Review: Jalapeño Fresco Spicy Chicken Sandwich from Wendy’s

In the fast food world, there are countless products that receive very polarizing opinions.  The Spicy Chicken Sandwich from Wendy’s is not one of those products as it’s a pretty solid fan favorite.  With the introduction of the new Jalapeño Fresco Spicy Chicken Sandwich, Wendy’s has upped the heat level.Wendys Jalapeno Fresco Spicy Chicken 1Not to knock their classic Spicy Chicken Sandwich, but the lettuce/tomato/mayo combination is as basic as you can get. The beauty with the simplicity of the Spicy Chicken Sandwich is that it works by just relying on the strength of its spicy chicken fillet. The Jalapeño Fresco Spicy Chicken Sandwich features the same spicy chicken fillet and adds ghost pepper sauce, cheese, red onion and fresh jalapeños to create a unique new style of spicy chicken sandwich. 

Jalapeno Fresco 2I gripe at times when a product tries too hard to be different or exciting so I was curious to see how adding spicy condiments to an already spicy sandwich would turn out. Yes, ghost peppers are gaining momentum into full blown trendy. With the Jalapeño Fresco Spicy Chicken Sandwich, Wendy’s isn’t really relying on the catchy “Ghost Pepper” name to draw anyone in.  They are marketing Ghost Pepper Fries, but with this sandwich I think the Jalapeño Fresco name was the more accurate choice.  The creamy ghost pepper sauce doesn’t have as much true impact as the freshly chopped jalapeños so it’s fitting the focus isn’t on ghost pepper.  From the bright orange ghost pepper sauce I got a lot more smoke than fire.  The healthy dose of sauce made for an added creamy moisture to the texture element.  As a whole, there’s plenty of texture variety throughout sandwich.Jalapeno Fresco 3A slice of yellow/pale cheese is included in this sandwich and it’s thick enough to not melt very well and has a mild sharpness with a light finish. I’m guessing it’s a Monterey Jack cheese, but I don’t have an official ingredients list at the moment (test market item details are hard to get a hold of).  The fresh, diced jalapeños are what makes this sandwich, “Fresco”.  They are cut pretty small and there’s a good amount of them which provided a nice, colorful contrasting element of fresh veggie crunch and slower burn… a burn that is different from the spicy chicken fillet. The jalapeños are plentiful and a few pieces fell out of the sandwich into the sandwich box, but for the most part they’re contained by sticking onto the ghost pepper sauce. The burn from the breading of the meaty chicken fillet has immediate impact. There’s a variety of black/red/chili pepper dry seasonings on the chicken breading, where the diced jalapeños have a garden freshness which is followed by an aromatic, peppery bite that woke my sinuses in some spots. Three raw red onion rings are also included in the Jalapeño Fresco Spicy Chicken Sandwich and provide a fleeting flavor twist, yet don’t stand out too well when going up against the spicy ingredients.Jalapeno Fresco 4The bun was different than the buns I’ve become familiar with at Wendy’s.  My impression based on color, texture, and taste was this what a more fibrous wheat bun which I found to be a strange choice.  No major complaints with the bun, just curious as to why the standard premium toasted white bun wasn’t used.Jalapeno Fresco 5In closing, $5.49 is a lot to ask for with a fast food sandwich, but the Jalapeño Fresco Spicy Chicken Sandwich delivers strong ingredients and plenty of heat.  There’s plenty of  texture variety to be found here… from the coarse crunch of the spicy chicken fillet breading to the freshly cut jalapeños, to the creamy ghost pepper sauce.  If you’re looking for a more unique taste from your standard Spicy Chicken Sandwich, look in the direction of the Jalapeño Fresco version and hope it receives a wide release very soon.

Pros: Big sandwich with plenty of flavor and nice contrasting textures and heat. Freshness of the chopped jalapeños was a satisfying break from the usual pickled jalapeños.

Cons: Premium priced fast food... $5.49 for the sandwich alone. Ghost pepper sauce tasted a little too muted beyond its smokiness.

