Popular KFC Menu Items, Ranked Worst To Best

Everyone seems to have an opinion when it comes to the best chicken fast food restaurant out there. Some will tell you that Zaxby's is where it's at. Others are diehard Chick-fil-A fans. But at the end of the day, we all know that KFC has some of the best fried chicken around. Sure, they've come up with some zany creations over the years, but that doesn't mean that their standard fare isn't pretty good for a fast food joint. If you're feeding a lot of people at once, it's one of the easiest places to go, and, chances are, there will be something there for just about everyone.

Not only do you have the main dishes (which mostly consist of, you guessed it, fried chicken), but there are also a variety of side dishes that make this place what it is. There are even some standalone items and a few desserts for those times when you need something sweet after dinner. While not all of these menu items are particularly tasty, others really knock it out of the park.

Wondering how to figure out which ones are which? We've done our homework and ranked some of the most popular items on this fast food joint's menu. While everyone will have their own opinions, this is a great place to start if you simply don't know what to order.

17. Coleslaw

While we like a lot of the food at KFC, there always has to be something that comes in last place. And that, for us, is the coleslaw. We're sad that we had to rank it so poorly because it is one of the only veggie-based dishes on the menu. When we go to KFC, we want to order something fresh to go with all of that heavy fried chicken, but we've come to decide that the coleslaw just isn't worth it.

Why? Well, first of all, the cabbage is literally bathed in dressing. In fact, this menu item probably counts more as a serving of dairy than it does as a serving of vegetables. The pieces of cabbage, carrot, and onion are also cut so small that they seem to lose their flavor amongst all that dressing. What you're left with is a creamy mess that nobody around the dinner table wants to take more of.

We don't want you to think we're against coleslaw, either. It can be great if it's done right. But at KFC, you're better off making your own salad if you're looking for something that's light and refreshing. If you order this one, chances are you won't make the mistake of ordering it again.

16. Corn

Truly, there isn't anything wrong with the corn you'll get at KFC. Whole kernel corn will always be a reliable option, but let's not fool ourselves here: There is nothing to this dish at all. You could literally just open up a can of corn at home to enjoy the exact same food for a lot cheaper, and it really requires no extra work. This makes us kind of sad because KFC could've done something creative here. Imagine if they concocted a new kind of seasoning just for their corn. Or maybe they could serve it as part of a salad with some other veggies included. Hey, even just covering it in gravy could make a big difference.

But they didn't choose to do any of that. Instead, they'll just hand you a container of the same old corn you've been eating from cans your whole life. Therefore, we feel like there's not any real reason to buy it. If you could have the exact same product for cheaper and keep it stocked in your house for every time you decide to go to KFC, you'd be much better off. The only exception would be if you were on the go and just wanted to grab some because it's convenient.

So while, no, the corn isn't technically bad, we couldn't rate it any higher because we can't deal with the fact that there's just literally no imagination here at all.

15. Extra crispy tenders

KFC might be known for its buckets of hot chicken, but that's not the only way they serve fried bird. If you want something even simpler, you can order the extra crispy tenders. You can order a three-piece or a five-piece combo, depending on how hungry you are. But if we were you, we'd probably be looking at some of the other chicken entrees on the menu instead. The chicken tenders here might be a bit of a disappointment if you're only used to the bone-in chicken that KFC offers.

While the bone-in chicken is super juicy and flavorful, you're not going to get the same experience from the extra crispy tenders. They're actually pretty dry, which is not exactly what you want when you order fried chicken. And while yes, they are somewhat crispy, we certainly wouldn't describe them as "extra crispy." They're also just kind of boring. You can get chicken tenders anywhere, so why would you choose to get them at KFC? The classic fried chicken is what this chain specializes in, so you'd almost definitely be better off going that route.

Of course, kids may like this option, and if you have a really picky eater on your hands, then it may be just the thing for them. But if you want the best that KFC has to offer, keep reading to learn about the top options available.

14. Mac and cheese

We don't want to be too hard on the sides here, but we have to tell it like it is. And unfortunately, the mac and cheese is yet another menu item that just doesn't taste that good. While we may choose it over the corn and the coleslaw, it doesn't mean that it would be our first choice when we're inside a KFC. That's disappointing considering the fact that we wish there were more fast food places that offered macaroni on their menus. However, if you're holding out for KFC, you should throw in the towel now.

