Chicken nuggets are one of those foods that every kid loves. But once we get older, we tend to analyze our food choices a little more, and nuggets are put under the microscope a little. Is that real chicken? How do they get them into star shapes? And which fast food chain serves the best?
Not all fast food chicken nuggets are the same. In fact, quality can vary drastically from chain to chain. In order to see which fast food nugget comes out on top, we took a look at all the preexisting rankings online, because plenty of outlets have conducted taste-tests and come to their own conclusions. Here’s a round-up of all the fast food chicken nugget taste tests that have been conducted to date:
Thrillist sampled 10 fast-food chicken nuggets, and its favorite ones were from Chick-fil-A. “First of all, they were all different sizes, which was actually pleasing to me in its realism; they have that famous Chick-fil-A breading taste, with a solid black and red pepper kick, and the chicken looks delicious and normal when you bite it,” Thrillist said.
Serious Eats put eight chains’ nuggets to the test, and Wendy’s took the crown. “They have the crunchiest coating and the chicken itself is moist, juicy, and flavorful—just what we're looking for,” the outlet said.
BuzzFeed ranked nuggets according to smell, aesthetics, insides, addictiveness, and tastiness, and Carl’s Jr. won out. “Carl’s Jr. has really been stepping up its game in the nugg department,” one taster said. “Fun shapes that offer some pizazz, yummy chicken taste, and pleasant smell.”
The folks at Business Insider sampled nuggets from only four chains — Burger King, Chick-fil-A, McDonald’s, and Wendy’s, and like Thrillist, they also found Chick-fil-A’s to be the best. “Chick-fil-A's simple little nuggets provide the right texture, flavor, and crispy goodness that lead us to believe it has the best chicken nuggets in the game,” they wrote.
This Gawker offshoot pitted Wendy’s, Burger King’s, and McDonald’s offerings against each other, and while none were exactly delicious, the taster “decided to declare Wendy’s the winner of this nugget-off based on the texture of the chicken, the flavor of the casing, and the 33 percent lower price.”
This site tasted Burger King’s and McDonald’s nuggets side by side, and deemed McDonald’s the winner. “McDonald's nuggets have a fluffier consistency, like that of battered, deep-fried fish, and a supple, moist interior,” they wrote.