An order of chicken nuggets certainly brings back the nostalgia of childhood. Yet that crispy outside and tender, juicy inside still makes them a fast-food favorite for adults.
Like fast-food french fries, it’s hard to resist a good chicken nugget. We tried eight of the most popular fast-food nugs and analyzed each order based on the tastiness of the chicken as well as the signature crisp outer coating. To really judge the value of the meal, we also took into account the price and serving size of the nuggets.
Let’s see how your favorite fast-food chicken nuggets measure up to our rankings!
An order of the classic McDonald’s chicken nuggets are small, but that makes them perfect for little hands. Of course, adults still enjoy them too—especially now that adult Happy Meals are on the menu. However, these chicken nuggets didn’t rank high for us because the flavor felt the most processed out of the ones tested. Also, with a four-piece coming in at $2.19, a rival fast food joint offered more value.
7. Burger King
Burger King was next on our list. Here you can purchase eight pieces for $1.99. That’s double the nuggets offered from McDonald’s for about the same price. These nuggets are also quite small, so eight pieces can be gobbled up quickly. I appreciated that Burger King nuggets arrived hot and fresh from the fryer. However, the thin breading and processed chicken is reminiscent of frozen chicken nuggets from the grocery store. As an added bonus, Burger King chicken sandwiches are always a delicious option.
At Wendy’s, a four-piece chicken nugget order is $1.84. Again, these are smaller nuggets so while they could be a meal for younger kids, adults might find this to be more of a snack size. Wendy’s chicken nuggets have a pleasant crispness to the coating, which makes these rank higher than Burger King and McDonald’s, but there is still a more processed taste to the meat.
The chicken nuggets at Chick-Fil-A are clearly made with fresh chicken, and they have a nice breading on the outside. The nuggets in the eight piece box are quite small, though. In fact, I’d be more likely to call them popcorn chicken rather than chicken nuggets. That being said, these tender and juicy pieces of fresh chicken are the perfect sizes for little hands. We would have liked a bit more seasoning, but since Chick-Fil-A offers a wide variety of dipping sauces, there are still a lot of options for flavor.
An order of chicken nuggets from KFC comes in around $7 for three pieces. Don’t be deterred by the price because these pieces are very sizeable and are more like chicken fingers than nuggets. They are heavily breaded with their signature seasoning, so the outside is very crisp and flavorful. Also, these are made from pieces of fresh chicken breast (yum!), rather than a processed and formed meat. We did find that the chicken was slightly overcooked, making it less tender and more rubbery than fellow nuggets.
At Popeye’s a 4-piece order of chicken nuggets comes in at $3.28. This is the middle of the road price-wise for average size nuggets. If you like a really hearty breading with incredible crunch, this is for you. While it was definitely delicious, we found it almost overwhelmed the chicken. The chicken itself was very pleasantly juicy and enjoyable; we just wanted it to be the star rather than the coating.
Wingstop offers four large pieces of chicken for $7.89. If you are hungry, this is definitely more food than Culver’s or KFC offered for around the same price. This order is decidedly a meal, not a snack, and it felt like something crafted for adults rather than something from the kid’s menu.
We enjoyed the substantial breading, fresh chicken and endless choices for sauces here at Wingstop. They offer really interesting sauce and dip combinations to introduce even the pickiest of palates to exciting global flavors. Again, these chicken pieces were more like fingers rather than nuggets. With such fantastic chicken flavor, these felt more like a dish that could be ordered from a sit down restaurant, rather than a fast-food joint.
After everything was said and done, Culver’s ranked the highest on our list for fast-food chicken nuggets. Here, the chicken pieces are fresh tasting, as well as perfectly tender and juicy. The well-seasoned breading is perfectly peppery and the ratio of breading to chicken is spot-on. The crisp coating is thin enough that it doesn’t overwhelm the chicken, but flavorful enough to still be a real standout. The pieces are substantial in size, so a four-piece order still felt like a satisfying meal.