19 Fast Food Chicken Sandwiches, Ranked Worst To Best
Long gone are the days of burgers being the only sandwich available at the drive-thru — chicken sandwiches have clucked their way into the fast food game, and they’re here to stay. Sure, burgers and fries make for a classic pairing, but have you ever had a fried chicken sandwich and fries? It’s a pretty good combo, a great one even, and more and more fast food restaurants are coming to this conclusion. Long gone are the days of the three-piece chicken tender meal being the only poultry option on fast-food menus; chicken sandwiches are all the rage, but unlike so many food trends that have come and gone, chicken sammies have proven to be a staple, not a trend.
Some chains, like Bojangles and Chick-fil-A, have been serving up nothing but chicken for decades, whereas others, like Shake Shack, have hopped on the chicken train in more recent years. Regardless of how long these restaurants have been serving them, they each have chicken sandwiches to bring to the table — some good, some bad, and some abhorrently dry. Whether you’re a poultry pro or a bird beginner, this list will guide you through the fast food chicken sandwich must-haves and those that aren’t worth the wait in the drive-thru.
19. Dairy Queen
Oh, Dairy Queen. There’s really no reason that an ice cream place should be serving hot food, but Dairy Queen defies the odds and has been doing so for decades, as it turns out. Burgers and fries first found themselves on the DQ menu as early as the 1980s, so it was only a matter of time before chicken sandwiches would land on there, too.
Unfortunately, Dairy Queen’s crispy chicken sandwich is lackluster all around. You’d think that a sandwich with the word "crispy" in its name would be, well, crispy, but this one is anything but. You’re lucky if the chicken isn’t served cold or at room temperature at best, and the patty is just lacking any redeeming qualities. Not to mention, the bun and toppings make this chicken sammie seem like something better suited for a school cafeteria: They’re bland, plain, and uninspiring. We know that toppings can only be so revolutionary, but Dairy Queen could’ve at least tried to make this sandwich the slightest bit original — spoiler alert, it didn’t.
18. White Castle
While it’s definitely a good thing that many restaurants on this list added chicken to their menus at some point, the same cannot be said for White Castle. Home of the classic slider, White Castle is a love-it-or-hate-it sort of place. Some people swear by the slider, whereas others avoid them at any cost. Now, the beef slider is one thing, but a chicken slider? It’s an insult to chicken sandwiches everywhere, both small and large.
The biggest issue with White Castle’s chicken breast slider is that there is nearly nothing to it. There’s a chicken patty and there’s a bun. Sure, you could order it with cheese, but chicken sandwiches don’t need cheese the same way a burger does. Otherwise, you’ve just got a plain and incredibly dry sandwich and a sad one at that. Perhaps White Castle thinks it’s doing you a favor by allowing for customization, but we think that this is just a bad chicken sandwich, no matter how much sauce one might attempt to slather on.
17. Jack in the Box
Jack in the Box is not a bad fast food restaurant by any means. It offers a variety of options, from burgers to tacos to shakes to breakfast. And any restaurant that others two types of fries certainly holds a special place in our hearts. Unfortunately, with such a vast menu, certain selections are bound to be less appetizing than others, and Jack in the Box’s chicken sandwich simply misses the mark.
It’s important to note that Jack in the Box does offer several chicken sandwiches, including grilled and spicy varieties. Its classic chicken sandwich is pretty forgettable, however, which is why the fast food joint lands so low on this list. Featuring a not-so-crispy chicken patty and some pretty lackluster toppings (just lettuce and mayo by default), there’s much to be desired with this sandwich. Stick to the burgers or even the tacos with Jack in the Box — you’ll definitely leave feeling much more satisfied.
Sonic is another good example of a fast food place with quite an extensive menu. It’s ideal for those late nights when you’re craving something savory, and boy does the classic drive-in restaurant deliver on that end. From burgers to hot dogs to tater tots, there are munchies to please just about anyone at Sonic — but what about chicken lovers?
If you fall into the poultry fan club, then it’s very possible you’ve tried Sonic’s chicken sandwich. If you haven’t tried it, well, don’t be too disappointed, as you’re not missing anything special. Sure, Sonic gets some points for at least bothering to slap a couple of pickles onto its chicken sandwich. But otherwise, this supposedly "crispy" chicken sandwich really is anything but. It’s certainly not the worst chicken sandwich in the world, but it’s far from the best, so you’re better off sticking with a burger or coney the next time you pull up to the drive-in.
