Chick-fil-A is a rapidly expanding fast-food chain known for its high quality, its exceptional level of customer service, and what it claims is the "original" chicken sandwich. But there is more to the Chick-fil-A menu than a piece of breaded chicken in a bun, even if you do decide to simply stick to poultry.
To help you out, we tried some of the most popular chicken items from Chick-fil-A and ranked them based on our experience. In this case, lower on the list doesn't necessarily mean "bad." Overall, we feel like it's impossible to make a bad choice, and, at worst, Chick-fil-A drops to the quality of standard fast food.
It is truly exceptional, and an item ranking lower down the list simply means it isn't as good as something else on the menu. So if you're looking for our take on tenders, our stance on spice, or our beliefs about breakfast, look no further. Here is our countdown of the best chicken-based items you can get from one of America's most popular chicken chains.
Hash Brown Scramble Burrito
In theory, the Hash Brown Scramble Burrito is as close as you can get to a complete meal in one Chick-fil-A menu item. It has eggs, potato, cheese, and sliced-up chicken all wrapped neatly inside a tortilla. But while it may contain a good amount of variety and enough calories to kickstart your day, it is severely lacking in the flavor and texture department.
The Hash Brown Scramble Burrito is bland, there's no other way to put it. The scrambled eggs are not seasoned, and the potatoes have no notable flavor. In terms of texture, while each item has potential on its own what you're actually served is a bread-wrapped mush. The chicken doesn't have that substantial bite that sets Chick-fil-A apart, it's sliced far too finely for that. The potatoes and eggs sort of gloop together. Only the cheese adds a notable bit of flavor, and that's not enough to carry this wrap.
Chick-fil-A's chicken strips are a popular choice with many of its customers. You can grab a stack of three or four strips for around $7, though prices vary depending on location. The strips are basically the chain's take on the classic chicken tender, and given Chick-fil-A's habit of serving up high-quality renditions of many poultry fast food staples, this particular item could potentially be the best thing on the menu. But it really isn't. We found the tenders lacking in a few departments. Firstly, the actual "chicken" part was far thinner than other menu items. This served to rob each strip of tenderness and juiciness, which are two things that tend to set Chick-fil-A's chicken apart.
The breading also felt and tasted a little greasy, which again isn't ideal. Lastly, there's value to consider. Three strips for around $7 isn't exactly a bargain. Despite the criticism, these aren't bad. We'd say they're about on par with chicken tenders you might get from a bar or diner. There are just far better options on the Chick-fil-A menu.
Given its Southern origins, a poor-quality biscuit would be a very bad look for Chick-fil-A. Fortunately, the Georgia-based chain has not let the side down. The biscuits are surprisingly large, flaky, and soft in the center. Which is pretty much exactly what you want from the breakfast staple. In terms of quality, the chicken is also what you would expect from Chick-fil-A. Delicious and perfectly cooked.
So why did we place this Southern breakfast standard so low on the list? Again, it isn't bad, it just isn't as good as the other items Chick-fil-A is offering. The chicken portion of the breakfast biscuit seems to be smaller than the filet you get with a main menu meal, though this could have been a one-off. The actual size of the filet does vary as the chain insists on using whole chicken breasts. Then there's the dryness of it all. The biscuit and breaded chicken combo will wick every drop of moisture from your mouth if you don't take advantage of the complimentary sauces and preserves Chick-fil-A offers. So as a standalone, it's far from your best option.
Spicy Chicken Sandwich
The Spicy Chicken Sandwich is one of Chick-fil-A's flagship menu items. It's pretty much identical to the classic chicken sandwich but with one notable difference. The breading has a spicy kick to it. Or it's supposed to anyway. Our biggest gripe with the spicy chicken sandwich is its lack of spice. It's actually a very mild option. The sandwich we tried was also notably drier than the other sandwiches we tested, and this is something we've experienced more than once with Chick-fil-A's spicy option.
You can crank the heat up by adding the chain's "sweet and spicy" sriracha sauce, but we'd argue you are better off just adding the sauce to a regular chicken sandwich, saving yourself a small amount of cash, and potentially receiving a better quality filet in the process. As with the regular sandwich, the spicy version comes with a bun and a few pickle slices. The pickles are another area where the spicy chicken sandwich could be improved. If they were swapped out for jalapeños, then this menu item may live up to its billing.
Chicken, Egg, And Cheese Biscuit
The chicken, egg, and cheese biscuit improves on the plain chicken biscuit in several ways. The addition of American cheese, and a folded section of scrambled egg, adds some much-needed moisture to the sandwich. This stops the biscuit from wicking every bit of liquid from your mouth and makes any kind of hot sauce a very welcome addition to the breakfast offering. As with the standard sandwich, the biscuit is large, fluffy, and crumbly -- which should please all but the most discerning of biscuit lovers.
