We Visited KFC Headquarters For The First Taste Of Its 5 New Nugget Flavors: Here's What You Need To Know

Now that we've spent the last few years arguing about which chicken sandwich is the best around, a new battle has begun — the sauce wars — and KFC has just entered five new challengers to the field with the launch of its new Saucy Nuggets. Beginning April 1st, the fried chicken chain is offering the Saucy Nuggets nationwide, available in stores, online, and via the KFC app. The five flavors include three new offerings and two fan-favorite flavors that are returning to the menu.

The Saucy Nuggets are a departure from what several of KFC's competitors are currently offering. Popeye's and Wingstop offer sauced wings in a variety of flavors, and Chick-fil-A's lineup of seven dipping sauces is pretty fierce competition. And, of course, McDonald's has been keeping itself in fighting shape with a nearly constant rotation of limited-edition dipping sauce flavors and collaborations. (Still craving that Szechuan Sauce? An unopened dipping cup from 2018 will only run you a cool $20,000 on eBay.)

However, the choice to serve nuggets fully sauced is an option that few, if any, other restaurants currently offer. To learn more about the new menu offering and to preview all of the new Saucy Nuggets flavors, KFC invited me to join them at the company's headquarters in Louisville, Kentucky in advance of the release. There, we saw how the nuggets are made, from hand-breading to frying, and onto the saucing process. Here's everything you need to know about KFC's new Saucy Nuggets.

Five new and returning sauce flavors

KFC's new Saucy Nuggets start with the same Kentucky Fried Nuggets that were introduced to the menu one year ago, and are tossed with one of your choice of five sauce flavors. While none of the sauces are currently available anywhere else on the menu, you may recognize two of the flavors from previous menu offerings. The fan-favorite Nashville Hot sauce makes its triumphant return after an impressive 7-year run from 2016 to early 2023 when it was originally served on the restaurant's bone-in chicken and tenders.

Also returning to the menu is the Georgia Gold sauce, which was originally introduced in 2017 and served on KFC's Extra Crispy chicken, tenders, and the restaurant's Chicken Little sandwiches. The sauce came off of menus in 2020, and fans have been asking for it back ever since — even going so far as to start a change.org petition for its return.

In addition to the two returning flavors, diners will be greeted with three new sauce flavors, including the Honey Sriracha, the Korean BBQ, and the Sticky Chicky Sweet 'n Sour sauces. The nuggets get sauced to order, tossed, and served ready to enjoy. If you missed the Georgia Gold and Nashville Hot sauces the first time around or you're curious about the newest sauce flavors, I got the opportunity to taste each flavor directly from the source at KFC's headquarters, so you know what to expect. Grab an extra napkin, and let's dive in.

Honey Sriracha

KFC describes the new Honey Sriracha nuggets sauce as a "sweet heat sauce using a blend of red chili peppers, garlic, and honey." Given Sriracha's widespread popularity, this particular sauce will likely have a familiar flavor profile for many people. The glossy sauce is a little lighter of an amber color than the others, with noticeable flecks of seasoning suspended in it. The first flavor I noticed when tasting the Honey Sriracha nuggets was the sweet honey flavor, with very mild, if any, spicy notes. Soon afterward, the savory notes of the garlic and salty chicken began to shine through, followed by a slow and growing heat from the Sriracha chili sauce.

Like Sriracha itself, the spice never quite reaches an overwhelming level of burning, but it's a noticeable warmth that continues to grow while you eat your nuggets. For anyone interested in a medium amount of heat that doesn't overpower the other flavors of their nuggets, the Honey Sriracha sauce might be the way to go. KFC notes that if you'd prefer, you can order your saucy nuggets with the sauce on the side (or even extra saucey if you're really into it). If you're getting your nuggets delivered, or are transporting them for an extended period of time, it might be worth it to ask for the sauce separately, but I found that tossing the nuggets in the sauce before eating them makes for a more enjoyable experience than dipping alone.

Korean BBQ

The Korean BBQ nuggets sauce amps things up from the Honey Sriracha sauce in several ways. Not only are the sweeter notes a touch sweeter, but the savory notes are a little stronger as well, making their debut at the very front end of your first bite. The sauce is described as a "sweet and savory umami sauce with soy sauce, garlic, sugar and sesame," and both the sugar and soy sauce stood out as one of the more identifiable flavors during our first tasting.

The only thing that doesn't come on stronger is the heat, which is ideal for someone looking for a little more complexity in their sauce with a bigger savory profile and just a hint of warmth. The sauce is glossy and sticky on the outside of the chicken nuggets, and has a darker tint to it than most of the other sauces. It also has a bit more of an umami aroma than I expected it to have, even though the overall umami flavor of the sauce is relatively mild.

Sticky Chicky Sweet 'n Sour Sauce

While sweet and spicy fans should reach for the Honey Sriracha nuggets, and sweet and savory fans should order the Korean BBQ nuggets, fans of bittersweet sauces are going to want to reach for an order of Sticky Chicky Sweet 'n Sour Sauce nuggets. Flavor highlights of the Sticky Chicky Sweet 'n Sour Sauce include pineapple, garlic, vinegar, and chili. During the blind tasting, it wasn't immediately clear to me which sauce was the Sticky Chicky and which was the Honey Sriracha sauce, because both lead with strong sweet flavors. But eventually, the Honey Sriracha sauce starts to burn, and the Sticky Chicky Sweet 'n Sour Sauce nuggets continue to be tangy with only a little bit of spice.

