Review: Southwest Premium Chicken McWrap from McDonald’s

In my original review of McDonald’s Premium Chicken McWraps I mentioned how I want variety, portability, and value when it comes to my fast food.  The genesis of the McWrap line proved to be a decent showing in all three categories.  The success of the McDonald’s McWrap will mean more variety is sure to come.  Some McDonald’s locations are testing a Chicken Caesar McWrap, and while keeping an eye out for that, I instead came across another LTO McWrap dubbed the Southwest Chicken McWrap.

Southwest McWrapAs with all McWraps, you’ve got a choice of grilled or crispy chicken and for this review, I went with crispy.  In addition to spring greens, lettuce, tomato, and cheddar jack cheese, the Southwest Chicken McWrap features a cilantro lime glaze, tortilla strips, and habanero ranch sauce.

Southwest McWrap McDonald's

If you’ve had the Habanero Ranch Quarter Pounder, you’ll be very familiar with the flavor that completely overwhelms the Southwest Chicken McWrap. The habanero ranch sauce has a nice creamy texture and a smoky/peppery kick that should please those looking for a spicy option with their McWrap.  The problem here is that the sauce is too dominant in heat and flavor that it’s hard to identify the other ingredients. At least with the Habanero Ranch Quarter Pounder there was a thick bun, beef patty and applewood smoked bacon to absorb the sauce impact and create a more harmonious balance.  The contents of the Southwest Chicken McWrap seem all too light and delicate to be able to compete with the clearly dominant habanero ranch.  I wish McDonald’s would have gone with a new sauce with the Southwest McWrap instead of using an already existing sauce because there isn’t much about this McWrap that screams “Southwest”.   This McWrap should’ve been named the Habanero Ranch Chicken McWrap instead.

Southwest Chicken McWrap McDonaldsThe cilantro lime glaze is  virtually nonexistent and I wouldn’t have had a clue it was a part of the wrap if not for glancing at the description.  Cilantro lime glaze sounds like an ingredient I’d like to have in my McWrap and I was disappointed that I couldn’t taste it.   Fortunately, the tortilla strips have some impact and there seemed to be just enough of them to provide some added texture crunch.  There were some tortilla strips took a hit in texture during the 5 minutes between construction and deconstruction. Between the heat of the chicken and the moisture of the sauce, there will be some expected casualties in crunch. Flavor-wise the tortilla strips were nothing more than your basic salted tortilla strips with no identifiable extra seasoning.  The crispy chicken was abundant enough to be filling, but it’s not much of a standout.  Spring greens, tomato, and cheddar jack shredded cheese are present for the extra stuffing to bulk up the wrap and complete the package, yet they are very forgettable.

Southwest McWrap McDsMost McDonald’s locations offer McWraps for $3.99 and I don’t doubt that will stay consistent if the Southwest McWrap ever sees a nationwide release.  My purchase price was $4.19 at an airport location so the extra cost was expected.  The value takes a little hit, but overall the 4-dollar price point for a McWrap feels about average.

McWrap SouthwestIn my personal hierarchy of favorite McWrap combinations, the Southwest McWrap unfortunately ends up towards the bottom. The balance of flavor is lacking, so if you’ve got a lot of love for McDonald’s habanero ranch sauce, you might be more pleased than I was.  Although the sauce is tasty and has that peppery element, it just didn’t work very well in a McWrap. I would’ve liked to have at least some impact from the other ingredients, but all I can take away from the Southwest McWrap is that it’s very one-dimensional.

Pros: Still one of the better grubbing on the go options because of the McWrap sleeve.

Cons: Lacking flavor balance as the habanero ranch sauce takes over everything.

Taste: 5.25/10
Value: 6.00/10
Grubbing on-the-go: 8.50/10
Price: $4.19

Overall GrubGrade: 5.50/10

More Info: http://www.mcdonalds.com
Nutrition Facts:
520 calories for the grilled chicken version and 680 calories for the crispy chicken

36 comments on “Review: Southwest Premium Chicken McWrap from McDonald’s

  1. BigBelly says:

    It actually sounds good to me, though I don’t find the h/r sauce very spicy, I’m glad to hear the cilantro isn’t to prevalent, that’s what I was worried about.
    I keep some dried cranberries on hand, if you find something to hot, you could try tossing a few in there, they act as a nice foil to the heat… and might add the something you are looking for

    • TJ says:

      If you think it sounds good, I think you might like it.. I had one recently and yea it’s a little spicy, but I didn’t find that to be detrimental.. it made it a little interesting for something from McD’s

    • karen says:

      Though it was very good price good for all u get can taste lime buying one everyday its so good keep it

    • SunnysideupFlorida says:

      I love the Southwest wraps! I find this is a great tasting meal that is relatively low calories/low fat – I always order the grilled chicken. Also, I order without sauce, so it is never too spicy for me!