15. Burger King
Burger King is one of those classic fast-food places, up there with McDonald’s, that is somehow much blander than its counterparts. Sure, the Whopper is an iconic sandwich, but everything else on the menu is forgettable at best. And, unfortunately, that means that BK’s Original Chicken Sandwich ranks pretty low on this list.
The fast food chain does get some points, as they have more than one chicken sandwich on the menu. Between the BK Royal Crispy Chicken and the decked-out bacon and Swiss version, there are definitely options for the chicken lovers out there. The Original Chicken Sandwich is notably lackluster, however, as it comes with just lettuce and mayonnaise. It might be ideal for those who enjoy simple sandwiches, but not so ideal for those who enjoy flavorful ones. Burger King’s chicken sandwich is also a unique one, coming in an elongated shape that is actually quite odd when you think about it. How did they get the chicken patty into such a perfect oval shape? The world may never know.
We’re officially hitting the spot on this list where the sandwiches are not bad by any means, but with such stiff competition, they still fall somewhat low on the ranking. Case in point: Wendy’s Classic Chicken Sandwich. Right off the bat, Wendy’s earns some points for the classic toppings on this sandwich, which include mayo, lettuce, tomato, and pickles. Revolutionary? No. Better than what many other chains have to offer? Yes.
Speaking of the chicken patty, this sandwich features one that’s just okay. It’s neither the crispiest nor juiciest patty in the world, but it gets the job done. It works well with the toppings, and moreover, the sandwich as a whole works well paired with some fries or maybe a chocolate frosty. If the OG chicken sandwich doesn’t tickle your fancy, then Wendy’s also offers plenty of other poultry options, including a grilled chicken wrap if that’s more up to your speed.
If you’re looking for a fast-food chain with some good old Midwestern flair, then Culver’s is definitely the way to go. While Culver’s is primarily known as a burger place — serving up Butter Burgers, more specifically — there are quite a few offerings on the chain’s menu, including fish, shakes, malts, and cheese curds.
And, of course, one of Culver’s vast offerings is a Crispy Chicken Sandwich. This one comes with some decent but familiar toppings, including shredded lettuce, tomato, and pickles. The patty on this sandwich is juicy enough, and there’s certainly nothing wrong with the sandwich. Is it the most memorable chicken sandwich out there? No, not by a long shot, but one won’t be wildly disappointed if they order it. This sandwich truly is the definition of just okay, and with such a vast variety of chicken sandwiches out there, it’s all too easy to blend in with the rest when there’s no "wow" factor.
Checkers is one of those fast-food places that tends to fly under the radar, and if we’re being honest, it’s for pretty good reason. While there are no doubt some Checkers enthusiasts out there, the restaurant doesn’t really bring any stiff competition to the table. That said, its Classic Mother Cruncher is certainly not the worst fast-food chicken sandwich out there, and even the name alone earns it at least one bonus point.
The success of this sandwich lies in the sauce, which smartly sits on both the top and bottom buns. Sauciness is important with a chicken sandwich, as even the juiciest of patties have a pretty neutral flavor profile. This one features Checkers’ "Squawk Sauce," and it’s no Raising Cane’s or Chick-fil-A sauce, but it’s certainly better than just plain mayo. Like so many other sammies, the Mother Cruncher features the iconic lettuce, tomato, and pickle-topping trio, but we can’t really fault the sandwich for featuring the classics.
11. Carl’s Jr./Hardee’s
Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s were once two different fast-food chains, but then they merged and became one … yet, depending on which state you’re in, you’ll only see one or the other. It’s all a bit confusing, but the food is the same across all locations, and that naturally includes the chicken sandwich.
At first glance, the Carl’s Jr./Hardee’s chicken sandwich is unsuspecting, at the very least. It’s dressed down, with just a chicken patty slapped between two buns, plus some mayo and pickles for subtle fanfare. Despite it being a pretty bare-bones chicken sandwich, it’s a surprisingly successful one; the chicken patty is not too thick, not too thin, and strikes an ideal balance between juicy and crispy. The minimal toppings work well here, with the mayo being just saucy enough to keep the sandwich moist, and the pickles adding just enough acidity and crunch to break up the otherwise savory flavors.