Let's start with the texture of the pasta. It feels like it's been overcooked because it's way, way too soft. There isn't any of that al dente bite you may be expecting from decently cooked pasta. It almost makes you wonder how long it's been sitting there soaking up the cheese sauce. Then, of course, you have to consider the cheese sauce as well. It's really thin — too thin. In fact, it seems like it's more of just a cheese-flavored white sauce than it is actually cheese. You don't get any cheese pull from it, which definitely has us suspicious.

If this were offered at another restaurant, we would ignore it entirely. However, considering the dearth of tasty options for sides at KFC, you may want to give it a try.

13. Chocolate chip cookie

Some fast food restaurants, like McDonald's, have a ton of dessert options (though the ice cream machine may or may not be working on any given day). Others, like KFC, barely have any at all. That's something we found sort of surprising considering the fact that it's the kind of place where you buy dinner for the whole family. (Most people aren't buying entire buckets of chicken just for themselves). Therefore, you might assume that there would be quite a few different dessert options. Unfortunately, that's just not the case. In fact, there are only two dessert options, and the chocolate chip cookie is our least favorite.

First of all, there's just nothing imaginative about this option — there's nothing that sets it apart from any other chocolate chip cookie you've run across in your lifetime. You can buy a whole package of cookies at the store, so it doesn't really make sense to buy just one at a time from KFC. Additionally, this cookie doesn't even taste that good. It's super sweet, and it has a graininess to it that we definitely don't love.

Other than that, there's not too much that's very notable about this cookie. If you want to get something small and sweet to go with your meal and you don't want to run anywhere else, feel free to go for it. Just keep your expectations in check.

12. Pot pie

Something that you wouldn't expect to see at a fast food restaurant? A chicken pot pie. You won't find this kind of meal at other fast food chicken places, but that's part of what makes KFC special. Now that you know this unusual dish is on the menu, you may wonder if you should order it and give it a try yourself. If you love chicken pot pie and you're curious, you should certainly give it a go — just don't expect the most delicious chicken pot pie you've ever had in your life.

What do we like about this chicken pot pie? There's a lot to enjoy. Mostly, though, it's the gravy. And the blog Fast Food Geek agrees with us. In their review of the pot pie, they said, "The contents of the Chunky Chicken Pot Pie taste like you took the Chicken Stew and actually made it taste like something. The special Colonel branded sauce/gravy must be made out of pure fats and creams, because it tastes absolutely splendid."

That said, the chicken that's in the pie is not amazing. It tastes okay — it's just nothing to write home about. The veggies are a little lackluster too, but that's something we could get over if we had to. The pie crust was tasty but nothing too special. Overall, you may want to give the pot pie a try. Just make sure you try some of these items further down the list first.

11. Secret Recipe Fries

Here's a side that we don't dislike as much as we dislike many of the others. It's not something super unique or special in concept, but maybe that's why it's not too bad: It's a solid option you can find anywhere, so you know it's not going to let you down. We're talking about the Secret Recipe Fries. And it seems like there really is a secret recipe because these fries taste pretty good. They have a unique blend of spices that give this side dish an extra burst of flavor that you definitely won't get from the corn.

There's also a nice crispiness to the exterior of the fry. While the fries aren't crunchy, per se, they seem to be slightly battered, which adds the perfect amount of texture. We like that these are different from fries we've tried at other fast food establishments.

However, the inside of the fry is where things go wrong for us. Though the outside has a nice crispiness to it, once you get to the middle of the fry, it seems kind of soggy. The texture makes it feel like it's kind of overcooked, even though the outside of the fry doesn't indicate that. This side dish has some pros and cons, but we feel like it's worth the purchase — especially if you love fries.

10. Chicken Little

Sometimes, you're not hungry enough to eat a whole meal but you still need something that's going to fill you up and give you the energy you need to make it through the rest of your day. That's when it's nice to pick up something that's on the smaller side but that still tastes great. That's exactly why you might consider ordering the Chicken Little at KFC.

It's a super simple sandwich that most people won't object to. It's got a crispy piece of chicken between two sesame seed buns. For toppings, there's mayo for some creaminess as well as a pickle for some freshness. Put it all together, and you have a tasty sandwich that's easy to eat on the go. What we love best about this sandwich, though, is the fact that you can order it in a variety of flavors. Try the regular extra crispy version, or take it up a notch and opt for the honey BBQ, Nashville hot, or Buffalo instead. The fact that you can customize it makes it something special.

