Chick-Fil-A Sides, Ranked Worst To Best

Chick-fil-A may be known for its selection of sandwiches and its cow mascot with a death wish for all chickens, but there is one part of the menu that is the unsung hero of the franchise: the sides. What would any combo meal be without the additional piece of the puzzle to bring it all together? Most people think of fast food sides as fried potatoes, and yes, Chick-fil-A does have fried potatoes, but they have so much more. In fact, you could make a delicious meal all on its own with just sides, especially if paired with a cup of its delicious iced tea or lemonade.

We decided to try all of the sides available at Chick-fil-A and rank them, so the next time you find yourself in that incredibly well-organized drive-thru, you know what to order and do not interrupt the flow of traffic. One thing we want to mention, though, is that nothing on this list was terrible. Each item was surprisingly delicious. Still, though, there are some items we will have to get every time we go back — and some we won't.

11. Buddy Fruits Apple Cinnamon

First up, we have Buddy Fruits apple cinnamon squeezer, filled with cinnamon applesauce. This is possibly the simplest of the sides and is one of seemingly only two pre-packaged items. The applesauce itself is good. There is no added sugar or preservatives. In this way, its simplicity is an advantage, as you get exactly what you expect. You can feel good giving it to children. But that's just it; this is clearly an item intended for children. You can order it on the regular menu, but most adults won't. Its homogenous nature and mostly bland and smooth appearance make it enjoyable for kids of all ages, with no utensils required.

This doesn't make it a bad side. It is great as a kid's meal side. However, it also does not make it exceptional, especially when you consider you can buy a huge pack of these at a grocery store for a few dollars. Most adults are probably going to choose something a bit heartier with a few more calories.

10. Chicken Noodle Soup

Especially when the cold season hits, you may be tempted to order a bowl of chicken noodle soup. However, while it is fine, there are other menu times that you may want to pick over this. Chick-fil-A chicken noodle soup is incredibly thick for a broth-based soup, and is frankly a little goopy. It tastes like reconstituted soup that hasn't had quite enough water added back in. Its closest taste comparison would be a can of Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup. In that way, it harkens back to childhood; if you are sick and don't want to make your own, this soup could be just the ticket. But between the thick broth and the bloated and puffy noodles, it would not be our first choice.

We appreciate that Chick-fil-A branched into the world of soups, as aside from Wendy's with its chili, there are not a lot of options out there. In a way, Chick-fil-A shot themselves in the foot by coming out with an even better soup, which we will get to later. Ultimately, this is good for nostalgia, but just "meh" otherwise.

9. Waffle Potato Chips

Want waffle fries but less interesting? You can have waffle chips. It is a bit odd to us that Chick-fil-A offers both waffle fries and waffle chips; it seems almost unfair to the waffle chips as they just aren't going to win that competition. Once again, these are not bad; it is just that there are clearly superior options from the chain.

The waffle chips are prepackaged and a little boring. They are crunchy and salty. They taste more like large Potato Stix than they do standard potato chips, but when you have other hot and cold prepared food options, it is hard to stand out on your own. These are a great option if you know your meal will be traveling far or sitting, for catering as an example. Waffle fries tend to get soggy and cold in those situations. But on your average day, we would choose many of the other options over this one.

8. Fruit Cup

Fruit cups are rarely interesting. They are put on the menu to have a healthy and fresh option to appease the masses, and often the parents, who want to have a non-fried potato option. What was surprising to us, though, was how good this particular fruit cup was. According to the website, the fruit cups are prepared fresh every day, and based on the fruit quality, we believe them. The strawberries were not shriveled or browning, as they can get when they have sat for a while. The apples, too, were still pale and crisp. We cannot complain about the quality of the fruit, which was fresh, juicy, and delicious.

However, what really sold us on this fruit cup are the fruits of choice. There are strawberries, blueberries, red and green apples, and mandarin oranges. There is one common fruit salad fruit you may have noticed is missing: melons. For us, though, this is a huge win. It is not that melons are inherently bad, but in fruit salad, they are a cop-out to get out of putting in more, better fruit. Unripe and out-of-season melons are used to add bulk, and you end up with a cheaper fruit salad that is a little sad. But not at Chick-fil-A. They respect their fruit cup and only put in quality fruits you will actually want to eat.

7. Side Salad

We didn't think much when we ordered the side salad, but we were shocked to find that instead of a sad bowl of lettuce and mediocre dressing, we got a flavorful and texture-filled salad. We ordered this salad exactly the way it comes standard. That means a bed of lettuce topped with Monterey Jack and cheddar cheese, grape tomatoes, crispy tomatoes, bell peppers, and an avocado lime ranch dressing. It is the last few items that take this salad from boring to exceptional.

The crispy tomatoes and bell peppers crunch as well as a burst of flavor. They come in a little packet separately, so they stay crisp and are not made soggy by the salad greens. The avocado lime ranch dressing is both creamy and tangy. It is loaded with flavor, so you may not even need the entire packet of dressing; although it is delicious enough, we wouldn't blame you if you did eat it. Our one complaint is that it could have used a bit more cheese. But we can forgive that since the rest was tasty.

