14 Popular Chick-Fil-A Menu Items Ranked Worst To Best

Chick-fil-A may be best known for fried chicken sandwiches, but the chain serves a wide variety of menu items, from breakfast foods to frozen desserts. As is the case for pretty much any restaurant with a long menu, some of the dishes are executed much more deftly than others. As a dedicated fast food explorer, I made it my mission to stray from my Chick-fil-A comfort zone and try a range of dishes from every section of the chain's menu. Most were good, several were great, and a couple were downright bad. I present my findings below, ranked from worst to first.

When rating each dish, I primarily focused on its flavor. I also factored in nutrition and quality relative to other fast food places in some of my evaluations. Some of my favorites were in Chick-fil-A's fried chicken wheelhouse, but a couple of surprising candidates performed well too. With that said, let's dig in and learn more about the best (and worst) items that Chick-fil-A has to offer.

14. Grilled Chicken Club

As good as Chick-fil-A is at frying chicken, it's just as bad at grilling it, at least based on the two grilled chicken items I tried for this taste test. The Grilled Chicken Club earned its last-place finish by being irredeemably dry. The chicken was drastically overcooked, and none of the toppings helped it out in the moisture department at all. It was also much less well-seasoned than the fried chicken — why is it that restaurants seem to believe that if you want something grilled rather than fried, you also want it to be bland?

The chicken breast was topped with Colby Jack cheese that tasted like nothing as well as some useless lettuce and tomato. The bacon added some crispiness and salt, but nothing else of note. The disappointing package was wrapped in a multigrain bun that was fine, but worse than the chain's standard buns. But at least since the sandwich isn't fried, it's healthier, right? Wrong! The Grilled Chicken Club has 100 more calories than the chain's flagship chicken sandwich. Avoid it at all costs.

13. Cool Wrap

It was hard for me to pick which grilled chicken item was worse, as the Cool Wrap made me almost as angry as the Grilled Chicken Club. This menu item consists of chopped grilled chicken breast, shredded cheese, and lettuce wrapped in a flaxseed tortilla. Biting into it was trippy, as it almost had negative flavor. It was like eating tap water. It also didn't seem particularly fresh — the tortilla and lettuce were soggy enough that I suspected the wrap had been made earlier that day and just left to chill sitting in a fridge. Like the club, the wrap is more calorie-dense than the restaurant's classic fried chicken sandwich — 220 calories more, to be precise.

Two things saved the Cool Wrap from the bottom spot on this ranking. First, the shredded grilled chicken seemed less dry than the whole piece inside the Grilled Chicken Club. Second, and most importantly, the avocado lime ranch dressing that came with the wrap was legitimately amazing. It was a creamy, savory condiment with just a hint of acidity and plenty of salt and cumin. Adding it to the wrap made it tolerable because the dressing was all you tasted. Of course, the dressing would have been even better if it was paired with food with actual flavor.

12. Lemonade

I admit it might be controversial to rank the restaurant's lemonade so low. Lots of people love Chick-fil-A's lemonade, which is made with real lemons and cane sugar, but it's just too intense for me. Some people like their lemonade on the sweeter side, while others prefer it sour, and it's like Chick-fil-A tried to please both groups of people by making its lemonade too sugary and too acidic at the same time. I could tell that the drink was made with actual fruit because the cup I sampled had a lot of pulp in it, which was a bit bizarre — I like pulp in orange juice, but I prefer my lemonade to be chunk-free.

I will say that Chick-fil-A lemonade is delicious if you take it home and water it down; it's almost like a lemonade concentrate. But as it's sold in the store, I have a hard time taking more than a few sips. It also contains 270 calories and 63 grams of sugar, so it's not exactly diet-friendly.

11. Coffee

While some fast food chains have created full cafe menus full of elaborate coffee drinks in recent years, Chick-fil-A has kept its coffee offerings simple. You can buy two kinds of coffee from the restaurant: hot or iced.

Chick-fil-A's hot coffee tasted exactly like you'd expect fast food coffee to taste: not good, but not really bad either. On the plus side, it was freshly brewed, but it was quite weak and had no body or richness to it at all when sipped black. It had slightly more flavor than McDonald's coffee (which I've also tasted recently), but I'm not sure that was a good thing — most of the extra flavor came in the form of unwanted bitterness and acidity. The aftertaste was reminiscent of cardboard. If you're already planning on going to Chick-fil-A for breakfast, you might as well get the coffee, but there are other fast food places I'd go to if all I wanted to buy was coffee.

