clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Bye Week Power Rankings: Fast Food Chicken Sandwiches

Because I’ve never been scared of upsetting people

2017 Masters Photo by Marianna Massey/Augusta National via Getty Images

I picked this topic without really thinking about it. It was the first thing that came to my mind so I figured, “sure why not”. Only later did I think about how much hate I’m gonna get for this article. But you know what...

I’ve never been scared of stirring up controversy. There’s a million takes out there on what are the best fast food chicken sandwiches, AND THEY’RE ALL WRONG!!! This one right here, this is the official ranking.

Beforehand I will add, I am only ranking the standard non-spicy chicken sandwiches. Some of these restaurants include different “deluxe” or “spicy” versions of the sandwiches. Since this is mostly a gag article (mostly), and ranking every single sandwich on the menu of these places would take all day, I’m just sticking to the basics. Also, I will only be ranking the sandwiches I have actually tried, so if there is a restaurant that you like that isn’t in my area (like Culvers for example), then it won’t be on the list. Sorry about that. If you don’t like it, feel free to write your own article. Like I said, there’s a million of them. Now let’s get down to business.

13) McDonalds McChicken

26. McChicken at McDonald’s Nick Kindelsperger/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

I put this on here as a baseline for what a chicken sandwich is at a bare minimum. There are new Chicken Sandwiches on the McDonalds menu, but this one is still here and still the original model. If I went off some of the newer sandwiches I think Micky Dees would be higher up, but like I said up front, I’m sticking to the basics.

This is a case of “you get what you pay for”. You’re going to be paying about $1-2 for this sandwich. At that price, it is serviceable. Its an oversized chicken nugget on bread with shredded lettuce and mayo. I’ve had plenty in my college career, but it wasn’t because it was my favorite sandwich. It’s cheap. It’s easy. You can get one around midnight since McDonalds is always open. That doesn’t make it a good sandwich unfortunately

12) Burger King Classic Chicken Sandwich

21. Original chicken sandwich at Burger King Nick Kindelsperger/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

The most memorable thing about this sandwich is it’s strange shape. It looks like an elongated chicken patty on a sub bun. It can give you an extra serving of chicken because of the size. In my experience, the chicken has little flavor; the mayo is the driving force on the sandwich, and the shredded lettuce adds little to nothing to the sandwich.

11) Wendy’s Crispy Chicken

7. Spicy chicken sandwich at Wendy’s Nick Kindelsperger/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

This is another one where there is plenty of better chicken sandwiches on the menu, but the baseline model is still present. It’s more shaped like a chicken breast but is still just a chicken patty, with mayo and non shredded lettuce. Not great, but I definitely give it an edge over the McChicken and old school Burger King chicken sandwich.

10) Dairy Queen Crispy Chicken Sandwich

23. Crispy chicken sandwich at Dairy Queen Nick Kindelsperger/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Dairy Queen tried to be fancier with their sandwich, but fall short on texture. They use a real chicken breast which is a plus, accompanied by iceberg lettuce, tomato, and mayo. Unfortunately, the breading leaves much to be desired, and the chicken tends to be very tough. This probably has to do with how long the chicken is kept frozen for, at least at the location I go to. It’s fine, but I have never had the desire to go out of my way to get one.

9) Checker’s Classic Mother Cruncher

I struggled with which sandwich to review for Checkers. Technically, their more old school sandwich is the spicy chicken sandwich which is not very good. However, the only normal chicken sandwich still on the menu is the Mother Cruncher, which many would consider to be a deluxe sandwich. Tough call, but I’m going with the Mother Cruncher. It is an overpriced but decent sandwich. Shredded lettuce and tomato with mayo over a crispy chicken breast between 2 buns. The chicken isn’t as crispy as advertised and with all the other chicken sandwiches, it makes sense why Checkers is often forgotten for even having a chicken sandwich. Serviceable at best.

8) Sonic Classic Crispy Chicken Sandwich

18. Classic crispy chicken sandwich at Sonic Drive-In Nick Kindelsperger/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Sonic is similar to the previous few picks. Their sandwich is a chicken breast with iceberg lettuce and tomato on a bun. The one thing Sonic does different is adding black pepper to their breading which adds slightly more flavor. This is another one I wouldn’t go out of my way for, but I give it a slight edge over the other sandwiches which share its style.

