Review: Chicken, Apple & Cranberry Garden Fresh Salad from Burger King

In the spirit of spring and the fact that it is a beautiful day out, I decided to grab a salad and have a little picnic in my yard. The photos were taken outside on the hood of my Jeep, that being the most stable surface available.

I will preface this review by saying I am not normally a huge fan of Burger King. To me they just lack the versatility in options and flavors that we are coming to expect from fast food. Their food all seems to taste the same and in my experience the service is atrocious. I am sorry to report that I was not dis-proven on either score.  Here’s a review of the new Chicken, Apple & Cranberry Garden Fresh Salad from Burger King.

The runner at Burger King handed me the salad as one would a particularly thick volume of the encyclopedia. The salad was sideways. The paper bag right side up. Right off, this quirked my eyebrow. As a consumer, few things irritate me more than shoddy construction or presentation. I find it insulting to open up my dinner only to discover a lesson in chaos. Sloppily assembled burgers, half-full cartons of fries, salads served on their side with the paper bag standing up as if holding a stack of cheeseburgers. Nope, this upright sack made from dead trees is a salad; cobbled together as if by an angry storm. Most restaurants will serve a salad horizontally in a plastic bag specifically made for such culinary endeavors. This was not the case. Not only did the tabs to open the container not line up, making the salad significantly difficult to access, but there was a piece of lettuce caught in the crossfire.

The apples were dry, with a musty, back-corner-of-the-attic flavor. They were obviously fresh, evident in the absence of any discoloration, but tasted of poor quality. The lettuce was average. Very lettuce-like, it neither lacked any specific qualities nor did it excel at being lettuce-like in any regard. But hey, how good can lettuce REALLY be? Also of average taste and substance were the pre-packaged croutons and ranch dressing. The chicken was quite dry, and oddly chopped into squares of varying sizes with mediocre flavor that I’ve quite honestly already forgotten about, five minutes afterward. The cranberries unfortunately did not make it to the party. They RSVP’d, but failed to show their shriveled, pruny faces. The bleu cheese crumbles were surprisingly scrumptious, and the whole production could have benefited from a significantly higher number amongst the otherwise bland and uninspired entree. There just was not enough cheese on the salad and anyone who knows me knows my position on bleu cheese. When given a choice at restaurants between ranch or bleu cheese I often state “Ranch please, *&%# bleu cheese”, but I was pleasantly surprised to enjoy it here.

The Chicken, Apple & Cranberry Salad was so hastily thrown together, I will not be back for another one. The only thing I enjoyed were the bleu cheese crumbles which were the least plentiful ingredient, unless you count the cranberries which must have made other plans for the evening. The apples might have fallen off the back of a fertilizer truck, for their unpleasant flavor and dehydrated flesh. The lettuce was the definition of lettuce, no more and no less. Lastly, the chicken was quite disappointing with little flavor and no moisture. Save yourselves a trip to BK and five bucks, because you are not missing a thing here.

Pros: Maybe since BK will let you have it your way, you can get it with extra bleu cheese.

Cons: Careless presentation, poor quality ingredients, little flavor. The only redeeming quality here is that this is a salad and not some huge, fatty burger dripping with grease.

Taste: 3.00/10
Value: 5.00/10
Grubbing on-the-go: 3.00/10
Price: $4.99

Overall GrubGrade: 4.00/10

More Info: BK.com
Nutrition Facts:
Chicken, Apple & Cranberry Garden Fresh Salad
Calories: 520
Total Fat: 26 g
Saturated Fat: 7 g
Cholesterol: 100 mg
Sodium: 950 mg
Total Carbs: 35 g
Sugars: 35 g
Protein: 35 g

28 comments on “Review: Chicken, Apple & Cranberry Garden Fresh Salad from Burger King

  1. Murray says:

    Deep breaths, Ryan…in, out, in, out.

    I will preface this comment by saying that I am also not generally a BK fan. I agree with your analysis of their monoflavored sandwiches and lousy fries (yes, they’re still lousy).

