Burger King right by my house, and I really liked that I could walk to it. This isn’t going to be super helpful to anyone reading this unless you also live in my same house (do you? Can you chip in on rent?) but I feel like it’s worth a mention. It put me in a good mood. But my good mood faltered when I looked at the menu. Look, it’s just unfortunate that they don’t offer a spicy option. I feel like every fast food joint should have at least one spicy chicken sandwich and it’s a belief I will take TO. MY. GRAVE.

But since BK (apparently) want to keep things as bland as possible, I ordered the classic sandwich. It came out lukewarm as is the custom for chicken sandwiches (this I learned the hard way on my journey). I did like that the sandwich was an oblong shape. It made it feel bigger, and fancier than the other sandwiches.

The taste, was….pretty good, at first. It tasted exactly like the kind of chicken patty sandwich you’d be served in the elementary school cafeteria on a Friday. And those are pretty dope. Chicken patty day is second only to a square of pizza (in the high stakes culinary world of elementary school dining). But this was aggressively bland and by the second, third, and fourth bites, I just felt nauseous. Also, sad.

Clearly I still finished the whole thing. But that’s because I have no respect for myself. None at all.

6. Taco Bell’s Naked Chicken Chalupa

Look: 10

Taste: 3

Overall Experience: 100

This is a chicken patty folded over to make a taco shell. I mean you cannot get more glamorous than that. What am I a Rockefeller? What am I riding dressage and being fanned by servants while a personal chef creates whatever my little heart desires?

“What do you want for lunch today, Ms. Sanchez?” I imagine my butler asking, while handing me my seventh flute of champagne.

“Chicken Patties!” I’ll proclaim. “No, Tacos! Wait, what do I do?”

At this point, my forehead will crease for the first time in my pampered life.

“Why not BOTH?” Jeeves will say, with a wink.

“Both?” I’ll ask. “Why whatever do you mean?”

“What if the taco WAS a chicken patty?” he’ll say.

Tears will come to my eyes. And then the chef will invent me the greatest hybrid ever invented. And the world will rejoice.

Let’s just safely say that I was pretty excited to try this. But when my taco came out, I felt vaguely disappointed. The insides are just lettuce, cheese, and tomato. So while it’s novel that the shell is chicken, the lack of meat inside made this feel like a way to trick me into eating a sandwich with no bun — as if I was some monster on the Atkins Diet. And I guess I expected the breading to have some sort of Mexican flair or flavor? But it was just a folded chicken patty with some toppings. And while I praise and bow down to the inventor who got away with marketing this as new and exciting, it ended up just… well… ordinary.

5. McDonald’s Pico Guacamole Sandwich

Look: 9

Taste: 5

Overall experience: 0

I have never once claimed to be an objective person. Unless I have. In which case I was lying. But I want to preface this review by painting you a picture. A picture of a devastatingly beautiful sensitive soul of writer who took a few moments of her incredibly busy schedule to venture to a McDonald’s to try a chicken sandwich. A portrait of a girl who was so sweet and trusting that when she ordered the new pico de gallo and guacamole chicken sandwich, she did not question the cook’s ability to put together such an item. And she did not look inside the box it came in before driving ALL THE WAY HOME. She, with her endless kindness and naiveté, simply trusted that her chicken sandwich was safe in its packaging, awaiting her lady-like consumption.

How wrong the girl was. How wrong indeed. For you see when she arrived home (having eaten all of her large fries and pineapple mango smoothie on the 5 minute drive home) she placed the box on a plate, smiled to herself with delight, and then….she opened the box. And took a bite. And her whole world changed forever. There was only bread and condiments inside. I’ll repeat that. Only condiments heaped inside of bread. There was no chicken at all.

I’ll wait a moment while you get yourself together. It’s okay. This is a safe space.

But I cannot tell you how upset I was to find no chicken in my chicken sandwich. It was like being in a horror movie. I had to drive all the way back. Did they get me a new sandwich? Yes. Did they give me another large fry for free? Sure. Did I eat a second large fry on the car ride home as I did the first. Of course I did, dummy. But the damage was already done. I was devastated.

Taste wise — pretty good. It felt like a step up from the normal chicken sando. And I’m a sucker for guac and pico. Both of which were just a little bit spicy. I wouldn’t not recommend this, but I would also highly recommend you check your order before leaving. There’s enough heartbreak in this world already.

4. Shake Shack’s Chicken Sandwich

Look: 7

Taste: 7

Overall Experience: 8

Shake Shack gets a lot of hype but I have to say: I don’t completely get it. It’s good, I just wouldn’t wait in line all day for it. Though, to be fair, there are few things I’d wait in line all day for. (I absolutely would stand in line forever for the Price is Right and I will someday, but other than that…)

I ordered a chicken sandwich, cheese fries, and a vanilla milkshake. The cheese fries were “meh,” the milkshake was fine. And the chicken was okay. I mean it was totally better than a normal chicken patty as it had thick, juicy chicken instead of the normal processed meat of unknown origin. (I mean they say it’s chicken at these places but would I know the difference if it were endangered elephant meat? Probably not.) But I wasn’t blown away like I thought I’d be. It was decent but not awe inspiring.

Though I am a big fan of a fast food joint that sells wine and beer. It really brings things up a notch. All in all-pretty good.

3. Wendy’s Spicy Chicken Sandwich

Look: 5

Taste: 8

Overall Experience: 7

We’ve all heard the famous phrase, “Give me spicy chicken or give me death.” And it rings as true now as it did in 1775. WHY IS SPICY CHICKEN SO DELICIOUS? Was it created by a genie to satisfy the wish of a young boy who dreamed of the most wonderful food of all time? Probably.

We may never know the whole tale, but what we do know is that this is a flavorful delight, and while it cannot quite hold a candle to Chick-fil-A (The bread isn’t as good, the chicken not quite as tender) it is a darn good sandwich.

2. Umami Burger’s The Manly Chick

Look: 25

Taste: 9

Overall Experience: 9

There were a LOT of delicious things going on in this sandwich. It has Umami ketchup, beer cheddar cheese, bacon lardons, and onion strings.

Here’s my concern though: I worry that I liked the toppings more than the actual meat. They were thick and, while delicious, sort of an overwhelming amount of flavors. That being said, this is a really awesome sandwich that I would highly recommend. This was also the first sandwich I ate on this horrible chicken journey of mine so perhaps my warm, fuzzy memories are partially about a time when I had a better life, and lower cholesterol.

I was less jaded and bitter then, that’s for sure. So…grain of salt.

1. Chick-fil-A Spicy Chicken Sandwich

Look: 8

Taste: 1000

Overall Experience: 10

This sandwich is just the most delicious of all the sandwiches! What makes it so delicious? The breading is just so perfectly spicy. The bun is soft and buttery. And the whole experience is perfect. Their waffle fries are addictive, and their milkshakes are the bomb. I would eat this for every meal if I was allowed to. Who’s stopping me, you ask? Answer: COMMON DECENCY.

Oh who am I kidding? I want one of these right now. I’m going to go get one because I have absolutely no self control anymore. Sigh. My life is no longer my own, the fast food corporations own it now.

Maybe they always did. See you next time, when I rank something else. Because I’ll be back. They always come back.