Very few people go through Arby’s drive-thru in search of a chicken sandwich. No, they’re there for a roast beef sandwich, or maybe curly fries, but a chicken sandwich? It’s highly unlikely. As it turns out, however, Arby’s Classic Crispy Chicken Sandwich should be one more people’s radars, because it’s a surprisingly decent sandwich.
Featuring a crispy-but-not-too-crispy chicken patty, lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise, and a sesame seed bun, Arby’s chicken sandwich certainly isn’t reinventing the wheel. But it lives up to its "classic" title well — it really is an all-around good chicken sandwich, and the fact that it carries no frills works to its advantage. Is there any real competition between the chicken sandwich and Arby’s roast beef sandwiches? No, but to be fair, it’s pretty hard for any sandwich to beat the classic roast beef. Needless to say, Arby’s wasn’t lying when it claimed to have the meats, and if chicken is your meat of choice, then this is a solid option.
Jollibee is a bit of an anomaly on this list. At first glance, its Original Chicken Sandwich appears to be missing something, or rather, quite a few somethings. Indeed, Jollibee’s OG chicken sandwich doesn’t come with any vegetable toppings, but instead just comes laden with not one by two layers of umami mayonnaise. It couldn’t possibly work, it shouldn’t work … and yet, it does.
The only reason Jollibee’s chicken sandwich is so successful with virtually no toppings is because the chicken really is that good. It’s a big ol’ piece of meat that is incredibly crispy and incredibly juicy all at once. It’s so flavorful that you’ll actually be grateful that there aren’t any other toppings, because this sandwich really doesn’t need them. Of course, if you are a toppings enthusiast, the Filipino chain does offer other sandwich varieties, including one with jalapeños and sriracha mayo, if you like your chicken with a side of spice.
8. Raising Cane’s
For a fast-food restaurant that specializes in chicken, Raising Cane’s surprisingly doesn’t have the most inspired chicken sandwich. There’s but one sandwich on the menu, and it doesn’t even feature a chicken patty but instead features three chicken strips slapped onto a bun. This description may make the sandwich come across as lazy or uninspired, but there’s one key feature that sets it apart from the rest: the sauce.
Indeed, the iconic Cane’s Sauce is really what separates this sandwich, and that’s both a good and bad thing. It’s a good thing because the sauce is undeniably excellent, so when it’s slathered onto a sandwich, there’s very little doubt that the sandwich will be delicious by default. It’s also a bad thing because, aside from the sauce, there’s nothing really remarkable about the sandwich itself. But, if you’re a fan of chicken tenders and tasty sauces, then this chicken sandwich just might be the one of your dreams.
Bojangles is known for many things, including its famous biscuits and mac and cheese. Of course, the chain is best known for its fried chicken, which may come in the form of a family-style platter or a chicken sandwich. Bo’s Chicken Sandwich features a hefty fried chicken breast, mayo, and pickles. It’s a sandwich very similar to others on this list, but because Bojangles knows how to do fried chicken, it surpasses much of the competition.
The success of Bo’s Chicken Sandwich lies almost entirely in that juicy chicken breast; it’s incredibly crispy without being crack-a-tooth crispy, and the chicken has a certain freshness that competitors at say White Castle or Burger King simply don’t possess. It’s obvious that there’s some thoughtful care behind Bojangles’ fried chicken. It’s flavorful, it’s crispy, and it’s fresh, and even though the sandwich itself isn’t a mindblowing feat in ingenuity, it doesn’t have to be to still taste good.
If you’re looking for a chicken sandwich that you have to unhinge your jaw to take a bite out of, then Popeyes has you covered. And, no, we’re not saying that as a diss to Popeyes, but rather from a place of admiration, because one thing is for sure with its Classic Chicken Sandwich: You will be getting your money’s worth. And, if you were keeping up with food trends back in 2019, then you might recall the absolute frenzy that ensued when Popeyes first dropped the sandwich — if you’ve since tried the sandwich, then you know that it was popular for a reason!
Aside from the huge chicken breast, this sandwich features mayo on both buns and some pickles. It’s probably for the best that Popeyes keeps the toppings minimal — after all, you already have to open your mouth wide enough to fit the chicken, so any more stacked toppings might result in a trip to the ER.
