Fast Food Review: New! Multigrain Oatmeal from Chick-fil-A

Last week – for the very first time in my adult life – I did the unthinkable. I, Adam, aka Mr. I will camp outside a Chick-fil-A parking lot in the Utah winter just for some damn chicken, went to my local Chick-fil-A for breakfast. For oatmeal.

What can I say? As a former newspaper editor and writer, I guess I’m just a sucker for press releases:

Warm & wholesome, our multigrain, steel-cut oatmeal is first slow-cooked in kettles the old-fashioned way. Anything but dry and instant, our hearty oatmeal has flax, whole wheat and buckwheat. Tasty toppings include cinnamon brown sugar, roasted mixed nuts (almonds, pecans, walnuts) and dried fruit blend (cranberries, blueberries, golden raisins, cherries).

If passing on the gold standard of chicken biscuits and possibly the gold standard of the entire breakfast universe is not risking death by opportunity cost regret, I don’t know what is. But instead of a flaky biscuit topped with that buttery-sweet and juicy chicken, I instead opted to give myself the old fast food nutritional high-five and dared to try something described as both wholesome and delicious.

Note: "chicken" mix ins not included

Amazingly, I’m not regretting it in the least, and can, as both an oatmeal lover and chicken biscuit lover that I will be back for more.

A number of fast food and fast casual restaurants have started serving oatmeal in recent years, but Chick-fil-A’s is the best. Yes, I mean it, the best. For starters, I didn’t see a packet involved here, and, unlike the oatmeal I ordered from McDonald’s a full three minutes beforehand, Chick-fil-A’s oatmeal was not hastily prepared by some clearly overwhelmed new employee who could neither offer me full customization of toppings, nor the always welcomed “my pleasure.”

At "the other place." Looks like a packet to me...The other place: aka, a packet and 'stuff'

Chick-fil-A’s oatmeal is the kind of oatmeal a pretentious person who shops at Whole Foods can enjoy. As someone who may or may not do this from time to time, I can attest to the genuine flavor of the oats without any toppings, and the virtues of the slow cooking process in creating a dense, stick-to-your ribs final product. There is a real nuttiness here, and a real earthly complexity. I love how you get the ability to control how many of your toppings you can put into the oatmeal and in what proportion, and how you’re given three separate flavor packets. Unlike McDonald’s, this allows you to sample the oatmeal in its truest form without committing to what you may or may not find as too overwhelming of a multigrain flavor. Should that multigrain flavor not satisfy your sweet tooth, the fruit packet, nuts, and cinnamon sugar will more than suffice. The nuts themselves are outstanding. Sometimes you end up getting nuts that go moist in oatmeal and don’t hold their crunch, but these have a nice roasted and sweet flavor that give good textural variety and plenty of crunch. The fruit – especially the plump cherries and tiny, astringent blueberries – were a big hit. Not fresh but not quite dry, they took on a concentrated sweetness and tartness in the moist oatmeal. The brown sugar was great as well. Unlike Jamba Juice (which basically just stick a big clump of brown sugar in your oatmeal) this mix is granulated, and can be applied in batches.

CFA: aka, the awesome stuff

Taste-wise, I rank this right up there with Jamba’s take on Berry-Pecan oatmeal, although I give a slight edge in texture to Chick-fil-A. I also give an edge to Chick-fil-A in terms of price ($2.49) as well as ambiance, considering I can get a morning cup of joe at Chick-fil-A without having to wait until 9 in the morning. As I think the pictures and description make clear, it’s also a much better product than what McDonald’s is offering for practically the same price.

McDonald's: aka...great fries, great nuggets, but crappy oatmeal.

I’ve learned you really can’t go wrong with anything at Chick-fil-A, and their take on oatmeal confirms my sentiments. Even if you aren’t the kind to get something healthy for breakfast, I’d recommend on the sole basis of how it tastes alone.

Pros: Strong multigrain flavor makes it possible to eat plain. Nuts hold crunch well and have great flavor. Berry mixture is plump, tart, and sweet. Cinnamon sugar customization. Getting a Saturday morning shot of healthiness without watching a Jack Lelanne infomercial. Being treated like an actual person by fast food employees.

