You might remember back in January – KFC took the wraps of their all new chicken sandwich; an attempt to get in on some of the action generated by Popeyes’ now famous sandwich. Indeed the brand launched two sandwiches, both priced the same:
- Classic Chicken Sandwich, $3.99
- Spicy Classic Chicken Sandwich, $3.99
These are currently rolling out around the country and should be on KFC menus everywhere by the end of February 2021. The brand details the sandwiches as featuring, “quarter-pound, all-white meat, double-breaded, “Extra Crispy” chicken breast filet, Brioche bun, Thick Pickles, Real mayo or Spicy Sauce.” This week I spied the sandwiches for the first time at my local KFC here in Salt Lake City. That meant it was time to get to work, and see how they stack up against the best…
Here are shots of both sandwiches, the Classic followed by the Spicy Classic:
Both sandwiches came wrapped in a foil bag, the sandwich itself held in a paper wrapper within. The style and size was very reminiscent of the Popeyes packaging; though the brand does have form here, the previous KFC Colonel came in a foil wrap too. Initial inspection suggested both sandwiches were more or less identical – the only real difference being the type of sauce applied.
Tasting confirmed my suspicions. Whether you go Classic or Spicy this is the same crispy chicken sandwich; the former sees a basic mayo with the latter a spicy version. How spicy? Think a mild mix of sriracha and mayo, fairly timid, but enough to warm the back of the throat. Side note: I’ve yet to taste any spicy fast food dish that really makes my brow sweat. Anyway, what of the sandwich itself?
Going into the tasting I will confess I didn’t expect too much. The brand’s self acclaimed Best Chicken Sandwich Ever launch at the start of the year had me worried; usually when a company throws all that hyperbole around, it’s masking something.
Thankfully I needn’t have worried, this is a very solid chicken sandwich. The crispy batter is arguably the star of the show; KFC clearly threw their energy into this component of the sandwich. The sandwich is bathed in those photo worthy crags and crevices. The batter stays crisp for quite some time and has a good crunch. It also has that unmistakable KFC taste. Whether it’s the brand’s famous secret herbs and spices, or time spent in the fryer with the other fried chicken items – or both – it’s a fun and familiar extra dimension.
The chicken is an all white meat filet which tears and shreds in strands. It wasn’t as processed or seasoned as crazily as some brands. This looks and tastes like chicken. I did have a few ‘weird’ bits that I pulled off and threw mind you, but again I think that more speaks to this being a demonstrable piece of actual chicken. Worthy of note, both sandwiches featured a really thick and hefty piece of chicken; I found myself nodding in approval at both (make sure no one is around when you nod at your sandwich in approval by the way).
The pickles were completely uninspired, frankly I forgot they were there. They weren’t even in the same league as Popeyes Barrel Cured monsters which fizz and zip with acidic punch. The mayo too had a weird off white color, and wasn’t all that appealing to the eye. The bun was a run of the mill brioche but did stand up nicely, never sogging-out.
Of the two, the Classic just lacked something special for want of any real single factor. I found the Spicy Classic much more enjoyable, the extra spice brings that much more fun to proceedings.
So does this wrest the crown of best chicken sandwich from Popeyes? For me, I still hold the Louisiana Kitchen’s product as the best, but KFC’s is a solid attempt; this is a great mid-tier sandwich, that I’d happily order again. And the $3.99 price, well, it’s hard to argue with that at all.
Hi, I’m Stuart, nice to meet you! I’m the founder, writer and wrangler at Gastronomic Salt Lake City, and a former freelance restaurant critic. I’ve worked extensively with local, regional and national food and drink organizations. I’m a multiple-award winning journalist and have been writing about food and drink for more than fifteen years. I’m largely fueled by a critical obsession with rice, alliteration and the use of big words I don’t understand. I don’t mind admitting to a certain secret obsession with fast food as well – and that’s where Menu And Price comes in…