The fried chicken sandwich craze took over the world of fast food for a while, but many major chains also offer grilled chicken sandwiches. With so many people trying to eat more consciously, this option can be a great choice, but not every fast food restaurant knocks it out of the park.
Sometimes, the chicken is rubbery or the bun is stale. Some places use wilted lettuce or watered-down sauces. A grilled chicken sandwich seems like a no-brainer, but many fast food chains have not mastered the art of tender grilled chicken and delicious toppings. Others, however, make irresistible grilled chicken sandwiches.
Based on customer reviews from Reddit, Yelp, and Tripadvisor, we ranked the best grilled chicken sandwiches from prominent fast food restaurants. We focused on what people said about each sandwich's taste, freshness, and size and also considered the unique flavors and abundance of toppings. Save yourself from a disappointing grilled chicken sandwich and read our rankings to find out which one people can't stop raving about.
Panera: Signature Take Chicken Sandwich
Panera's Signature Take Chicken Sandwich is one of two grilled chicken sandwiches available from the chain and, according to most customers, this is the lesser option. It's only been available since 2022 and sold out fast when first released, but people have realized it's not worth the money.
The seared chicken filet comes with parmesan crisps, mixed greens, and garlic aioli on a brioche roll. There are many complaints about this sandwich, including a lack of flavor and dry, tough chicken; however, the main problem seems to be the portion, as many customers have received versions that look more like a chicken nugget being swallowed by bread. One Reddit user joked that it "Looks like the chicken shrunk in the wash."
Many people feel robbed when they get this sandwich, as the high price and stingy portion are atrocious. Even if it was bigger and more reasonably priced, reviewers note it's painfully bland and requires an array of modifications and extra toppings to be enjoyable, causing this grilled chicken sandwich to land at the bottom of our ranking.
Carl's Jr.: Charbroiled BBQ Chicken Sandwich
The Carl's Jr. Charbroiled BBQ Chicken Sandwich is a divisive menu item, with some folks singing its praises and others describing it as disgusting. It consists of a charbroiled chicken breast topped with lettuce, tomato, and BBQ sauce served on a potato bun. It's very similar to the Charbroiled Chicken Sandwich, but this one has fewer toppings, which may be why it ranks lower on the list. The freshness of the sandwich is consistently appealing, with one Yelp reviewer saying, "The BBQ chicken sandwich was really fresh and delicious! Fresh lettuce and tomatoes. Chicken cooked perfectly and the BBQ sauce had a nice, spicy kick!"
However, the quality and flavor are up for debate. The tangy and offbeat BBQ sauce doesn't appeal to everyone, and some customers have noted the chicken didn't seem of high quality or cooked well. Seeing as how the opinions on this sandwich fall all along the spectrum, and whether or not you'll enjoy it likely hinges on the location you visit and your feelings about the unique BBQ sauce, this one lands lower on our list.
Jack In The Box: Grilled Chicken Sandwich
Jack in The Box has its own Grilled Chicken Sandwich that some people get excited about, and others find boring and off-putting. The sandwich features a grilled chicken fillet with lettuce, tomatoes, and Good Good Sauce served on toasted sourdough bread. According to customer reviews, there's nothing particularly special about it. The texture of the chicken is also unpalatable, with one reviewer on Yelp saying, "The worst part, the entire chicken patty had a tough rubbery consistency. Had to spit it out..." On Reddit, another severely disappointed user said, "I HATED it. The chicken club is far superior. The sauce just tastes like watered-down French dressing."
Customers find the taste and toppings basic and subpar, but the most passionate complaints are about the size, heavily contributing to its low ranking. One online reviewer complained, "...opened it up to reveal a tiny sandwich, smaller than it usually is." Another unhappy customer noted that the sandwich looked large initially, but when they began eating, they realized the chicken was wide but very flat and thin.
Panera: Spicy Take Chicken Sandwich
Panera's Spicy Take Chicken Sandwich is a relatively new menu item that become available in 2022. This hot sandwich has a seared chicken filet covered in spicy Buffalo sauce, fried pickle chips, and garlic aioli on a brioche bun. While some Panera customers are excited to have this spicy menu option, many haven't been wowed. One Reddit user explained, "The spicy one has a good flavor, but not enough of it." Another reviewer echoed this sentiment, saying it "...just needs more of the buffalo sauce on the sandwich." So, while the mouthwatering Buffalo flavor is sensational, it's not heavy-handed enough, which is even worse considering the high price of the sandwich.
Aside from the lack of flavor, people also complain about the freshness. Another unhappy customer said the sandwich wasn't satisfying "...because the chicken is only good for about 5 minutes after being cooked," and after that, it's unpleasant.
The overall quality of this sandwich leaves something to be desired, but people don't despise it. It seems wholly forgettable, landing it low on the rankings.