10. Waffle fries

This might ruffle feathers just as much as my opinion on Chick-fil-A lemonade: I don't understand why anyone likes the chain's waffle fries. Admittedly, in my years of patronizing Chick-fil-A, I have been served good fries a couple of times, but the lackluster batch I ate for this taste test was representative of how these fries usually come out: dry on the inside and soggy on the outside. This is especially criminal when you consider that waffle fries should be crispier than normal fries since they have more surface area. The average Chick-fil-A fry is one of the worst in all of fast food, eclipsed only by In-N-Out's fries.

That said, the waffle fries are still made by deep frying potatoes in oil, so I'd be lying if I told you they tasted bad. In fact, their flavor is quite good. Unlike most fast food fries, they actually taste like potatoes. My most recent order was also well-seasoned, though in my experience, the salt level of these fries is rather inconsistent. The tasty flavor doesn't completely cancel out the textural deficiencies, so these land near the bottom of the list.

9. Nuggets

This is the part of the list where I start complaining a lot less. Chick-fil-A doesn't make a lot of full-on duds; everything from here on out is at least pretty good. The chain's nuggets aren't like most other fast food chicken nuggets. Rather than a mysterious slurry of ground poultry, they're made with chunks of chicken breast that are breaded and deep-fried.

The meat inside the nuggets was remarkably moist, but it seemed slightly underseasoned compared to some of the restaurant's other fried chicken offerings. The breading also wasn't as crispy as I'd like.

My main — and very personal minor — complaint about Chick-fil-A nuggets is that they don't satisfy my chicken nugget cravings. When I eat nuggets, I want the weird reconstituted meat sludge. Being made with real pieces of chicken breast is too fancy — Chick-fil-A nuggets feel more like popcorn chicken than true nuggets. They're still a great option for kids (and the young at heart), but they're my least favorite way to eat fried chicken at Chick-fil-A.

8. Chick-n-Strips

If you're in the market for fried chicken outside of the bun at Chick-fil-A, I'd recommend the Chick-n-Strips over the nuggets. The batch I tasted was moist (though not quite as moist as the nuggets). The breading was significantly crispier than it was on the nuggets, however.

The main factor that put the strips over the nuggets for me was that the Chick-n-Strips were more aggressively seasoned. They were super salty, which I always want in fried food, and it tasted like the seasoning mix also contained onion powder, garlic powder, and black pepper, along with other spices that were harder to identify.

The one area where I found the Chick-n-Strips disappointing was value for money. An order of two cost me $4.25, and since the strips were on the small side, that barely qualified as a snack. For a little over a dollar more, you could get a chicken sandwich and be substantially more full.

7. Market Salad

I went in with low expectations for the Market Salad (who likes fast food salads?) and it exceeded them easily, thus landing a higher ranking than anticipated. The backbone of any salad is the produce, and the fruits and veggies in the Market Salad were high quality. The lettuce was fresh and crisp, the apple was crunchy, and the berries, although they looked a little rough, tasted sweet. This was quite impressive, especially considering I ate this during the dead of winter, when out-of-season berries usually taste like nothing. Sprinkled amongst the veggies and fruits were some crumbles of blue cheese — a bold choice for a fast food restaurant, but a good one. The funky saltiness of blue cheese always works well with sweet ingredients like fruit.

This salad also came with a couple of packets of crunchy toppings that you add in yourself when it's time to eat. The chopped almonds and granola both contributed crunch and extra dimensions of flavor to this surprisingly complex dish. The one part of the salad I didn't love was the apple cider vinaigrette dressing, which was a bit sour for my taste. My palate is sensitive to acidity, though, so it might be perfect for someone else.

6. Vanilla milkshake

Chick-fil-A's soft-serve (which the company calls Icedream, as it doesn't have enough fat to legally be labeled as ice cream) is one of my favorite fast food frozen desserts. It's just about as good as you can get outside of chains like Dairy Queen that specialize in soft-serve.

The vanilla milkshake is the purest way to enjoy Icedream outside of just ordering a cup or cone. You get to experience the light, milky flavor of the dessert absent any distractions. Icedream mostly tastes like dairy, with very mild vanilla notes. It lacks the aftertaste and stodgy texture of lesser fast food ice creams overloaded with chemical thickeners. When blended into a milkshake, it has a perfectly creamy mouthfeel with no ice crystals at all.

The only real knock on the vanilla milkshake is that it's a bit boring. Unless you're a vanilla-only person, you might like the more exciting flavors of a cookies & creme milkshake or a frosted lemonade (which is lemonade blended with Icedream) more.

5. Mac & cheese

Any fried chicken place worth its salt needs to make decent mac & cheese, and Chick-fil-A delivered a side item that easily made it into our top five spot. The cup of mac I bought was filled with pockets of melted cheddar cheese and had browned areas that indicated that it had been baked, just like you would do at home. It was a far cry from the smooth, Kraft-like product being peddled by KFC. The baked bits, in addition to having great flavor, also gave the dish a chewy texture that was quite nice. Flavor-wise, the mac had plenty of salt and tasted like real cheddar rather than processed cheese.

