Review: Southern Style Crispy Chicken Sandwich from McDonald’s

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery as the idiom goes. Well this is the fast food industry we’re talking about and when it comes to the “southern style” chicken sandwich, Chick-fil-A is king (GrubGrade 9.50/10). So when McDonald’s came out with the Southern Style Crispy Chicken Sandwich some years back, I felt there were surely going to be some good and bad aspects of the new arrival when strictly comparing it to the fast food southern style chicken sandwich king.

McDonald’s describes their Southern Style Crispy Chicken Sandwich like this:

All-white meat crispy chicken and zingy pickles on a buttery steamed bun.

Like I mentioned, there’s some good and bad right off the bat… before even the first bite. The good would be the fact that if I have a craving for this style of chicken sandwich, the one Chick-fil-A restaurant within a 5-mile radius doesn’t have to be my only stop. My options have just turned from one to five. The bad… one is amazing (CFA) and the others (McD’s) are just imitations of greatness. The Southern Style Crispy Chicken Sandwich is a simple offering of an extra crisp breaded chicken patty and the same bun you’ll find on the Filet-O-Fish and the same pickles you get on the McDonald’s Double Cheeseburger.

The McDonald’s Southern Style Crispy Chicken Sandwich doesn’t have that same addictive quality I’ve come to be enamored with on the side of Chick-fil-A’s fence. With Chick-fil-A, the peanut-oil and pressure cooked chicken patties come off as thicker, tastier, and juicier with just enough emphasis on breading and total focus on a great chicken patty. McDonald’s on the other hand has a chicken sandwich that seems to only rely on its breading. The McDonald’s sandwich is a fake-me-out replica that has a dried out patty. It’s kind of funny that on the sandwich box it is written, “WE LOVE YOU JUST THE WAY YOU ARE: Oh white meat chicken breast, so juicy and perfectly seasoned. To smother you under layers of condiments would only hide your natural beauty”. That’s the thing about this style of chicken sandwich. It’s not about sauces or cheeses, bacon or veggies, it’s about the chicken. Bread, pickles and chicken… the star is the chicken so you better make it amazing, otherwise, why bother? Oh yeah, competition.

When it comes to price, it’s $2.85 for CFA and $3.39 for McD’s. Seeing that the cheaper CFA version has 30 grams of protein versus 21 grams for McD’s gives me extra fuel to fire my love for one over the other.. I have my favorites and that’s obvious. I prefer Popeyes over KFC. I’ll take Papa John’s over Domino’s. In the battle of the “southern style” chicken sandwich, McDonald’s just falls way short of Chick-fil-A, and according to my crystal ball most all of you will agree.

Pros: At least McDonald's has a value menu chicken sandwich to fall back on (our McChicken review... at least it's just a buck ). It's simple enough to easily grub on the go.

Cons: Price. Dried out chicken patty. It isn't Chick-fil-A.

Taste: 5.50/10
Value: 5.50/10
Grubbing on-the-go: 8.00/10
Price: $3.39

Overall GrubGrade: 5.50/10

More Info:
Nutrition Facts:
Southern Style Crispy Chicken Sandwich (8.3 oz)
Calories - 420
Fat - 19 grams
Saturated Fat - 3 grams
Cholesterol - 45 milligrams
Sodium - 930 milligrams
Carbs - 43 grams
Dietary Fiber - 2 grams
Sugars - 7 grams
Protein - 21 grams

35 comments on “Review: Southern Style Crispy Chicken Sandwich from McDonald’s

  1. Marvo says:

    Hmm. For some reason I thought you guys reviewed this already.

  2. icecycle66 says:

    Although I find your review and taste grade valid and accurate, you have the benefit of a chicken sandwich saturated market.

    When I go up the The City I always swing by Chick-fil-A for two or three sandwiches. However, since The City is a solid hour away, I don’t get my beloved Georgia born breaded breast very often. In the cases where a hankerin’ for a “southern style” chicken sandwich is to great to bear, the taste score of the McDonalds debauchery shoot up to an incredibly inflated 8. The value still stays a bit lower, hovering somewhere around a 6, but it’s still better than going without.

    • Justin says:

      That’s my take, too. The nearest CFA to me is 10 miles – but in Los Angeles traffic that’s at least an hour. So McDonald’s, and more specifically Church’s, will have to do.

  3. SmoledMan says:

    Definitely a good development not slathering it with mayo, cheese and other sauces. Too bad the chicken is deep fried, that makes it a no-no for my diet.

  4. SkippyMom says:

    What a complete and utter rip off. It’s funny! And I know nowhere as good. Thx for the review.

  5. Aaron says:

    Church’s southern style isn’t half bad. Totally acceptable substitute if there are no CFA’s around.

  6. drpep says:

    You need to try another. I’ve had some that were dried out, like the one you reviewed, and others that were juicy as described. Most of mine have been good, only a few somewhat bad ones.

    • Billy says:

      I’ve never had one that wasn’t ridiculously juicy. I mean, yes, it’s a total ripoff of Chick-fil-a, but every time I have one of these, it’s surprisingly close. 8/10 at least, without question.

  7. Natalie says:

    The only reason to ever order this sandwich is if there isn’t a Chick fil A nearby. There’s a McDonald’s around the corner from my apartment, but no CFA in my state. When I get a bad CFA craving, I’ll order this..and then mostly regret it.

    McNuggets ftw.

