How To Fill Your Discontinued Burger King Ch'King Sandwich Void

The fast food Chicken Sandwich Wars officially kicked off in the pre-pandemic summer of 2019, but Burger King was late to enter the fray. The chain didn't fire its heavy artillery for another two years, but during its all-too-brief existence, some chicken sandwich lovers claimed that Burger King's Ch'King was one of the best that fast food had to offer. Alas, behind the scenes, trouble was brewing right from the get-go. Burger King employees absolutely hated making the labor-intensive Ch'King, and by the following year it was discontinued, making some fans furious.

The Ch'King, like many other fast food chicken sandwiches, consisted of breaded chicken fried up and plopped on a potato bun with mayonnaise and pickles. Lettuce and tomato were considered an upgrade that made it Deluxe, while you could also get a Ch'king coated with a spicy glaze. So what, exactly, set it apart from the numerous other fast food fried chicken sandwiches on the market? Nothing specific, but anecdotal evidence indicates that some found it crisper, juicier, and overall more adjective-worthy than sandwiches from Popeye's or Chick-fil-A. Still, chicken quality is a very subjective thing, and while the Ch'King itself may be long gone, numerous similar sandwiches are tasty enough to help you get over the loss.

Make do with another of Burger King's offerings

Just because Burger King stopped making the Ch'King doesn't mean it's out of the premium chicken sandwich game. While the Royal Crispy chicken sandwiches that replaced the Ch'King were playing hard to get at first, they have since been added to the nationwide menu. While the chicken filets in these sandwiches may not be hand-breaded and seem to be slightly thinner than those used in the Ch'King, the upside is that you don't have to order a "Deluxe" version to get lettuce and tomato on your sandwich. They also come with the creamy Royal sauce that some have described as tasting vaguely Caesar salad-like. Your mileage may vary, but some people think the Royal Crispy sandwich is more flavorful than the Ch'King.

If you like a little variety in your chickwiches, the Royal Crispy line has another advantage over the Ch'King — the key word here is "line" since there isn't just one sandwich; there are currently three. The standard one is as described above, while the spicy option is coated with what Burger King's menu refers to as "triple pepper spicy glaze." Finally, there is a bacon and Swiss cheese-topped Royal Crispy. From time to time, Burger King has also been known to expand the Royal Crispy range. In 2022, for example, the chain offered an Italian-style sandwich flavored with marinara and mozzarella.

Try a different fast food chicken sandwich

If you want a similar sandwich to the Ch'King, your best bet may be Popeyes. Some reviewers feel that the two are (or were) near-clones, with the breading on the Popeyes one being perhaps just a tad less crunchy. Still, as Burger King and Popeyes are both owned by the same parent corporation (Restaurant Brands International), it stands to reason that the sandwiches would be similar.

Popeyes, however, could be said to have been copying Chick-fil-A, since by the time the former got into the sandwich game, the latter had been dishing up pickle-topped chicken on brioche buns for more than five decades. Tomayto, tomahto — some people think Popeyes makes the better chicken sandwich, some prefer CFA, but we'd advise trying them both since they're running neck and neck (and a chicken's neck is pretty skinny).

Of course, Popeyes and Chick-fil-A aren't the only game in town (or may not be, at least, depending on where you live). The Mashed Bros (yes, relation) ranked 21 different fast food chicken sandwiches using criteria such as how many meat fibers they can see in the chicken filets. Right up at the top of their list are CityBird and Church's, while the best of the best — and winner of the very first "Mashelin" award — is Raising Cane's. Each of these sandwiches might make you forget all about the Ch'King, or at least wish it well as it pursues other opportunities.

Explore non-chain fried chicken sandwiches

While fast food restaurants may have popularized the fried chicken sandwich, they're not the only ones to come up with the idea of putting a slab of fried chicken between two buns. Some of the absolute best chicken sandwiches you'll find in the U.S. come from independent restaurants, which makes sense as mom-and-pop shops have more time to devote to the hand-breading and other time-consuming processes that led to the Ch'King's demise.

While we can't possibly cover all of the indie restaurants offering an upgraded version of this fast food favorite, there are a few standouts worthy of mention. Northbound Smokehouse Brewpub in Minneapolis offers a beer-battered "Northern fried chicken" sandwich that one TripAdvisor user raves is the "best chicken sandwich ever!" It comes complete with pickles, lettuce, and tomato, but unlike the Ch'King, is topped with honey mustard instead of mayo. In New Orleans, the high-end eatery Sylvain serves up a "Chick-syl-vain" sandwich at both brunch and dinner that features a hefty hunk of meat fried to a deep golden brown and topped with house-made hot sauce and pickles. Another TripAdvisor reviewer finds the sandwich worthy of four exclamation points, enthusing "Don't miss it!!!!"

Make a copycat Ch'King

If you really want to duplicate the Ch'King as best you can, though, you know what they say — if you want something done right, you've got to do it yourself. After all, the best way to ensure that your chicken sandwich is hand-breaded as advertised is to bread it with your very own hands. While our own Burger King chicken sandwich recipe is meant as a copycat of the spicy Royal Crispy, with a few tweaks you can use it to whip up a fair approximation of the Ch'King as well.

Unless you are trying to duplicate the spicy version of the Ch'King, you can simply omit the hot sauce and cayenne, then proceed to fry the chicken as the recipe directs. The other necessary changes come at the sandwich assembly stage — for one thing, try to use a potato bun instead of any old hamburger bun. For another, you can skip the lettuce and tomato unless you want to pretend you paid for the "Deluxe" upgrade. Keep the mayo, for sure, but whatever you do, don't forget to throw on a few slices of dill pickle. Add a side of BK-style onion rings (we have a copycat recipe for these, too) and enjoy your trip in the Wayback machine to those halcyon days of 2021.