The Best Fast Food Chicken Sandwiches Of All Time, According To Mashed Staff

Ahhh, the glorious chicken sandwich. Fried, grilled, baked, chopped, slathered in sauce, couched between butter brioche buns, or naked as the day it arrived in the kitchen, chicken sandwiches are some of the most diverse items in the fast food world. But, the current variety available to the average QSR frequenter wasn't always so plentiful. 

The general uptick in these sandwiches can be attributed to, in large part, the infamous chicken sandwich wars of 2019 – 2022. Sparked by a social media furor between Popeyes and Chick-fil-A, the conflict reportedly injected a 38% increase in Popeye's sales during the early skirmishes. Naturally, everyone else wanted in. 

Let us be clear: War is wrong, war is bad. But, sometimes good things emerge out of rough times and we think it's safe to say the fast food landscape is much better off with the plethora of chicken sandwiches now being handed through drive-thru windows. From the Chick-fil-A Original, through to Church's Spicy Chicken Sandwich, Wendy's Pretzel Bacon Pub Chicken Sandwich, and Popeyes' Blackened Chicken sandwich, we at Mashed have decided to lay down — once and for all — the best fast food chicken sandwiches of all time. 

Chick-fil-A's Original Chicken Sandwich - Allen Foster

There is a reason why cars line up around Chick-fil-A every day: The food satisfies. When I have an intense craving for comfort food, I'm usually after a no-frills eating experience. I don't want a lot of bells and whistles. Just give me the meat. 

Make it a little crispy on the outside with an abundance of juice, and we're good. In fact, I don't even want the contrasting texture of the pickle, so off it goes. The Chick-fil-A's Original Chicken Sandwich is simple food done right. I could eat it every day, which makes it my all-time favorite fast-food chicken sandwich. 

As far as sauces and other fixings go, that would be a big no. As is, is best. However, a side of waffle fries is a must to round out the meal. And, contrary to the way I like my sandwich, the more sauce, the better. An entire packet of ketchup per fry is not overdoing it.

Popeyes Spicy Chicken Sandwich - Jennifer Mashuga

I never understood the obsession with Popeyes until I moved to Chicago and was finally able to try it. I instantly became a convert. When the Popeyes chicken sandwich made headlines in 2019 and became a fast-food phenomenon no one was less surprised than me. 

The signature cajun spice and the 12 hours they marinate their chicken make their chicken uber-delicious, but it's the simple yet perfect addition of buttered brioche bun, pickles, and spicy mayo that make this the best fast food chicken sandwich of all time. The classic is amazing, but the extra kick in the spicy version takes it to the next level.

Wendy's Pretzel Bacon Pub Chicken Sandwich - Hannah Beach

As a relatively picky eater, I've tried many chicken sandwiches. However, one stands out, and that is the Pretzel Bacon Pub Chicken Sandwich at Wendy's. A mouthful to order, yes, but so well worth it. Similar to the fan-favorite burger by the same name, this chicken sandwich includes pickles, applewood smoked bacon, muenster cheese, crispy onions, honey mustard, and a beer cheese sauce.

I usually order this sandwich with just the chicken, bacon, and cheese (fast food is for comfort in my book, not for trying new things), but it is amazing. This is the one sandwich on Earth that I will eat in its entirety, and that's saying a lot. The contrast between gooey cheese and crispy bacon, the mix of sweet and savory, and the upgrade from a regular bun to a Wendy's pretzel bun, just knocks this sandwich clear out of the park.

Culver's Spicy Crispy Chicken Sandwich - Ceara Milligan

Perhaps I'm biased because I live in Wisconsin, but Culver's Spicy Crispy Chicken Sandwich is truly a masterpiece when it comes to both flavor and texture. The breaded chicken filet is crunchy on the outside and juicy on the inside, with the ideal amount of spice to give it a kick of heat without burning your mouth or overwhelming your taste buds. 

The lightly toasted, buttered bun (which the Midwestern chain is famous for) is soft and fresh, and worth the trip alone. But, Culver's standard toppings — shredded iceberg lettuce, tomato, and dill pickles — complement the peppery poultry patty flawlessly, making it the best chicken sandwich of all time.

Church's Spicy Chicken Sandwich - Maria Scinto

I'm a fan of most spicy chicken sandwiches, including the ones from big national chains, which is a good thing since that's about all I can get where I now live in Wisconsin. If I had to pick a favorite, though, I'm going to go with a long-distance romance: the Spicy Chicken Sandwich sold by Church's. As it's not sold in Wisconsin, this sammy came as a happy discovery on a trip to Richmond, VA.

What sets Church's chicken apart? It's a nice hefty slab of meat, for one thing, and the batter is nice and peppery, too. There's a spicy-sweet mayo, which is not too hot, but Church's does offer whole jalapenos as a condiment so I like to split one or two of these and stick them under the bun to amp up the heat. The best thing about Church's chicken sandwiches, though — and this applies to the regular as well as spicy ones — is that they come on honey-buttered buns. The buns alone, I could eat and be happy, and tbh I like them better than Texas Roadhouse's honey-buttered bread since I'm not a huge fan of gratuitous cinnamon. There's no cinnamon in Church's honey butter, though, and it goes amazingly well with spicy chicken. Now I want one, but I can't get one, and I'm sad.

Bojangles Chicken Sandwich - Colin McCandless

Popeyes fired the first salvo in the fast food chicken sandwich wars, but that doesn't mean they won this culinary conflict. Like other chains, Bojangles introduced its own combatant into battle, a fierce competitor known as Bo's Chicken Sandwich. 

There's nothing fancy going on here, just a big piece of breaded chicken coated in spices topped with dill pickles and creamy mayo on a buttered bun, yet these simple ingredients meld so well together they create a symphony of flavor. Maybe it's the Southerner in me talking, but Bo's Chicken Sandwich deserves a spot among the all-time greats.

Popeye's Blackened Chicken Sandwich - TeeJay Small

Like many historical changes, they join the cultural lexicon as an unforeseen result of war — in our case, the aforementioned chicken sandwich wars of 2019 – 2022. For Popeyes, this meant rolling out the Blackened Chicken Sandwich in November 2022.

Unlike the traditional Popeyes chicken sandwich, this chicken is marinated in a special blend of cajun spices and seasonings, known as the blackened blend, and served unbreaded on a toasted brioche bun, topped with crisp pickles. The result is a chicken sandwich that is equal parts delicious and refreshing, unlike many other overly-greasy sandwiches often served in drive-through locations. The Blackened Chicken Sandwich offers an incredibly moist and flavorful alternative to the traditional fried chicken sandwich, without the added carbs from the crispy breading which can sometimes overpower the flavor of your poultry. 

Though the item was originally slated to appear on the menu for a limited time only, it rapidly became a hit with consumers across America. In fact, the fast food chain recently announced plans to put the dish on the menu in a permanent capacity.

Shake Shack's Chick'n Shack sandwich - Kyle Xavier

I like my chicken crispy, and just as the rhyme in its name, Shake Shack's chicken snack is as good as it gets. While Shake Shack is renowned for its burgers and cheesy crinkle-cut fries, this chicken sandwich remains a well-kept secret. Often underrated, it surprises with its flavorful slow-cooked chicken patty that's marinated in buttermilk, delicately hand-dipped in homemade batter, and then perfectly crisp-fried. 

Nestled between a hearty potato bun, pickles, and shredded lettuce, it's a heartwarming treat. But, what truly sets the sandwich apart is the memorable buttermilk herb mayo, a tantalizing blend of parsley, thyme, and chives, offering a unique twist on a classic condiment. You'll relish every bite.