KFC Smash'd Potato Bowl Review

KFC bowl and bag
KFC bowl and bag - Helena Nichols/Mashed

Chicken literally may be in the name of Kentucky Fried Chicken, but that hasn't stopped the company from releasing a new menu item that comes without it. KFC recently released a new item called the Smash'd Potato Bowl. It appears to be a response to the wild popularity of its KFC Famous Bowl, which has become a fan favorite since its introduction in 2006. This new bowl also comes hot off the heels of a limited-release Nashville Hot Sauce holiday bowl, introduced in 2022.

In general, bowl meals have become increasingly popular over the past decade or so. They are easy to eat and come with all our favorite foods piled into one convenient meal. But just throwing a bunch of ingredients together does not necessarily make a good meal. While the Famous Bowl became a smash hit, this new Smash'd Potato Bowl has some unique components that could either make or break the dish.

Read more: Ranking Fast Food Fried Chicken Sandwiches From Worst To First

Loaded Up With Potato

Loaded KFC french fry and bowl
Loaded KFC french fry and bowl - Helena Nichols/Mashed

Let's cut right to the chase. The Smash'd Potato Bowl isn't called that just because of its mashed potato base. This bowl's secret weapon is the addition of smashed KFC french fries. These fries have had their fair share of drama already, so adding them to the bowl could be considered a controversial move.

Back in 2020, KFC discontinued its classic potato wedges in favor of Secret Recipe Fries. The change was met with mixed results, with some expressing heartbreak at the loss of the wedges. The new fries are seasoned and breaded with a secret blend of KFC herbs and spices, giving them a unique flavor — a pairing that some love and others are less than thrilled by.

The bowl starts off with KFC mashed potatoes and french fries, and is then topped with cheese sauce, bacon crumbles, and an additional 3-cheese mix. All of which create a hearty cheese and potato-filled bowl. If you do find yourself missing KFC chicken, customers do have the option to add Kentucky Fried Chicken Nuggets to their Smash'd Potato Bowl for an additional charge.

There Is Always A Catch

Window with KFC ad
Window with KFC ad - Helena Nichols/Mashed

If we have piqued your interest in this new Smash'd Potato Bowl, we are sorry to inform you that there is a big catch. The bowl is currently only available in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area for a limited time. It's available at 31 locations in and around Pittsburgh, as of the writing of this article. While 31 sounds like a lot, considering KFC has over 25,000 locations, that number is a mere drop in the KFC bucket. Additionally, it is only available for a limited time, but KFC has not specified what that time frame is. So if you want it, you better go and get it.

This is a testing product, and it means if responses are good, there is a chance we could see the Smash'd Potato Bowl make its way out of Pittsburgh, but there is no guarantee. If you do find your way to this bowl, though, you will be happy to know it is quite affordable. Each bowl is generously sized and comes in at just $3.49 per bowl. If you decide to add the chicken nuggets in and make it more of a meal, your total is $5.49. Not bad at all.

Compared To The KFC Famous Bowl

KFC potato bowl and toppings
KFC potato bowl and toppings - Helena Nichols/Mashed

The KFC Famous Bowl is the primary menu item that can be compared to the Smash'd Potato Bowl. The Famous Bowl also starts with a base of mashed potatoes. It is then topped with sweet corn, chicken nuggets, shredded cheese, and coated with gravy. Basically, it is everything from a chicken dinner put together in one bowl. The Famous Bowl has been incredibly successful. In fact, when the Famous Bowl premiered, it became one of the top new products in 2006.

We suspect that KFC is hoping to repeat its success with the Smash'd Potato Bowl, but there are a few differences. First, instead of the base of just mashed potatoes, we have the addition of those controversial fries. Next, instead of gravy as the sauce, the Smash'd Bowl uses cheese sauce in addition to shredded cheese. Instead of corn, the Smash'd Potato Bowl has bacon bits. Finally, the chicken nuggets are an option in the Smash'd Potato Bowl. That being said, if you add the nuggets, the Smash'd Potato Bowl still comes out a little cheaper than an order of the Famous Bowl.

Nutrition Of The Smash'd Potato Bowl

Fork with potato and toppings on it
Fork with potato and toppings on it - Helena Nichols/Mashed

The Smash'd Potato Bowl is clearly a comfort food creation. As such, we know it is going to carry with it some comfort food nutrition, which is to say, there isn't much. The standard smash bowl has 590 calories, and this goes up to 660 calories when you add in the nuggets. While this is on the high side, the bowl is large enough that you could eat it as a meal, especially with the addition of the nuggets, which give you an extra boost of protein and will help fill you up.

Full nutritional information is unavailable for the Smash'd Potato Bowl at this time. Still, we can take some additional estimations based on the Famous Bowl, which has a similar amount of calories. The Famous Bowl has 31 grams of protein, which will be about the same as the Smash'd Potato Bowl with chicken nuggets. The Famous Bowl has 23 grams of fat and 2,160 milligrams of sodium. For context, the FDA's daily recommended sodium is 2,300 milligrams. That is definitely on the higher level for both, and considering the addition of cheese sauce in the Smash'd Potato Bowl, we can't imagine it is much lower, if lower at all.

How It Tastes

KFC bag and potato bowl
KFC bag and potato bowl - Helena Nichols/Mashed

The real question, though, is how does it taste? We were pleasantly surprised to find that this bowl was not just acceptable, but genuinely good. The Smash'd Potato Bowl is not a refined or elegant meal, and you should not go into it expecting that. But it is a warm bowl of comfort. The cheese sauce is just a bit tangy, the way a sharp cheese can be. The mashed potatoes provide a smooth, creamy base, though on their own, they are nothing to write home about.

We were a bit concerned about the french fries, as with all the toppings and fillings, we thought they would be soggy. However, they stayed remarkably crispy, even in the moisture-trapping plastic takeout container. Perhaps there is something to that derisive secret recipe. The bacon bits, too, added a nice smokey element and a bit of color to break up all that beige.

Overall, this bowl sounds like something you would throw together with a bunch of leftovers. And it is, but that is part of the charm. It offers a similar comfort to the sandwich many make with all those Thanksgiving leftovers. Does it sound gross? Kind of. But in the end, if you want something warm, filling, and comforting, this bowl hits the spot.

Read the original article on Mashed.