Wendy's: Grilled Chicken Sandwich
Wendy's Grilled Chicken Sandwich is an herb-marinated grilled chicken breast with mayonnaise, crisp lettuce, and tomato on a toasted bun. Because Wendy's advertises itself as a fresh fast food restaurant with higher-quality food than McDonald's and Burger King, people expect more. Unfortunately, it doesn't deliver on this, as reviews note the quality of the sandwich has gone downhill, which is why it ranks lower here.
The toppings do not taste fresh, and the overall execution is haphazard, with one Tripadvisor reviewer saying, "The lettuce was totally wilted." People have also complained about the quality of the chicken filet. A commenter on Reddit said, "In my opinion, Wendy's and McDonald's just don't do grilled chicken well. There's something about the flavor and texture that totally puts me off."
Nevertheless, some customers rate the Grilled Chicken Sandwich highly, saying it's substantially better than sandwiches from other fast food spots. While this sandwich ranks No. 1 for some folks, most customers are underwhelmed by the flavor, freshness, and texture.
Burger King: Tendergrill Chicken Sandwich
Burger King's Tendergrill Chicken Sandwich features an all-white meat chicken filet with shredded lettuce, tomatoes, and mayonnaise on a soft brioche bun. The sandwich is simple but satisfying for some customers, so it's not bottom of the barrel, with one Tripadvisor user recommending it to first-time Burger King goers, saying, "I would recommend the Tendergrill Chicken or the Mushroom Swiss Burger if you have never had Burger King." The toppings are not exciting or unique but bring fresh flavors. People report the chicken fillet is soft and tasty but also nothing incredible.
One Yelp reviewer lamented about her sandwich, saying, "The sandwich was BONE-DRY and actually difficult to eat because it was so dried out." The dryness of the chicken seems to be a common issue, with a Reddit user also saying, "Burger King's grilled chicken was always overcooked here, way too dry." While it's not a complete disappointment, it gets a mediocre ranking because it has an underwhelming flavor and subpar quality.
Whataburger: Grilled Chicken Sandwich
Whataburger makes a decent Grilled Chicken Sandwich, considering the chain is all about burgers. This sandwich features a grilled chicken filet with tomatoes, lettuce, and WhataSauce on a brioche bun. With incredibly simple ingredients, the sandwich isn't a showstopper, but some people still think it's worth a try. It seems no one has qualms about the quality of execution of the sandwich, with one reviewer highlighting how the sandwich was served hot and fresh. A Reddit user praised it, saying, "decided to try the grilled chicken sandwich, honestly it was about the most perfect one I've had."
Others do not agree, however, with one unhappy customer saying, "The filets have no flavor." Some people have also noted that need to add additional condiments to kick up the flavor. With the consensus being that this sandwich is rather unexciting and in need of modifications, it simply can't rank higher on our list.
Subway: Elite Chicken And Bacon Ranch
According to many customers, Subway's Elite Chicken and Bacon Ranch sandwich lives up to its name. Subway has had a chicken, bacon, and ranch sandwich on the menu for years, but it frequently mixes up the ingredients and takes it on and off its list of offerings. This heavy and decadent sandwich is a footlong with bacon, rotisserie-style chicken, double Monterey cheddar cheese, tomatoes, red onions, lettuce, and creamy peppercorn ranch with a punch.
Some people are head over heels for this sub. One fan made an online post asking why the sandwich is the best on the menu, and another Reddit user replied, "I think it's something about the bacon that makes it insanely good." Many others in this thread chimed in to show their love for the sandwich as well.
But not everyone is a fan, with several people stating that Subway chicken is terrible and rubbery. One customer on Reddit said, "I'm sorry to everyone who enjoys it, that chicken is literally the worst !" Another commenter complained, "I'm VERY disappointed and didn't eat my sandwhich because the chicken breast also tasted like rubber."
There have also been a few negative reviews regarding the lack of toppings, with one Yelp reviewer saying their sandwich "was missing more than half of the condiments and toppings...including the bacon!" Many people who try it rave about the indulgent and cozy flavors, but the inconsistent quality and low-quality chicken put it toward the middle of this ranking.
Subway: The Mexicali
Subway's Mexicali, aka the #7, is a popular menu item beloved by customers as well as the staff. One Subway worker even took to Reddit to say, "As an employee, I believe #7 The Mexicali is definitely the best sub of the New Series Menu." The sandwich is a footlong with rotisserie-style chicken, smashed avocado, double pepper jack cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, red onions, and Baja chipotle sauce.
The sandwich combines Mexican flavors with the taste of California, making the avocado and chipotle sauce essential to the recipe. Some people were hesitant to try this combination, however, one Subway employee reported on Reddit, "I thought that the avocado and the chipotle would be a weird mix however it kind of just melts in your mouth and tastes amazing," and they rated it a 10/10.