    Now that the preface is out of the way, I will give my take on the salad which I had a few days ago (you beat me to the review):
    1. Agreed on the lackluster lettuce.
    2. My salad came in a proper, flat bottom paper bag and was not poorly presented.
    3. My salad came with a rasperry vinegrette (although it was not red in color, which seemed strange, but tasted good).
    4. Agreed on the Bleu Cheese crumbles. They were very good and much bolder in flavor than I expected out of BK.
    5. Cranberries were plentiful in my salad.
    6. Apples were just OK, but not nearly as bad as yours.

    If I was to GrubGrade it I would have been around a 6.5/10. It certainly doesn’t hold a candle to the Wendy’s salads that were among our top rated items last summer.

    • Ryan says:

      Deep breaths go to Dustin actually haha :)

    • Annette says:

      Well all I can say is this consumer just must of picked an off day at burger king for the apple chicken salad. I-myself found the salad crisp and the grilled chicken okay and the hole salad to be one of the best I’ve tasted and I’m a foody making home cooked meals six out of seven days a week ,maybe this customer should try it again and use the apple cider dressing with it next time . I myself will get this salad again and again

  2. Dustin says:

    I had to restrain myself. I’m glad someone out here had a better experience with this salad than I did.

  3. Manavee says:

    I’m a general hater of all things Burger King (just to get my BK Hater bona fides out of the way), but my experience was more similar to Murray’s.

    The two things that really stood out to me with this salad were the chicken and the blue cheese. I thought the chicken was shockingly plump and moist…which makes me think, given Dustin’s experience, that there are some quality control issues between franchises. I’ll also add that I liked how they diced the chicken….much better than how McDonalds does it where you often have to physically separate the chicken as the breast hasn’t been sliced all the way through. The blue cheese was plentiful and very tasty. The apples didn’t stick out for me one way or the other.

    All in all, I thought it was an impressive fast food salad. My salad also came in a flat bottomed bag (again there must be some quality control issues between franchises).

  4. Manavee says:

    Also, I’ll add that mine came with an apple vinaigrette dressing which was really tasty. I don’t think ranch would work well with this salad at all. It sounds like each franchise is just throwing in random salad dressings rather than pairing the salad with the appropriate dressing.

  5. Nicole says:

    I work as a General Manager @ a BK in Va. I have to say that your review upsets me. Not @ the fact of the feedback you give to potential customers but @ the way your salad was made, packaged and delivered. We have all been through extensive training for the new salad line…and I’m thinking this BK missed a class or two, or hell the whole idea. They forgot your cranberries, which are delicious in this salad, they did not arrange a beautiful product, by just laying the chicken any ol way, they didn’t line up the lid w bowl, which duh….class taught, they didn’t serve it in the correct handle bag which helps the salad to lay flat, nor was the correct dressing served…the apple cyder dressing is so yummy. Please, send these folks my way so I can help them out and save those of is who do it rite from embarrassment.

    • Lydia says:

      I agree here in Kentucky we have went through lot’s of training. I am currently training in another store everything that they need to know and when they handed out a salad in this way I attacked. Burger King is trying very hard to recreate their image and when stores have lousy service and don’t care about the customer it doesn’t hurt them it hurts every Burger King in the company. Hopefully this Burger King will be reprimanded for their lack of enthusiasm to make the company great!

  6. Matt says:

    The dressing was the first thing that stuck out to me – no way Ranch is supposed to be served with this salad. Should be some sort of vinaigrette, I’m thinking a honey mustard/dijon based would go well with this kind of salad.

    Sadly, the whole apple salad thing has been done so many times the last few years and so many of them were done correctly that imposters like this just can’t match up. I could see ordering a salad from Wendy’s or McD but never would even consider a salad a viable option at BK.

  7. Santiago C says:

    It always baffles me how much sodium go into this things. How is this even possible? I couldn’t put that much salt in a salad even if I tried my hardest.

    • SkippyMom says:

      It’s usually in the dressing. People don’t realize how much sodium is in one of those packets which are much, much more than one serving. In this case it might be the process in which they treated the apples to keep them “fresh” looking, if not fresh tasting, since that list doesn’t seem to include the dressing.

