REVIEW: McDonald’s Artisan Grilled Chicken Sandwich

McDonald’s Artisan Grilled Chicken Sandwich

Do you like plain things? Is average your goal in life? Do you adorn your car with rejected foodeism bumper stickers such as, “Bacon Makes Only a Select Few Things Better,” or “Please Pass the Crackers But Not the Cheese.” Are you frequently drawn to buzz words that are three years out of style? If so, then the new McDonald’s Artisan Grilled Chicken Sandwich might be for you.

It didn’t have to be this way. Contrary to popular belief, a grilled chicken sandwich isn’t predestined to damnation on fast food menu boards.

Often mocked as a dry alternative to beef for those watching their waistline, its real problem, if you ask me, is more the off-putting chewy texture and brothy taste fast food companies use to guard against the dry and insipid stereotype. That and the five worst words in the history of the English language: Chicken Breast with Rib Meat.

McDonald’s Artisan Grilled Chicken Sandwich 2

The new “Artisan” chicken sandwich supposedly leverages a fresher take on the traditional chicken breast, one “free of preservatives and artificial flavors“ and including a seasoning blend of “salt, garlic and parsley.” A vinaigrette, Brioche-style bun, and the proverbial tomato and leaf lettuce round out the party, which is one of the calorically lighter offerings on McDonald’s menu. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the least flavorful.

Having enjoyed McDonald’s Bacon Clubhouse Grilled Chicken Sandwich for some time now, I had high hopes for the synergy of the new buns and the new chicken. It certainly looks like a better product than previous McDonald’s grilled chicken sandwiches, although pegging it as “Artisan” is about as accurate as labeling McDonald’s “fine-dining.”

McDonald’s Artisan Grilled Chicken Sandwich 3

Not surprisingly, the sandwich really misses the bacon, cheese, and grilled onions that the Bacon Clubhouse version of the grilled chicken has. Mostly, the Artisan Chicken tastes boring and plain. The chicken isn’t dry, but it has a stringy interior and still suffers from a somewhat chewy texture, perhaps accentuated by an overly basted coating of the olive oil mixture McDonald’s prepares it with. Worse yet, there’s a fake butter flavor which predominates the toasted bun, which in my case was slightly burnt on both sides.

The vinaigrette is somewhere between gloopy and runny. It has a flat garlic and oil taste with very weak hints of citrus, but it really doesn’t carry a connotation of light or fresh. It was just kind of there, and if anything it’s more an annoyance because it sogs up the bottom bun, which causes it to squirt out from the sandwich and onto my pants when I take a bite from it. The bun’s taste was okay aside from the fake buttery flavor, but it felt small in containing the chicken breast, and wasn’t sweet or rich enough to balance out the sandwich’s other components.

McDonald’s Artisan Grilled Chicken Sandwich 4

If there’s one overwhelmingly positive aspect about the sandwich, it’s that its lower-calorie status makes one feel less guilty when downing it with a large combo meal. Otherwise, there’s not a whole lot to get excited about, and nothing comparatively “artisan” about it. It’s good to see McDonald’s revving up menu developments again after slashing a number of items earlier in 2015 (RIP: Southern Style Chicken) but in this case it’s going to take more than overused buzzwords to win my approval.

(Nutrition Facts – 360 calories, 50 calories from fat, 6 grams of fat, 1.5 grams saturated fat, 0 grams trans fat, 80 milligrams of cholesterol, 930 milligrams of sodium, 43 grams of carbohydrates, 11 grams of sugar, 3 grams of fiber, and 32 grams of protein.)

Item: McDonald’s Artisan Grilled Chicken Sandwich
Purchased Price: $4.69
Size: N/A
Purchased at: McDonald’s
Rating: 4 out of 10
Pros: Decently fresh produce. Not dry. Good source of protein. Less guilt when eaten as part of a large combo meal.
Cons: Fake butter flavor. Doesn’t actually taste grilled. Stringy chicken. Kinda slimy, actually. No wow factor.

35 thoughts to “REVIEW: McDonald’s Artisan Grilled Chicken Sandwich”

  1. Mc.Donalds is struggling right now and they don’t seem to know why. They seem to think it’s their menu that’s the problem. WRONG. It’s the Quality of their Food. And also their Service. Stop embarrassing yourselves by adding stuff to the Menu. And fix what you already got.

