Wendy's Vs Burger King's Chicken Sandwich: Which Is Better?

Both Chicken Sandwiches With Bags
Both Chicken Sandwiches With Bags - Sam Skopp/Mashed

The impact of the years-long chicken sandwich wars that reshaped fast food around 2020 can still be felt to this day. Notably Burger King and Wendy's both fought in the conflict despite the fact that each already offered a popular chicken sandwich.

To determine which of these two chains' chicken sandwiches is superior today, we tasted both the Wendy's Classic Chicken Sandwich and Burger King's Original Chicken Sandwich. While this particular Wendy's item is actually a chicken sandwich wars-era addition, it's become the foremost representative of its category, as indicated by the "classic" in its name. Its older, less-prominent sibling is now called the Crispy Chicken Sandwich.

At Burger King we went with the tried-and-true long boy chicken sandwich. While Burger King may have introduced something more akin to the Wendy's signature offering during the chicken sandwich wars, the long, skinny Original Chicken Sandwich remains unique even today. Plus, it still holds a prominent position on the Burger King menu, especially after the chain replaced the popular Ch'King with its Royal Crispy Chicken lineup. Here's how the two chains' takes on the chicken sandwich stack up against one another.

Read more: Fast Food Hamburgers Ranked Worst To Best

The Ingredients On The Wendy's Sandwich Are Superior

Both Chicken Sandwiches Deconstructed
Both Chicken Sandwiches Deconstructed - Sam Skopp/Mashed

The difference in ingredients between the Wendy's and Burger King sandwiches is clear from just a cursory glance. Whereas the Wendy's chicken sandwich comes with a whole leaf or two of lettuce, along with tomatoes, pickles, and mayo, its counterpart at Burger King is outfitted with just mayo and sliced iceberg lettuce.

On the Wendy's Classic Chicken Sandwich, lettuce and tomato aren't necessarily key flavor components, but both add texture and color. Its pickles and mayo, meanwhile, are plenty flavorful and distinctly tangy. By comparison, Burger King's more subtle mayo adds umami flavor.

Taken on their own, the ingredients on the Wendy's chicken sandwich are more plentiful and of a higher quality than what's included at Burger King. While Wendy's may win this round, those additional ingredients don't make or break either sandwich, perhaps rendering this category less important than others.

Wendy's Uses A Chicken Breast, While Burger King's Is Like A Chicken Nugget

Both Chicken Patties Halved
Both Chicken Patties Halved - Sam Skopp/Mashed

Burger King's Royal Crispy Chicken and its offshoots, introduced late in the chicken sandwich wars, are all made from whole chicken breasts. Meanwhile, the Burger King Original Chicken Sandwich uses a chicken patty comprised of breaded white meat more akin to a nugget.

Wendy's has all but phased out its similar nugget-like Crispy Chicken Sandwich in favor of the Classic Chicken Sandwich, which utilizes a breaded chicken breast patty. Unsurprisingly, that chicken breast is firmer and tastes less processed than the softer patty at Burger King. However, the BK entry has a bolder blend of salt and spices. That's not to say the chicken breast at Wendy's isn't flavorful — it's also extremely salty and more than sufficiently spiced, but without hitting the spikes of Burger King's chicken.

One distinct difference: Wendy's patty is a little dry, whereas you could enjoy Burger King's chicken on its own. Ultimately, since each is so distinct, there's no superior product. It depends more on how you weigh a less-processed chicken breast against a more processed but more flavorful chicken patty.

Burger King's Sesame Seed Bun Is A Far Cry From Wendy's Entry

Chicken Sandwiches Top Down View
Chicken Sandwiches Top Down View - Sam Skopp/Mashed

Wendy's houses its Classic Chicken Sandwich in what it calls a "toasted bun," supposedly the same used on its burgers. While it might not technically be brioche — the norm for modern chicken sandwiches like at Popeyes — the standard Wendy's bun is similarly buttery and soft. It's also distinctly firm, setting it apart from lighter and fluffier brioche buns. Ultimately, it's a delivery system that lends texture to the sandwich but imparts no significant flavor.