The demand for a sweet and sour sauce from KFC has been growing for quite some time. In 2021, the restaurant chain promoted a TikTok video with a hack to create your own sweet and sour sauce by combining honey BBQ and regular honey sauce. In 2022, KFC dove deeper into the world of sauces with a saucy sampler collaboration that paired two KFC bucket meals with a collection of six Heinz dipping sauces, including Heinz's Sweet & Sour Sauce. Luckily, sweet and sour sauce lovers won't have to resort to hacking together their own sauce anymore. Not only will the Sticky Chicky Sweet 'n Sour Sauce be available on the new Saucy Nuggets, but this particular sauce will also be offered in dipping cups.

Nashville Hot

There's no mistaking the Nashville Hot sauce for any of the others in the new Saucy Nuggets lineup — it's the spiciest fried chicken I've tasted from any chain restaurant to date. But there's more than just heat to the Nashville hot sauce. There's also a noticeable amount of smokiness, without tasting like you're chewing on fire logs.

Unlike the other sauces I've mentioned so far, the Nashville Hot sauce isn't particularly sweet. The texture of the sauce is also a little different — instead of a sticky sauce that coats the outside of the chicken nuggets, this is an oil-based sauce that infuses into the crispy fried chicken. Many Nashville Hot sauces are made with some combination of cayenne pepper, brown sugar, garlic powder, smoked paprika, chipotle, chili powder, and red pepper flakes, often using butter as the base for the sauce. Some of the spices in this sauce are simply listed as "spices" in the ingredients list, but it definitely includes garlic powder, brown sugar, smoked paprika, and distilled vinegar.

As far as intensity goes, the spice level is several notches above what you'll get from competing chicken chains, with a more well-rounded flavor in addition to the heat. As someone who enjoys the spiciness but has a relatively low tolerance for the burn, the Nashville Hot Nuggets definitely slowed me down some, but they were delicious enough to keep me coming back for more.

Georgia Gold

If you're familiar with the mustard-based style of barbecue sauce that's famous in the Carolinas and Georgia, then you've got a pretty good idea of what's in store with the Georgia Gold Saucy Nuggets. Like the Nashville Hot sauce, the Georgia Gold sauce is oil-based, and saturates the crispy fried chicken nuggets instead of only coating the outside. Even still, it's recognizable by its slightly yellow tint that differentiates it from the darker Nashville Hot sauce.

Of course, every BBQ sauce is a little different, but typical Georgia (and Carolina) Gold sauces include some combination of yellow mustard, vinegar, ketchup, Worcestershire Sauce, honey, garlic, brown sugar, and cayenne pepper or other spices. True to the classic preparation, KFC's Georgia Gold sauce includes a spice blend made with brown sugar, mustard, black pepper, red pepper, paprika, turmeric, dehydrated prepared mustard, onion and garlic powders, as well as vinegar, and honey.

While this sauce does contain both brown sugar and honey, it isn't especially sweet. Instead, the sugars work to balance the tanginess of the mustard and vinegar, making for one of the more savory nugget options on the new saucy menu. During our tasting, this sauce was easily one of the most popular choices, making it clear why so many fans were eager to see it return to menus.

Nutrition information and ingredients

For reference, a single un-sauced KFC chicken nugget has roughly 35 calories, with 1.5 grams of fat, 15 milligrams of cholesterol, 140 grams of sodium, 1 gram of carbohydrates, and 3 grams of protein. The nuggets contain gluten, milk, eggs, wheat, and MSG. So, 10 regular nuggets would run you about 350 calories in total.

The addition of sauce understandably bumps those numbers up some, with varying nutritional differences depending on your choice of sauce. The Honey Sriracha, Korean BBQ, and Sticky Chicky Sweet 'n Sour Sauce all clock in at 45 calories per nugget, with the same 1.5 grams of fat, 15 milligrams of cholesterol, 4 grams of carbohydrates, and 4 grams of protein. The sodium count varies from 180 to 210 milligrams per piece.

The Georgia Gold and Nashville Hot Saucy Nuggets have a higher calorie count, coming to 60 calories per nugget, with 4.5 grams of fat, 15 milligrams of cholesterol, 2 grams of carbohydrates, and 4 grams of protein. The sodium count ranges from 180 to 190 milligrams per piece, respectively. Some Saucy Nuggets sauces have additional allergens, including sesame and soy in the Korean BBQ sauce, and fish in the Sticky Chicky Sweet 'n Sour Sauce (which comes from anchovies).

How to try KFC's new Saucy Nuggets

The Saucy Nuggets have officially hit KFC menus everywhere and are available in a variety of options. An order of saucy nuggets alone comes in 8, 10, and 12-piece sizes and costs $4.29, $5.99, and $6.29 before taxes, respectively. Combos are also available for all three order sizes, and include a medium drink, Secret Recipe fries, and a biscuit for $7.99 to $9.99 before taxes, depending on the size. An individual cup of the new Sticky Chicky Sweet 'n Sour Sauce is available for 25 cents. Different locations may have different prices and delivery fees might be included when ordering online.

Speaking of ordering online, for a limited time, KFC is giving away a 10-piece Saucy Nuggets of your choice for free, with an order of $10 or more. This promotion applies to orders placed online through KFC.com or on the KFC app, which can be scheduled for pick-up or delivery. KFC also suggests signing up for its new rewards program, which launched in February, to score even more free Saucy Nuggets. Orders placed online and through the app earn you 10 points for every dollar you spend, which you can then redeem for a slew of free food and beverage items. As an incentive to sign up, KFC is currently offering a limited-time "flash rewards" option to cash in 500 points for a free order of 10-piece Saucy Nuggets.