While this little sandwich is convenient, easy to eat in a hurry, and tastes good, it's definitely not one of the best items on the menu. However, it's so simple that there's not much that will make you think you're getting something special, so you'll probably get what you expect. While it's a solid menu item, it's probably not something you would necessarily look forward to ordering.

9. Chocolate chip cake

We already told you about our stance on the chocolate chip cookie at KFC. If you're looking for another dessert option, we've got you covered. Instead of a single cookie, you can instead decide to take it to the next level and get the chocolate chip cake. The first thing we should mention about this cake is its size. Not that many fast food restaurants allow you to order menu items that would feed more than one person. This cake, though, is big enough for a whole family: It will feed about six people. This is definitely a great option for those who are going to KFC because they want to get enough food for the whole crew.

The flavor of the cake is pretty good. It's nice and moist, and the chocolate is rich. The sugary drizzle on top is probably not needed as far as the flavor goes, but it does add something special to the appearance of the cake. The chocolate chips aren't that noticeable but do add some sweetness.

While this cake is good, we think you could get a cake of similar quality at your grocery store bakery. Since there are more options there, we think that this cake isn't a great purchase unless you don't have time to run to the store. If you're looking for a fast and easy dessert to serve with dinner from KFC, though, this cake is definitely the way to go.

8. Kentucky Fried Wings

When you see "fried wings" on a fast food menu, what first comes to mind? If you're like a lot of people, you may assume that these aren't real wings at all but rather boneless wings. Boneless wings have their place, sure, but are they as good as the real-deal bone-in wings? Absolutely not. But here's a happy surprise for you: KFC's Kentucky Fried Wings are bone-in wings that are also fried. That sounds really good, doesn't it? If that's something you might be interested in, you should definitely give them a try.

While the breading on these wings might be a bit too thick, we'll deal with it because it seems like that's what locks in the juiciness. You can always go with the standard un-sauced wing if you're just looking for the maximum amount of crispiness to your breading. However, we would suggest that you explore your horizons and try some of the different sauce flavors instead.

The Nashville hot wings are our favorite, and even if you have an appetite for spicy foods, there's a good chance that you're going to love this flavor as well. The Buffalo wings are also a great option for those who want to keep it classic. And don't forget the honey BBQ option for people who love a touch of sweetness to their meat dishes. Choose whichever flavor sounds best to you.

7. Standard chicken bucket

If you're looking for the most elementary KFC order ever, you know you have to order the standard chicken bucket. This dish is what KFC is known for, after all. It's the best way to taste what the restaurant has to offer if you've never been there before. One thing we like about the standard chicken bucket is the fact that it offers a lot of variety. If you've got a whole house full of picky eaters, this is a great choice because everyone can choose something different.

For those who love white meat, the chicken breasts await. Those who want a piece of chicken that's on the juicier side would do well to choose a drumstick or a thigh. And people who want to work for their chicken meat can opt for a wing. All of these different pieces come in the same bucket, so you don't have to worry about ordering several different dishes. You also have the choice to customize the flavor. Choose the original recipe chicken, or go for the extra crispy, Kentucky grilled, or spicy options — the choice is totally up to you.

Where this bucket goes wrong, though, is the chicken breast. Sure, if you like white meat, it may not be too much of a problem. But compared to the other pieces, they're a lot drier and less appetizing.

6. Chicken sandwich

Do you remember the chicken sandwich wars? It seemed like every fast food restaurant was going head to head to create the absolute best fried chicken sandwich. Some did a great job, while others were lackluster. But you probably didn't hear too much from KFC during this time. Why? We wonder if they were just biding their time, knowing that they already had a solid hold on the fried chicken market anyway. Whatever the case may be, once we tried the chicken sandwich at this chain, we couldn't help but think that it's one of the best chicken sandwiches out there.

The extra crispy chicken is the perfect place to start. It really does crunch when you bite into it, which is just what you want in a great chicken sandwich. The pickles and mayo add some extra flavor while keeping things really simple. But perhaps what we love the best is the buttery brioche bun that pulls it all together.

5. Biscuit

We said that we didn't love all of the side dishes available at KFC, and we stand by that position. But that doesn't mean that every side dish on the menu is a bust. In fact, if you're looking for one of the tastier options, you should definitely order the biscuits.