7) Zaxby’s Kickin’ Chicken Sandwich

Maybe I had a bad experience with this sandwich, but it was a serious disappointment for me. Zaxby’s tenders have some of the best breading in the business, crisp and flaky without excessive oil and having a tinge of saltiness. So when I got the chicken sandwich I was expecting similar flavor to the chicken. Instead what I received was a soggy chicken breast with some thick cut pickles between two buns which was absolutely slathered in Zax’s sauce. I couldn’t handle the sandwich without Zax sauce falling off the bun and it overwhelmed any flavor for the chicken or the pickles. This just immediately turned me off from the sandwich. The chicken wasn’t particularly tender, pickles I don’t even remember tasting. Again maybe I had a bad experience. If you are a hardcore Zax sauce fan maybe this will be more up your alley, its not for me though.

6) Hardee’s Hand-Breaded Chicken Sandwich

Inside a Hardee’s Fast Food Outlet

This sandwich really relies on the breading. It is a chicken breast with heavy, but flaky breading supported by mayo and pickles. Nothing too flashy. The thing about this sandwich, for me at least, is it is the first one where the chicken actually stands out. The breast is juicy, soft, and well-seasoned. While the mayo and pickles help, they do not overwhelm the rest of the sandwich. This is a pleasant surprise worth checking out if you have not tried it in the past.

5) Church’s Chicken Sandwich

Church’s is another one of the mayo-pickle-style sandwiches. They generally use a thicker cut of chicken breast, and the light flaky breading doesn’t retain much grease. This sandwich falls short compared to some of the more well-known fast food places, but if you have a craving for a chicken sandwich Church’s is worth giving a try.

4) KFC Chicken Sandwich

Popularity Of Fast Food Chicken Helps Drive Nationwide Chicken Shortages And Price Increases Photo Illustration by Scott Olson/Getty Images

This is where things start getting more difficult to separate. The #4 through #2 rankings are all pretty close and will only be separated by minute preferences of the taster. The KFC style follows what we’ve seen on the past few sandwiches using pickles and mayo. The sweet pickles are more powerful than the mayo on this sandwich making it taste more explosive in you mouth. For me, the key difference is those herbs and spices. Something about the flavor on the chicken just puts it a step above.

3) Chick-Fil-A Chicken Sandwich

Operations Inside A Chick-fil-A Location As Restaurant Opens Manhattan Outpost In Northern Push

The one everyone comes looking for. This is the old school. Despite not changing over the years, this is a top tier sandwich. Chicken, bun, and pickle, ‘nuff said. The breading is unique on the Chick-Fil-A sandwich compared to all others. Despite not being very thick, it can build up to being flaky in some spots. I found out recently that this is because Chick-Fil-A pressure cooks their sandwiches instead of frying them. Some people may not like the old school style, but I’m a purist and I will always come back to Chick-Fil-A when it comes to chicken sandwiches.

2) Popeye’s Fried Chicken Sandwich

Popularity Of Fast Food Chicken Helps Drive Nationwide Chicken Shortages And Price Increases Photo Illustration by Scott Olson/Getty Images

Popeye’s knew what they were doing when they made this sandwich and started the chicken sandwich war. When I think of this sandwich, I just think of the extra flavor punch it packs. The spice profile on the chicken, the amount of mayo, and the thick cut pickles combine perfectly in your mouth and really sticks with you as the day goes on. The breading is crunchy, and the chicken is extremely moist. This is just overall a darn good sandwich.

1) Chick’n Shack at Shake Shack

Shake Shack Palo Alto Nhat V. Meyer/Digital First Media/The Mercury News via Getty Images

I don’t think many people think of this sandwich at all, but they should. This one tops my list for having the juicy chicken combined with the crispiest breading on the entire list. It comes with shredded lettuce and thick cut pickles which do not detract from the chicken flavor. This one really drives home the focus on the chicken and explodes in your mouth on tasting. This is my definite number 1 chicken sandwich, and its not even close.

So that’s my list. If you disagree, you are clearly wrong. If you do disagree, why don’t you tell me why in the comments or feel free to share this with your friends so we can all argue about it. Georgia Tech Bye Weeks shouldn’t be an excuse to stop being angry about things. Have a good week everyone.