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Best Fried Chicken Sandwiches, Ranked by Tier

My son has made it his mission to try the fried chicken sandwich from every establishment we come across, and we are here today to present you with his tiered list. If you want to know where to go to find the ultimate in chicken deliciousness, then read on.

How to Make the Perfect Chicken Sandwich

It’s important that you first understand the criteria the chicken master used to judge these chicken sandwiches.

A perfect chicken sandwich must have perfectly cut pickles, a well-buttered soft bun, a chicken breast that is crispy, but not too heavy with breading. The sauce may complement the chicken, but must not overpower the chicken’s flavor. The sandwich may come with slaw, onions, lettuce and tomato.

  1. Chicken is crunchy on the outside (Not too crunchy!) and soft on the inside.
  2. Pickles are not too thin and not too thick. 
  3. Bun is soft and warm.
  4. If there is sauce, it must go well with the chicken sandwich and not be too flavorful. Sauce almost always makes it better.

Additional rules:

  1. If the chicken sandwich has untraditional ingredients the chicken sandwich will lose tiers. 
  2. Traditional ingredients include: chicken, soft buns, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, coleslaw, pickles, and sauces.
  3. Spicy chicken sandwiches do count as chicken sandwiches in the ranking.

Ranked Chicken Sandwich List

S Tier – Superior / Great

Popeye's Chicken Sandwich
Popeye’s Chicken Sandwich
  1. Popeye’s
    • It definitely lived up to all the excitement that everyone brought to it. Once I tried it for the first time, I wanted to keep going back.
  2. Metro Diner
    • Surprisingly good for a greasy diner. It filled me up, and it had bacon, which is always worth extra points. 🙂
  3. Roaming Rooster (DC-Area Chain)
    • I had never heard of this restaurant before, and their spicy chicken did not disappoint.
  4. PDQ
    • I’ve always loved PDQ. Their chicken is so tender. Every part of the sandwich is delicious, from the pickle to the bun. The chicken tenders they make are also crazy good.
  5. Eastcut (Raleigh Local)
    • The sauce went really well with the chicken. The bun was nice and soft and the chicken was extremely tender.
  6. Come Back Shack
    • This is a good chicken sandwich, which the comeback sauce makes that much better.
  7. Showmar’s
    • Very spicy, but left me satisfied. It didn’t have much else notable other than the chicken and bun.
  8. KFC
    • This is the classic chicken sandwich.
  9. Outback
    • I did not come into Outback thinking that their chicken sandwich was going to be as American-tasting as it was. The fried onions on top were a great addition, despite being unorthodox.
  10. Chik-fil-A
    • I have had this sandwich about a million times. There seems to be a Chik-fil-A everywhere. The butteriness of the bun never disappoints and the breading is also very good.
  11. Drive Shack
    • The food at Drive Shack is surprisingly good considering their focus is more on the golf. The one thing bringing it down a few spots is the tenderness of the meat.

A Tier – Good

Bojangle's Chicken Sandwich - Ranked Good
  1. Bojangles
    • Even though this sandwich has a little bit of kick, I cry my way through it with tears of joy and tears of spice. The fries go well with the sandwich.
  2. Burgerfi
    • Logo on the bun is cool.
  3. Panera
    • This very untraditional approach to the chicken sandwich is still very delicious. It’s not deep fried like the others but it is still crispy and quite good.
  4. Cinemark
  5. BJ’s
  6. Zaxby’s
  7. Boston Market
  8. Grill 46
  9. Smash Burger
  10. McDonald’s
    • This chicken sandwich is good, but the thinness of the bun and weak pickles disappoint.

B Tier – OK

  1. Hardee’s
  2. Lulu
  3. Leesville Taproom (Local)
  4. Arby’s
  5. Skrimp Shack
    • Their sandwich is simply three chicken tenders stacked onto a sandwich, it barely passes as a chicken sandwich.

C Tier – Bad

  1. BB’s Chicken – I came into BB’s thinking it was going to top my list. Once I tried the chicken sandwich and the other pieces of chicken they served, it was so heavily breaded that I couldn’t enjoy it. Think fish batter.
  2. Wendy’s

D Tier – Terrible

  1. Burger King
    • I have only had the opportunity to try the chicken sandwich after it was changed. I heard the previous one was better. This one was small, soggy, and disappointing.
  2. Cafeteria Chicken Sandwich >:( Terrible