Despite its oblong-shaped filet, squished profile, and two perfectly-centered pickles, McDonald’s Classic Chicken Sandwich is not as good as Chick-fil-A’s namesake chicken sandwich.
That said, it’s a better and more economical showcase for McDonald’s buttermilk chicken than the Buttermilk Crispy Chicken Sandwich and a dramatic upgrade over the McChicken.
It’s built similarly to the bygone Southern Style Chicken Sandwich, but skips the butter and steamed bun for a regular bun and McDonald’s signature sauce. Otherwise, it makes no attempt to shy away from borrowing a page from Chick-fil-A’s book.
Overall, its minimalist approach works great. I’ve had McDonald’s buttermilk chicken on three or four occasions and always thought it was okay if not a little out-of-place in the Buttermilk Crispy Chicken Sandwich. Sans mayo, tomato, and lettuce (and $1.89 cheaper) the buttermilk flavor really comes out.
With a crispy, uniform breading, the buttermilk chicken checks the prerequisite boxes for adequate juiciness and flavor, although it doesn’t wow you. Nevertheless, a slightly spicy aftertaste, with strong notes of black pepper and garlic powder, tastes wonderful with the tangy-sweet signature sauce, which like a mustard-spiked ketchup. The pickles add a nice layer of crunch, but otherwise go unnoticed.
It’s good, but not Chick-fil-A good, lacking the succulent, plump texture from Chick-fil-A’s pressure cooking, as well as the sweet and nutty flavors imparted by the peanut oil and seasonings. Additionally, I found myself missing Chick-fil-A’s buttered bun, as well as the steamed effect when you get it to go in one of those specially-designed pouches. Still, the Classic Chicken Sandwich is probably the most enjoyable McDonald’s chicken sandwich I’ve ever had, and at 45 cents cheaper than Chick-fil-A’s, it’s a good value.
That said, I’m not crazy about the national rollout of the $1-$2-$3 menu at McDonald’s, which killed the 2 for $3 and 2 for $4 deals that had been staples at my local restaurant. Pressed between spending $3 on a medium fries and double cheeseburger or spending the same amount on the Classic Chicken Sandwich, I’d choose the latter 9 out of 10 times, if only because of its modest size.
All things considered, if you love McDonald’s buttermilk chicken, you’re going to love this sandwich. I can only hope the Golden Arches finds a way to increase the value a bit more by including it on the 2 for $5 menu.
(Nutrition Facts – 510 calories, 210 calories from fat, 23 grams of total fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 65 milligrams of cholesterol, 1040 milligrams of sodium, 50 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 6 grams of sugar, 25 grams of protein.)
Purchased Price: $3.00
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Chicken is both crispy and juicy, with strong buttermilk flavor. Tangy and sweet signature sauce pairs well with the kick of the chicken’s seasoning. Cheaper than most similarly sized chicken sandwiches.
Cons: Not as good as Chick-fil-A’s. Bun is lackluster and would be better steamed and buttered. Moderate size and not the greatest deal if you add a medium fries, which McDonald’s somehow decided to leave off the value menu.