At this point, the standard and spicy chicken sandwiches are both menu staples at fast food restaurants across the country, and for good reason. Fast food fans are clearly living through a chicken sandwich renaissance thanks to Popeyes, but if there was a third iteration of the almighty chicken sandwich that deserved permanent menu placement, what would it be? You could make the case for the grilled chicken sandwich or maybe a Nashville hot chicken sandwich, but for us, the answer is easy — it’s the buffalo chicken sandwich.
Unfortunately, aside from Arby’s, no fast food chain has really stepped up and tried to make the buffalo chicken sandwich the staple it deserves to be. Until now.
Shake Shack will now be offering a Buffalo Chicken Sandwich alongside Buffalo Spiced Cheese Fries, and buffalo dusted French fries on menus nationwide for a limited time. The sandwich will be available beginning January 28th (but is already available on the app) and stick around until April 25th. Shake Shack first tested out this buffalo-sauced sandwich last summer at its New York locations and the test must’ve been a success because a three-month run is not the standard for limited menu options at the Shack.
Because of its long run, we’re entering this tasting with a lot of hype and high expectations. Hopefully, Shake Shack can reach that bar because you can never have too many delicious chicken sandwiches on your menu. Check our review of both new menu options below!
Buffalo Spiced Cheese Fries
Last year we ranked 23 different french fries against one another and Shake Shack came in at number 21. My first sentence in that compendium on Shake Shack: F*ck these fries. That assessment still stands, so anytime Shake Shack attempts to change its fries I’m more than happy to try them out. The Buffalo Spiced Cheese Fries don’t do much to change my feelings about these subpar fries though. I will say this, if you like Shake Shack’s fries, and love Shake Shack’s cheese fries (they use a cheese sauce instead of fresh cheese, why?), you’ll probably find a lot to like here.
The buffalo seasoning adds a nice zestiness to the flavor and while I think Shake Shack’s fries are a stain on the menu, I will admit that they have a great crispy texture that holds up well against the generous serving of milky semi-sweet cheese sauce. The fries never get too soggy to enjoy but when the zestiness of the buffalo spice combines with the sharp cheese-y smell of the sauce… it smells and tastes exactly like a high-end Cheeto. It’s sharp, pungent, and absolutely dominates your palate. If that sounds delicious to you, by all means, order this stuff but it’s not for me. I’d much rather order the Buffalo Seasoned Fries, which feature the seasoning and skip the cheese sauce.
The Bottom Line:
If you want a side of Cheetos with your meal, the Buffalo Spiced Cheese Fries are for you!
Buffalo Chicken Sandwich
I’m happy to say that Shake Shack’s Buffalo Chicken Sandwich delivers! For this sandwich, the soft and juicy sous vide cooked filet is doused in buffalo sauce and served over pickles and shredded lettuce on a soft and semi-sweet potato bun, topped with ranch dressing. It is essentially an order of buffalo hot wings in sandwich form, without all of the mess and bones.
Shake Shack’s buffalo sauce is house-made and features a tangy flavor with a lot of sweetness balanced by a hint of spice. It’s not as spicy as it can be, but the lack of heat allows you to focus on the layers of flavors, from pungent garlic to smokey paprika and a noticeably sharp tangy finish.
The thick and generously cut pickle chips intensify and double down on those tangy notes while the ranch helps to serve as a cooling counterbalance that keeps the tang from spinning out of control into off-putting sourness. Like most things at Shake Shack (except the damn fries), the whole sandwich is remarkably balanced and well thought out. While it isn’t quite as spicy as your favorite buffalo chicken wings, the cayenne pepper dances on your palate between bites in this really pleasing way that invites you in for another bite. We suggest you take your time here and really savor this sandwich, not go wild like you’re eating a 10-piece order of wings.
The Bottom Line:
It makes the case for why the Buffalo Chicken Sandwich should be a fast food menu staple as common as the Spicy Chicken Sandwich. It’s remarkably balanced with subtle heat, sweetness, and tang. Shake Shack really knocked it out of the park with their best menu addition since the black truffle burger.
Our chicken sandwich ranking might be due for a refresh!
Find your nearest Shake Shack here.