REVIEW: Jack in the Box Popcorn Chicken

Jack in the Box Popcorn Chicken

What is Jack in the Box’s Popcorn Chicken?

Well, it’s popcorn chicken from Jack in the Box. They’re bite-sized, breaded pieces of 100% all-white meat chicken that’s available in Classic and Spicy flavors. Every order comes with your choice of dipping sauce, and it comes in a container with a fun design that I’ll be adding to my fast food packaging collection that my son will inherit someday and promptly throw away.

How is it?

Jack in the Box Spicy Popcorn Chicken

My order of Spicy Popcorn Chicken looks either spicy or burnt, but after eating a few, it’s definitely the former.

Jack in the Box Spicy Popcorn Chicken Dipped

Its flavor reminds me of Jack’s Spicy Chicken Sandwich, but more intense and, maybe, slightly more heat. It tastes fine sans sauce, but I preferred to dip them into the ranch and honey mustard sauces I asked for.

Jack in the Box Classic Popcorn Chicken

But if I decided to order Jack’s Popcorn Chicken again, I’d go with the Classic one. Both varieties are good, but my taste buds seem to be drawn more to the golden brown ones.

Jack in the Box Classic Popcorn Chicken Juicy

Its breading is seasoned enough that I ended up mostly eating it without a dipping sauce. The chicken was surprisingly juicy with the meatier pieces, although the ones I ate at the bottom of the container weren’t as much.

Is there anything else you need to know?

Both varieties have a pleasant crunchy exterior that I wish Jack’s Chicken Nuggets had.

The Popcorn Chicken is available a la carte or as part of a combo box with double the chicken, small fries, and a small drink. The box has a suggested price of $4.99, but I bought it a la carte for $5.99 (the combo sells for $7.99 here on this rock in the middle of the Pacific Ocean).

Don’t be like me and order it separately. Get the box. It’s worth it since it comes with double the chicken. The container may have a fun design, but it’s on the smallish side.

Conclusion:

I enjoyed Jack in the Box’s Popcorn Chicken more than its nuggets, which I find to be subpar when compared with McDonald’s and Wendy’s offerings. So give it a try, but get the combo box.

Purchased Price: $5.99 each*
Size: N/A
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Classic), 7 out of 10 (Spicy)
Nutrition Facts: Classic – 260 calories, 9 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 40 milligrams of cholesterol, 1120 milligrams of sodium, 25 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and 17 grams of protein. Spicy – 260 calories, 1 gram of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 3 grams of trans fat**, 45 milligrams of cholesterol, 1290 milligrams of sodium, 24 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and 18 grams of protein.

*Because I live on a rock in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, things are a bit pricier here. You’ll probably pay less than I did.

**I’m pretty sure the fat numbers for the Spicy one, taken from Jack in the Box’s website, are incorrect.

REVIEW: Jack in the Box Loaded Breakfast Croissant Stick

Jack in the Box Loaded Breakfast Croissant Stick

When I saw Jack in the Box’s Loaded Breakfast Croissant Stick was from the makers of Hot Pockets, I thought it would be the size of a Hot Pocket. Unfortunately, it’s not, and its name is more substantial than the product itself.

The stick is loaded with eggs, cheese, and bacon. Okay, “loaded” is being super generous. It has egg, cheese, and bacon, and I guess one could consider that a load of ingredients, but as you can see below, they don’t fill the croissant stick. Can air be an ingredient? If so, then I guess it can be thought of as “loaded.”

Jack in the Box Loaded Breakfast Croissant Stick Innards

Jack in the Box Loaded Breakfast Croissant Stick Closeup

The croissant crust is flaky and greasy on the outside, and there are a few layers of dough, which give the menu item some crispiness. Underneath that is a thick layer of soft dough to prevent the filling from escaping, which it does an excellent job of, unlike the exterior of regular Hot Pockets.

Jack in the Box Loaded Breakfast Croissant Stick Pen

After passing through the fried crust, there’s the savoriness from the egg, cheese, and bacon, but the ratios are off with every chomp because there’s not a lot of each throughout the stick.

With one bite, it’s more cheese. Another has more bacon. Another has a better balance between the ingredients. And, another…oh, who am I kidding. It takes three bites for me to consume the whole thing. I imagine if this were indeed loaded, then I’d be able to taste everything in every chew. But with the lack of filling, the crust’s flavor is the most prominent.

But let’s now talk about the one ingredient I’m sure you’re all curious about — the air. There’s a lot of it. I assume, when it’s sealed in, it absorbs the flavors of the egg, cheese, and bacon. But once the crust is cracked open, all that probably floats away. Maybe I should’ve stuffed the whole thing in my mouth so that I could taste that delicious, savory air.

Jack in the Box’s Loaded Breakfast Croissant Stick is something I wouldn’t buy again. Even at its ONE DOLLAR promotional price*, I’m not sure it (and all the air it has) is worth a try.

*Unfortunately, I paid two dollars for mine because, you know, living on a rock in the middle of the Pacific Ocean is expensive.

Purchased Price: $2.00
Size: N/A
Rating: 4 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: Not available on Jack in the Box’s website.

REVIEW: Jack in the Box Tiny Tacos

Jack in the Box Tiny Tacos

If you believe Jack in the Box’s tacos are a culinary abomination that makes Taco Bell’s food look and taste like something from the finest taquerias in Mexico, then you will not enjoy Jack’s Tiny Tacos.

An order comes with 15 miniature tacos that are about 1/6th the size of Jack’s regular taco. Even though they look like smaller versions, right down to the crunchy edges and the grease stain in the middle, they are not perfect scaled-down replicas. Each is filled with just seasoned ground ground beef ground ground chicken and spices. They lack the shredded lettuce and cheese the original has.

