We Tried Wingstop's New Chicken Sandwich. Here's How It Went

Just when you thought the fried chicken sandwich wars had simmered down, there's a brand new sandwich in the running. Wingstop, known for its wide selection of fast food wings, fried chicken thighs, and tenders, has expanded the menu to include a fried chicken sandwich. For a restaurant so dedicated to chicken, creating a sandwich seems like an obvious and natural addition to the menu. We got a sneak preview of what you can expect at a brand new Wingstop location in NYC, where Larry Bellah, Executive Chef and Director of Culinary and R&D for Wingstop, was available to chat all things sandwich.

Before launching, the new chicken sandwiches underwent years of testing to make sure they were just right, even when the pressure was on to be competitive with all of the other restaurants promoting chicken sandwiches. Now that they've been perfected, the sandwiches are making their way to menus nationwide, and once again making us consider which chicken sandwich is really the best. Here's everything you need to know about the new chicken sandwiches from Wingstop.

What flavors does the sandwich come in?

What sets the Wingstop chicken sandwich apart from the competition is that it's available in at least 12 different flavors, whereas most of the other restaurants making fried chicken sandwiches only offer them in classic and spicy flavors, sometimes with different topping combinations for variety. Wingstop took the 12 core chicken wing flavors and simply applied them to the chicken sandwiches, instantly making a more diverse selection of chicken sandwich flavors than any of the competition.

The no-to-low heat flavors include garlic parmesan, lemon pepper, Hawaiian, plain, and mild. For those who crave a little spice without getting overwhelmed, there's the original hot, hickory smoked BBQ, Louisiana rub, and spicy Korean Q. Spice lovers should get a kick out of the Cajun, mango habanero, and atomic flavors. Additionally, Wingstop offers limited-time flavors, like the current hot honey rub, which gives you even more sandwich flavor options. Some of the flavors are available as dry rubs, while others are sauces.

All of the sandwiches come with pickles and a dipping sauce. Ranch is the default dipping sauce, but you can also choose blue cheese, honey mustard, or cheese sauce. The chicken sandwich buns are brioche-style buns that get toasted just before serving, and have been specially created to stand up to the saucy chicken flavors while maintaining their softness.

What's the chicken sandwich's nutrition information?

Since the chicken sandwich is brand new to the Wingstop menu, nutrition information isn't available online yet. Taking a look at competitors' chicken sandwiches gives us an idea of what we might be in for when it comes to a plain sandwich, calorie-wise. Shake Shack's Chick'n Shack is 550 calories, while Popeyes' classic chicken sandwich has 700 calories, and Chick-fil-A's chicken sandwich has 440 calories. Assuming the quantity of chicken on the sandwich is about two plain chicken tenders on the Wingstop menu, the chicken itself is about 280 calories. A generic brioche bun runs about 240 calories, bringing our estimate to about 520 calories for a plain sandwich.

Different Wingstop flavors pack different calorie counts, with garlic parmesan, lemon pepper, and mild being the most calorie-dense, and atomic, Cajun, and original hot adding the fewest calories to the sandwich. Luckily, a cup of ranch or blue cheese sauce will only run you about 30 calories per serving, so feel free to dip liberally. 

While we're still waiting for the final word on the sandwich's nutritional information, we did get a front-row seat to see how the sandwiches are made. All of the Wingstop foods are made to order. There are no hot holding boxes or heat lamps in the kitchen, so you can be confident that you're not eating a sandwich that was cooked hours ago.

How much does the sandwich cost?

If you're just in the mood for a sandwich, a single sandwich costs $5.49 before taxes, and includes a dipping sauce. For $7.99, you'll get the sandwich, hand-cut fries, and a 20-ounce drink. A regular order of seasoned fries by themselves costs $4.09, and a large order costs $4.79, so it's definitely worth it to upgrade to the combo meal. The sandwiches are available in stores and online for delivery, although additional delivery charges might apply.

But for a limited time, you might be able to snag a new chicken sandwich for free. Wingstop is encouraging customers to ditch their chicken sandwiches from the competitors and pledge loyalty to the Wingstop sandwich. They're likening it to a breakup, and are playfully letting customers fill out a breakup letter to the other guys at ChickenSandwichSplit.com, where customers will then receive a code for a free sandwich. The catch is, you have to be one of the first 100,000 customers to submit your breakup letter online to snag a sandwich, and the giveaway ends on September 5th. Depending on how popular these chicken sandwiches are, there's a possibility that they'll go quickly, especially with over 1,600 locations in the United States.

What else is on the Wingstop menu?

There are probably a lot of people that will be trying Wingstop for the first time thanks to the new chicken sandwich offering, who might not be familiar with the rest of the menu. If you're new to the fast food chicken restaurant, you can rightfully assume that they serve chicken wings. According to Forbes, 65% of Wingstop's sales come directly from wings sales, and we'd argue that they're absolutely worth trying. The restaurant sells only fried chicken products, and also offers chicken tenders, "thigh bites" which are bite-sized pieces of fried chicken, also boneless chicken wings in addition to the classic wings.

For sides, a few different types of French fries are available, including seasoned, Louisiana Voodoo, buffalo ranch, and cheese fries. Cajun fried corn and veggie sticks are also available as sides. If you're the kind of person that likes to balance your salty with a little bit of sweet, Wingstop offers one dessert option, the triple chocolate chunk brownie. The Wingstop menu isn't especially large, but Wingstop takes pride in keeping it small and cooking everything the best way they can.

Our verdict: There's fierce competition on the chicken sandwich front

At the unveiling party of Wingstop's new chicken sandwich, we were able to taste six of the sandwich flavors, including lemon pepper, garlic parmesan, original hot, Louisiana rub, spicy Korean Q, and mango habanero. There wasn't a single flavor in the lineup that we didn't find appealing, although we particularly enjoyed the lemon pepper (an ideal starting point for fans of Chick-fil-A's chicken sandwich) and the original hot sandwich (which we think gives Popeyes spicy chicken sandwich a run for its money). The blue cheese dipping sauce was also a fun pairing with several of the flavors. We asked Chef Bellah which sandwiches he prefers, and while he said he genuinely thinks all of the flavors are fantastic, he's particularly fond of the garlic parmesan and the spicy Korean Q.

We know there are a lot of opinions when it comes to which chicken sandwich is the best, so saying this is the new best chicken sandwich would be a pretty bold and biased statement. After tasting six of the sandwich flavors, what we can confidently say is this: We think it's in the top five. And given the variety of flavors available, we can see ordering from Wingstop more often than some of the other guys. It helps that we got to peek into the kitchen and see how smoothly the entire operation runs, and just how fresh the sandwiches are.