    1. Sometimes it seems like everybody except MCD’s management knows this: fix the food.

      I’m starting to wonder if there’s something in their supply chain or their procedures that means they simply can’t change to make good food, even if they wanted to.

      To be fair, service has improved markedly at the MCDs near me, since the CEO change a couple months ago. “Sullenly forgetting the cup with combos” is now no longer a thing, when it used to be practically a trademark.

    2. I like the McDonalds grilled chicken pick de gallo. It is tasty and is reasonably lower in fat and calories than other fast food selections. The sodium in the sand which is high but overall it’s a great sand which.

  2. You had me stressing for a minute with that RIP: Southern Style Chicken, because the chicken mcgriddle is my main go to for their breakfast. Glad to see the biscuit still on the website’s breakfast menu.

  3. I agree, their food is so mass produced now, it’s almost completely flavorless. That picture shows even without all the spread, a gel like substance of what was once a chicken at some point. McDonald’s other problem is being closed minded to evolving tastes. They are the racist grandparents of the fast food industry. Instead taking a cue from most other fast food restaurants, and changing with the times and trends by offering or customizing vegetarian/vegan and gluten free/food allergy options, they continue on like an old dinosaur, spewing out fancy marketing terms that make it seem like what they only use is “premium quality” ingredients in their food. They still miserably try to brand the McDonald’s image as being “hip” in their advertising. Actually, they decided it would be funny to make fun of vegetarians here in Southern California, a population with a lot of vegetarians/vegans by having a dumb valley accented girl declare herself a “beefatarian” on the radio advertisements. I guess they plan on poking fun of Celiac disease next? Way to go McDonald’s, exclude the new and keep the same old. It’s seems to be really working for ya!

  4. This truly looks awful. I agree with everyone else- they can’t seem to understand why they are having problems, but everyone on the outside know’s its quality, not quantity of menu items.

    1. I can’t help but opine here, and really, I don’t know how you say that. That’s such a cop-out statement. Quality-wise, McDonald’s is light years ahead of where it used to be. I mean look at this sandwich. Aesthetically its a freaking mural of fast food. But it lacks any dominant, make-you-come-back flavor. It’s flat, and it doesn’t do what it sets out to do. How can quality be the problem when my fries on the side were perfectly crisp, all the components of the sandwich were present, and the order was more or less timely? The sandwich sucks because it sucks. Is the chicken higher quality than it used to be? Yea, maybe, but the preparation (flat-top grill) and flavorings don’t make up for any supposed difference.

      Everyone thinks they know how to do marketing, just like everyone thinks they’d be a better GM than [insert your favorite sports team here.] Just saying.

      1. Agree to disagree- because when you have fatty, unseasoned, bland chicken patties, questionable burger patties with discolored chunks in them, green egg in the egg mcmuffin, black fries, the list goes on of all the things I’ve had happen to my McDonald’s orders in states all over the country through the past few years–I definitely see that as a quality issue. When you say that the issue isn’t quality of the food being presented, I just have to respectfully disagree. Sure, the sandwich above looks pretty but once you actually take a bite of it you can tell it is of substandard quality in a hot second. Things can be deceptively pleasing in their appearance and leaning on that to sell food, disregarding the actual origin or condition of the ingredients is a shoddy way to do business. Haven’t you ever taken a bite out of a big, shiny red apple only to find that it’s almost completely tasteless? That harkens back to where it came from- in a industrialized farm atmosphere vs. an actual, legitimately grown setting. Quality.

  5. Tonight I tried the Artisan’s menu companion, the “Crispy Chicken Deluxe.” I ordered mine with no lettuce or tomato. What I got was a plain, dry, piece of breaded chicken on a nearly burnt bun. No sauce, no mayo, nothing. I took it off the bun and tried to eat it on its own… big mistake. Blecch. A regular McChicken has more flavor (which isn’t saying much) and is considerably cheaper. Combo with fries and drink was over $7.50… and they wonder why they’re hurting? This is one menu item I won’t be ordering again.

