Wendy's Grilled Chicken Sandwich: What To Know Before Ordering

There's no denying the deliciousness of a crispy chicken sandwich. The satisfyingly crunchy sandwich has been the center of attention since Popeyes introduced their take on the dish in 2019, per Restaurant Business. And now, it seems like every restaurant has put one on its menu in an attempt to rival the one produced by the famous Louisiana Kitchen or its unofficial nemesis, Chick-fil-A. You may have even made it your mission to sample every single fast food chicken sandwich to try to determine which one is the best of the best. We certainly applaud you if you've taken on that task. However, after years of the fried poultry product dominating the fast-food industry, and with no end in sight, we wouldn't blame you if you felt a little tired of the meal.

Of course, there are plenty of other things you can order when heading to your favorite drive-thru, but if you've got a particular affinity for chicken, finding something other than a crispy version of the bird can prove to be a bit difficult. Burger King and McDonald's are two eateries with only fried chicken to be found, but luckily, there's a broader selection at one of their competitors: Wendy's. Ordering a grilled chicken sandwich at Wendy's can fulfill your poultry craving in a different –- yet still perfectly tasty -– way. If your stomach is starting to rumble, here's everything you need to know about the other chicken sandwich from the chain.

The history of Wendy's Grilled Chicken Sandwich

After introducing salad bars and baked potatoes in the late '70s and '80s, a continued push for "lighter" options led Wendy's to add a grilled chicken sandwich to its menu in July 1990, per Wendy's website. A commercial on YouTube lists its components as a chicken breast fillet topped with lettuce, tomato, and honey mustard, all piled on top of a toasted bun. "This could be Dave's best-tasting chicken sandwich ever," the ad claimed. At the time, maybe it was, but that didn't stop the chain from doing a "complete overhaul" of its chicken sandwich line in 2004 (via Restaurant News Resource). Renamed the Ultimate Chicken Grill, the new version of the non-fried poultry product was almost identical to its predecessor but featured a bigger chicken breast fillet coupled with a sweet and savory sauce.

Similar re-vamps followed suit over the years until the sandwich's most recent transformation in 2016. Still topped with lettuce, tomato, and honey mustard, PR Newswire reports that the new-and-improved Grilled Chicken Sandwich was made different from the rest thanks to an herb-marinated chicken fillet and a new multi-grain bun. "When we set out to recreate this sandwich, our goal was a better-for-you option that delivered an unbelievable taste," Wendy's VP of marketing and advertising, Carl Loredo, said at the time of its launch. However, it seems there were still some changes to be made, as the dish is a little different today.

What is the sandwich like now?

The Wendy's website describes its current Grilled Chicken Sandwich as "herb-marinated grilled chicken breast topped with smoky honey mustard, crisp spring mix, and tomato, served on a warm toasted bun." This might not sound too different from the version of the sammie that was rolled out in 2016. However, the dish has undergone a few changes since its most recent re-vamp that have improved it even more. The biggest difference you'll likely notice when getting ready to sink your teeth into the eatery's current Grilled Chicken Sandwich is that it no longer comes on a multi-grain bun. Despite being a major part of its makeover six years ago, the chain revealed in a tweet to a fan that this element of the dish -– which PR Newswire reports was made with a blend of red quinoa, flaxseed, bulger wheat, and oats –- was discontinued in 2018.

The second big change to Wendy's Grilled Chicken Sandwich is to the poultry itself, though you won't recognize this one on sight. Following complaints of "rubbery chicken," Insider reports that the fast-food restaurant not only switched up its preparation methods but has also invested nearly $30 million to upgrade the overall quality of its poultry. Sourcing from smaller chickens and removing antibiotics are two improvements Wendy's has made since launching the initiative in 2017 (via Wendy's). And thanks to those improvements, the chain suggests their sandwich has the potential to be "the best chicken sandwich you've ever had."

Does Wendy's have different versions of its Grilled Chicken Sandwich?

Wendy's Grilled Chicken Sandwich is a great alternative to the crispy chicken sandos currently dominating the fast food world, but even this handheld meal can get a little tiring after a while. Luckily, the chain has several different versions of the entrée for you to choose from that are sure to take your tastebuds on a ride. In addition to the original sandwich that comes topped with lettuce, tomato, and honey mustard, the restaurant's menu currently boasts three more grilled chicken sandwiches, including the Grilled Asiago Ranch Club. Somewhat similar to the original, this version also comes with an herb-marinated chicken breast fillet, lettuce, and tomato but replaces the honey mustard with ranch and adds asiago cheese and Applewood-smoked bacon, per Wendy's.