While the chicken, egg, and cheese biscuit is a notable improvement on the original breakfast offering, it still suffers from a few of the same issues. The chicken portion is smaller than you get with an entree, despite the sandwich coming in at roughly the same price. There's also something missing, you can't really power through one of these without any sauce -- despite the additional moisture. As a result, the chicken, egg, and cheese biscuit finds itself in the lower-to-mid section of our list.
Believe it or not, grilled nuggets are a lie. When we ordered them, we received what appeared to be a sliced-up grilled filet. However, this method makes sense when you think about it, and likely leads to a better nugget. Cooking a larger piece of meat will usually lead to better results. The end product will be juicier, and you can develop more of a sear without drying out the inside of the cut. So the grilled "nuggets" likely have a better texture than they would had they been formed or sliced before cooking.
The end result is pretty good and constitutes one of the chain's many gluten-free options. The sear adds a great grilled flavor to the chicken, and many of the qualities of the original nuggets carry over. These are great to dip, and easily shared. However, the chicken is thinner and less juicy, and the whole experience is less satisfying than the basic nuggets, hence the grilled offering's lower spot on the list.
Grilled Chicken Sandwich
The grilled chicken sandwich is one of Chick-fil-A's many excellent gluten-free offerings, provided you also opt for a gluten-free bun. If you stick to the basic bread, you still get a different roll than you'll see on the original chicken sandwich and its spicy equivalent. Despite the difference in appearance and texture, the bread side of things doesn't offer much. The filet itself does though.
The grilled flavor is very apparent and singles this out as a unique Chick-fil-A dish. The chicken is perfectly cooked, but the fact it is grilled and not deep fried means it is texturally different from the traditional offering. The meat isn't in any way tough, but it is noticeably firmer than the chain's signature filet. The grilled filet itself also seems to be substantially thinner than its breaded and fried sibling. Trimmings, like tomato and lettuce, come as standard with the grilled chicken sandwich -- though its price also tends to be a little higher than the standard offerings. All in all, this is a great choice if you're going gluten-free, and is a solid alternative for those without dietary restrictions who are looking to change things up a little.
Honey Pepper Pimento Chicken Sandwich
Historically, Chick-fil-A has avoided messing with its original chicken sandwich. However, in the summer of 2023, it made an exception with the seasonal honey pepper pimento chicken sandwich. This twist on the classic comes in three varieties: original, spicy, and grilled. Each offering is basically the regular sandwich but with a healthy dollop of pimento cheese on top.
There is a mild amount of spice to the special entrée, but nothing capable of putting even the most delicate palate off. Even if you opt for the spicy filet, the heat is on par with freshly ground black pepper and nothing worse. We found the sandwich to be very pleasant and a welcome addition to the Chick-fil-A menu. As for its position on our list, the pimento topping adds a lot of sweetness to the sandwich, which not everyone will be looking for. Its potential divisiveness seals the honey pepper pimento chicken's place in the middle of the pack.
Egg White Grill
Despite its name, you get more than just egg whites from this breakfast option. The egg white grill is the best chicken-based option on Chick-fil-A's breakfast menu by a long way. While the grilled chicken options have come up second best a few times so far, it really works when you slap it in an English muffin alongside a serving of fried egg whites and some cheese.
In this case, the lack of breading is a benefit. The grilled flavor, and the saltiness of the meat, combine with the toasted muffin to produce the kind of flavor you need at breakfast time. It's reminiscent of a very good McMuffin in that way. The smoky flavors from the toasting and grilling process combine perfectly with a fresh coffee, and the salty, creamy, cheese does just enough to take the edge off it all. If you find yourself in a Chick-fil-A before 10:30 a.m., then this should be your first choice.
The spicy deluxe is a regular spicy sandwich, with tomato and lettuce added. Despite not sounding like much, the toppings transform the "deluxe" version of this menu staple into a completely different eating experience -- adding flavor, texture, and a welcome burst of freshness to the plain sandwich.
As with other upscaled Chick-fil-A sandwiches, cheese is also added to the offering. In this case, we went with pepper jack as that seems to be the standard. With the other sandwiches, we can see a case for changing up your cheese selection. However, the pepper jack adds just a little more spice to a filet that, despite its name, delivers very little heat. So we'd recommend sticking to that. In short, the "deluxe" version of Chick-fil-A's spicy sandwich fixes a lot of the standard variant's shortcomings, hence its higher position on our list. While we wish there was a hotter option on the menu, this is the best heat lovers can currently hope for. If you like a mild bit of spice in your food, then this is arguably your top pick from the chain.
