Three Spicy Fast Food Chicken Sandwiches You Absolutely Need To Eat

Do you have an insatiable craving for spicy chicken? Because, same. We love a big crunchy juicy chicken sandwich that burns the tastebuds (also, don’t sleep on grilled chicken sandwiches).

The fast food universe has a lot of different chicken sandwich options — which can make wading through the garbage and mediocre sandwiches a bit tough — so rather than serve you up a big sprawling ranking of 20+ different sandwiches (though we have that too if you want it), we’re going to point you in the direction of three of the best spicy chicken sandwiches you can order right now.

Now let us be clear, this isn’t a ranked list — just three variations on a spicy chicken sandwich that offer vastly different-yet-equally delicious flavor experiences. Let’s Dive in!

Smashburger — Mango Habanero Chicken Sandwich

Spicy Chicken

Why You Need To Try It:

Of the three sandwiches we’ll be talking about, Smashburger’s Mango Habanero is the newest. This sandwich features a simple build: a fried breast filet tossed in mango habanero sauce, a single leaf of lettuce, mayo, and Smashburger’s iconically soft slightly sweet bun. But despite its lack of thrills, this sandwich packs a whole lot of flavor and most importantly, heat.

The chicken breast filet is relatively thin, but that thinness helps the sandwich stay tender and juicy. The sauce is the star of the show, it begins with a floral, almost creamy sweetness that finishes citrusy. This isn’t the sort of sandwich that is going to ignite your tastebuds at first bite though, it’s a heat that builds slowly as it interacts with your palate, making each bite more addictive than the last.

By the end of the sandwich, your mouth will be watering. Trust.

The weak links are the mayo and the lettuce. The mayo because you don’t need it, and the lettuce because it’s not quite a fit to balance the bitterness of lettuce with the sweet heat of the rest of the sandwich. There is a perfect remedy for this though — order your sandwich with grilled Anaheim chilies.

The grilled chilies won’t add that much heat, so don’t worry if you have a low spice tolerance, but what they will offer is a strong vegetal note and some extra crunch.

The Bottom Line:

The Mango Habanero Chicken Sandwich is worth a trip to Smashburger. With our easy hack, it offers a sweet, spicy, and vegetal character that is unlike every other chicken sandwich out there on the market.

Find your nearest Smashburger here.

Dave’s Hot Chicken — Spicy Chicken Sandwich

Dane Rivera

Why You Need To Try It:

If what you’re after is blazing hot heat, look no further than Dave’s. The Nashville-inspired hot chicken chain offers 7 different levels of heat (we suggest starting with ‘hot’ and working your way up) that’ll smack your tastebuds to attention and cause you to develop some sweat on the brow.

I love the build here, you’ve got a mix of cabbage and kale, thin but crunchy pickles, optional cheese, a thick chicken tender tossed in spices, and a drizzle of savory and tangy sauce. The blend of spices on the chicken includes chili powder, cayenne pepper, garlic, onion powder, white pepper, and probably some sort of proprietary mix of “spices.” Whatever it is, it all works, the sandwich is flavorful, spicy, and tender.

I do have one complaint though. Dave’s uses a giant chicken tender instead of a breast filet, and I find that there is never enough bread for all your chicken, so you’re going to have a few essentially naked bites, which means no bread, no slaw, no sauce, no pickles. Luckily the chicken is good enough that this isn’t too big of a problem.

The Bottom Line:

If you’re looking for blazing hot heat, this chicken sandwich will more than deliver. It is legitimately the spices sandwich on the market right now.

Find your nearest Dave’s Hot Chicken here.

Popeyes — Signature Hot Crispy Chicken Sandwich With Bacon

Spicy Chicken

Why You Need To Try It:

If you haven’t had Popeyes’ chicken sandwich yet — what the hell are you doing? Seriously, there is a reason this chicken sandwich garnered so much hype, and while hype tends to oversell things, it’s well-deserved here. Popeyes simply makes the best chicken sandwiches in fast food right now.

Even if you have had this sandwich before, you’re probably not aware that there are many variations to it right now that are even better than the original. Our current favorite right now is the Signature Hot Crispy Chicken Sandwich with Bacon.

What you get here is that thick, juicy, buttery, cajun-seasoned chicken filet topped with a slice of mild Havarti cheese, thick and juicy pickles slices, bacon, and hot sauce. The hot sauce is a fairly new addition to Popeyes’ menu, it has a strong cayenne-backed heat with a bit of floral sweetness to balance it out. It’s not blazing hot like what you’ll find at Dave’s, but it’s better than Popeyes’ spicy mayo and complements the cajun spices better.

It’s a must order. Especially if you love the original.

The Bottom Line:

An elevated version of Popeyes’ ultra-hyped chicken sandwich. It’s not the spiciest sandwich on the market, but it has enough heat to satisfy spice-heads and more importantly, it’s delicious, so you can’t go wrong.

Find your nearest Popeyes here.