Taste: 9.00/10
Value: 5.25/10
Grubbing on-the-go: 6.00/10
Price: $5.49

Overall GrubGrade: 8.50/10

More Info:
Nutrition Facts:
not available

41 comments on “Review: Jalapeño Fresco Spicy Chicken Sandwich from Wendy’s

  1. Aaron says:

    Just had this and it was awesome!! I hope it sticks around for a while. Good enough to overlook the price.

  2. Sascha says:

    It’s not one for me. I enjoy the spicy chicken sandwich, but this would kick the spicy train off the rails for me. But, I am hoping more places will jump onto the “fresco” kick and chop up some fresh veggies and herbs onto future sandwiches.

  3. […] Sascha on Review: Jalapeño Fresco Spicy Chicken Sandwich from Wendy’s […]

  4. Snackeroo says:

    I don’t like the idea of raw onions on this sandwich but I’ll still try one if I come across it.

    • BigBelly says:

      I wasn’t to excited to see they were red ones, and forgot they came on there until about half way through the sandwich where I presume I got a mouthful of a whole smaller ring. I honestly have to say, it worked together, and for the most part, just joined in the party

    • scram says:

      I thought the onions added an extra dimension, and everything worked well together.

  5. Jonathan Wayne says:

    I hope it tastes better than it looks. That bun is a non-starter for me.

    • Rydog says:

      Persoanally i dont like these buns becausr the texture doesn’t go well with the sandwhich. Instead I just order it on the regular bun. People forget that you can customize any sandwhich.

  6. Alex K. says:

    Looks so similar to the Four Alarm Spicy Chicken Sandwich they had several years ago… I went to my Wendy’s a few days ago since they (supposedly) have them in Michigan, and they didn’t have them.

    Need one.

  7. Matt says:

    The sauce looks like the stuff Burger King put on their chicken philly

  8. JJ says:

    I tried this today for lunch. It was 7.58 for a small como, which isn’t bad (a la carte prices are always inflated). It was definitely the spiciest of the fast food chicken sandwiches that I’ve tried, a bit hotter than The Blazin’ Chicken. Any hotter would be too hot. I didn’t even notice the onions. I think maybe a slice of tomato or lettuce might have helped give a more contrasting cooling effect, but whatever, still pretty good.

  9. R29M says:

    This sandwich is excellent! I would highly recommend it to anyone who likes a definite spicy kick! Thank you Wendy’s!!!!!!!!!! Definitely will be eating this sandwich again and again!!

  10. BigBelly says:

    I had the opportunity to get one of these tonight, and I’d have to say it’s a good sandwich, but if you are looking for a true ghost pepper style burn, this aint it.
    Mine had a lot of sauce on it, it was dripping out… I dipped a fry in it and gave it to my mom and told her to “try this cheese sauce” she didn’t try and hit me, so I know it’s not very hot LOL

    It’s been a while, but I think McD’s habanero sauce on the south west wrap was hotter then this, but a tasty sandwich nonetheless

  11. Bethany says:

    Oh this was such a NO for me- dry whole wheat bun, slightly spicy cheese sauce- the whole this was just kinda gooey and soft and not spicy enough. I’d perfect the regular spicy chicken sandwich over this any day.

    • Teressa says:

      I completely agree. I just purchased the sandwich last night and I was really disappointed. It was just a chicken sandwich, the chicken was ‘ok’,it had a bunch of stuff piled on, the sauce was bland, the onions did not give the sandwich ‘depth’ and it was overall just bad. I only ate half and threw it away. The $1.00 crispy chicken sandwich is way better. I wouldn’t buy it or recommend it. This is just my opinion. You may buy it and fall in love with it, I don’t know. Just know you’re taking a chance.

