Ranking Fast Food Chicken Sandwiches From Skip To Hit

McCrispy, Double Down, or Ch'King, Americans order more than 3.5 billion chicken sandwiches a year. But which fast food chick'wich is really worth the money? Leave it to Reddit users to reveal the true chicken-based State of the Union. Spoiler alert: It's pretty spicy out there.

A staple because of its satisfying spin on soft, toasty buns, tangy pickles, and creamy mayo, the fast food chicken sandwich has been gaining ground on beef patties since the future founder of Chick-fil-A first put it on The Dwarf Grill menu back in 1946. But, even though you might think a chicken chain would easily sweep the competition, we've uncovered a few hot takes on which restaurant is doing chicken right.

From Shake Shack, to Wendy, Popeye's, and Chick-fil-A, we scoured the internet for the most convincing arguments for — and against — every mother cluckin' sandwich on the menu. (More on our methods below.) Pitting crowd favorites against the apparent rubber chickens of patties, we're ranking fast food chicken sandwiches from skip to tender, juicy hit.

14. McDonald's

Don't hate the player, hate the game. (Or, in this case, maybe steer clear of the player's drive-thru.) Witness the internet's least favorite choice: McDonald's McChicken ... and the McCrispy, Deluxe McCrispy, Spicy McCrispy, and Spicy Deluxe McCrispy. The entire line of chicken sandwiches at McDonalds has been raked through the coals on Reddit.

"​​Absolutely disgusting. Tasted like it was made from cleaning chemicals. I was so shocked at how awful it tasted," recalled one unsatisfied customer. With the classic McChicken being described as a sorry excuse for chicken, shredded lettuce, and mayo, on a bun, the limp enthusiasm extends through the rest of the offerings. Someone noted of the Spicy McCrispy, "Probably the [worst] chicken sandwich I've ever had. It's just a regular chicken filet with a 'spicy' sauce on it."

"[It] was a chicken brick with a few drops of sauce and 38,000 metric tons of shredded lettuce that went all over my car as soon as I opened the sandwich box," recalled another non-fan. The fact that McDonald's may be the cheapest option on this list seems to be its only positive quality. As this Redditor warned, "Anyone with a mouth and taste buds would go to McDonald's last for a crispy chicken sandwich."

13. Hardee's

Narrowly skirting the bottom on this list, Hardee's hits the 13th spot thanks to getting much less press than McDonald's. Flying under the radar seems to be working for the Hardee's Hand-Breaded Chicken Sandwich, which offers nothing special beyond its crispy, buttermilk fried chicken, pickles, and mayo, on a potato bun. This Redditor shared, "Hardee's chicken strips are good but the sandwich is so disappointing."

While some fans remembered better sandwich versions of days gone by, the current situation seems a little lackluster. "The texture of the chicken was weird, I couldn't stop thinking it was raw," recalled a diner, adding. "The chicken and breading had zero flavor. Soooo much mayonnaise and the chicken was way smaller than the bun. 1 out of 5 stars." Perhaps the chain is just a shadow of its former glory days. 

12. Raising Cane's

Chicken finger chain Raising Cane's earned its stripes back in the '90s with marinated, hand-battered chicken. But not everyone appears to be on board with the sandwich that features those signature tenders.

With three crispy chicken fingers, lettuce, and Cane's Sauce on a lightly toasted sesame seed bun, the sandwich appears to be built for a win. Even so, the internet does not abide. "Raising Canes is pretty f***ing bad. Might not be the absolute worst, but for being a chicken only chain it's atrocious," posted a Reddit user. Another complained about the small portions and bad quality. 

Many pointed to the Cane's Sauce for being the reason for the brand's popularity, with one person explaining, "Pretty much everyone I know says the chicken there is merely a delivery mechanism for the sauce." Others complained about rising prices and smaller portions, and one diner said Raising Cane's is overrated. 

11. Burger King

Burger King's been keeping it classic with its Original Chicken sandwich, since 1979. But it seems that the OG breaded chicken, lettuce, and creamy mayo on a toasted sesame bun is no longer enough to compete on the chicken sandwich scene.

Hoping to walk away unscathed, a lucky Reddit survivor described it saying, "Chicken tasted stale and awful, almost sour. Lettuce damn near wilted. Had to pray that I won't get something." While others lamented the loss of the late, great Burger King Tendercrisp sandwich, someone else described the OG, writing, "It was so SALTY I didn't bother trying to put barbecue sauce on it like I'd intended which made the experience more disappointing."

With the lettuce apparently taking down the ship, the only condiment wasn't winning any fans, either. One post read, "It was like someone had emptied a jar of mayo on it, horribly wilted lettuce, and tasteless, thin chicken. I tossed it, just ate some fries; which were also terrible."  

10. Wendy's

If you suddenly feel a glimmer of chick'wich hope, you might be driving by Wendy's. As of summer 2024, the chain is slinging seven chicken sandwich variations, but each of them has a target on its back (or foil wrapper). Enter a subreddit titled "The chicken sandwiches are pure trash." We'll let the commenters take it from there.