On the other hand, Burger King's long sesame bun contributes significantly to the taste of the sandwich, with a buttery flavor. That's complemented by a sesame seed topping that imparts a distinct sesame flavor, apparent even in the sandwich's complete form.

In the bread department, Burger King scores a win thanks to its unique approach to what could otherwise be a forgettable component of its sandwich.

The Chicken Sandwiches At Wendy's And Burger King Taste Distinct

Both Chicken Sandwiches Plain Background
Both Chicken Sandwiches Plain Background - Sam Skopp/Mashed

The overall flavor of the Wendy's Classic Chicken Sandwich is very much a product of its individual ingredients working in harmony. Its mayo and pickle components help compensate for the chicken patty's dryness and add a tang that complements its saltiness. Although the lettuce, tomato, and bread don't contribute much to the Classic Chicken Sandwich's flavor, they're texturally beneficial.

Meanwhile, Burger King's Original Chicken Sandwich is less of a composed dish and more of a showcase for its chicken nugget-like patty. Due to a scarcity of lettuce and a more neutral mayo, the chicken shines through. Also because of the negligibility of those other ingredients, the bun becomes an important flavor component too. The sandwich is a straightforward harmony of salty chicken and buttery sesame bread.

Burger King's Original Chicken Sandwich is simpler than what Wendy's is offering, but simple isn't a bad thing. Anyone who appreciates Burger King's solid execution may well enjoy the sandwich's simplicity, whereas the Wendy's sandwich is less bold but more appealing to a broader customer base thanks to its more elegant combination of flavors.

The Shape Of Burger King's Chicken Sandwich Isn't As Important As It Seems

Top Down Chicken Sandwich Comparison
Top Down Chicken Sandwich Comparison - Sam Skopp/Mashed

The most immediate quality that stands out about Burger King's Original Chicken Sandwich has got to be its long and narrow shape. That doesn't affect the sandwich to any significant degree other than aesthetics. While the Burger King chicken sandwich might seem larger, a direct comparison reveals that it's only just slightly bigger than its Wendy's counterpart. Its skinniness could theoretically pose a problem in the increased number of edge bites relative to center bites, the latter of which are more likely to include proper ingredient ratios.

However, because Burger King outfits its sandwich with a reconstituted chicken patty, its shape adheres pretty closely to the bread. And because there isn't much lettuce on the sandwich, edge and center bites are basically equivalent. While it's possible that a customer might enjoy the shape of Burger King's sandwich, that quality is purely subjective and doesn't add much to this competition.

Customization Options Are Essentially Equivalent

Burger King Sandwich Foregrounded
Burger King Sandwich Foregrounded - Sam Skopp/Mashed

Customers who want their sandwich made a particular way will find that the customization options at each chain are almost identical. However, Wendy's and Burger King do offer one unique ingredient each.

You can add multiple ingredients to the Wendy's Classic Chicken Sandwich, including ketchup, mustard, onion, bacon, asiago cheese, and American cheese. Bacon costs $1.50 extra and a slice of either kind of cheese adds $0.60. Any ingredient can be requested in light, regular, or extra quantities. At Burger King, customers can add any of eight items to their Original Chicken Sandwich, including tomato, onion, pickles, American cheese, bacon, ketchup, mustard, and BBQ sauce. Bacon costs $1.20 at Burger King, and a cheese slice $0.60. Light, regular, and extra portions of each ingredient are available.

While options at Burger King are technically more plentiful, the Wendy's sandwich includes more ingredients by default. This makes the number of total possible ingredients identical. Beyond the $0.30 more bacon costs at Wendy's, the core difference between both chains is the asiago cheese option at Wendy's and BBQ sauce at Burger King. Only strict adherents to either ingredient will find one chain to come out on top.