The presence of actual cheddar was likely what made the cheese sauce a bit grainy — nothing melts as smoothly as processed cheese. The other issue was that the noodles were overcooked. I'm fine with the pasta in mac & cheese not being al dente, but these noodles were verging on mushy. However, the flavor was so good that I was willing to overlook the textural defects.

4. Chicken noodle soup

Keeping with the theme of mushy pasta, the egg noodles in the chicken noodle soup were a bit softer than I'd like. In fact, everything in the soup was quite soft, including the chunks of chicken, carrots, and celery. But just like the mac & cheese, I didn't mind the mushiness because everything tasted great. The broth tasted like a mixture of real chicken stock and bouillon — it had the homecooked flavor of chicken stock and the umami kick of a bouillon cube. It was also heavily seasoned with what I'd guess was a mixture of black pepper, salt, onion powder, and garlic powder. I've had fast food soups in the past that were so over-thickened they felt like drinking gravy, but this chicken noodle soup had the perfect texture: thick enough to be substantial, but not gloopy.

I loved how many pieces of vegetables and meat were floating in the soup, too; Chick-fil-A was not stingy with the good bits. This was a comforting, warming bowl of soup I'd happily reach for whenever the weather turned cold or I got sick. It's also a better "healthy" option than the grilled chicken entrees. A bowl contains 280 calories, and it feels like a lot of food.

3. Hash browns

Rather than the large pucks favored by some other fast food chains, the hash browns at Chick-fil-A come in fun bite-sized nuggets, sort of like tater tots. They weren't the crispiest fried potato side I've ever eaten, but they were certainly crunchier and less sad than the waffle fries. The interior of each nugget was fluffy, light, and not excessively greasy.

In terms of taste, the hash browns had all of the good qualities of the waffle fries. They delivered a strong potato flavor and they were confidently seasoned with salt. The seasoning wasn't just on the outside, either — the hash brown tots were salty all the way through.

Since they managed to both taste good and be crispy at the same time, the hash browns were worlds better than the waffle fries. Both their taste and texture locked them a spot in the coveted top three menu items on our list. It's a shame they're only on the breakfast menu, because I'd order them over the fries at any time of day if I could.

2. Spicy chicken biscuit

The spicy chicken from Chick-fil-A tasted similar to the regular fried chicken, but with a bunch of cayenne or some other type of chile powder adding a decent amount of heat. It also seemed slightly sweeter — perhaps the spicy chicken marinade incorporates extra sugar to balance out the heat. Preferences will vary, but I personally liked the spicy chicken a teeny bit more than the regular kind.

Other than the piece of spicy chicken breast, there wasn't much to this breakfast sandwich. It was just a biscuit split in half with chicken in the middle. Despite the aggressive simplicity, it was incredibly delicious and a standout menu item. The biscuit tasted like it was freshly baked. It was super fluffy and not bland at all, with plenty of buttery and salty flavor. I expected this sandwich to be super dry and in need of sauce, but it wasn't — the moisture inside the meat was enough to prevent the biscuit from feeling too dry. It's worth waking up early and getting to Chick-fil-A in the morning just to try this menu item.

1. Chicken sandwich

The fried chicken sandwich is the menu item that Chick-fil-A built its reputation on, and for my money, the restaurant has never been able to come up with anything better than its original offering. It's a study in minimalism: just a breaded chicken breast on a toasted bun with a couple of pickles. For it to be good, each element needs to be amazing — and it is. First, the most important component: the chicken. The chicken breast in my sandwich was incredibly moist and tender — if I didn't know it was white meat, I'd guess that it was chicken thigh because of its succulent texture. It was also heavily seasoned throughout the meat. The wallop of umami flavor in each bite made me suspect MSG was involved, though Chick-fil-A hasn't posted a full ingredient list online, so I can't say that for sure.

The other two components of the sandwich helped the chicken breast sing. The pickles added a little acidity to cut through all the oil and starch, while the toasted bun was the perfect sweet and soft landing pad for the crispy chicken. If you want a more complicated sandwich, you can order a Deluxe with lettuce, tomato, and cheese, but it won't be better than the original.


When selecting the menu items for this review, I tried to pick as wide a variety of entrees as possible: both fried and grilled chicken, different cuts of chicken, and salads and wraps plus sandwiches. In terms of sides and drinks, I went for things that were unique to Chick-fil-A, like the homemade lemonade and distinctive waffle fries.

I tasted most of these dishes (except the breakfast items) back-to-back in one sitting and ranked them based on flavor, texture, and ingredient quality. I noted nutritional value for the items that could be perceived as "healthy," but I didn't weigh that as heavily as the other criteria.