Wendy's Spicy Chicken Nuggets Vs. Burger King Spicy Chicken Fries: Who Does It Better?

Wendy's has long held the title of best fast food chain for spicy chicken nuggets. The similar nuggets that rotate in and out of availability at McDonald's don't hold a candle in texture or flavor, and most other fast food brands only offer a hot chicken variety as a sandwich. That is, until lo and behold, Burger King announced that things are soon heating up for its chicken handhelds — iconically in fry shape and form rather than a nugget. Wendy's spicy chicken nuggets finally have a competitor, but are they a worthwhile competitor?

Burger King's spicy chicken fries rolled out in early March. We had to try them out for ourselves, and put them to the test against the OG spicy chicken nugget from Wendy's. Which fast food chain gives us the better spicy chicken? Between overall flavor, spice, and texture, here's everything to know about the superior spicy chicken. 

Which chicken is more flavorful?

The heat level of each chicken is certainly important, but what about the taste behind it? Putting aside the actual spiciness of each nugget, we wanted to carefully consider the taste of each chicken's breading. The Burger King spicy chicken fries are definitely more robustly-seasoned than the nuggets from Wendy's. In the BK fries, we were able to pick up on tastes like black pepper, garlic, onion, and paprika, while Wendy's nuggets didn't deliver well on any flavors outside of the spice. 

Compared to the traditional Burger King chicken fries, we found the flavor of these spicy ones to be much more balanced. The heat cuts down on some of the heavily-seasoned chicken's most overwhelming components, namely that onion and garlic flavor, which we've always noticed in the regular fries. For Wendy's, on the other hand, the non-spicy nuggets have a more complex and enjoyable flavor from a seasoning perspective. 

Which chicken is spicier?

We have an easy winner here, but first, let's talk about what pepper each brand uses to crank up the temperature in their spicy chicken nugget batter. Wendy's brings the heat with cayenne pepper, while Burger King chose the ghost pepper to ignite its fiery chicken fries. Both types of pepper are hotter than jalapeños and serrano peppers, but ghost peppers are as many as 35 times hotter than cayenne peppers, and hotter than habaneros, Thai chilis, and tabasco peppers, too. 

It's a difference that you can feel. We've always found the spicy chicken nuggets from Wendy's to be mild enough to enjoy without needing breaks for the spice to dissipate, especially if paired with a cooling sauce like ranch. The Burger King nuggets pack a much stronger wallop — borderline too much for us, in terms of enjoying a casual fast food lunch — especially when combined with the liberally-used paprika and cracked black pepper. These nuggets are sizzling. 

Which chicken had a better texture?

The Wendy's chicken nuggets took the W in this category. They had the flaky, tender, juicy texture you expect of quality chicken nuggets, and the breading was a nice, crispy contrast. Overall, the Wendy's nuggets are cooked very well and retain a lot of moisture while maintaining a good crunch on the outside. Unfortunately, we couldn't say the same for our Burger King spicy chicken fries; the texture of Burger King's chicken fries is just a little odd compared to regular chicken nuggets, perhaps because of the processing needed to get the chicken into that shape. 

The breading on the Burger King chicken fries was also less crispy, and overall the new spicy chicken fries were much greasier than the competing chicken nuggets from Wendy's. Without the familiar chicken nugget texture and a less satisfying crunch to the breading, Burger King's chicken fries have to concede to Wendy's for the overall textural experience category. 

Which restaurant has better sauce options?

Both locations have six sauce offerings. At Wendy's, those include: Creamy sriracha, barbecue, buttermilk ranch, sweet and sour, S'Awesome, and honey mustard. The Wendy's spicy chicken nuggets are mild in heat enough that you could pair them with the sweet and sour, barbecue, or even the S'Awesome sauce (which is made with hot sauce, per Wendy's), but the best dipping sauce for balancing out spicy nuggets is the buttermilk ranch, in our opinion.

Burger King's six sauce offerings are sweet and sour, buttermilk ranch, Zesty sauce, barbecue, and honey mustard. Similar to Wendy's offerings, BK's house sauce, Zesty, is a smoky-spiced dipping sauce with a slight touch of heat towards the end, so we definitely wouldn't pair it with the already-flaming spicy chicken fries. We compared the buttermilk ranch from both locations and found Wendy's to be creamier and tangier, but Burger King's more interestingly-flavored with garlic and strong notes of dill. We preferred Burger King's. 

Which store uses better chicken?

You want to be sure of the quality of the meat you're consuming, even if it's at a fast food joint — or, at least, aware of the lack of quality. Burger King doesn't exactly have the best reputation for high-standard poultry. Despite making promises to banish artificial ingredients including flavors, colors, and preservatives from its menu, many consumers find the chain's chicken to be suspect, and lower in quality than the brand's beefy icon, the Whopper. Reddit speculations state that the removal of artificial ingredients actually hurt BK's chicken quality. 

There's no cut-and-dry answer to which brand uses the better-quality chicken, because the meat from Wendy's isn't perfect either. Some information suggests that this chain's chicken nuggets are barely a third white meat chicken, as Wendy's claims they are, with the rest of the composition being fat and breading. This chain is also known to use additives, called sodium phosphates, for preserving and thickening, although this additive is approved by the FDA for safe consumption. We have to give a nod to BK's efforts in improving its chicken, so we will award this category to that chain.

Which spicy chicken is better overall?

Overall, we would definitely buy the Burger King spicy chicken fries again. The greasy texture and soggy breading could be a one-off, and the flavor of the fries was enjoyable enough to warrant a second go-around with hopes of a better outcome in those two categories. However, these spicy fries are only available across the franchise until May 14, so your time to give them a go is limited. 

The Wendy's nuggets are delicious, and their texture is more pleasant, but lack in flavor and spice compared to Burger King's. We do enjoy the fries from Wendy's more and overall believe they have better food, but in the battle of spicy chicken, Burger King takes home the gold for the superior taste and ramped-up spice. Hopefully Burger King will make these fiery fries a permanent menu fixture — or, at least, bring them back soon.