    1. I can’t believe they taste tested these before deciding to inflict them on us. Even just plain old mayo would’ve made a world of difference to the bland tasteless uninspired offering I choked down for the first and last time today. In the words of Dave Chapel as Rick James… “I wish I had two more hands so I could give this sandwich four thumbs down! “

  6. McDonald need to reduce the amount of sodium in their food beside improving the taste to accommodate people who want to enjoy good food without the high sodium level. In fact, there should be a separate light fare menu for people who can’t eat the regular food

  7. I tried this tonight and did not like it at all. The chicken texture was horrible, a weird combination of tough, slimy, spongy, and stringy. It seemed like it had skin on it. No vinaigrette flavor or presence to speak of. I didn’t even know it was supposed to have it until I read your review. The bun was good. Lettuce was limp and old and half off the bun, but that didn’t even bother me that much, it was the gross chicken. I got two coupons in the mail to get the sandwich for free, no purchase necessary, and I don’t think I will even use the other one, it was that bad (and I love freebies).

  8. I tried this. It’s terrible. The bun I had could have easily passed for plastic. In fact, it very well could have been plastic. Mine was also slightly burnt so I guess the layers of butter glaze they put on it turned the bun into a shiny plastic puck. I could run my fingers across the top of it and they would slide across like you just waxed a hardwood floor. So you can imagine what it was like actually biting into it (and chewing it for 5 minutes straight). The chicken was bland and barely had a salty flavor to it. It had a golden brown crust to it that looked nice but it separated from the chicken upon biting it which made for a weird mouthfeel. The lettuce, tomato, and vinaigrette adding absolutely nothing. You barely know they are there. McDonald’s old grilled chicken sandwich, with its loads of mayonnaise and processed chicken, wasn’t anything special but it is light years better than this “Artisan” offering.

    1. Was wondering if I was the only one who thought this.. It I didn’t know better I’d say it was plastic myself.. Even had an odd smell and taste to it.. I’m the kind of person that eats EVERYTHING and never complains, but this bun just seemed like something had to be wrong with it.. NEVER ordering a grilled chicken sandwich from McDonalds again.. Thought the first time I got it may of been a fluke but this is the second and last time..

  9. The sandwich was dry. The dressing was not sufficient to give the sandwich moisture. Can’t compare to Tim Hortons original chix.

  10. 930 mg Sodium. Yeah, I always like to EAT a TEASPOON full of salt with my meal! Are you freaking kidding me? McDonalds HAS to get rid of the high salt content. Besides being Really Bad for you, it tastes like crap. our aging population already has a severe health problem with obesity, coronary diseases, Diabetes, and High Blood Pressure. I switched from the crispy chicken filets to the grilled filets long ago, not for taste, but as a healthier choice. Mostly I eat the salads with chicken. More they only serve the Bacon RANCH or the Southwest salads. The bacon ranch is inedible. So friggin salty out tastes like sardines.

    I got violently ill the first for times I had the new Artisan grilled chicken. Between the sandwiches and salads, it tool me a while to figure out it was strictly the chicken that made me sick, stomach cramps, nausea, bloating, diarrhea, and super High Blood Pressure (over 200) immediately following the meal. I spoke with the MCD manager, its the New seasoning mix. Now I have to order it without the seasoning, but it tastes like crap and is over cooked. Besides they usually screw it up and have to make it twice because there is no menu option on their registers for NO Seasoning. So now ours back to crispy chicken. Another McDonalds FAILURE.

  11. I got a free coupon for one of these. My hopes were high. Sadly it seemed to be lacking in flavor. Mine had no sauce of any kind on it. So I got the BBQ sauce out of our refrigerator. I read above that some kind of viniagrette is supposed to be on the sandwich. Sadly I did not get to taste this. I will not be going back for another. Too bad because I have really like some other items at McDonalds. This is like some other burger offerings I have picked up locally and the sauces that were supposed to be on them were not in the store. My chicken had no crust on it either…. I am reading above that it is supposed to. Rats!