  12. cs says:

    I had one of these yesterday and it wasn’t as good as I was hoping for but it was definitely full of flavor. The bun was hearty but dry and definitely had that grainy flavor to it… which is kind of dull to me and didn’t go well with everything else in my opinion. The cheese sauce had decent flavor but it wasn’t enough to really do anything for me. By theirselves, the chopped jalapenos and cheese slice were nice and gave extra flavor but the onion overwhelmed everything else.

    I just remember feeling like the sandwich was a spicy onion-flavored chicken sandwich.

  13. AEUDIR says:

    Tried this today and it was beyond awful. The bread was dry, burnt and hard, the breading was soggy and there were places in the chicken that were hard. The cheese sauce had no flavor, just heat (and I like heat, normally!). The onions were misplaced and my 3rd one was not even a full ring. I actually thought maybe someone had left the plastic wrap on the cheese b/c it looked just like stringy saran wrap. The only positive thing were the freshly chopped jalapenos. They brought the right amount of heat and an actual fresh element to an otherwise terrible sandwich.

    All in all, I should have gotten a burger.

  14. ZoeSavannah says:

    I had this sandwich and LOVED it. Mine was fresh and hot. The cheese was melted and the crunch and freshness added by the jalapenos was perfect. I enjoyed the sauce but it may be an issue if you receive an overly sauced sandwich. I read somewhere that you can order this with any style chicken. I really enjoyed it on the spicy chicken patty. The onions (I love red onions though) really rounded it out for me. The bun was fine not bad, not great just fine as a vehicle for the rest of the deliciousness that is this sandwich. I love heat and this delivered better than most “spicy” fast food items. I would describe it as pleasant low burn. All in all this is one of the better “Limited “sandwiches that I have had in a while. I do agree that lettuce and/ or tomato might add another dimension. I will say that I think the quality of your Wendy’s experience totally relies on where you eat. I have a great franchise near my work so I am lucky

  15. nonobadkitty says:

    I tried one of these today, it had a nice spicy kick, mostly from the chicken patty or the fresh jalapenos I think. It was so nice to have actual fresh jalapeno though, not those pickled or canned ones some places use (Subway, I’m lookin’ at you.) The bun was a bit dry, there was maybe just a tad too much sauce, and I’ll agree that sauce was more creamy than spicy. I didn’t even notice the onions or the cheese. Pretty good overall though, the burn grows on you but isn’t overwhelming. The price, however, was a bit overwhelming, $5.79 at my local southern California Wendy’s for the sandwich alone, I think the combo meal was $7 something, which is a better deal.

  16. alisonofagun says:

    I thought I would love this sandwich because it’s full of all my favorite things, but it wasn’t that great. All of the sauciness seemed like it would work better on a burger than a chicken sandwich, the flavor of the chicken was lost under all the extra stuff. I also would have liked lettuce and tomato to cut through all the goopiness.

  17. NorthByNorthwest says:

    Had this just now. I usually can’t stand fast food chicken, but I’ve always liked the spicy chicken from Wendy’s, so it should be no surprise that I loved this. The sauce, cheese, and jalapeños definitely added great flavor. I do wish they would add lettuce and tomato to it.

    It won’t be that spicy for chili heads like me; that said, it was definitely the hottest mass-market-fast-food item I’ve had.

    Always nice to not regret my meal when it comes to fast food.

  18. Moonbeam says:

    Just had this with the ghost pepper fries. AMAZING!!

  19. MCM says:

    Tried this sandwich once. The chicken was good but the sandwich was NOT spicy. The ghost pepper sauce tastes just like nacho cheese sauce, not hot at all. The jalapenos surprisingly didn’t bring any heat, I don’t know what was wrong with them.

  20. Bj says:

    If you were looking to spend the night with your toilet or wanted a cheap ennama this sandwich is for you

    • Christine says:

      worst sandwich Webdys has ever made. Bun was dry, it was so spicy , I had stomach pains all night. Just not a good combination.
      I also had the ghost pepper fries, they were awesome!!

    • shawn says:

      That is so off base…what about this makes you think of a cheap enema? Your stomach needs to man up bro.

