The Best Fast Food Chicken Nuggets or Tenders

Updated on August 19, 2018
wpcooper profile image

Finn Liam has a career in librarianship, having worked in a variety of library settings. He currently lives in Southern California.

Ratings of the Contenders

Restaurant
Taste
Value
Burger King
6
8
Chick Fil A
9
8
Jack in the Box
6
8
KFC
7.5
7.5
McDonald's
5
7
Sonic
8.5
8
Wingstop
8
7.5
Based on a scale of 1 to 10 where 10 is the highest

Chick Fil A

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You can never go wrong with Chick Fil AChick Fil A nuggets are breaded and tastyPortions are nice and satisfying
You can never go wrong with Chick Fil A
You can never go wrong with Chick Fil A
Chick Fil A nuggets are breaded and tasty
Chick Fil A nuggets are breaded and tasty
Portions are nice and satisfying
Portions are nice and satisfying

Chick-Fil-A

Price: $7.00 roughly for a meal with fries and a drink.

$4.00 ala carte

Of course when most people think of a chicken restaurant, at least today, they say Chick-Fil-A. I've been a big fan of this place since the early 90s and perhaps before. It kind of sounds odd to say that—it's almost thirty years.

I think they were a lot better when they started out—I have noticed the quality slowly subsiding. They are still one of my favorites though.

Instead of batter, there seems to be a flavorful breading that soaks into the meat and creates one of the tastiest chicken nugget samples around. I believe they are prepared in one of those special convection ovens that simulates frying—although I believe they were fried at one time.

The chicken sandwich is a nice option too, and I've only tried the grilled nuggets once. I prefer the original.

Chick-Fil-A has expanded its market locations in the past years so I am certain there is probably one near you—and not just in a mall food court.

Give them a try and let me know what you think.

McDonald's

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McDonald's new Homestyle TendersTaste like any McDonald's offeringTenders are whole meat portions - not pressed
McDonald's new Homestyle Tenders
McDonald's new Homestyle Tenders
Taste like any McDonald's offering
Taste like any McDonald's offering
Tenders are whole meat portions - not pressed
Tenders are whole meat portions - not pressed

McDonald's

Price: $6 - 8

Everyone probably has experienced McDonald's in some fashion at one time in their lives. McDonald's and fast food are so synonymous that often it is easier to say McDonald's when you just mean eating out.

Their nuggets are honestly not my favorite—other than the thin, honey flavored batter that encases the pieces. The nuggets are definitely processed pieces, pressed into various shapes. Recently, they've gone all white meat, but that still hasn't really improved the quality of the product.

They've created a new product and I believe they refer to them as "Homestyle Tenders" which is supposed to emulate the flavor of good old fashioned cooking. I don't know how often people cook up tenders at home—deep fried—but this menu offering is supposed to be reminiscent of that process.

The tenders—although seemingly real pieces of white meat chicken (tenderloins)—are not that much better. Everything at McDonald's tastes basically the same. There is that underlying fry taste that kind of lingers and fills the air with that familiar aroma.

Don't get me wrong, they are not bad, but don't really have that much of a unique taste. Even with the barbecue sauce which is heavy and sweet, the tenderloins are not that filling and get boring pretty quick.

Not bad for a quick snack if you're on the go and have few options.

Not my favorite either.

Sonic

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Sonic's meal comes with tater tots if you preferNuggets are delicious and tender.Portions of Sonic's popcorn chicken are plentiful
Sonic's meal comes with tater tots if you prefer
Sonic's meal comes with tater tots if you prefer
Nuggets are delicious and tender.
Nuggets are delicious and tender.
Portions of Sonic's popcorn chicken are plentiful
Portions of Sonic's popcorn chicken are plentiful

Sonic

Price: $7-9 for a small sample with fries and a drink

Sonic is a great place for a nice quick bite and in addition to the popcorn chicken, you can choose from a variety of samples including refreshing deserts.

They have a nice selection of chicken products and I chose the popcorn chicken—spicy style. They are delicious full chicken cuts—not processed or pressed. The chicken is tender and the batter is delicious too. These are probably my favorite so far of all the fast food places.

Not too spicy and doughy batter is just thick enough to add a nice texture but thin enough not to override the meat. The chicken itself is flavorful with the spices adding a nice jolt.

You can get these with a side of fries or tater tots—or by themselves. They make a great mini-meal or a snack to get you through a busy afternoon.

Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC)

KFC popcorn chicken includes a side and a drink
KFC popcorn chicken includes a side and a drink
The popcorn chicken was fresh and had a delicious aroma
The popcorn chicken was fresh and had a delicious aroma

KFC

Price: $7 - 9 for the meal

Much better than I previous recall them to be, these nuggets were piping hot and tasted like they just came from the fryer.

The chicken is made of real breast slices and the meat is tasty with those spices I'm sure most of you are familiar with.

There was a generous sampling in the meal deal as well, not what I expected. One of those small boxes was almost filled to the top with the golden brown specimens.