      Most of the sodium in this country is consumed in the processed foods we eat, like dressings, instant mixes and frozen dinners. The amount used in seasoning fresh foods is nominal at best. It’s better to season fresh food made from scratch than eat fast food or processed, packaged foods. [You probably already knew all of this, but if not, hope it helps :)]

  8. RoleModel says:

    Quite honestly, Burger King’s problem is “don’t give a crap”-itis. Aside from Coke Freestyles, everything in a Burger King seems tired and worn out. Even their new items are old. And I don’t know how it is, but I manage to go to several different locations, most of them corporate BK locations, and even a box of rocks could take instruction better than some of the employees that they’ve hired. Easily the worst accuracy and timeliness of any of the fast food restaurants around LI.

  9. COBRA says:

    YOU NEED @ CL@SS TO TE@CH YOU HOW TO MAKE A S@L@D!?!?

  10. Some Guy from BK says:

    Echoing Nicole here – I work at a test store which means we put up with ‘Wait, what do you mean your menu is different from everyone else?!!” for *months” only to have some schlub serve embarassing food.

    The salads really are awesome – it sounds like the BK you visited has some major quality issues going on.

  11. missouri says:

    And after you’re done with them in VA, please come out to Missouri and teach our lack-luster BK peeps a things or two about how to prepare and present food.

  12. Chefprotoss says:

    Two steps forward and three steps back.

  13. jali says:

    the apples were probably actually far from fresh…good ol’ preservatives…

  14. SkippyMom says:

    No cranberries? I would have returned that salad in a heartbeat. I don’t know if that is allowed when you all review so as to give a true representation, but when I order a cranberry, apple, chicken salad and pay for it I expect all 4 ingredients at least.

    And I have the biggest pet peeve about being handed something that needs to be flat to eat. I would’ve handed it back and said “Please make me a fresh one and if you don’t have the proper bag please just hand it to me.” Then, after being unfailingly polite, I would watch closely and pray they didn’t spit in my food.

  15. M says:

    I work at Burger King (unfortunately ;)) and I thought I’d do a quick response to some of your points.

    The workers really do try their best to be fast, but often the managers wont let them. They wont let us keep our food stocked constantly, so often we have people waiting 5-6 minutes on sandwiches. The managers are too afraid of the waste being high, however this is something I dont agree with. They want us to keep drive through times as low as possible, yet they wont let us have up what they need. (The manager and assistant manager gets bonuses for keeping drive through times under 3 minutes per car, and by keeping waste down, so that’s all they care about.)

    As for the salad, if the chicken was dry they probably gave you an old tendergrill. Again, managers wont let us keep what we need up at all times, so this tends to happen from time to time. When its fresh, it actually tastes pretty damn good. It’s odd that the cranberries were missing, because the salads are premade in the morning into “bases” and we add the cheese and chicken when they’re ordered. The cranberries should have already been on the base. It might just be a crappy BK (dont get me wrong, most of them are probably slow unless it’s in New York or something.)

    The burgers being sloppily made; there really isn’t an excuse for that. We tend to always have burger and whopper meat up. Whoppers are naturally sloppy and difficult to handle, which is why we introduced a new sandwich wrap for them (I assume thats why, at least.)

    This is my favorite salad, and in my opinion the cranberries make the salad. I hate blue cheese, but if the cranberries had been on there the taste probably would’ve bumped up to a 6/10. The blue cheese crumbles stick together and it’s difficult to get them on the salad in a timely manner (every second really does count) so thats most likely why there was so few crumbles on your salad.

    Your review was pretty fair though, in my opinion. I think it’s more of a review of how bad the store is, rather than how good the salad is. You CAN have it your way, so you can add those extra crumbles or actually ask for fresh chicken (if youre willing to wait about 5 and a half minutes..) Also, the chicken will always be oddly cut. There’s always going to be 9 pieces, but the tendergrills aren’t all shaped the same or in perfect little squares or anything.