While Chick-fil-A's sandwiches may be its most famous offering, its salads have an excellent reputation. During the course of our testing, we sampled the Cobb salad, which contains a wide variety of ingredients including greens, corn, boiled egg, and tomatoes. We went with the standard breaded chicken option when choosing our salad, though you are free to add spicy or grilled chicken to this menu item. The latter option makes the salad a solid gluten-free choice for those with dietary restrictions. In our experience, the vegetable component of the salad was both fresh and flavorsome. Juicy tomatoes and fresh lettuce are the foundation any good Cobb salad is built on, and Chick-fil-A checks the right boxes in that department.
A wide selection of dressings come with the salad, ranging from a sweet balsamic to a vinegary Italian. You are also free to jazz up your Cobb salad a little, with extras like blue cheese crumbles. The level of customization makes this one of the most versatile options on the menu. It's a great choice for people who eat Chick-fil-A often and want to add a bit of variety to their meals. While it isn't the best chicken option on the menu, it is more than enough to leave you satisfied -- hence its place in the top five.
Grilled Chicken Club Sandwich
The grilled chicken club sandwich is Chick-fil-A's take on the classic club -- however, you can think of it as an upscaled version of the chain's regular grilled offering. The bun and filet carry over, and the only real difference is the addition of cheese and bacon. Although that may not seem like much is being added, we all know a cheese and bacon combo can make a world of difference to absolutely anything.
For us, the star of the show was the Colby jack cheese. While any of the three cheeses (American, pepper jack, and Colby jack) Chick-fil-A offers can be added, Colby jack is present in Chick-fil-A's promotional materials for the grilled chicken club. So we went with what we felt was the standard, and we're very glad we did. The Colby jack melts well over the grilled filet, bringing a wonderful gooey texture and a delicious cheesy hit to the party. The bacon is surprisingly anonymous for the most part, though you do occasionally get a smoky, crunchy, salty, reminder that it is there. This is one of, if not the most, expensive sandwiches on the menu -- but is also one of the best. So feel free to splurge a little.
Original Chicken Sandwich
Sometimes simplicity wins out. There isn't anything complex about Chick-fil-A's original chicken sandwich. It's just a bun, a few bits of pickle, and a chicken filet. However, the quality of ingredients used sets the classic sandwich apart. Although the sandwich may seem basic, the lack of accompaniments allows the filet itself to come to the foreground. There's a good argument that, if you want to experience Chick-fil-A in its purest form, you have to start at the beginning. This is that beginning. Conversely, there are some things that go well with this sandwich, which is why it doesn't top our list -- despite its long-standing popularity with customers.
The filet itself is thick and juicy and tends to be a tender slice of whole chicken breast. The breading is lightly seasoned and perfectly done. The slightly sweet bun holds everything together, and the pickles add just a tiny bit of taste and texture to round everything off. You can enjoy the original sandwich on its own, though slapping on one of the several sauces Chick-fil-A offers will elevate it. Given its simplicity, each sauce basically turns it into a different sandwich.
Deluxe Chicken Sandwich
The "deluxe" grabs the highest-ranked sandwich spot, and second place overall, due to the fact it improves on what many consider perfection. The sandwich is basically Chick-fil-A's original sandwich, with a few additions. These additions come in the form of lettuce and tomato, which both add a burst of fresh flavor and some welcome added texture to the sandwich. Cheese is also added, should you want it, and this can really uplift the entrée. We opted for American cheese, as that is what Chick-fil-A adds to the deluxe on its promotional materials, but Colby Jack and Pepper Jack are both options. Those options are worth considering as the American cheese didn't add a lot beyond added moisture and a hint of salt for us.
Splashing out on a "deluxe," which can cost a dollar more than the original sandwich, also comes with an added benefit. Your sandwich will arrive in a cardboard box. Chick-fil-A probably has its reasons when it comes to using the foil-lined bags you'll receive many of its sandwiches. But those bags can make a sandwich sweat a little, leading to a soggy bun, and potentially a rubbery filet. There isn't any danger of that with the deluxe, as it comes in a more breathable box.
Sometimes, a menu item just ticks all of the boxes. Chick-fil-A's nuggets are not just the best item on the chain's menu. There is a fair argument that these are the best chicken nuggets you can buy from any fast-food restaurant. So what sets them apart?
We'll start with the texture. These are obviously made from chunks of chicken breast. This provides a superior bite to reformed chicken and immediately elevates Chick-fil-A's effort above chains like Wendy's and McDonald's. Then there is the size of the nugget to consider. They're small enough to dip, but thick enough to retain all of the juiciness and thickness you want in a nugget. The chicken itself is of high quality, with no fat, connective tissue, or unsightly parts to discover.
In terms of flavoring, the chicken is perfectly seasoned, with a mild salty kick, and the breading adds a lot. While you can enjoy these without any accompaniments, they are 100% made to dip. Chick-fil-A's policy of throwing a wide range of sauces at you on request, free of charge, means there are plenty of options when it comes to additional flavor. An eight-count costs under $7 in most cases, and this is one of the menu options that will more than likely please everyone.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.