  2. Neil says:

    I was looking forward to trying this wrap after first reading about it here. To say it was a disappointment is an understatement. As yours, my wrap was berift of any hint of cilantro, and while not overwhelmed, the predominant flavor was the habanero sauce. Cost $4.29 in the burbs of Cleveland. Will not buy again at this price point with this flavor profile.

    • lynn says:

      Way too spicy with the habanero sauce. And I grew up in California eating all kinds of spicy food. My mouth is still on fire. You couldn’t taste anything but the sauce. I’m giving it two thumbs down…WAY DOWN!!!!!

  3. Robert says:

    Well, I guess it’s called Southwest because it has the same glazed chicken and seasoned (yes, they’re seasoned) tortilla strips that’s in the (fantastic) Southwest salad. But they don’t have the corn/black beans/dressing and instead just went with the spicy habanero stuff. I would prefer if it was closer to the salad.

    But I don’t see how this can be any worse than the boring chicken/bacon one (which got a good review here) but, yet again, this review is basically reviewing the person who made it.

  4. Jonathan Wayne says:

    The Premium McWraps are one of the few things McDonald’s does well. I really like the Sweet Chili Chicken but I do think the price should be in the $3 range. I hate that they got rid of the Angus Mushroom and Swiss snack wrap, I really liked that a lot and ordered it frequently.

  5. BigBelly says:

    Jack in the box is upping the ante, they are advertizing some kind of blazin chicken sandwich tonight, with a ghost pepper/ranch sauce LOL

  6. Bethany says:

    Ive been subbing the H/R sauce on the bacon ranch wrap for awhile, I love it! But I agree, definitely not a “southwest wrap”

    • BigBelly says:

      that sounds like the best combo to me

      I saw a Jack in the box ad last night for a “blazing chicken sandwich”
      it’s supposed to have ghost pepper ranch sauce on it, wondering how hot it will be. I can’t find anything about it on the web, but they ran the ad twice

  7. Diane Middleton says:

    I had this the other day, and I STILL have heartburn. The habernero sauce is WAY over the top!! If this is served to a senior citizen, I think you’ll have to call an ambulance. I’ve called McDonald’s and complained… Local and corporate. I never do that, but this item is NOT what you would expect from McDonald’s. It’s just too damned hot.

    • BigBelly says:

      way to hot? what did you think a habanero was???

      there’s plenty of other varieties, why not just order them instead of trying to kill a flavor others might enjoy

      do you put the hot cup of coffee between your legs and sue when it burns you too? pitiful…

    • Axel says:

      People like you is why we never get anything truly spicy from fast food. If you don’t like it, don’t order it.

  8. michele says:

    I got one today and it was way too damn hot! That habanero sauce should come with a warning!! Jesus H christ! I don’t like paying for something that just isn’t good. Bad one mcds.

    • Axel says:

      If you people actually knew what a habanero is and have poor heat tolerance then you should already knew to proceed with caution. Stop bashing on something that was obviously not meant for you.

      • TJ says:

        In this age of having internet access.. yup first thing you should do if you don’t know the meaning of “habanero” is take 30 seconds to look it up. I can’t usually tolerate it, well not too often anyway, but at least I know it.

    • nancy kawa says:

      I liked the hr sauce but it was very hot…..think there was just a little too much of it on the wrap….

  9. Jacob says:

    I think it was a good idea, but even though it’s a habanero sauce it’s TOO spicy. I honestly expected it to be with the southwest sauce from the salad. The kick should be hot enough to enjoy atleast. My experience was a 4/10 because I thought I was being treated to a kick + 1 not tricked with a heat wave. Overall the other ingridents for well as a “southwest” salad should.

  10. TJ says:

    Actually easily my favorite of the McWraps.. still not great and overpriced, but for some reason I didn’t find it too spicy, and I’m generally a bit of a wuss when it comes to that.

  11. Jack Bennett says:

    The Southwest wrap is great. It is very hot and spicy, but the ingredients, and my selection of grilled chicken, offer a nicely balanced texture and a meal that takes care of your appetite. I definitely recommend.

  12. jayne says:

    Very spicy but good.To me it tastes like the southwestern salad, which I love. I wish they made a smaller version, though. A lot of calories.