  12. I guess I’m the only one who really liked this weird. It is a classic chicken sandwhich and it doesn’t need gobs of mayo or bacon to taste great. The one I ordered had no texture issue, the bun was delicious and perfectly slightly toasted, and the vinaigrette dressing is so much better than mayo. Ordered this twice already at my local McDonald’s. Yeah it’s high sodium but I rarely eat at fast food chains anyway and it’s only 300 something calories

    1. I agree, I’ve gotten it twice now and minus the chicken wrap I think it’s the next best thing on the menue

      1. I liked the sandwich, although the roll was a little dry. I have ordered it on three occasions so far. Do you think the negative posters have even tried it or are they just McDonald’s haters, no matter what?

        1. No, I had it just the other day. I’m actually a McD fan and like their burgers and fries – but this sandwich was just gross.

  13. I tried this over the weekend. Bf and I had these the other night. The sauce and bun were great (we thought, anyway), but the chicken was undersized and had hardly any flavor to it. I wish they still used the old marinade. It was not a good value for the money.

  14. I had one the other day for the first time – and it was gross. The chicken didn’t even seem like chicken. I couldn’t finish it. Never again.

  15. I’ve had two of these. Must have been hungry the first time, because I ate all of the chicken, lettuce, and tomato – tossed the bun. First thought was that the chicken was thinner, dryer, and stringier than the old grilled chicken sandwich. Today I got another one and threw most of it away. Chicken flat and stringy, and I really hate the sauce. Went down to Wendy’s and got one of their grilled chicken sandwiches (at least the sauce has flavor).

  16. I WILL NEVER ORDER THIS AGAIN. I’AM GOING BACK TO MY BIG MAC IT WASTN’T worth the money that I payed for it.. keep it , it was so dry there was a tiny piece of letuce / I had to pay for pickles . which I ask for. SORRY

  17. It was horrible worst chicken sandwich ever. Has no flavor, even added cheese at home and still wasnt good. think they need to stick to their old menu.

  18. I like the new chicken sandwich, although, I think it would be better with grilled onion, which I will try today, I got a buck off of a premium sandwich, lol, which is the only way I will go there, is with a discount or coupon. Mcd’s has gotten pricey for what it is.

  19. I frequently ordered the grilled chicken patties (by themselves) as part of a very good diet that I go on at times. They were tasty enough as is. But I will NOT order the “artisan” grilled patties again. They are so over-seasoned that you can’t taste the chicken! As far as I’m concerned, they “fixed” something that wasn’t “broken” in the first place, and I hope that they go back to their old grilled-chicken recipe.

  20. This Artisan Chicken Sandwich is just fantastic ! I love the marinated chicken. It tastes super and sooo tender. If you want something great and low in fat and calories—try this very special sandwich
    Its my new favorite !

  21. The Artisian is what it is. To compare with a sandwich decked with cheese and bacon is missing the point. Is it a great tasting sandwich? No. Is it a pretty good tasting low calorie/fat sandwich? Absolutely. My opinion if on a diet and looking for healthy alternatives the Artisian is light years ahead of fast food competition (specifically grilled chicken sandwiches). All others come standard with mayonnaise. Must order without to reduce calories and fat which leaves them tasting pretty crappy. I found the Artisian a few months ago when I began to diet. I normally bought 4 or 5 a week. I did not order drinks or fries and drank only water. I lost almost 50 lbs and the Artisian was a treat. I have continued with a healthier diet and the Artisian is still a staple of my diet. Go for the Buttermilk crispy with fries and soft drink if you’re looking for flavor. Artisian is a great dieters sandwich and great for those looking for a healthy alternative.

  22. Actually McDonald’s tries to create better sandwiches, and they probably would succeed except that its young idiot high school kids making them and the premium part of this sandwich goes out the window. Hurried preparation and over loaded on sauce, or lacking good assembly of the sandwich makes for a less premium experience. Ever order a premium burger at a nice restaurant it is presented well with the cook making it look presentable. Let’s face it, McDonald’s has some good fresh ingredients to work with. But many throw them together and slam in a box that it loses any sense of premium. Its just another cheeseburger with different ingredients and a little different flavor. If McDonald’s is going to be anything more then a fast burger joint. It will have to teach its employee’s and managers how to really prepare food. Not just slop it together. That’s the only way customers will be willing to pay more for McDonald’s food.

  23. The chicken sandwich was good 6 months ago. No more for me. The chicken meat is springy and feels like chewing on rubber.

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