Canada's popular fast-food fried chicken ranked from worst to best

Jul 5 2022, 7:00 pm

We’ve already ranked fast-food fried chicken sandwiches, but now we’re taking a critical look at the OG of all chicken dishes at quick-service restaurants: straight-up and simple fried chicken.

That’s right: no buns, no lettuce, just chicken in its true cooked and crispy form. We’re talking pieces, nuggets, tenders, and chicken fries.

For chicken purists, these kinds of orders are our jam. You can mix and match sauces and, in some cases, even opt for different spices. There’s nothing wrong with a chicken handheld, but sometimes, this version of our favourite protein just hits different.

The big question is, which one reigns supreme in the realm of quick and delicious chicken bites? Here’s our arbitrary ranking of popular fast-food fried chicken listed from worst to best.

10. Burger King

 

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Ever heard a friend say they were craving chicken from Burger King? Neither have we.

There’s nothing outwardly wrong with the chicken offerings here but, personally, we’d opt for a bone-in piece of chicken from an alternative spot over this brand’s signature chicken fries any day.

9. Tim Hortons

Tim Hortons

Photo courtesy Tim Hortons

This one simply just doesn’t compute. If it’s not a cup of Joe, a donut, or a bagel, we probably won’t be ordering it at Tim Hortons.

Unfortunately for the seasoned chicken strips, that means it’s landing low on the list. If we’re getting anything chicken from Tim Hortons it’s going to be the chicken noodle soup.

8. McDonald’s

fast food chicken ranked

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Whether you like them or not, McNuggets are an iconic fast-food chicken dish and are clearly here to stay. People are usually McNuggets fans or they aren’t – it’s one or the other.

While these guys are never unsatisfying, they are a bit basic and simply don’t slap as hard as some of the other offerings on this ranking.

7. A&W

While the A&W Teen Burger is our handheld of choice at this chain, you can’t really go wrong with the chicken tenders here, either; it’s a kind of middle-of-the-road chicken offering. We don’t crave it but certainly wouldn’t turn it away.

This brand has also tried to make the chicken life more accessible to vegan/vegetarian patrons with the launch of its plant-based nuggets a few years back.

6. DQ

 

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Not unlike A&W, DQ is often the kind of place you find yourself eating chicken by chance and not by choice.

By that we mean we wouldn’t necessarily head here to get our fix, but an order of the chicken strip basket with a Blizzard doesn’t sound like a chore, either.

5. Wendy’s

We prefer the Wendy’s Classic Chicken Strips to the Baconator. There, we said it.

Sorry not sorry, but if you’ve been sleeping on Wendy’s homestyle version of fast-food fried chicken, we feel sorry for you. This offering paired with an ice-cold Frosty and Wendy’s signature fries is pretty much the perfect meal.

4. KFC

kfc

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This list obviously wouldn’t be complete with a nod to KFC, the world’s second-largest restaurant chain after McDonald’s, but that certainly doesn’t mean it’s taking the top spot. Sure, KFC makes a reliably good fried chicken – it’s juicy, it’s crispy, and it’s got that top-secret spice seasoning to keep things flavourful (apparently the secret is the white pepper).

But even with the chain’s wide variety of chicken offerings, this spot isn’t our go-to, ride-or-die chicken joint. It’s good, but it’s not great.

3. Church’s Chicken

 

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Another cheap and cheerful addition to our list, Church’s has tons of locations in Canada and plans to keep on expanding.

This American franchise has been serving up fried chicken for over 65 years and has several locations in BC, Ontario, and a handful in Alberta, too. We are fans of Church’s and think it makes a solid chicken offering on its own and also as part of a combo.

2. Popeyes

Popeyes Chicken Nuggets

Courtesy Popeyes Canada

We’ve been loving Popeyes’ tender and signature chicken for years, but we’re also big fans of the US-founded chain’s new chicken nuggets. These juicy, crispy, and poppable pieces are hand-battered and breaded in buttermilk.

The bites are always fried up fresh and can be paired with Popeyes’ sauces like Bayou Buffalo, BoldBQ, Blackened Ranch, Buttermilk Ranch, Wild Honey Mustard, and Sweet Heat.

1. Mary Brown’s

 

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Mary Brown’s signature chicken is actually what put it on the map, but that doesn’t mean it automatically gets the top spot on this list. We really like the chicken from this joint and to top it all off? The brand is Canadian.

It’s known for offering up a menu of signature chicken made from whole, fresh, local Canada Grade A chicken alongside eats like taters and coleslaw.

The national, quick-service eatery was founded in St. John’s, Newfoundland & Labrador in 1969 and has since grown to operate nearly 200 locations across the country.

Big chef’s kiss to you and your chicken, Mary Brown’s!

If you’re reading this and feeling frustrated with the results, definitely don’t look at our list of the most popular pizza chains in Canada ranked from worst to best.

With files from Hanna McLean and Daryn Wright

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