We aren’t sure at what point we became so actively involved in the “chicken sandwich wars,” but somehow in our literary pursuit, we ended up here. Chicken sandwich wars have been heating up, with even Taco Bell entering the race for chicken sandwich supremacy, according to a CNN article. So, of course, in this crucial week for the fast-food industry, we are ready to eat. Backing up a little bit, on Feb. 17, Wendy’s released its new Jalapeno Popper Chicken Sandwich (you can read our review of it here), which was done in response to McDonald’s finally releasing a new chicken sandwich (three in fact).
On Feb. 24, McDonald’s released three new chicken sandwiches: a Crispy Chicken Sandwich, Deluxe Crispy Chicken Sandwich and Spicy Crispy Chicken Sandwich, costing $4.29, $4.99 and $4.49, respectively. The Crispy Chicken Sandwich is “southern style fried chicken … topped with crinkle-cut pickles and served on a new toasted, buttered potato roll,” according to their website. The Deluxe Crispy Chicken Sandwich is the same as the regular, except it is also topped with tomatoes, lettuce and mayo. The Spicy Crispy Chicken Sandwich is the same as the Crispy Chicken Sandwich, except it is also topped with their “new spicy pepper sauce topping,” according to their website. We both tried all of the sandwiches.
As noted above, the Crispy Chicken Sandwich is a sandwich consisting of fried chicken and pickles. Hopefully, I do not have to say this, but this is an amazingly boring sandwich. No mayonnaise, no lettuce, no tomatoes and absolutely nothing unique about this sandwich to make it stand out from a Chick-fil-A or another fast food chicken sandwich. However, with that being said, this is a definitive upgrade from the McChicken, which was so terrible that it was probably one of the only foods that I have refused to finish since I was a child. The crispy chicken sandwich was significantly more juicy, flavorful and less artificial-tasting than the McChicken, and with that, I will give it a six out of 10.
The Deluxe Crispy Chicken Sandwich was an upgrade from their regular crispy sandwich, featuring toppings such as mayonnaise, lettuce and tomatoes. However, other than that, this sandwich was still relatively non-unique. With that being said, I have the same opinion of it as I did for the Crispy Chicken Sandwich: the patty was juicy and flavorful, and all of the toppings came together wonderfully to make a good old regular chicken sandwich. This one gets a seven out of 10 from me.
Now finally, the Spicy Crispy Chicken Sandwich. I would dare say that this was the only unique sandwich on the menu that stood out from other fast food chicken sandwiches for one special reason: the sauce. Now, yes, it is certainly a little weird that the ONLY difference between the Crispy Chicken Sandwich and the Spicy Crispy Chicken Sandwich was this sauce, but it was definitely a nice sauce that added a much-needed flare to the original sandwich. The sauce was spicy, flavorful and complemented the pickles very well. In fact, one of my main criticisms of the sandwich is that it could have used double the sauce! The Spicy Crispy Chicken Sandwich gets a 7.5 out of 10 and is probably the only sandwich that I would buy again due to the unique sauce!
Before now, McDonald’s had only one chicken sandwich: the McChicken, a sandwich I used to enjoy back home in Ukraine. In the States, I’ve only had it twice, and let’s just say I was not a fan, so I was skeptical of the new sandwiches. I also came into this with a bias: I really like the Wendy’s chicken sandwiches and have had bad experiences with the McChicken.
Let me start off by saying that I inherently dislike chicken sandwiches that are just bread, chicken and pickles. I do not think that can even qualify as a proper sandwich, it has so little toppings. I have this issue with the Chick-fil-A and most other chains, and I think this is also largely why I prefer Wendy’s. I also really do not enjoy the combination of the chicken and pickles. I like them both separately, but they just do not work together. I also find it funny how the sandwich that actually has toppings is considered deluxe. Sorry, I don’t think having only one topping on a sandwich is normal.
Anyway, the Crispy Chicken Sandwich was nothing impressive. Most of the bites I took from it were literally nothing but chicken and bread, with the occasional pickle intervention, which I don’t even like. In terms of a regular chicken sandwich (or rather the two pieces of bread and chicken), I guess it was okay. It wasn’t anything too special, but I have to say the bun was actually pretty good. Honestly, it was probably the best part of the sandwich. Overall, it was nothing impressive, so I would rate it a six, at most, out of 10.
The Deluxe Crispy Chicken Sandwich was the freshest sandwich of the three, and it actually had toppings, which was nice. Unfortunately, it was also nothing special: it felt like a less crispy version of the Wendy’s sandwich. I also hate the way McDonald’s does lettuce: Why, just why, does it have to be shredded? All it does is make eating it messy and difficult. The lettuce keeps falling out (and it’s drenched in mayo, which makes it infinitely worse) until all the lettuce is on the sandwich box instead of your meal. Why can’t they just give us whole pieces of lettuce? Ugh. Other than that it was just okay, nothing special. Overall, I would rate it a seven out of 10.
The Spicy Crispy Chicken Sandwich was the best of the bunch, but it was more like the best of the worst. I’m sorry, but why exactly is the difference between the “spicy” sandwich and the regular sandwich just a sauce on top? That just sounds like a scam. The chicken is the same on all the sandwiches, and even though it was pretty good, I would still prefer more variety in terms of meat choice. Speaking of the sauce, it was actually pretty good, I just wish there was more of it. In bites where there was sauce, it was actually a pretty good sandwich, despite the lack of toppings. But the bites without the sauce, it was as bland as the regular sandwich. The only spicy thing about this sandwich is its name. I feel like I always complain that things are spicy enough, but this time I actually felt no heat. Nothing. The sauce added a nice flavor but it straight up wasn’t spicy (I see how people can consider their spicy nuggets spicy, but not this). Overall, I think this sandwich has potential to be great, and I would rate it a 7.25 out of 10. It just needs more heat. And sauce.
Overall, McDonald’s has drastically improved its chicken game, however it is still a novice in the chicken sandwich game. They came out with three decent sandwiches, but none of them can compete with the sandwiches that are already on the market. And dare we say, Wendy’s definitely stole the spotlight of this release.