    • Lydia says:

      Do you not understand that we don’t let you keep up food because not only does that make waste high which means two less workers per shift mind you but we also do this so the customer gets FRESH food. Yeah you can keep a Tender Grill up and sell a customer something that is 4-5 hours old. OR you can pull them around to the front door, cook them a Tender Grill FRESH and HOT and JUICY like they could do at home and allow them to have a fantastic food experience from Burger King. I vote better taste over faster service.

  16. Elise says:

    I got the chicken BLT salad last week (had a coupon). I was impressed that the worker put the salad in a correct bag and even offered me 2 packets of dressing- regular ranch in case I didn’t like the avocado ranch it came with! (Which turns out I didn’t- IMO the avocado flavor was very artificial. But Ken’s is not my ranch of choice anyway.) I was surprised to see my croutons were not forgotten either.
    I agree that the chicken in the salad was lackluster. It wasn’t a terrible salad but wasn’t great- not really more than I’d expect from a fast food place, especially BK. Good on them for trying, but I don’t see it lasting long.
    The BK near me is notoriously slow, but I went inside and noticed the workers seemed overwhelmed with the new menu choices. They spent quite a while figuring out what all my salad needed and one girl spent almost the whole time I was there making a smoothie for a drive thru customer. They also seemed understaffed, but that’s a different issue.
    Overall I probably wouldn’t recommend the salad unless you have a coupon, but I also just love coupons.

  17. catherine says:

    The salad is great, much better than Perkins. I have been back twice to get another one. The last one I got though had grated cheese, not the blue cheese. I guess they ran out but wasn’t near as good without the blue cheese. This was Burger King in Memphs, Poplar, Cleveland. The fried is much better than the grilled, of course. Second time I ordered the fried, I got the grilled.

  18. tigris says:

    I got one of these salads at an Oklahoma city Burger King. the chicken was better than most places as were the cranberries and apples, but the bleu cheese was horrendous, and i was completely taken aback by it’s very presence. The salad i ordered was the Chicken, Apple & Cranberry Garden Fresh Salad , not the Chicken, Apple, Cranberry & overly aged stinky cheese Garden Fresh Salad. I can honestly say, had not been for the cheese, it would have been one of the best salads I have ever eaten.

  19. Aspasia says:

    Just had one today for the first time, at a new BK which opened in my town. Very few cranberries; the grilled chicken should have been cut in small strips rather than large hunks, and I found maybe three apple slices. Minimal bleu cheese, unfortunately. $5.69 plus tax for a total of $6.03. No croutons offered. At least the greens were green and I didn’t find any wilt.

    Wasn’t impressed at all and thought what I was served was overpriced.

    Am glad to see BK trying to move to a healthier menu – but they have a long way to go and should take a look (and taste) of the salads Wendy’s offers. Much better taste and value IMHO.

  20. Linda says:

    I suppose I’m in the minority, but I LOVE this salad and probably order it once a week for lunch. Maybe it’s just the BK I go to that’s near my office, but I consistently get a well-made salad with the perfect amount of bleu cheese, apples and chicken. I’ve never been a big fan of BK but am amazed at how appetizing this salad looks and it tastes just as good. I will say, though, that the apple cider vinaigrette is best for this salad and the bleu cheese is my favorite part, although I can’t imagine this salad tasting very good without all of its intended ingredients.

  21. Tina Weck says:

    I had one of these salads yesterday and it was fresh and fabulous. I’m not a BK fan in general (those fries — please, they’re awful — and if I want mustard on my Whopper, I should be allowed to have it!!). So I was really surprised that the salad was so good and so fresh. I’d agree to go back to BK as long as they have this salad!

  22. Meg Barney says:

    I tried the salad tonight and enjoyed it. I have been looking for a tasty fast food salad that is not so expensive and not so high in calories – found it!!! I will eat this salad again.

  23. Joe says:

    Same. Not a big fan of BK salads. I tried the Chicken BLT and I found it boring. I’d give it somewhere between 4.5 and 5.5.