When I think of fast food, hamburgers always come first to mind. But, over the last few years, these chicken sandwiches pop into my mind when I’m hungry and trying to decide what to eat.
Popeyes Chicken launched what’s popularly called the “Chicken Sandwich Wars” by rolling out a fried chicken sandwich in 2019 and watching customers line up around the block to get one. Their business increased by 38% by packaging their popular fried chicken into a sandwich.
Other fast food chains like Chick-fil-A saw this as an opportunity to make their claim to the original chicken sandwich.
This sparked an all-out battle royale for chicken sandwich dominance as more rival chains like KFC joined the marketing fray.
Ultimately, I think diners won because it gave us a lot of different delicious sandwiches. Check out our favorites below!
This list features the choices I think are the best fast food chicken sandwich offerings available today, from lightly breaded and barely dressed lower calorie meals to double-breaded, crispy-fried options.
Popeyes Chicken Sandwich
The Popeyes Classic Chicken Sandwich is simple but one of my favorites.
They lightly dress it with some spicy mayonnaise and thick pickles so the flavor of the fried chicken can come through.
Popeyes uses a buttery-tasting brioche bun instead of a standard sesame seed bun. This bun gives it a more upscale feel and taste. It’s firmer and holds its shape better than most buns.
Combined with the thick chicken cutlet they fry to crisp perfection, it makes this a sandwich with a bite for 699 calories.
I didn’t wait in line when Popeye’s rolled this option out, but I wished I’d gone sooner when I finally got one.
KFC Chicken Sandwich
I’ve always preferred Popeyes fried chicken to KFC.
But I like KFC enough that sometimes, when I’m in the mood for chicken, I’ll skip the other restaurants and drive a little farther to the nearest KFC.
In my opinion, the best part of this sandwich is how crunchy they fry the chicken.
They let the flavor of the chicken shine through by only using spicy mayo and pickles like Popeyes, but the pickles aren’t as thick, crisp, or sweet. I usually pick them off and enjoy the other flavors.
Check out other popular menu items at KFC while you’re there!
McDonald’s Crispy Chicken Sandwich
McDonald’s version might not be the best fast food chicken sandwich, but it’s delicious.
I didn’t expect McDonald’s Crispy Chicken Sandwich to be better than one from a fast-food chicken restaurant, and I was pleasantly surprised at how good it was.
This sandwich skips the mayo entirely. Butter helps the potato roll toast up crisp, and pickles are the only other dressings on the sandwich.
This southern-fried chicken doesn’t have as much breading as sandwiches at chicken restaurants. But it’s crispy enough with a surprisingly good flavor.
The potato roll is unique and ensures that the sandwich differs from many other fast-food restaurants.
It’s one of my go-to chicken sandwiches when I’m watching my calories because it’s only 470 calories and leaves room for fries.
Chick-fil-A Original Chicken Sandwich
Unlike the relatively new menu options from KFC and Popeyes, Chick-fil-A has made delicious chicken sandwiches for years as an ongoing part of their menu.
Many people claim the Chick-fil-A Chicken Sandwich is the best fast food chicken sandwich, and it ranks among the top choices on my list.
The chicken breast patty is always perfectly seasoned and crispy, though without as much crunch as KFC or Popeyes.
Their use of peanut oil for frying gives the sandwich an excellent flavor. They dress it simply with pickles and give you a choice of a buttered and toasted regular bun or multigrain.
It’s the lowest-calorie chicken sandwich option at 440 calories.
Burger King’s Ch’King Sandwich
The chicken sandwich at burger is crispy and delicious and one of the highest-calorie fast-food chicken options available.
Most chicken sandwiches range between 440 and 800 calories. The Ch’King Sandwich has a whopping 1,245 calories per sandwich.
The hand-breaded chicken patty is large and covered in crispy fried breading, and their signature sauce, which is a seasoned mayo, contributes to the calorie count.
They use a potato bun and add pickles, and you can order the deluxe version with lettuce and tomatoes, which is my favorite way to enjoy the sandwich.
Church’s Chicken Chicken Sandwich
Church’s Chicken has served fried chicken to hungry diners for over 60 years.
They added this sandwich in 2020 after Popeyes added a sandwich and revitalized their business.
