ShelfLife’s Search for the Best Fried Chicken Sandwich

ShelfLife’s Search for the Best Fried Chicken Sandwich

Posted on November 9, 2022 by Cydney Cronk


It’s the most important day of the year: National Fried Chicken Sandwich Day

We set out on a quest for the best, if you will.

But with all the options out there (and in THIS economy) how do you decide which one is actually worth your cash? We decided to put a bunch of them to the test. It’s a hard job, but someone’s gotta do it.

That’s right, we tried all those chicken sandwiches you’ve heard about to find out which one is the best so that you don’t have to. You’re welcome.

First, we picked our lineup: 

We tried to keep things pretty equal by making sure the toppings were similar and that we just ordered each restaurant’s standard, original chicken sandwich. This was our attempt at controlling for any bias to help us to make a fair judgement on each one, ranking them on a scale of 1-10 in the following categories:

  • Bun
  • Toppings
  • Breading/Crunch
  • Chicken
  • Overall thoughts and ranking

THEN we gathered our ShelfLife tasting crew. Believe it or not, it was pretty easy to find a willing group of people to eat free chicken sandwiches during work hours. Go figure ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

There were six people in total – from people who had never even eaten at some of the restaurants before (?!), to former fast-food chain employees, to self-proclaimed chicken sandwich fanatics.


And then we got to work tasting, critiquing, and ranking:

All in all? We were really into some…











and not so much into others.



Bun: 4.1

Toppings: 3.5

Breading/Crunch: 2.8

Chicken: 5

Overall thoughts and ranking: 4.5


In general, our tasters thought this one was lacking in the chicken, crunch, and toppings departments. Some compared the meat to a chicken nugget, noting that its flat, ovular shape was off-putting and lacked the textural experience of a first-place sandwich. The toppings were decidedly not fresh enough to deliver the refreshing crunch that one expects lettuce to deliver. Overall, we suggest you pass this one – maybe go for the Whopper instead. 


Bun: 5.6

Toppings: 6.7

Breading/Crunch: 6.8

Chicken: 6.8

Overall thoughts and ranking: 6.4

Admittedly, Harvey’s was a bit challenging to rank because they have 11 different topping options that may have boosted the ranking if each person had been able to dress their sandwich to their liking. BUT in the spirit of keeping things fair, we opted for just lettuce and mayonnaise on ours – which our tasters felt was generous, fresh, and crunchy.

Our advice? Go for a Harvey’s chicken sandwich if you’re a fan of fresh, custom toppings – and lots of them!

SECOND PLACE: Mary Brown’s Chicken

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Bun: 4

Toppings: 6

Breading/Crunch: 7.3

Chicken: 7.3

Overall thoughts and ranking: 6.5


The good? Tasters were delighted to see these sandwiches adorned with adorable little “pickle hats” and found the chicken to be crisp, moist, and well-seasoned. The not-so-good? Some said that they were put off by the bun for tasting like a “chewy grocery store bun”.

Should you get it? We’d say yes. This sandwich is a solid choice for you if you’re someone who values the chicken aspect of it and is less fussed about bun quality. 

FIRST PLACE: Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen

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Bun: 7.4

Toppings: 6.9

Breading/Crunch: 8.2

Chicken: 8.2

Overall thoughts and ranking: 8



If you’ve read this far, you’re probably thinking we’re a little harsh, so you should trust us when we say don’t walk, RUN to your nearest Popeyes for one of these bad boys. This sandwich received high scores in all aspects. The bun was described as fresh and tasty, and although it is small compared to the others, it provides a sweet and complementary flavour to the ultra crispy, seasoned, and juicy piece of chicken. As for toppings, Popeyes does things a bit differently by completely omitting the usual lettuce and instead topping their sandwich with mayonnaise and cool, crunchy pickles which allows them to completely dodge the possibility of disappointing a customer with soggy lettuce.

Are you still reading?! We said RUN!

You can thank us later 😉

Want more? Watch the whole video here:

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