The Best And Worst Grocery Store Fried Chicken

When it comes to comfort food that satisfies our cravings, few dishes rival the sheer joy of crispy, golden-brown fried chicken. It's a classic that's stood the test of time and has a little-known significance in America. While indulging in this beloved dish at a restaurant is always a treat, sometimes convenience calls for a visit to the local grocery store. 

With a ton of options available, it's time to uncover the truth about grocery store fried chicken: Which ones soar to delicious heights, and which ones fall disappointingly flat? While we've already covered the best fried chicken in every state, it's time to dive deeper. From the beloved Publix to stores like Walmart, Target, and even Safeway, we leave no stone unturned in the quest for the ultimate fried chicken experience. Here's the worst and the best grocery store fried chicken if you're looking for finger-lickin' goodness in a convenient package.

Worst: Walmart

One look at Walmart's page for its deli hot fried chicken, and you know something doesn't check out. Some of the chicken's bad reviews talk about asking for a refund because the chicken tasted and smelt like burnt grease, whereas other reviews talked about the deli not following food safety guidelines and the chicken being too hard.  Facebook echoes this sentiment, with an even more stomach-churning twist. A quick search yields several unsettling photos, but four or more, depicting undercooked, reddish, and even fried chicken with feathers still in them.

When it comes to fried chicken, we expect moistness, crispiness, and above all, safety. Unfortunately, Walmart fails to deliver on all these fronts. According to candid reviews on Walmart's website, customers call the chicken a regrettable waste of money — over-fried, dry, and lacking in flavor. One reviewer even goes as far as calling the fried chicken potentially dangerous, even taking the time to issue a cautionary warning telling the chicken should have a "surgeon general warning." Ultimately, the undeniable truth is painfully obvious. Walmart's fried chicken falls disgustingly short, and leaves a lot to be desired and avoided in both taste and safety. 

Best: Brookshire Brothers

Nestled in the heart of Texas, there's one grocery store that's truly mastered the art of fried chicken: Brookshire Brothers. The secret to its success as "The Best Fried Chicken In Townis all in its dedication to being wholesome in everything. At Brookshire Brothers, frozen chicken has no place on the menu. Instead, it serves only the freshest poultry, meticulously hand-breaded, marinated, and cooked in-house each day. But the allure of Brookshire Brothers' fried chicken extends beyond its exceptional taste. When you buy a basket or a bucket of chicken, you're not just treating yourself — you're actively supporting local businesses. With over a century of experience in perfecting the recipe, it really has uplifted the grocery store's reputation of fried chicken goodness.

Andrew Dansby of the Houston Chronicle detailed the life-changing experience of savoring Brookshire's chicken, describing it as having "restorative powers." In fact, the author was so captivated that they devoured an entire 4-piece meal and couldn't resist going back for a 20-piece. So, what's the story behind Brookshire Brothers' fried chicken?  It's all rooted in the kitchen of Granny Brookshire back in 1921. Granny's chicken continues to inspire passionate devotion, as evidenced by the outpouring of love on any of the grocery store's Facebook posts about its fried chicken. Social media users enthusiastically share their opinions, saying it even beats popular chains like Popeyes and Church's thanks to its crispy breading and flavorful seasonings.

Worst: Food 4 Less

With a name like Food 4 Less, a grocery store known for its affordable prices, you'd at least expect a decent chicken, even if it's not going to be 5 stars. However, this place completely fails to meet even the most basic expectations when it comes to its chicken offerings in a pretty disgusting light. A shocking video has circulated online showing that maggots were discovered inside the fried chicken purchased from the store. The repulsive revelation was further commented on in a Reddit thread, where users discussed how worms, maggots, and other unsavory surprises can inhabit improperly cleaned fried chicken, and how Food 4 Less is no exception to that rule considering how common it happens there. 

Redditors united in their disgust, vowing to never consume supermarket chicken again after such an unsettling experience. One commenter wryly remarked, "Food 4 Less the less you pay, the more you get," alluding to the unfortunate "extra" presence of maggots in the chicken. Another user shared their personal story, pledging to never buy meat from Food 4 Less due to a similar ordeal. Unfortunately, the dismal reputation of Food 4 Less' fried chicken continues on Yelp, where one reviewer reported finding pre-eaten wings carelessly left lying around. Not only does the product fail to meet basic cleanliness standards, but the disregard for food safety is blatantly evident.

