Taco Bell Really Thinks It Can Make Better Chicken Nuggets Than McDonald's?

Fast food lovers have likely heard that Taco Bell is testing chicken nuggets at some locations, further expanding on the menu at the Mexican food giant that has seen some unusual shifts and experiments in recent years. And, it seems like they're not content with being just another competitor in the nugget market — they're coming for one of the industry's top dogs, the McNugget.

Insider reports that at a recent media event at its headquarters, Taco Bell chef Brett Pluskalowski took aim at McDonald's by boasting about Taco Bell's nuggets' use of all–white meat chicken, something he suggested wasn't the case at Mickey D's. He went as far as calling Taco Bell's "real chicken" and followed up by arguing that "when you go to McDonald's, that's not what you see."

It's a bold statement about what is likely the world's highest-selling fast-food chicken nugget. A close examination of what's really in McDonald's chicken nuggets reveals that white boneless chicken is the top ingredient, followed by other harmless substances like water, vegetable oil, and enriched flour. Most of the ingredients are easily recognizable except for some chemicals used for leavening. There's no more use of the mechanically separated chicken infamously known as "pink slime." However, McDonald's admits that each cooked nugget contains just 45% chicken by weight.

Fourth time's the charm?

However, Taco Bell may have some issues of its own if our review of their crispy chicken nuggets is any sign. The reviewer found them moist but without much crunch or flavor in the breading. On the plus side, they're enjoyable when dipped in the accompanying Jalapeño Honey Mustard sauce, which is only available with the purchase of nuggets. As this is still a new item, Taco Bell hasn't published a detailed list of ingredients or similar stats for the chicken-to-weight ratio.

This isn't the first attempt at chicken nuggets or fried chicken from Taco Bell, which briefly offered naked chicken chips back in 2017. In 2021, Taco Bell offered a crispy chicken sandwich taco that received similarly decent but not great reviews. And, who could forget the naked chicken chalupa, a chalupa shell made from fried chicken and stuffed with veggies and toppings? 

Will Taco Bell's nuggets really be high-quality enough to dethrone the Golden Arches? Only time will tell, but it's safe to say the fast-food fried chicken wars aren't ending anytime soon.