Church’s Chicken Sandwich has a unique honey-butter toasted cross-cut bun that adds a touch of sweetness I like. If you love chicken and waffles, you’ll appreciate the touch the honey butter gives to the sandwich.
You can choose between regular or spicy mayo, and of course, the sandwich comes with pickles.
The nutrition value of this sandwich compares to Popeyes and KFC, with 651 calories per sandwich.
Wendy’s Classic Chicken Sandwich
I don’t get to visit a Wendy’s often, but I usually get this Wendy’s Classic Chicken Sandwich when I do.
The light breading helps keep the calories under 500, so it’s a good choice for people who watch their intake.
It lacks the crunch of a thickly breaded chicken patty, but it’s still delicious. Standard toppings like mayo and pickles dress the sandwich.
Wendy’s goes above other restaurants by adding crisp lettuce, which I wish other fast-food restaurants would do.
The lettuce provides a fresh crunch to balance the heavier mayo and fried breading. A toasted bun tops it off.
Zaxby’s chicken sandwich
For just under 800 calories, I love a Zaxby’s Chicken Sandwich. They double-bread the juicy, white-meat chicken filet, so you get tons of crunch in every bite.
Zaxby’s uses a buttery-tasting toasted potato bun and includes crisp pickle slices.
You get to choose between their regular or spicy Zax sauce, which reminds me of Burger King’s sauce with slightly more flavor and kick.
This item is one of the best fast-food chicken sandwich offerings I’ve tried, and like many others, it appeared in 2020 after Popeyes threw down the gauntlet. Check out Zaxby’s other popular items.
Checkers/Rally’s Mother Cruncher Sandwich
Checkers (also still called Rally’s in many locations) has some of the most fun sandwiches to order.
I enjoy driving up and asking for a Big Buford or a Mother Cruncher Sandwich.
This chicken doesn’t have the thick, crunchy breading you get at some other restaurants. It fits the bill when you want something lightly coated but still crispy.
The sandwich comes with their signature creamy Squawk Sauce and pickles, but they also add shredded iceberg lettuce and tomato slices, which help set it apart and give it a balanced flavor and texture.
All the delicious ingredients that come to just under 700 calories come on a toasted bakery-style bun.
Shake Shack’s Chick’n Shack
The Chick’n Shack sandwich from Shake Shack appeared years before many fast-food chicken sandwiches in 2015.
They don’t try to hide their mayo dressing by giving it a fancy name, and the herbed buttermilk flavor is unique among fast-food sandwiches.
Shake Shack also adds crispy lettuce to their sandwich with pickles, which gives it a fresh and balanced taste.
They advertise that the chicken they use for their sandwiches is all-natural and raised without antibiotics.
I love Shake Shack’s burgers and shakes, but I’m not surprised this delicious sandwich ranks in its top eight for popularity.
Raising Cane’s The Sandwich
Raising Cane’s is a chicken finger fast food restaurant. The Sandwich is made from three of their premium marinated, breaded, and fried chicken tenderloins.
One of the unique selling points of the restaurant’s chicken is the freshness. They hand-bread chicken as orders come in, so you don’t get something that’s been under a heat lamp or in a warmer.
Everything at Raising Cane’s, including this sandwich, is cooked to order.
They dress this sandwich with their Cane’s Sauce and add lettuce, which I always enjoy with fried chicken, especially when it’s in the higher calorie range at 840.
The addition of fresh lettuce makes it feel much less heavy, even if it doesn’t affect the calories.
Arby’s Crispy Chicken Sandwich
The chicken is breaded and crunchy, and they add the lettuce and tomato I love on a chicken sandwich.
These additions help balance out the peppery flavor of the breading that tastes similar to a McChicken but with a crispier breading and juicier chicken filet.
They go light on the mayo and skip the pickle found on every other fast-food chicken offering.
I like this sandwich when I want a mid-range calorie option (it has 540) and want to pair it with Arby’s great curly fries.
I usually don’t worry about calories when choosing between the best fast food chicken sandwich options and instead pick the one I’m craving the most.
It breaks up the monotony of always ordering burgers when I drive through. And though I love a three-piece meal with biscuits or buns, a chicken sandwich is easier to eat on the go with less mess.
I hope you’ve found a new sandwich to try on this list or remembered an old favorite that you haven’t ordered in a while. I always find choosing which sandwich to eat that day the hardest part.