A Definitive Ranking of Fast Food Chicken Nuggets
Not all chicken nuggets are alike.
In fact, a quick tour of our favorite fast food restaurants will review nuggets of all shapes, sizes and qualities. Which ones are the very best, and the very worst? Scroll through our definitive ranking below to find out.
9. Jack in the Box Chicken Nuggets
We really enjoy Jack in the Box's chicken nuggets, speaking to the strength of every nugget on this list. It's just tough to mess up a nugget. This one has a nice, crunchy coating with a lot of flavor, but the dense chicken inside tastes slightly off to us. But even if you're not into the funky aftertaste, you can mask it under Jack in the Box's delicious barbecue and still enjoy them.
8. Carl's Jr. Chicken Stars
Carl's Jr's chicken stars are probably the closest thing in fast food to the nuggets that you can find in the freezer aisle at the grocery store—not that we're complaining. It's got a breadcrumby texture with a crumbly chicken interior and just the right amount of salt. Plus, the five-point design makes them extra dippable.
7. Burger King Chicken Nuggets
We tend to indulge in Burger King's nuggets when they have their 10 nuggets for $1.49 deal, which is tough to beat. On top of that, they have a crispy, peppery breading with a nice bite. The chicken inside isn't anything special, but it still tastes good overall. Unfortunately, we have to deduct a couple of points because the Burger King dipping sauces aren't our favorites.
6. Sonic's Jumbo Popcorn Chicken
This is the first product on our list that's made with nice chunks of chicken breast, rather than the ground stuff you find in most nuggets. The thick, crispy chicken is nicely seasoned, but the chicken itself is a little bland. Still, that makes them perfect for dipping.
5. Wendy's Chicken Nuggets
Wendy's chicken nuggets are made up with all white meat and have a crunchy breading that has just the right amount of salt and spice. Plus, we love that they're always super consistent, with a delectably moist interior. They're even better dipped in Wendy's tasty, smoky barbecue sauce somehow makes them even better.
4. Popeye's Chicken Nuggets
Fried chicken restaurants know how to do nuggets right. These ones are made of real, juicy chicken breast, surrounded by a thick layer of Popeye's classic breading. They're not quite as crispy as you'd expect based on their appearance, but they still have a satisfying crunch.
3. McDonald's Chicken McNuggets
McDonald's practically invented the chicken nugget, setting the gold standard for fast food chicken. The coating is light and tempura-like, with just the right amount of crunch. It's not particularly chicken-like on the inside, but the overall effect just works. Above all, these nuggets are extremely consistent, and they're elevated by a nice choice of complementary sauces.
2. KFC Popcorn Nuggets
KFC's popcorn nuggets are made with real chunks of chicken breast that pull apart beautifully when you bite into them, and have a thick, bready coating with just the right amount of crunch. In a box, you also get a lot of variation between huge pieces of chicken and tiny ones that are mostly breading—but both are delicious. The breading is flavored well with KFC's classic blend of herbs and spices, and they come in big boxes. You can never accuse KFC of skimping on the popcorn nuggets.
1. Chick-fil-A Nuggets
All chicken nuggets should aspire to be Chick-fil-A nuggets. Rather than being a traditional fast food nugget or fried chicken in disguise, they're their own invention entirely. They're nice chunks of chicken breast in a thin, wonderfully fried batter. They're crispy where they should be, leaving the chicken tender and juicy inside. Plus, Chick-fil-A offers a bigger variety of dipping sauces than anybody else, making them the most versatile of all the nuggets.
If you agree with our No.1, click HERE for a definitive ranking of Chick-fil-A's dipping sauces.