Those with an affinity for all things spicy may prefer the Grilled Jalapeño Popper Sandwich instead. The eatery's website says it comes topped with shredded pepper jack cheese, cheddar cheese sauce, bacon, and a combination of jalapeños and jalapeño cream cheese to give each bite a fiery twist. Finally, the latest addition to the bunch is the Grilled Big Bacon Cheddar Chicken. Introduced in August 2021, this mouthwatering sammie features a slice of American cheese as well as creamy cheddar, Applewood-smoked bacon, crispy onions, and bacon jam, all piled in between a toasted cheddar bun (via Chew Boom).

Is it nutritious?

We all know that fast food isn't the most nutritious meal in town. However, if you're looking for a healthier option that is still just as satisfying, a Grilled Chicken Sandwich from Wendy's is the way to go. With only 350 calories and 8 grams of fat, the entrée is not only one of the healthiest items on the restaurant's menu (yes, even healthier than their salads!), but is also far superior to most of the food being served up at the other popular chains, per Wendy's. "Many fast food sandwiches contain over 1,000mg in sodium, however this sandwich is at 850 mg," registered dietician nutritionist Keri Gans explained to Parade. "It also provides a whopping 33 grams of protein for those seeking a high protein option for lunch or dinner."

As for the other varieties, the Grilled Jalapeño Pepper Chicken, Asiago Grilled Ranch Club, and Grilled Big Bacon Cheddar Chicken sandwiches contain 460, 490, and 670 calories, respectively (via Wendy's). But while these calorie counts are far larger than that of the regular version, they are still considerably less than their respective crispy chicken counterparts. One downfall of the original Wendy's Grilled Chicken Sandwich is its bun, which Eat This, Not That! points out is sweetened with high fructose corn syrup. Yet still, compared to the other grilled chicken sammies in the industry, the outlet found that the nutritional value of Wendy's version outranks all but one: Chick-Fil-A's Grilled Chicken Sandwich.

How much does it cost?

Wendy's may be home to one of the healthiest grilled chicken sandwiches in the world of fast food, but, unfortunately, the entrée doesn't quite hold up in terms of price. Though prices for the sandwich vary a bit by location, Menu With Price reports that on average, you'll be shelling out around $6.09 when you order one of these bad boys –- and that's just for the sandwich alone. To put that into perspective, Fast Food Menu Price reports that Sonic's Grilled Chicken Sandwich runs for $4.49, while Chick-fil-A's goes for even less at $4.39.

Things don't get much better when you look at Wendy's other grilled chicken sammies, either. The Grilled Jalapeño Popper sandwich runs for $6.79, while the Grilled Asiago Ranch Club and Grilled Big Bacon Cheddar Chicken ring in at a whopping $6.99. Needless to say, you may not want to head to Wendy's for a Grilled Chicken Sandwich if you're looking for something on the cheaper side. However, a coupon on the chain's mobile app may help you save a few bucks on your meal.

Does Wendy's Grilled Chicken Sandwich taste good?

Many Wendy's customers pull up to the fast-food restaurant to chow down on something like the monstrous Baconator or an iconic Frosty treat. Still, the eatery has so much more to offer besides square-shaped burgers and one-of-a-kind desserts. Customers dining at the chain are also presented with a sizeable selection of poultry products like the Grilled Chicken Sandwich, which is the menu's true gem for some.

Following the sandwich's revamp in 2016, GrubGrade described the poultry itself as "plump, juicy and slightly sweet" with a "pleasant garlic and herb flavor" and ultimately awarded the sammie a rating of 7 out of 10. A report published by Insider in 2017 found it to be the third-best grilled chicken sandwich in the fast food industry entirely. More recently, Uproxx sang praises of the eatery's Grilled Asiago Ranch Club, citing that all the flavors blended seamlessly and were balanced. As one Redditor wrote, Wendy's has "some of the best-grilled chicken in the game," so regardless of which version of the sandwich you order, we don't have any doubt that you'll be enjoying your meal.