  13. Frank says:

    Just tried one of these today. I didn’t find it too spicy. Although it was hotter than I expected it would be, I thought it tasted really good. I’d buy it again, although maybe I’ll try the grilled version next time.

  14. Manavee says:

    For years I’ve been saying that I couldn’t understand why fast food places always water down their spicy items. I said, “People who don’t like spicy, aren’t going to order something that says it is spicy, or 5 alarm, or firey, etc. So why cater to their tastes? Make it spicy when you say it is spicy!”

    This comment section has apparently proven my theory wrong. People who don’t like things particularly spicy do apparently order items with habanero sauce in them, and then complain to McDonald’s corporate when it is too hot. Live and learn.

  15. J.J. says:

    I’m finding this whole “spicy” thing a bit silly- it has a hint of spicy. It is not hot, and would not burn the average person or cause heartburn. Personally, I’d prefer it to still be more spicy. Many of you hit the nail on the head- if you don’t handle heat well, don’t order it. Don’t complain to corporate and ruin it for the rest of us. Habanero pepper is hotter than jalapeno pepper, so you need to expect some heat.
    Overall, a good tasting wrap. I’d order it again.

  16. Valerie Lecklider says:

    I don’t think it’s the heat that’s the problem- I’m from South Texas, the spicier (with flavor!) the better. The problem I have with the sauce is the smokiness- heartburn city! I tried the burger and was completely unimpressed with the overwhelming sauce.
    So, I tried this anyway, after reading this, and ordered it light on the sauce. I can taste the sweetness of the cilantro lime sauce, though neither the actual cilantro nor lime. But holy Mr Coffee, this thing is messy! I was not expecting that at all.

  17. Kim says:

    I just had one of these and I have to say it was probably the worst thing I’ve ever eaten. The sauce was just too unbearable for me that when it got down to the bottom my nose was literally dripping and after I finished I couldn’t handle it and rinsed my mouth in cold water. I’m Asian and trust me we eat spicy and this was top notch. Maybe it was where I ordered that over did the sauce or I’m not sure what factor but I couldn’t taste anything but that sauce. Maybe next time McDonald’s, keep trying for that perfect wrap.

    • Axel says:

      …I’m Asian too yet I still order it with extra sauce. Seriously, the sauce is not THAT spicy. There are spicier things out there. In fact, the Hot Habanero McNugget sauce they had last year was actually spicier then the Habanero Ranch.

  18. Charise says:

    This is my 4th time eating this wrap, and I love it. I hope it’s here to stay. Yes it is spicy and it’s awesome.

  19. Horatio says:

    My wife and I LOVE the Southwest McWrap. We both love spicy foods, and commented on how much we enjoyed the heat level – which you usually don’t get at a fast food joint. Yes, the flavor of the habanero sauce is predominant, but we like the flavor of the sauce so it works for us. Also like the crunch from the tortilla strips.

    Unfortunately, it looks like the SW McWrap is gone from my area already. I went to get one for lunch today, and nada. I hope they bring it back soon!

  20. Stacy says:

    Came home drunk one night to this Spicy Chicken McWrap on my kitchen counter. The kid passed out on my couch left it half eaten, so I gave it a try! This thing was the spiciest food I’ve ever eaten in my life. I felt like I was a dragon who just breathed a breath if hot air.

  21. Jessica says:

    I completely agree with your review. I just had it. The first bite, I almost threw up. I like the habanero sauce, but not a mouthful like that. It was too hot. My mouth was on FIRE! I took a few more bites and the sauce wasn’t as bad when you had other ingredients with it. But there was just too much of the sauce. I swim itself think they should cut the sauce down by like 90% less. Next time I will actually order it without the sauce completely and add extra cilantro like glaze. I was able to taste it on one small strip of chicken, and it was good. I actually think I will make my own version of this with a cilantro lime sauce, black beans, corn, jack cheese, maybe a black bean spicy a salsa to add the heat… & I lob the hint of like tortillas. Maybe some of those crunched up in it! That habanero sauce has me nauseous.

  22. Jessica says:

    Auto correct sucks. Not sure where swim came from :/ oh well!

  23. Steve says:

    Sandwich is awful – one bite and I truly had to through it out. I like spicy foods, but this is extremely hot and no other flavour. you might as well through $2.25 in the street.

  24. D. B. says:

    I think the reason for varying opinions is because the amount of sauce used in the wrap varies from store to store. Mine was excessively hot. I like spicy foods but this was dripping habanero sauce. It in no way resembled the above photo as far as the amount of sauce applied. It would have been much better with a more controlled amount of sauce. Who knows some kid in the kitchen may get kicks out of over-saucing just for a laugh with his coworkers.

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