Best: Safeway

Safeway is a name that exudes safety and comfort, but when it comes to fried chicken, it's all about satisfying flavor, crispy texture, and juicy meat. Luckily, Safeway has more than just a comforting name, and it shows with mouthwatering fried chicken. In fact, according to a recent Insider article, Safeway's fried chicken beat out the competition from two other grocery stores. The reason for the hype? As Chelsea Davis from Insider explained, Safeway's chicken, while not necessarily appealing to look at, came out on top for several reasons. One, the meat was moist beyond compare. Despite the batter being a bit thin, the flavor profile of the chicken meat itself won out against its crispier and albeit "prettier" competitors. The author was so impressed that she declared Safeway as her sole grocery store pick for fried chicken from that moment on.

Safeway's website also boasts rave reviews about its trusted fried chicken. These reviews laud the perfectly seasoned, never-too-salty chicken, with some mentioning its great value for money. Even on social media, the praise keeps coming. One Reddit commenter praised Safeway's sizzling crispy chicken, calling it the best they've ever had that "SLAPS." When it comes down to it, Safeway's fried chicken is a must-try for anyone seeking a satisfying meal that hits all the right notes. The combination of safety, comfort, and flavor makes Safeway's fried chicken stand out from the rest.

Worst: Pick 'n Save

As one Facebook review commented, "Apparently Pick 'n Saves new motto is 'Let it sit until it sells!'", and unfortunately, that sentiment also applies to fried chicken. Pick 'n Save holds a pretty lackluster reputation for having the worst fried chicken in town. It's a disappointment for chicken lovers craving that perfect golden crispy exterior and juicy, flavorful meat. One bite into the chicken can confirm your worst fears; just consider how one Facebook individual purchased a fried chicken from Pick 'n Save, and once they bit into it, it was completely raw. 

What adds to the disappointment is the inconsistent quality across different batches. Temperature is important when it comes to frying your fried chicken to perfection, and Pick 'n Save just isn't cutting it. People on Reddit concur saying that Pick 'n Save's chicken is a constant hit or miss. You might come across a rare occasion where the chicken is slightly better, but it still falls short of the mark. It seems that Pick 'n Save's fried chicken is an afterthought a rushed, poorly executed product that only exists to fill a space on its deli counter. For those seeking a delicious, crave-worthy fried chicken experience, Pick 'n Save's offering is a letdown.

Best: Winn-Dixie

When it comes to lip-lickin' chicken, Winn-Dixie is the place to be. Winn-Dixie takes pride in serving fresh, never frozen fried chicken, and the quality speaks for itself. Just like Brookshire Brothers, Winn-Dixie has gained a reputation for its exceptional fried chicken. The buzz on Reddit surrounding the best grocery deli fried chicken in town is centered around Winn-Dixie, with some commenters even claiming that it rivals the much-loved Publix! While there are a few who say that the consistency of Winn-Dixie's chicken can be hit or miss, it still doesn't even come close to the disappointing ordeal that Pick 'n Save puts customers through.

The positive feedback doesn't stop at social media. On Tripadvisor, people can't stop raving about Winn-Dixie's fried chicken, describing it as nothing short of delicious. The crispy, golden-brown exterior and the tender, juicy meat make it a favorite among locals and visitors alike. It's no wonder that Winn-Dixie has become a go-to spot when craving some top-notch fried chicken. Winn-Dixie's commitment to freshness and attention to detail are what make its fried chicken stand out from the rest.

Worst: Acme

Beware what lies beneath Acme's crispy exterior of its fried chicken because you're bound for a rather disappointing revelation. Acme's fried chicken, once regarded as a tempting treat, has been reduced to a pitiful shadow of its former glory. Over the years, Acme's fried chicken has undergone a transformation, much to the dismay of its loyal customers. Once synonymous with quality, it has now become synonymous with disappointment, and that's fairly noticeable in its reviews on the Acme website. Instead, what awaits you is a pretty sad excuse for fried chicken.

Acme's fried chicken isn't necessarily the best thing to eat if you're looking to feel good as it even gave someone on Reddit headaches every time they'd dine in. Acme's fried chicken is also notorious for being overcooked and bone-dry. The breading, once a delightfully thin and crispy layer, clings to the meat like a wet towel, robbing it of any chance of redemption. As one reviewer put it, eating Acme's fried chicken was like "chewing on leather." Acme's fried chicken really pales in comparison to its grocery store and fast food counterparts.

Best: Ralphs

Convenience stores and grocery chains have been serving fried chicken for a while now, but one stands out above the rest Ralphs. If you're looking for the perfect fried chicken that can rival even the best Southern establishments, Ralphs is the place to be. Don't believe us? Ask the experts. In a Los Angeles Times article that spotlighted what chefs were really enjoying in Los Angeles, Ralphs fried chicken was among the top picks, with Teresa Montaño of Otoño calling it her "guilty pleasure." 