Each Offers Distinct Nutritional Profiles

Both Chicken Sandwiches Halved
Both Chicken Sandwiches Halved - Sam Skopp/Mashed

Neither the Wendy's Classic Chicken Sandwich nor the Original Chicken Sandwich is a particularly healthy choice. Beyond that, there are some notable nutritional differences between the two items. The Wendy's Classic Chicken Sandwich consists of 500 calories, 21 grams of fat, 75 milligrams of cholesterol, 1510 milligrams of sodium, 51 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 6 grams of sugar, and 28 grams of protein.

Meanwhile, Burger King's Original Chicken Sandwich contains 680 calories, 39 grams of fat, 65 milligrams of cholesterol, 1380 milligrams of sodium, 63 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, 7.5 grams of sugar, and 23.4 grams of protein, Though it has lower sodium and cholesterol content, its fat and overall calorie count is higher than the Wendy's chicken sandwich. Wendy's also wins in the protein department, though not by much.

Deciding which sandwich is more nutritious depends on your personal needs, be it avoiding excessive sodium, maximizing protein, or another quality reflected in this head-to-head.

Wendy's Chicken Sandwich Is Just Barely Cheaper

Wendy's Chicken Sandwich Foregrounded
Wendy's Chicken Sandwich Foregrounded - Sam Skopp/Mashed

It's worth noting that, like virtually all franchised fast food chains, prices at Wendy's and Burger King can vary depending on location, but prices relative to one another should remain relatively consistent.

On our particular trip to both chains, the Wendy's Classic Chicken Sandwich came out to $5.95 with tax, while the Burger King Original Chicken Sandwich was slightly more expensive, coming in at $6.17 with tax. However, it's worth noting that the extra $0.23 Burger King charges paid for 180 additional calories, valuing the Burger King sandwich at about $0.11 per calorie and the Wendy's sandwich at roughly $0.12 per calorie.

Ultimately, no matter how you calculate, these differences in price are negligible. With other supplementary factors like nutritional content also failing to grant either sandwich a clear advantage, determining a winner in this competition will rely largely on ingredients and taste.

Burger King's Original Chicken Sandwich Is The Better Menu Item

Burger King Chicken Sandwich Solo
Burger King Chicken Sandwich Solo - Sam Skopp/Mashed

Pitting the Wendy's Classic Chicken Sandwich against Burger King's Original Chicken Sandwich revealed that they're either almost equivalent or different in ways that come down to personal preference. Nevertheless, after taking into account what makes each sandwich special, the Burger King Original Chicken Sandwich came out on top as the superior product.

There are reasons someone might pick the Wendy's chicken sandwich, like its higher vegetable content or a preference for asiago, but Burger King's sandwich wins because it's more unique. Chains like Chick-fil-A and Popeyes offer similar and arguably superior products to the Wendy's Classic Chicken Sandwich. Yet there's nothing quite like Burger King's Original Chicken Sandwich in the world of fast food.

The Burger King chicken sandwich's uniqueness matters all the more because it's a genuinely great menu item. Burger King more wholly embraces what fast food can be at its best, resulting in a brash flavor bomb that left a longer-lasting impression than the milder Wendy's sandwich. Simply put, Burger King's long chicken sandwich is reason enough to visit the chain, whereas the Classic Chicken Sandwich will rarely necessitate a trip to Wendy's.


Wendy's Chicken Sandwich Solo
Wendy's Chicken Sandwich Solo - Sam Skopp/Mashed

To determine which chicken sandwich is better, we ordered one Wendy's Classic Chicken Sandwich and one Burger King's Original Chicken Sandwich. At home, we deconstructed half of each sandwich so we could taste ingredients in isolation. The other half of each sandwich was kept intact to assess it as a whole. We alternated bites between the menu items to compare the two sandwiches as directly as possible.

While it's possible these items could vary slightly based on location or employees working that day, to our minds, these sandwiches were representative of how they're typically made at either Wendy's or Burger King.

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