6. Greek Yogurt Parfait with Cookie Crumbs

If you are looking for a side that is secretly a dessert, this is your best option. There are two Greek yogurt parfaits on the menu. This one is a bed of sweetened vanilla Greek yogurt, strawberries and blueberries, and cookie crumbles on top. The cookie crumbles are chocolatey and taste like Oreos.

The size of this parfait is decent for a side, and the taste is sweet and delicious. It almost borders on being too sweet, but the Greek yogurt has enough of a tang, even with the added sugar, to balance that out. The berries, too, while sweet, provide a nice fresh contrast to the yogurt and cookies. Our main complaint is that this doesn't feel like a side. It almost feels like more of a sweet snack or a dessert. It does not really pair well with a chicken sandwich. And while it is sweet like a dessert, it gives a healthy enough feeling that it doesn't quite have the indulgence of a dessert.

5. Greek Yogurt Parfait with Granola

If you're looking for a side that can be a breakfast, this Greek yogurt parfait is a solid choice. Once again, we have the base of sweetened vanilla Greek yogurt, topped with strawberries and blueberries. This time, though, instead of cookie crumbles, there is granola. You may be surprised to learn that despite the appearance of health, the granola yogurt parfait actually has more calories and sugar than its cookie companion. It just goes to show appearances aren't everything.

Once again, this yogurt parfait is saved from being overly sweet by tang in the yogurt. However, we also enjoy the crunch of the granola, which contrasts the juicy fruit and the creamy Greek yogurt. This yogurt also does not feel particularly "side-like" but like a breakfast. We would happily eat this as a start to the day, but again, probably not paired with a chicken sandwich. While it is delicious, it feels out of place on the side menu, which is why it is not ranked any higher.

4. Kale Salad

For a chicken-based company, Chick-fil-A is bringing its A game with salad. While the standard side salad is good, the kale salad is even better. This salad is made up of shredded kale, shredded cabbage, and crunchy almonds, dressed with an apple cider and Dijon mustard vinaigrette. Unlike the side salad, this salad comes pre-dressed, but that works really well here. It allows the vinaigrette to equally coat the entire salad, which provides a pleasant fruity tang to each bite.

We also appreciate that the cabbage and kale have been cut fine. Kale has a tendency to be tough, and in a salad, large-leaf kale can be difficult to eat. By cutting it and tossing it with vinaigrette, this takes on almost a more vinegar coleslaw-like consistency. It is delicious and easy to eat. Quite frankly, we were not expecting much from such a simple kale salad, but once again, Chick-fil-A seems to have put more thought into the end result, and has created a salad that would act as a cool and crisp side to any of the entrées.

3. Waffle Fries

Let's be honest: it is hard to create a better side than a fried potato. Fried food is great. Potatoes are great. Put them together, and you have near perfection. Chick-fil-A mixes up the standard french fries routine that most fast food places have embraced and instead offers waffle fries. We appreciate this slight departure by offering something unique. The fries were predominantly good. They were soft on the inside and crispy on the outside. They, of course, paired well with the entrées, as potatoes go well with almost anything.

We did have two complaints, though. One was that our order was unevenly salted. Some of the fries were perfectly salted, while others were undersalted. This difference wasn't as pronounced when paired with one of Chick-fil-A's sauces, but we feel the fries should have been able to stand out on their own. Additionally, our order came out a little small. We got two medium-size waffle fry orders, and both cartons are filled just below the top. (We topped off one order with the other for the photo.) With a few more fries, though, this is an excellent side.

2. Tortilla Soup

Coming out as a surprising frontrunner, and sadly, only available for a limited time, is the chicken tortilla soup. We would pick this soup over the chicken noodle soup any day of the week, except Sunday, of course. The soup is made up of a spicy and creamy soup base, shredded chicken, veggies, and beans. All topped with crispy tortilla strips. Like the chicken noodle soup, the base of this soup is thick, but this time, it's supposed to be.

The flavor is bright and spicy. The texture is creamy, with a hint of crunch from the tortilla strips. These come separately, so you can add them in and prevent them from getting soggy. The whole thing is comforting and perfect for cold weather. Frankly, while this is a side, we would be perfectly happy to get a bowl of this instead of a cup and eat it as a meal. Yet, it still works as a complementary part of a sandwich.

1. Mac and Cheese

It is a travesty that Chick-fil-A does not market its mac and cheese more. We have made and eaten a lot of mac and cheese in our time, and Chick-fil-A isn't just good for a fast food place; it is good in general. We would bring this mac and cheese as a side to the holidays. We would go to Chick-fil-A just to eat the mac and cheese.

This mac and cheese is made with a blend of Parmesan, cheddar, and Romano cheese. According to a former Chick-fil-A employee, Monterey cheddar cheese is added on top before it is baked. The result is a mac and cheese that is creamy, with a slightly crispy top, which offers a sharpness from the cheese, and is almost universally pleasant.

We have been to sit-down restaurants that take the easy way out and serve what is essentially Kraft mac and cheese. But not Chick-fil-A. They made a mac and cheese that will appeal to kids and adults alike. That works as a side dish, but also stands on its own as an entrée, especially if you get a large size. Due to its taste and texture, the mac and cheese was a cut above the other choices and ended up as the best Chick-fil-A side.