  21. Karlie says:


  22. MP says:

    Tried this yesterday with the $2 off receipt coupon. The sauce, cheese, bun & chicken had zero heat, but man those jalapenos! I saw some seeds in mine & by the 3rd bite I hit them, my eyes were watering. Easily the hottest fast food I’ve ever had.
    That said, by the 5th bite, all I could taste was jalapenos & heat and needed to cleanse my palette after every bite & slow down eating. Points for effort, but the execution just didn’t win me over.

  23. Kita says:

    According to the Wendy’s flyer description of the sandwich:
    Red Jalapeño Bun
    Fresh Jalapeño
    Ghost Pepper sauce
    Colby Pepper Jack Cheese
    Classic Spicy Chicken

    I’m sold! I definitely will be trying this.

  24. Billy says:

    I wish they would just bring back the Four Alarm Spicy Chicken Sandwich. To this day the best spicy chicken I’ve had from Wendy’s.

    A little disappointed with this one. I’m not a fan of the liquid cheese sauce. Pretty weak on a spicy level as well.

  25. patti says:

    Way, way, way too hot for my palate. Couldn’t get my mouth to cool down after just one piece of jalepeño!! Compared my sandwich to photos (thinking they gave me extra peppers) & it looks the same. Would agree the bun is too dry. At least my sinuses are working. Feel like I’ve been hit with pepper spray-ouch!!

  26. Isaiah says:

    I prefer pickled jalapenos, so I have not tried this sandwich…I’m surprised a corporation like Wendy’s would not have taken advantage of the versatility of pickled jalapenos…I would love them added to their chili and baked potatoes, as well as an option to any of their burgers…fresh jalapenos just don’t go well with all sandwiches/foods, and it’s another fresh ingredient/Salmonella risk…

  27. […] of the best products from 2015 is back as Wendy’s is once again promoting its Jalapeño Fresco Spicy Chicken Sandwich for a […]

  28. Allan says:

    Absolutely LOVE this sandwich. So much flavor! The fresh jalapenos are much better than the pickled variety. I’ve had a few now and most were comfortably spicy but one was a real scorcher. It’s messy which doesn’t bother me because the sauce is so good.

  29. Johnnyboy says:

    This is a tasty sandwich, when you buy 2 meals, it will be like almost $20 though. I tried it last year this the Ghost Chilli Pepper Fries. Worth trying at least one more time this year.

  30. Spicy_David says:

    This is not even close to being spicy. The Fries are not even spicy either. I do not know why people think this is spicy, but it is not. Maybe my many years of eating spicy foods, to include Ghost Pepper hot sauce, dulled my taste buds to the “heat”, but I just do not have any spiciness, which saddens me.

  31. Jordan says:

    I love spicy food, being from Louisiana, and being a Cajun. I must say this sandwich was actually spicy for once. Most fast food chains advertise “blazing, hot, spicy, etc.”, and do not deliver. I found this sandwich to be tasty, a decent sized portion, and just spicy enough to stand out. It was great to try, but for the $5.50 with tax for only the sandwich I paid, I most likely won’t make this a normal purchase. I’m glad I tried it, though, because I really enjoyed it. If you haven’t tried it, and you like spicy things, I would recommend it.

  32. doctorx0079 says:

    I like the Diablo sauce at Taco Bell but this is hotter. I actually find this too hot! Like the flavor of the cheese and other ingredients is muted because of the overwhelming sensation of BURN. The vegetal flavor of the jalapenos is nice, but most of what I got from this sandwich is the stinging burning sensation like a bullwhip or a mouthful of acid. I will keep using Diablo sauce but probably not going to get this again.

    • doctorx0079 says:

      Everything else about it was good, the chicken was tender and juicy, I even liked that bun, but it’s just too much BURN for me.

  33. carol lakey says:

    It’s June 2016 and the Jalapeno Fresco Chicken sandwich is gone, as well as the fries. I loved that sandwich along with the fries. Please bring them back. Sad in Raymore, Mo.

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