I compared the fried-chicken sandwiches from 4 fast-food chains, and the best was extremely simple

·3 min read
Burger King's Ch'King chicken sandwich on a white wrapper.
Burger King's Ch'King sandwich outshined the rest. Rachel Askinasi/Insider

It came dressed with pickles and without sauce.

A hand holding a McDonald's crispy chicken sandwich with a bite taken out.
McDonald's crispy chicken sandwich. Rachel Askinasi/Insider

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Pickles provided some acidity to this sandwich, but they were thin and small, so their flavor came through only in certain bites.

While I do appreciate the opportunity to choose your own saucy adventure, I believe the flavors of the sandwich would have benefited from something tangy and sweet.

On the left, a bun and chicken fillet from McDonald's crispy chicken sandwich on a white wrapper. On the right, the other bun with two small pickle slices.
An open-faced view of McDonald's crispy chicken sandwich. Rachel Askinasi/Insider

In my opinion, it felt incomplete without sauce.

The breading on Wendy's chicken sandwich wasn't as enjoyable as McDonald's, but it was an overall better sandwich.

A hand holding a Wendy's fried-chicken sandwich with several bites taken out.
Wendy's classic chicken sandwich. Rachel Askinasi/Insider

The golden fry on Wendy's fillet looked like it would be crisp and filled with flavor. Unfortunately, only half of my predictions came true.

It had a flavor similar in sweetness to McDonald's sandwich, but the texture didn't hold up. It wasn't super crispy or crunchy, just a bit limp and soft.

The bun — dark, slightly chewy, light, and fluffy — helped salvage this sandwich.

The addition of pickles, mayo, lettuce, and tomato made it feel and taste more complete.

On the left, a bun from Wendy's fried-chicken sandwich with three small pickle slices and mayo. On the right, a bun with tomato and lettuce.
An open-faced view of Wendy's classic chicken sandwich. Rachel Askinasi/Insider

The three pickles and the tangy mayo offered acidity, and the lettuce and tomato brought freshness.

While this wasn't a perfect sandwich, and it wasn't bursting with flavor in every bite, it did satisfy my craving.

Popeyes' sandwich was by far the soggiest, but the flavors worked well.

Popeyes chicken sandwich
Popeyes' fried chicken sandwich. Rachel Askinasi/Insider

The exterior of the Popeyes sandwich looked like it would be crunchy, but I found it to be squishy and soggy. Some bites were crispy, but those were few and bar between. 

But at least my taste buds found salvation in the super moist and juicy chicken. 

And while the sweet bun added flavor, I thought it didn't hold up to all the butter, mayo, and grease that oozed out of this sandwich. As a result, my sandwich fell apart and became floppy. 

The seasoning in the chicken and the acidity from the pickles pulled the sandwich together.

popeyes fried chicken sandwich
An open-faced view of Popeyes' fried chicken sandwich. Rachel Askinasi/Insider

The creamy mayonnaise complimented the iconic Popeyes flavor profile here.

The pickles added a nice tang and offered a break from the richness of the mayo, butter, and greasy fry. The pickles were also the perfect size to cover a lot of the surface area of the fried fillet.

Altough the flavors were great and worked super well together, the sogginess kept this sandwich from attaining the top spot in this ranking. 

The simplicity and flavor execution of Burger King's sandwich landed it in the top spot.

A hand holding a Burger King fried-chicken sandwich.
Burger King's Ch'King sandwich. Rachel Askinasi/Insider

Visually, this sandwich blew the others out of the water. A large, rippling, golden piece of fried chicken sat between two halves of a sweet bun, topped with two large pickle chips and a tasty sauce.

The fillet had a luxe and crunchy exterior, while the bun was soft and pillowy.

Pickles and sauce enhanced the crunchy texture of the statement-making breading.

On the left, a large fried-chicken fillet and some yellow sauce on a bun of Burger King's Ch'King sandwich. On the left, a bun half with two medium pickle slices and yellow sauce.
An open-faced view of Burger King's Ch'King sandwich. Rachel Askinasi/Insider

A small amount of sauce that tasted like a mix of honey mustard and mayonnaise on both the top and the bottom buns made for a well-rounded flavor experience.

I also appreciated the size of the pickle chips here. They were big enough to cover most of the chicken and ensure a briny bite almost every time — almost.

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