REVIEW: KFC Chicken Sandwich (2021)

KFC Chicken Sandwich 2021 Wrapper

Here in Kansas City, we don’t get many cool new things.

We got a great—like-once-in-a-lifetime-level-great—quarterback a few years ago, but that was after decades of mistakes, cast-offs, and retreads. We have a few of those places where people throw axes, all paint the same picture, or play golf in a giant net, but we only got them after they’d been elsewhere for years.

So imagine my joy when I learned Kansas City was one of the select cities receiving a sneak-peek of KFC’s new chicken sandwich. We are in, after all, the Golden Age of Chicken Sandwiches, and what better place to unveil a new version of a breaded bird on a bun than the grandfather of fast food fried chicken, KFC.

Then imagine my disappointment when I got my sandwich.

KFC Chicken Sandwich 2021 Whole

KFC describes it as “… (a) quarter-pound, all-white meat, double-breaded, Extra Crispy chicken breast filet… freshly-toasted buttery brioche bun, crispier, thicker pickles, and the perfect amount of the Colonel’s real mayo or spicy sauce.”

KFC Chicken Sandwich 2021 Top

KFC Chicken Sandwich 2021 Split

What I got was a piece of chicken only a smidge bigger than a deck of playing cards. Further disappointingly, it even seemed absent the Colonel’s traditional 11 herbs and spices. I tasted salt and dry, chewy chicken breast. The “double-breading” made no impact whatsoever, though there was plenty of it (sans chicken, mind you). Nor did the pickles, which were limp and thin, much closer to McDonald’s pickles than anything I was expecting.

The brioche bun seemed like it had the potential to be the best part of the sandwich — which, let’s just let that sink in for a moment — but half of the bottom half was stale. How do you get half of a half of a stale bun, you ask? So do I. Let me know if you have an answer. The mayo was tangy and good — quintessentially KFC mayo — but the best mayo in the world couldn’t save this wreck of a sandwich.

Look, I like KFC. I like its original chicken and the Extra Crispy variety. I love its Nashville Hot Chicken tenders. If I could only choose Popeyes or KFC for the rest of my life, I’d have a hard time deciding; it’d be a tossup, honestly. But not when it comes to their signature sandwiches, oh no.

If Popeyes’ sandwich is a Picasso, KFC’s offering is a 3rd grader writing a swear word in the dirt on the back window of his mom’s minivan. This chicken sandwich isn’t even in the same league as Church’s, frankly. It’s seriously weird that KFC is proud of this.

In 2018, KFC unveiled a new chicken sandwich called “The Crispy Colonel.” For the life of me, I cannot figure out how this sandwich differs. In fact, the couple of Crispy Colonel’s I’ve had have been considerably better than whatever this abomination was. Back to the test kitchen, KFC.

KFC Chicken Sandwich 2021 Take 2 Split

Due to the sandwich’s abysmal initial showing, my esteemed editor kindly asked that I try another, you know, to assure that the first one wasn’t an aberration. And the verdict? It wasn’t. While the chicken breast on this one was meatier than the first, it was no juicer or more flavorful. (In fact, the extra size maybe gave it more of a chance to be drier while also amplifying how bland it is.)

KFC Chicken Sandwich 2021 Take 2 PIckles

The pickles still weren’t crispy, and the bun on this one — while fresher — certainly wasn’t “buttery” as the copy proclaims. This sandwich is still a huge disappointment, and you’d do better to stick with Popeyes. Or Chick-fil-A. Or Wendy’s. Or Church’s. Or Sonic. (Hey, I think McDonald’s has a new chicken sandwich coming out soon, too!)

Purchased Price: $3.99
Size: N/A
Rating: 3 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 650 calories, 35 grams of fat, 4.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 90 milligrams of cholesterol, 1260 milligrams of sodium, 49 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 6 grams of total sugars, and 34 grams of protein.

Click here for our previous fast food reviews.

35 thoughts to “REVIEW: KFC Chicken Sandwich (2021)”

  1. We have 2 KFC’s within a 20 mile radius of my house. One is always delicious, but it is as the edge of that 20 mile radius. I have tried to like the one closer to my house but it’s Never good. It doesn’t matter what I order it always tastes like old grease and looks more like leftovers. The bad one even opened a new building, so I was excited the old grease would be disposed of and I could get some fresh KFC. Well, that didn’t happen. I imagine a big barrel of old grease being transported down the street under cover of the night to the brand new building. I’d like to try one of these from the good KFC and see if maybe they can make this sandwich right. If you went to the same KFC maybe try one from another place because this seems like it should be a good sandwich……

  2. Looks like a quarter pound of meat to me. I guess you’re used to oversized American meat portions. Also, a quarter pound of meat is about the size of a deck of playing cards.

    1. No, you’re right– a deck of cards is 3 oz., so, close to a serving of meat. The problem with this is that there’s no distribution. McDonald’s QP, for example, is the size of a bun. I get that chicken doesn’t generally operate the same way, but half of the bun was empty, as you can see in the photos.

      And yes, I am used to oversized American meat portions because I’m reviewing this sandwich in America. But really the point is that this thing is much smaller than Popeye’s, which is its closest direct competition.