The chicken is moist, although it sometimes has a slightly rubbery texture. One Quora user said, "as someone who usually loves chicken, the chicken from Subway is just plain nasty, spongy & tasteless."
But the potent zesty flavors and generous size make it a fan favorite and one of the more common Subway orders, with one Subway worker noting, "The monster sells the most at my location but the Mexicali comes in close second." Its popularity and unique flavor combination help it rank higher on the list, but the chicken quality drags it down.
Carl's Jr.: Charbroiled Chicken Club Sandwich
Carl's Jr. has a popular Charbroiled Chicken Club Sandwich that many reviewers rave about. One Yelp review said, "Nothing better than laying in bed eating Carls Jr -- I love either the Charbroiled Chicken Club or the Famous Star with Cheese." The yummy sandwich has a charbroiled chicken breast, bacon, Swiss cheese, lettuce, tomato, and mayonnaise served on a potato bun. One Tripadvisor review said, "These taste great with crispy bacon." Many people love this sandwich because it offers an umami flavor profile with two kinds of meat. One YouTuber describes the chicken as tender and juicy, saying it's "the star of the dish."
While the sandwich is a favorite among some customers, there are complaints about some recipe changes. A Yelp review said, "I haven't been to Carl's Jr since I ordered my favorite sandwich of all time. The charbroiler chicken club. Been ordering it for 30 years and now they change it."
On the flip side, a Reddit user said, "The best fast food grilled chicken sandwich comes from Carl's Jr." The user even went on to say, "the grilled chicken at Carl's is better than Chick-fil-A, IMHO." Not everyone agrees with this controversial opinion, but several online reviewers tote the sandwich as their favorite, moving it higher up in the ranking.
Chik-Fil-A: Grilled Chicken Club Sandwich
Chik-fil-A is all about delicious chicken, and while fried chicken is the most popular, customers also appreciate the Grilled Chicken Club Sandwich. The sandwich features a lemon-herb marinated boneless chicken breast on a toasted multigrain brioche bun topped with Colby Jack cheese, applewood bacon, tomato, and lettuce.
One Tripadvisor review reported, "The grilled chicken club sandwich is the best." People appreciate the combination of flavors and toppings, with another user titling their review: "Chicken club sandwich the bomb." They said, "I love the grilled chicken sandwich with Colby jack cheese, bacon, lettuce, tomato," and yet another reviewer stated, "I love the Chick-fil-A grilled chicken club sandwich with Colby jack cheese."
The toppings taste fresh, and people describe the chicken as having that off-the-grill flavor with a smoky profile. The bun has a delicate flavor that many customers enjoy, and one Reddit user described it, saying, "That bun is so good, a little sweet."
Smashburger: Truffle Mushroom Swiss Grilled Chicken Sandwich
Smashburger's Truffle Mushroom Swiss Chicken Sandwich is one of the best fast food grilled chicken sandwiches, according to reviews. With a robust and distinct flavor, the chicken sandwich stands out against the rest, offering a mouthwatering taste. It's a grilled chicken breast topped with melted aged Swiss cheese, sautéed crimini mushrooms, and truffle mayo on a toasted bun, all of which pair beautifully with the light grilled chicken.
The mushrooms have a meaty texture and earthy flavor, balanced by the sweet and nutty cheese. People report the truffle flavor is prominent, as one Tripadvisor reviewer explains, "This is the best chicken sandwich. If you like mushrooms and truffles you will be addicted." Another reviewer said, "The sandwich was very seasoned and hot." Every element of the sandwich seems to be a slam-dunk, landing in at the No. 2 spot in our ranking.
The Habit: Chicken Club
The Habit has a widely loved Chicken Club sandwich that many customers have labeled as their favorite item. The chain makes everything fresh to order, so customers get a sandwich with bright green lettuce, juicy tomatoes, crispy bacon, tender marinated chicken, and delicate sourdough bread. One customer left a review on Tripadvisor titled "Great Chicken Club Sandwich" and said, "I like the cook-to-order thing and how fresh everything is."
The sandwich is a robust size, with a happy reviewer stating it's a "Great and filling sandwich," and another on Yelp noting, "It was delicious and the portion is more than enough." Plus, The Habit doesn't skimp on any ingredients, delivering a loaded sandwich.
The chicken is delicious, and one person stating, "It's grilled chicken, but didn't feel like it was hard or rubbery." An enthusiastic reviewer praised The Habit, saying, "This is the best place to get a grilled chicken sandwich." One Tripadvisor reviewer summed everything up, saying the sandwich is "better than good," cementing its spot at the top of our list.
Read the original article on Daily Meal.