  8. Edmond says:

    Agreed…CFA FTW!

  9. Sascha says:

    This has become my go to sandwich at McDonald’s, and it usually is quite fresh and good. The nearest CFA is a four hour drive for me, so that only becomes reality a couple times a year (at best). The only thing I don’t like about the McDonald’s version is the price. I can get two much better spicy chickens at Rally’s and save about three quarters in the process.

    • Fah Fah Fah says:

      Two for $2 Spicy Chicken sandwich at Checker’s here in PA is a frequent after-work snack for me.

  10. Crysta says:

    This sandwich is all right. If my husband wants to go to McDonalds, and I just want something simple I tend to get this or the McNuggets. However, if it’s MY choice of where we’re going… Chik-fil-A. No question about that.

  11. Kayleigh says:

    I never liked this sandwich. I was working at McDonalds when this came out and I just didn’t get it. The fil-a o fish bun just is steamed, so it makes the sandwich sort of soggy. Also, I don’t like pickles so this is just a no go for me. I guess it’s all what you grew up with. I live in the PNW, so never been to a Chik-fil-A. (sounds amazing from your posts) When I go to McDonald’s, it’s all about the mcnuggets.

  12. rob says:

    I like the breakfast biscuit though

  13. Lindsay says:

    We used to have a CFA on my work campus and now it’s gone. The closest is 14 miles away. Oh, how I miss those chicken sandwiches. The price is great for the deliciousness that you get. McD just fails in their knockoff version and it’s more expensive. What a disappointment. If they aren’t able to pressure cook it, I won’t even bother with it.

  14. Peter says:

    I had one of these yesterday. After the fries, this is the item I am most likely to order for McD’s for myself. I sorta-kinda-like it. Very short on condominiums though, I generally ask for a bag of mustard to perk it up. What I like about it though, is the soft bun and the slightly spicy filet. The pickles are OK. My vote would be an 8 out of 10.

    I really enjoy your reviews, they are among the first things I read each morning.

  15. Brad says:

    This whole thing just reminds me when they had chicken biscuit sandwiches on their original breakfast dollar menu. Not anymore, they’re tied to the hip with this thing and twice the price or more. I swear if it wasn’t for that dollar menu I’d have no reason to go to McD’s anymore.

    • Billy says:

      You realize that every other item on the menu is expensive BECAUSE of the dollar menu, right? You get the correlation?

  16. rondoman says:

    I hate coming to this site and hearing of the greatness that is CFA and I dont have any of them close to me.

    One day I must try this amazing place!!!

  17. Ted says:

    I have only one thing to say, at least McDonalds are open on Sunday!

    • Ryan says:

      great point

      • Alexg says:

        Then I would head out to In-N-Out, or 5 Guys, or Fat Burger, etc.

        McD’s is a once a year craving for a Quarter Pounder or a Filet o fish for me.

        • TJ says:

          Again though, the problem is that there are way less of these places than McD’s. I wish I had an In-n-Out and CFA in my town. Unfortunately I’m blessed with about 5 McD’s.

          I think this sandwich is alright, pretty average to me. I usually prefer their crispy chicken club, or Mcnuggets.

  18. Scott says:

    +1 in McDonalds’ favor: you can buy one on Sunday if you get a craving. Other than that, no reason to exist if you have a close enough Chick Fil-A

  19. Matt says:

    I love their Southern Style Chicken, if it’s made correctly. By that I mean the chicken is hot and juicy and wasn’t sitting in a warming tray for a while, and if the bun is steamed. I think the steamed bun really adds a lot to the sandwich and makes it a little different from Chick-fil-a’s. As for me, I get the southern chicken with cheese and big mac sauce (no pickles). You know, to make it healthier.

  20. Rayne says:

    I actually like the Southern Style Chicken sandwich.
    But I live in NYC… so I’ve never had Chick Fil’A…

    Supposedly there’s one located in NYU’s dining area… but I think that’s only a myth…


  21. belinskaya says:

    These really aren’t too bad, but the pickles are disgusting McDonald’s pickles, and the removal of the pickles just makes me sad.

    I’m lucky I have a Popeye’s nearby since I can no longer patronise Chik-fil-A for political reasons. Not at all the same, but no crappy pickles or horrid overcharging.

    • What says:

      You can’t eat food because of disagreeing with the owner’s politics? I just have to come out and call you out on your silliness and I also disagree with their politics. It’s just food, though. I guarantee that you’re wearing clothing, listening to music, and watching films whose creators have different political opinions than you do.

      • Adam says:

        I admire CFA for being closed on Sundays and agree with their “politics” — although I find that description of their ideals to be horribly juvenile. I wonder if she boycotts me as well…

      • Chefprotoss says:

        Its not a matter of opinion. CFA donates money to groups that bother some people. When you buy their products you indirectly contribute to these donations. Makes sense to me.

  22. McMike says:

    I am very much impressed by how neatly that sandwich was constructed. In 4 years with McDonald’s, I don’t think I’ve ever seen any item produced in a McKitchen come so close to actually meeting the desired specifications. It makes me wonder what location you visited…I’m somewhat envious of their staff, as my store is nowhere near that level of precision.

  23. Jesse says:

    I bought one yesterday. It cost me $5 in Illinois. I don’t know what chik fil a taste like mainly because there is none here.

    Anyways imagine the one in that picture with half the chicken and one pickle. that is so worth $5 right?

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