Definitely a deal and good when you want to know what you get. Probably not the very best of all the restaurants out there, but definitely a plus choice.

Do you agree?

Wingstop

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With the Wingstop meal you have your choice of fries or vegiesWingstop strips are pretty generous and fillingThe fries are frozen and a big soggy
With the Wingstop meal you have your choice of fries or vegies
With the Wingstop meal you have your choice of fries or vegies
Wingstop strips are pretty generous and filling
Wingstop strips are pretty generous and filling
The fries are frozen and a big soggy
The fries are frozen and a big soggy

Wingstop

Current Price: $ 8 -12 for a small plate

Well this is my first time trying Wingstop and it wasn't that bad. I chose the chicken tenders—three piece—with a side of fries. The potatoes taste like the frozen, fresh cut variety and were not that bad. They also offer a vegetable option.

Chicken comes in varieties such as tenders, boneless wings or bone in wings. I probably should have tried the latter because it is always nice to eat the meat off the bones.

The wings were pretty good. Tender meat, nice crisp coating and they dip it in a sauce for you. There are many options of flavors to choose from that range from a basic barbecue to a spicy hot type.

Overall, it was satisfying, but I found the fries a bit boring. The chicken was tender and juicy but I felt lacked a little flavor. The coating had a nice zip to it and even the barbecue sauce had a nice mild zing to it.

Will I go back? Probably not for the tenders.

Jack In the Box

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Nuggets taste like frozen food supermarket varietyBut they are tasty...and affordable...and filling.  Just like BK
Nuggets taste like frozen food supermarket variety
Nuggets taste like frozen food supermarket variety
But they are tasty...and affordable...
But they are tasty...and affordable...
and filling.  Just like BK
and filling. Just like BK

Jack in the Box (and perhaps Burger King)

Price: $1.50 - 2 for five nuggets

I probably should review Jack in the Box and Burger King together since they actually seem to provide the same product.

They're actually pretty tasty and worth the price you pay. Both establishments provide their product for the same price.

Definitely a processed chicken—white meat—that resembles the kind of nugget you can buy frozen in the supermarket.

With a little bit of sauce, they are quite filling and great if you're on the go or looking for an inexpensive snack to tie you over.

Do you agree?

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Questions & Answers

    © 2018 Finn Liam Cooper

    Comments

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      • wpcooper profile imageAUTHOR

        Finn Liam Cooper 

        6 weeks ago from Los Angeles

        Yes the home cooked is the best option. I was going to make that one of my answers

      • ethel smith profile image

        Ethel Smith 

        6 weeks ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

        I like a basic home cooked chicken meal to be honest. But thanks for sharing these fast food outlets

      • revmjm profile image

        Margaret Minnicks 

        6 weeks ago from Richmond, VA

        Finn, I searched online for the most convenient recipe. There are some good ones online as well as on YouTube for Chick-fil-A nuggets. The secret ingredient is pickle juice.

        Make sure you choose a recipe that includes pickle juice. Soak your chicken in all the wet ingredients and let the pieces set for a certain amount of time before you cook them. Another key is to keep the pieces at bite size so the ingredients can soak through.

      • wpcooper profile imageAUTHOR

        Finn Liam Cooper 

        6 weeks ago from Los Angeles

        Margaret: I would like to know your recipe. Do you have it posted. I've tried myself. I know there is probably paprika, ground mustard and maybe even confection sugar involved.

      • revmjm profile image

        Margaret Minnicks 

        7 weeks ago from Richmond, VA

        I think Chick-fil-A has the best chicken nuggets. One serving just isn't enough for me. I tried making them at home. They tasted OK, but not like Chick-fil-A's even though I discovered their secret ingredient.

      • Margie Lynn profile image

        Southern Accents 

        7 weeks ago from the USA

        I use to get the popcorn chicken at Sonic, but have never tried the chicken strips! I really like the ones at Chick-fil-A! Have a great day!

      • wpcooper profile imageAUTHOR

        Finn Liam Cooper 

        7 weeks ago from Los Angeles

        Reply...thanks. I don't know if the mcdonald's there is different than the ones here. I will add more places as time goes on.

      • wpcooper profile imageAUTHOR

        Finn Liam Cooper 

        7 weeks ago from Los Angeles

        We do have a Carl's Jr. here. Yes those are pretty good. When I eat there again I'll put them up. No Bojangles but I've heard about them. There are also Whataburgers, Grandy's I've heard of

      • Coffeequeeen profile image

        Louise Powles 

        7 weeks ago from Norfolk, England

        We have Burger King & McDonalds in the UK, so I don't know of the other fast food places you mentioned. I've tried the chicken nuggets from McDonalds before, but not from Burger King. Interesting article. =)

      • FlourishAnyway profile image

        FlourishAnyway 

        7 weeks ago from USA

        Better than KFC? Do you have Bojangles or Hardees (aka Carl Jr.'s) where you live?

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