Cons: Eating oatmeal that is so good you'll forget about trying to come up with a good bathroom joke for the review. Living far away from Chick-fil-A. Not necessarily compatible with eating a Chicken Biscuit (or is it?)

Taste: 9.25/10
Value: 7.75/10
Grubbing on-the-go: 8.25/10
Price: 2.49 a la carte, $5.69 in a small meal

Overall GrubGrade: 9.00 (Exceptional)

More Info: ChickfilA.com
Nutrition Facts:
Multigrain Oatmeal from Chick-fil-A (with all toppings)
Calories: 280
Total Fat: 11 g
Sat Fat: 0.5 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 45 mg
Carbs: 44 g
Fiber: 5 g
Sugars: 21 g
Protein: 6 g

12 comments on “Fast Food Review: New! Multigrain Oatmeal from Chick-fil-A

  1. Danno says:

    Chick-fil-A is amazing in that they never stray from their high level of quality in anything they offer.
    Their decision to offer steel-cut oatmeal with little or no additive is just what I would expect.
    As I initially expected with McDonald’s oatmeal, a quick read on the many, many additives coupled with the apathetic preparation one would expect from their employees…Can’t even force myself to try it.

  2. Manavee says:

    I liked it quite a bit as well. It’s definitely superior to the watery McDonald’s oatmeal.

    My one complaint (which you listed as a positive) is the number of packets involved in mixing up your oatmeal. There is not one, not two, but three separate mix ins (the fruit, the nuts, and the brown sugar). This does allow for a high degree of customization, but it’s a pain in the butt if you’re ordering drive thru on your way to work.

    I understand the nuts having to be hermetically sealed off for people with nut allergies, but I would have preferred the fruit and brown sugar to already be mixed in (or as McDonald’s does it, have a brown sugar and a non-brown sugar variety that you can order).

  3. rob says:

    I know I’m being picky but if it is multi-grain then it cannot possibly be oatmeal.

    Oatmeal is made of, as the name implies, oats. If you add wheat and buckwheat to it what you have is no longer oatmeal, it is a hot multi-grain cereal similar to Quaker Oat’s multi-grain cereal.

    • Adam says:

      Ok then, how does “multigrain hot cereal” sound? Really though, I’m too much of a stovetop clutz to make the kind of stuff that you can get out of Bob’s Red Mill. That’s why I like this for the price, unlike McDonald’s, which is so easy a squirl could do it.

  4. Rodzilla says:

    You may it sound as if all whole food shoppers are pretentious, but that’s only like 30%. You’re completely forgetting about the “normal” 5% and the 65% who are just crazy.

    • Adam says:

      Sorry. Recent experiences with my whole foods shopping and only raw-food eating neighbor (who swears my stress will go away if I just CONVERT) have clouded my objectivity.

  5. Lisa says:

    oh, my goodness I need to try this.Too bad there are no Chick-fil-A’s by me at all!!!!!!! 🙁
    Starbucks oatmeal was pretty good, except once I got a huge lump of uncooked oats which wasn’t pleasant. blech.

    • Adam says:

      How much is the Starbucks oatmeal? I like CFA’s ambiance better than Starbucks. I don’t want to get breakfast from a barista.

  6. horatnz says:

    hmm, maybe I’ll try this some day. I found mcdonald’s oatmeal to be great… I dunno, my mom brings home the packets of oatmeal so it works out well when I make it, great consistency and great taste

  7. […] has a new mulitgrain oatmeal. I’m told it doesn’t have any chicken in it. BAH! Perhaps Chick-fil-A should change its […]

  8. wow, that looks SOO good! And as a vegetarian, I’m not used to going there for anything at all – now I might have to 😉

  9. Ren says:

    I’m going to give this a try, but I have mixed concerns. First, I’m a big fan of McDonald’s oatmeal. I realize it’s from a packet, but the fruit mixins make it better than any packet oatmeal I’ve had at home. Also, I very much prefer rolled oats to the steel cut variety. Still, as I said, I’ll give it a try.

    An extra bonus for me is that Chick-fil-A has Coke Zero, which McDonald’s doesn’t carry for some reason. The down side is that a large soda costs twice as much at Chick-fil-A than at McDonald’s.