Okay, okay. We know what you're thinking: This is going to be a very carb-heavy meal if you order a biscuit with your breaded fried chicken. You're absolutely right. But when you go to KFC, you're probably not looking for a meal that helps you reach the pinnacle of health. Instead, you want something that's going to taste great and fill you up. Therefore, embrace it and indulge! You don't want to miss out on the joys of this biscuit.

It's buttery. It's flaky. It will melt in your mouth whether you eat it alone or add a chicken strip in between the two ends of the biscuit. It's something you just have to order as one of your sides. Plus, since there are limited side options available that are actually tasty, you won't have to sacrifice much.

4. Mashed potatoes and gravy

There's no competition for our favorite side available on the KFC menu. While we love the biscuits, they don't come with their very own sauce, so they can't stand up to the competition, unfortunately. The mashed potatoes and gravy are definitely the shining stars of the side menu, so you'll want to choose them when you go to KFC. They go perfectly with just about anything you order, so it's worth giving them a try if you haven't yet.

We love how creamy the mashed potatoes are at KFC. They don't have a single lump in them, and they're just the right kind of mushy. But let's be honest: The mashed potatoes on their own aren't anything to write home about. If you want to talk about what's making this side dish work, it's totally the gravy. It's super rich and salty, so we have a sneaking suspicion that it's probably not that good for you. But it tastes so good, you'll want it anyway. The thick gravy absolutely smothers the potatoes. (Our advice? Mix them together for maximum deliciousness.)

If you're going to order just one side when you visit KFC, we suggest you get this one.

3. Fill Up Bucket: drums and thighs

Some offerings at KFC are classics that you very well may want to go back to time and time again. And if any menu item matches that description, it's the Fill Up Bucket with drums and thighs. Keep in mind that this menu item allows for a lot of customization, so it's really up to you to build your best chicken bucket. If you like your chicken how they used to make it back in the day, you should go for the original recipe. However, if you want things to get a bit crispier, you should opt for the extra crispy breading instead (this is the one that we would suggest).

There are other options too. If you're looking to make things marginally healthier, you may choose the Kentucky grilled chicken bucket. And for those who like things on the fiery side, there's no beating the spicy chicken (yes, this one is also breaded for maximum crispiness).

We don't just love this menu option because it's so easy to customize, though. When you go for the drums and thighs, you're going to get chicken that's juicier and more tender than if you wanted to get all breasts. Plus, this should prevent all those arguments over who's going to get the last drumstick.

2. Nashville Hot tenders

We've mentioned before that the extra crispy tenders from KFC are about as plain and as boring as they can get. Why would you get boring old chicken tenders from a place that carries so many other great chicken dishes? Well, we're not against chicken tenders entirely. In fact, we actually really love the Nashville Hot tenders that you'll find at the chain. While they do have some crispiness to them, the real magic is in the hot sauce. This sauce blesses the breading of the chicken tenders, making them unbelievably flavorful with just the perfect amount of spice.

We love these tenders so much because they seem to pair really well with a lot of the other dishes on the menu. Many of the side dishes are on the bland side (even the ones that taste good). Therefore, pairing them with something as flavorful as these chicken tenders can really take your meal to the next level.

Just be warned: while those who love spice will jump for joy for these chicken tenders, remember that not everyone will feel the same way. If you're really sensitive to spicy food, then these may not be the best option for you. But if you can handle spice, you're going to fall in love just as much as we did.

1. Famous Bowl

If you really want the best that KFC has to offer, you shouldn't look any further than the Famous Bowl. We know that not everyone will agree with us on this ranking, but we can't deny the truth: This dish is amazing. It's also one of the better options to go for if you're just feeding yourself and not a whole family. Plus, it combines all of the best foods at KFC into one easy-to-eat dish that you won't be able to get enough of.

First, it starts with a layer of mashed potatoes. The creamy mashed potatoes are then complemented by the gravy (obviously — that's the best part). Next comes the corn and the crispy chicken to pull it all together. There's even a sprinkling of cheese on top to give the dish just a little bit of extra taste. When all these flavors come together, it really creates something special. You can forget about a salad bowl or rice bowl from other chains when you see this coming out instead.

Is this dish a little bit over the top? Absolutely. Does it reflect everything that's wrong with late-stage capitalism in the food industry? Sure. But is the end result mouthwateringly delicious? We say yes. Give it a try for yourself if you don't believe us.