So, what makes Ralphs fried chicken so special? According to reviews on Foursquare, the texture is the perfect mix of crispy and moist. The crispy but not too thick breading comes together with tender and juicy chicken that is unrivaled in convenience stores and grocery chains. The seasoning is also absolutely on point, providing a burst of flavor that makes it virtually impossible to stop at just one piece. With so much love and attention put into every piece of fried chicken, it's no wonder that customers can't get enough.

Worst: Target

You don't need a feather to tell you that you're eating real chicken, but sometimes you get more than what you bargained for. For one unfortunate soul, their encounter with Target's fried chicken left them with an unsavory surprise which they shared on Reddit. It's no secret that Target shouldn't really be your go-to destination for "fresh" items, and its fried chicken is no exception. In fact, it's a prime example of why you should steer clear of its poultry offerings. Target's reputation for quality and sanitation is far from stellar, as evidenced by a harrowing incident shared on Facebook where someone found a leftover Band-Aid stuck to one of the fried chicken deli containers. 

When it comes to fried chicken, texture and taste are everything, and unfortunately, Target falls flat on both accounts. Reviewers say the chicken is often dry and lacking in any discernible flavor. It's as though the poultry underwent an identity crisis, unsure whether it wanted to be moist or taste like anything at all. The breading, meant to provide a crisp and flavorful coating, feels lackluster and uninspired, as bland as the chicken it envelops. It's no wonder that many people regard Target as an untrustworthy source for "fresh" items particularly when it comes to fried chicken.

Best: Dave's Supermarket

When a Tripadvisor reviewer says you're the "best at — everything," that's quite a hefty title to hold. Fortunately for Dave's Supermarket, this accolade extends to fried chicken. In fact, Dave's Supermarket came out on top as the best-tasting fried chicken option among eight other grocery store contenders in a taste test by With such acclaim, it's clear that Dave's Supermarket is synonymous with fried chicken excellence. 

What sets Dave's Supermarket's fried chicken apart from the rest? It all starts with its commitment to quality. Each piece of fried chicken is made with care, ensuring that customers are met with a meaty and hefty bite of chicken. But it's not just the heftiness that makes Dave's Supermarket's fried chicken shine. Its secret seasoning is also spot-on, elevating the flavor profile to great new heights. Whether you're looking for a quick weeknight dinner or feeding a hungry crowd at a gathering, Dave's Supermarket has you covered. With its efficient service and affordable prices, enjoying the incredible fried chicken is a breeze.

Worst: Heinen's

While Heinen's may offer a bevy of tantalizing options in its bakery and deli, its fried chicken is a far cry from the excellence that other grocery stores have achieved. While it's unfair to say that Heinen's has the worst fried chicken, it falls short when compared to other "best" contenders on the list. According to, Heinen's fried chicken was pretty bland and dry both in terms of breading and actual chicken flavor. With fried chicken, it's all about the texture and flavor, and Heinen's lack in the flavor department is a major drawback.

Additionally, the seasoning leaves much to be desired. The chicken is often bland and lacking in any distinctive flavors that make it stand out from other options. It feels as though the chefs were more concerned with the visual appeal of the chicken rather than the taste, resulting in a real letdown. Finally, the price point of Heinen's fried chicken is a major downside. While other contenders on the list offer budget-friendly options for those looking for a quick meal, Heinen's comes with a hefty price tag. While this may have to do with where and how it sources the chicken from an Amish farm, the value for money is simply lacking, making it a difficult choice for those looking for a satisfying and affordable fried chicken experience.

Best: Publix

When it comes to grocery store fried chicken, there is one contender that stands head and shoulders above the rest Publix. With its perfect balance of flavor and texture, it's no wonder that Publix fried chicken has almost achieved a cult-like following among foodies and fans alike. One of the standout features of Publix's fried chicken is its crispy golden exterior. The breading is light and airy, providing a delightful crunch with each bite. The chicken underneath is moist and flavorful, ensuring that each flavorful bite is a true delight for the palate. 

The popularity of Publix in general is a testament to its excellence, and its staple fried chicken item is no exception. From social media buzz to rave reviews online, Publix fried chicken has become a highly sought-after item for foodies across the country. One thing that stands out compared to every place listed is Publix's commitment to consistency. You won't find feathers, undercooked meat, or anything of the like in Publix fried chicken. It's always double-hand breaded and is considered a major staple item at all Publix locations.