Noting tough, white meat chicken, the original poster complained that the chicken sandwich is super hard. On other subs, users agreed. "Wendy's burgers and fries are indeed legit. Everything else, inedible," posted a beef patty fan.

Along with more than a handful of rants about the declining quality of the chicken over the years, one former loyalist wrote, "Now it's always soggy and feels like rubber when you bite into it. Hard pass now, so disappointing." 

9. Jack In The Box

For a slightly better offering than its predecessors, we have Jack In The Box. Despite the so-called unpopular opinions on the internet praising the chain's late night chicken situation, not even Jack's Good Good Sauce can save its Cluck Sandwich.

"I had no expectations going in, and I was still disappointed," wrote a Redditor, of the crispy white meat filet, pickles, and sauce, on a toasted brioche bun. With others claiming it wasn't worth the higher price compared to other chains, someone else added, "It was tiny compared to Popeyes or Chick-fil-A ... Beyond that, the chicken didn't have much flavor and was kinda dry. And the sauce is disgusting." (That doesn't sound Good Good at all.)

On a post featuring a Cluck Sandwich with just a quarter-sized squirt of sauce under the bun, a disappointed customer pegged the problem with the chain, suggesting, "I feel like Jack in the Box is notorious for having really good marketing with delicious looking food that never lives up to the hype."

8. Dave's Hot Chicken

Well, we can't talk about a hot chicken joint without ranking its hottest chicken sandwich. And at Dave's Hot Chicken, the most blazin' thing on the menu is the chicken tender slider set to maximum Reaper heat. (It's so hot, you might even have to sign a waiver to eat it, depending on the location.) Even though it's meant to destroy the surface of your tongue, some people still claim it doesn't pack enough heat.

Fully overpowering the kale slaw, pickles, Dave's sauce, and bun that it comes with, Dave's Hot Chicken Reaper slider has taken down many a courageous spicy food lover. But it has also underwhelmed the same crowd on other occasions. Citing inconsistent orders at the same location, one Redditor posted, "I call it, 'Reaper Roulette' ... You're either underwhelmed, or don't sleep because it feels like a ball of lava is working its way through your guts for the next 6 hours."  

For the general population, the Reaper could taste overwhelmingly hot. At least, as this person shared, "I'd say it's right past the line of 'too hot to be truly enjoyable as a meal' for me. If it were a bit less spicy it would be perfect."

7. Bojangles

Launched back in 1977, Carolina-based Bojangles serves up Cajun chicken, Southern biscuits, and tea at every single one of its 824 locations and counting. But while some people love the Bo's Chicken Sandwich that made its debut in 2021, others definitely do not.

One Redditor recalled, "It was just 'meh'. Dry chicken and the spice overpowers the other flavors." Someone else added, "Also, the mayo and pickles did nothing for it. The pickles were actually too squishy."

Another user said it doesn't stand up to a Chick-fil-A chicken sandwich. Still, one customer flipped the script a little by posting, "It's pretty solid, but doesn't really add much to the chicken sandwich universe." If you live near a Bojangles (one of the "good Bojangles" of this reportedly inconsistent chain), this chicken sandwich just might be worth a bite or two.

6. Zaxby's

Zaxby's holds onto the sixth position, with very mixed reviews. Launched back in 1990, the chain serves up breaded chicken filet on its Spicy Signature Sandwich — complete with Spicy Zax Sauce, which seems to be its saving grace.

Zaxby's assembles their rendition on a classic potato bun, with pickle chips and the chain's proprietary Spicy Zax Sauce, which appears to be a heat-packing mayo-based fry sauce. Ranking the sandwich just under a 10 out of 10, one Redditor recalled, "The spicy Zax sauce they created specifically for this bad boy is awesome. Pickles and bun are almost as good as Popeyes, and the star of the show was moist, juicy, and crispy as hell ... Loved it." Another shared, "I thoroughly enjoy the Zaxby's spicy signature sandwich myself."

Alas, that was the end of the pep rally. A third person chimed in and said Zaxby's is flavorless and average. On another thread, someone wrote, "Zaxby's managed to taste like a frozen chicken breast. No crunch or flavor." It was a blow, for a chain that started because of its chicken. Still, there was one person left to offer an olive branch, posting, "I do love the spicy Zax sauce though."

5. Culver's

With locations dotting 26 states in the central and southeast United States, long-distance fans might have to plan a road trip for this one. Culver's Spicy Crispy Chicken sandwich comes fully loaded with lettuce, tomato, and pickles on a toasted Kaiser bun. "Best spicy chicken sandwich I have ever had," wrote one Reddit super fan.

Crunchy, Southern-style breading gets its flavor from onions, garlic, and a little cayenne — plus a four-pepper spice blend for some tasty heat. It made its debut in 2018 as a limited edition item, with more than one customer asking, "Is this mofo really only 'for a limited time'? I don't know what I will do without this in my life." Thanks to a stellar first impression, the Spicy Crispy Chicken became a regular on the menu.

Culver's sources its chicken from local farms where animals are humanely raised on a vegetarian diet without hormones or antibiotics. That might be the reason behind why this chicken sandwich tastes so good without even a schmear of mayo in sight. Still, you can top it off with Culver's signature sauce which just so happens to go really well with chicken.