Brace yourself: Here we have yet another chicken sandwich that is topped with — you guessed it — pickles and mayonnaise, this time courtesy of KFC. We’re really getting down to the nitty-gritty here, the absolute best of the best chicken sandwiches, so yes, there is some redundancy with the toppings. Clearly, these toppings really work on a chicken sandwich since so many chains opt for them, and in the case of KFC’s chicken sandwich, the creamy mayo and salty pickles really are the ideal companions.
KFC may not be everyone’s favorite fried chicken establishment, but whether you love it or hate it, there’s no denying that it serves up a pretty good chicken sandwich. Much like Popeyes’ version, KFC’s sandwich features a hefty chicken breast, so it’s definitely going to leave you feeling full and satisfied. It’s crunchy, it’s crispy, it’s juicy — it’s everything you might want in a chicken sandwich, minus any frills or fanfare.
Any fast-food chain that has a signature sauce is a winner in our book, especially when the sauce is as good as Zaxby’s Zax Sauce. That tangy, savory sauce plays a pretty big role in Zaxby’s Signature Sandwich landing such a high spot on this list, as it perfectly complements the large, crispy chicken breast that makes up the bulk of the entree. Otherwise, the sandwich isn’t all too complex, featuring only pickles as the garnish of choice — it’s simple, but it works quite well.
The key to the success of Zaxby’s chicken sandwich is the ideal balance that it strikes. Between the thick-but-not-too-thick chicken patty, the layer of pickles, and the double layers of sauce, each bite has the perfect balance of juiciness, crispiness, acidity, and soft carby goodness from the bun. This is just an all-around delicious chicken sandwich, and if the classic version doesn’t quite do it for you, Zaxby’s also offers a spicy version and even a "Kickin’" version which features Texas toast instead of a bun.
McDonald’s is one of those fast food places that always seems to get it right. Between being the most successful fast food chain in America and having popularity that spans vastly overseas, the classic burger purveyor certainly didn’t reach such meteoric success by selling just burgers. Sure, you can’t go wrong with grabbing a McDouble or Big Mac when hunger strikes, but for those who don’t like beef or simply don’t eat it in general, chicken options are a must, and McDonald’s certainly delivers on that front.
While a 10-piece nugget meal or a McChicken might be McDonald’s most classic poultry offerings, the chain’s Crispy Chicken Sandwich is most comparable to others on this list. It’s a pretty minimal sandwich, only featuring a patty and some pickles, but it packs all of that fast-food goodness that truly only a McDonald’s sandwich can. While it’s certainly not the most inventive chicken sandwich in the world, it’s nice and juicy, and any chicken lover can appreciate that.
2. Shake Shack
If you didn’t know that Shake Shack has a chicken sandwich, you’re likely not alone. Shake Shack is known for many things, from its classic Shack Burger to its cheesy crinkle-cut fries to its milkshakes. Lesser-known is the chicken sandwich, but if there’s one sandwich on this list that we might consider underrated, it’d definitely be this one.
Picture one of the crispiest chicken patties imaginable, a hearty potato bun, lettuce, pickles, and a decked-out herby mayonnaise sauce, and you’ve pictured Shake Shack’s impeccable Chicken Shack. The chicken itself is delicious, but what really sets this one apart is the buttermilk herb mayo, which tastes like the classic condiment but with a ranch dressing-like twist. It pairs oh-so-well with the chicken and pickles and provides a good example of a fast-food chain truly being inventive with its take on a chicken sandwich.
There was absolutely no doubt that Chick-fil-A would be left out of a ranking of chicken sandwiches, and there was a good chance the chain would take the top slot. Anyone who has had a Chick-fil-A sandwich knows that it really is that good, and anyone who has had several Chick-fil-A sandwiches knows that they are consistently that good, which is what really earned the chicken chain the highest honor on our list.
Sure, Chick-fil-A’s classic sandwich isn’t all too inventive, as it only features a fried patty and some pickles. The chicken is just so perfectly fried, the bun so blissfully soft, and the pickles so superbly salty, that the sandwich as a whole is truly unbeatable. The only way to improve the sandwich is to slather on some Chick-fil-A sauce, which adds a hit of creaminess and sweetness, taking an already good sandwich to a truly delicious, unbeatable level.