    2. The sandwich is meant to compete directly with Popeye’s chicken sandwich though, and their chicken filet is massive.

        1. They certainly are on par with each other. Gotten the new KFC several times, and it is definitely on average about the same size as Popeye’s. Either OP is biased against KFC or he got unlucky (as can happen with natural cuts of chicken)

    3. Well some people don’t know that, Holly May….Try being nicer next time, or I’ll come and give you a quarter pounder (my fist).

  3. Looks like a quarter pound of meat to me. I guess you’re used to oversized American meat portions. Also, a quarter pound of meat is about the size of a deck of playing cards.

  4. Looks like a quarter pound of meat to me. I guess you’re used to oversized American meat portions. Also, a quarter pound of meat is about the size of a deck of playing cards..

  5. This sea of beige doesn’t look appealing at all. It seems as though Kansas City gets the short end of the stick yet again.

    And to respond to the above; not all Americans take a facedive into giant, fatty portions.

  6. I won’t get one if/when it comes to my area. They need to leave the sandwiches to the grownups, Chick-fil-A and Popeyes.

    1. You know what, I don’t like your attitude “Rhonnie”. Let the people live…. some people need that crispy K F C.

  7. KFC can’t get anything right these days. I wonder how much longer KFC will be around? Really. There so many other places that make chicken.

    Why?

    1.) Quality and value have fallen dramatically over the last 30+ years. KFC used to make a high quality product that was worth eating.

    Now? Filled with grease, poorly fried, and their use of young chicken might as well progress to using pigeons. So little meat as compared to any other regional/national chain.

    2.) How much longer is nostalgia going to last? We’ve already seen major declines in fast casual/fast food chains that are popular with older generations. Applebee’s, Burger King, etc.

    Boomers/Gen X’ers are at an age where KFC doesn’t come recommended by their cardiologist. I’m an older millennial and I’ve got to be honest. The only reason I go to KFC at this point is nostalgia. If I could replicate the spice mix, I would never eat another piece of KFC chicken again.

    3.) Lastly, as a follow up with my first point. KFC at least where I live can’t stand on its own. Every single one is partnered with a Taco Bell or weirdly enough, A&W. Do you know how much the staff enjoy the KFC side? About as much as a root canal.

    The one closest to my house only serves KFC from 10:30 AM to 9 PM-ish and if you order outside of normal lunch/dinner hours? Well, you should have known better and deserve everything that’s coming your way. That’s if you even get chicken. “We haven’t finished cooking chicken.” “Sorry, we’re out of chicken and its too close to the time when stop serving KFC.”

    1. Re #3 i- in my area, there are still a lot of stand-alone KFCs, but when I’m craving LJS, they’re always paired with a KFC – and the staff hate the LJS stuff.

    2. You know what, making a whole essay about chicken is whats keeping the colonel around, think again long and hard Lou.

  8. I also live in one of the first cities to see this released and actually sent in some pictures a week ago.

    We tried them both, I had the spicy one, my dining companion, the original, and our experience was very different, we both enjoyed them very much.

    I ordered at the drive thru and was first told “I’m checking on the chicken breasts” then I was told that “it would be a 7 minute wait” and asked if ok. I agreed and placed my order.
    They brought it out to the car and it took about 8 minutes to get it home (Popeyes takes me about 10 to get home and suffers terribly in the foil bag. Not bashing, just the facts) What we found were some hot, still crunchy, and extremely juicy sandwiches.
    Being that I had the spicy, that was the predominant flavor (it was a little spicy, but I like stuff really hot, so yrmv), but I heard no complaints of the other being bland. Our chicken covered the bun entirely.

    As for the bun, maybe Marvo can take a look and testify, but my bun was much darker then yours, and kinda glistened a bit. I found it to be a nice ratio of bread to chicken… (I had the Carls Jr ranch blt big chicken sandwich last night and it was like eating a thick sponge)
    Regarding how half of your bun was stale, it’s sounds like got a steam burn, or it got wet in that spot before being heated, like old bread or eggo’s in the freezer that gets ice on it, it’s nasty LOL

    I’d say maybe try a different KFC, but after a couple bad experiences I could understand your hesitation.

    1. I forgot to add, I asked them to put the pickles on the side, but they forgot them, so I haven’t had them yet. The promo pick made them look much thicker then what you received though, so that seems a little disappointing.

    2. And I WILL say that most people who’ve had it seem to be a little closer to your experience than mine. The consensus generally seem to be “not as good as Popeye’s but better than KFC’s previous sandwich offerings.” It just didn’t do anything more for me than the Crispy Colonel did.

      Thanks for chiming in!

  9. The sandwich is made with Extra Crispy breading, which is a different flavor profile than the 11 herbs and spices of original recipe. Just need to correct one of the many slanderings of this great sandwich

  10. Whenever we had 1/2 stale buns it was because the bag that the buns come wrapped in on the rack was left open over night, exposing either the top or the bottom of the bun. So instead of throwing out the bun that was left exposed and got stale, they used it.

  11. The Picasso vs third grader dirty window art comparison had me laughing out loud, literally. Brilliant takedown. Bravo!

  12. The one in this article isn’t the new one. Looks completely different and the pickles are on the bottom. This guy reviewed the old chicken sandwich and is posting it as the new one. Disregard this entire article.

    1. I really don’t feel that this is as serious as you think it is Ry, I think you need to be checked up on. wake up. now. before its too late.

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