4. Shake Shack

From the chain that market-tests everything on its menu — down to its nostalgic (never fresh, always frozen) crinkle-cut fries — we'd expect the same meticulous attention to be paid to its chicken sandwich offering. Behold, the Chicken Shack. (It's so good, it happens to be Ina Garten's go-to when she doesn't feel like cooking.)

The chain proudly reminds customers that its chicken sandwich is available any day of the week — a friendly dig at Chick-fil-A which is famously closed on Sundays. Featuring tender, white meat chicken breast served on a springy potato bun with pickles, lettuce, and buttermilk herb mayonnaise, one fan on Reddit loved it, saying, "Chicken Shack claps hard."

Another diner urged people to get the bacon cheese fries if they're extra hungry." Someone else confirmed, "Chick'n Shack was one of the best things I've ever had in my life." But the gauntlet was thrown with this comment, "The Chicken Shack pretty much wins the chicken sandwich wars." 

3. KFC

Okay, we can't even with the on-again, off-again, bun-less, dual chicken-stacked phenom: the KFC Double Down. So, for the purposes of this ranking, we're sticking to the standard KFC menu for the finger-lickin' third best fast food chicken sandwich you can get.

While Canadian KFC-ers call it the KFC Spicy Famous Chicken chicken sandwich, fans dining in the United States market know it as the KFC Spicy Chicken sandwich. With both the spicy version and the classic getting top marks, customers love the double-breaded, extra crispy, white-meat chicken, crunchy pickles, spicy sauce, or Colonel's mayo, all tucked into a toasted brioche bun. One Redditor posted, "I tried the KFC Spicy Famous Chicken Chicken Sandwich for the first time and I've now had three in four days. This sandwich is mind bogglingly good."

Dependability from shop to shop seems to be part of what keeps KFC's chicken sandwich at the front of the pack, with another user writing, "KFC is more consistently best from restaurant to restaurant." Someone else strummed the internet's heartstrings, musing: "My heart will always belong to KFC. It was a huge treat for us growing up. Usually meant mom and dad were going out and we'd get a babysitter!"

2. Popeyes

Trailing the top spot by the mere length of a Cajun french fry, Popeyes stays hot on the heels of our #1 pick by leveraging TikTok trends like "girl dinner" and locking in limited-time favorites like wings, for the permanent menu. But when it comes to their chicken sandwiches, people are really feeling some things.

A Reddit sub titled "Popeyes has the worst chicken sandwich" was swarmed with fans speaking out on behalf of the Spicy Chicken and Classic Chicken sandwiches. Both versions feature Popeyes hand-battered, buttermilk, crispy-fried chicken breast; a toasted brioche bun; pickles; and mayo, with the spicy version getting a seasoned mayo that packs a little heat. "I happen to LOVEEE Popeyes chicken sandwich and its #1 to me! I like the spicy with pickles!" posted one happy customer. Another compared it to McDonald's chicken sandwich, writing, "Popeyes chicken patty is crispy, 4x larger and typically fresh not to mention that spicy mayo is made fresh in house."

It's not quite the most popular sandwich out there — yet. But ever since the Popeyes chicken sandwich debuted and sold out within days, back in 2019, fans have been fueling the fire as this chicken chain takes aim at the championship title.

1. Chick-fil-A

You don't mess with the best! Chick-fil-A's cult-status chicken sandwiches dominate the competition. "Chick-fil-A. It's not even close," declared one Reddit fan. It's such a consistent market leader, even those who no longer partake in this particular chicken still name it as their top pick.

Praise typically goes to the Spicy Chicken and "regular" Chick-fil-A chicken sandwiches. With a buttery toasted bun, dill pickles, and a tender, freshly breaded chicken breast, there's no knocking this chain out of first place. "My favorite is a spicy sandwich with extra pickles and cheese sauce," posted one northeast-based fan, with an employee adding, "My always [go-to's] are the regular CFA sandwich, with just pickles & Mayo on it. Nothing else. It's so good that way."

Some fans cross the figurative picket line when it comes to the brand's well-publicized mission. "I'm a member of the LGBT community," posted one Redditor who isn't sticking around just for the chicken. "I love Chick-fil-A. I love the app, the people are always sweet as can be ... You guys are good people in my book, our personal or religious beliefs shouldn't come in the way of that." If you magically have any leftovers, Chick-Fil-A has a recipe for that so you won't waste a bite.

How we ranked these fast food chicken sandwiches

When you want real thoughts from the people of the internet, you go deep into the Redditverse. (It was dark, and there were thin, crumpled napkins.) There, we entered a world full of purists, loyalists, and restaurant staffers battling it out over contentious topics like, "Why anyone would buy a chicken sandwich with lettuce on it — because that's a salad." (We may never know the truth.)

But hidden among the rants were tiny gems that we plucked for this ranking. Those honest reviews, perspectives, and opinions are featured here. And if this whole thing made you as hungry as we were, nothing completes a fast food chicken sandwich order like a smooth, creamy milkshake on the side.