(Editor’s Note: Jack in the Box has informed us that the Tiny Tacos have ground chicken and spices, hence the edit above.)

Jack in the Box Tiny Tacos Innards

The Tiny Tacos have a flavor that’s similar to their much bigger brother, which is why Jack in the Box Taco Haters need not apply. But I’ll admit because they taste the same, it’s a little boring.

Jack in the Box Tiny Tacos Sauce

Fortunately, with every order, there’s a container of a new dipping sauce — Creamy Avocado Lime. It’s pretty much a guacamole-flavored dipping sauce, and it makes these noticeably different from the original and tastier. Unfortunately, I received only one container, which, even with conservative double-dipping, didn’t last for all 15 in the box. Four of them never got the chance to be dipped into the sauce that has a color I’ve seen way too many times dripping, oozing, or squirting on Rick and Morty.

Jack in the Box Loaded Tiny Tacos

As I mentioned earlier, regular Tiny Tacos don’t contain lettuce and cheese. If you want some, you have to get the Loaded Tiny Tacos. But they’re dumped on top of the 15 mini tacos along with taco sauce, turning the finger food into fork food (the utensil is included, and the grease stain makes an excellent soft target for a fork’s prongs).

Jack in the Box Loaded Tiny Tacos 2

The added sauce amps up the flavors that already exist with the regular Tiny Tacos. But the cheese doesn’t do much to really differentiate the flavors between the two offerings or a regular taco. And that is why I’d recommend getting the regular version over the loaded one. The tasty Creamy Avocado Lime Sauce makes the difference here. Of course, you could ask for a container of the sauce with your order of the loaded one, and that would be even more ideal.

While these are minuscule munchies, I found myself a bit full after eating half of the loaded version and most of the regular one (I stopped after running out of the sauce).

Jack in the Box Tiny Tacos Box

Jack in the Box’s Tiny Tacos are cute, but I can’t help but think I’m paying a lot for that cuteness. Jack’s price for two tacos is one of the best deals in fast food, and what’s in an order of this new menu item is equivalent to roughly three full tacos, but at three times the price of two regular tacos.

But I suggest you order them just once so that you can let out an “awwww” when you see how small they are in real life. And then, if you’re craving Jack’s tacos again, get the two tacos deal and ask for a container of the Creamy Avocado Lime Sauce.

Purchased Price: $4.99 (Regular), $5.99 (Loaded)**
Size: N/A
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Regular), 6 out of 10 (Loaded)
Nutrition Facts: Regular – 350 calories, 13 grams of fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 55 milligrams of cholesterol, 780 milligrams of sodium, 45 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of fiber, 3 grams of sugar, and 12 grams of protein. Loaded – 470 calories, 22 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 75 milligrams of cholesterol, 1340 milligrams of sodium, 51 grams of carbohydrates, 5 grams of fiber, 5 grams of sugar, and 17 grams of protein.

**Because I live on a rock in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, things are a bit pricier here. You’ll probably pay less than I did. You can order 15 Tiny Tacos for $3 or Loaded Tiny Tacos for $4. Of course, prices and participating may vary.

REVIEW: Jack in the Box Fruity Cereal Milk Donut Holes

Jack in the Box Fruity Cereal Milk Donut Holes Sign

Desserts have never been a major focus at Jack in the Box, but they’re usually a solid offering. Their new Fruity Cereal Milk Donut Holes are a twist on the previously marketed four-for-a-dollar donut holes. I enjoy donuts and have a close relationship with fruity cereals, so it was a promising concept.

When I ordered them, the cashier said, “They taste JUST like Fruity Pebbles. I’m not even kidding.” Being that this is exactly what I hoped they would taste like, I got pretty pumped. Unfortunately, I soon found out that she was, apparently, completely kidding.

Jack in the Box Fruity Cereal Milk Donut Holes in the Bag

The fragrance that wafted from the bag was pure grease with a little kiss of sugar. I swear I caught a hint of curly fries, but that could have easily been my mind playing tricks on me. Oddly, I didn’t mind either way. I’m not quite sure what that says about me. However, I did notice I didn’t smell anything remotely fruity.

Jack in the Box Fruity Cereal Milk Donut Holes Closeup

The donut holes glistened with oil and were covered with a light dusting of sugar, dotted with little rainbow-colored specks. There was a mass of the colorful sugar sitting at the bottom of the bag.

The donut holes were warm and pillowy – they collapsed with delicate bites, which was a positive start. The initial taste was standard donut fare: doughy, oily, and sugary. There was a distinct lack of any flavors perceivable as “fruity cereal milk.”

Jack in the Box Fruity Cereal Milk Donut Holes Innards

I decided to smash the exposed portion of the donut hole into the glob of the sugar mix and picked up an excessive amount of it. After tasting it like this, I was able to discern a very faint fruity taste. Even then, it wasn’t nearly enough for these donut holes to live up to their name.

There certainly weren’t any notes of Fruity Pebbles. It was more like a sliver of a singular Skittle had been ground up and sprinkled onto the whole batch. This let me know it’s not a preparation issue, but rather that the sugar mix itself is just sub-par.

I begrudgingly ate the rest of them, wondering what could have been.

If you find yourself craving cheap gas station donuts, these should do the trick, but don’t expect any fruit-flavored fun.

Purchased Price: $1.00
Size: 4 donut holes
Rating: 4 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: Unavailable on website.

(Drive-thru sign image via Robbie.)

REVIEW: Jack in the Box Donut Holes

Jack in the Box Donut Holes

One dollar gets you a four-piece order of Jack in the Box’s Donut Holes.

One dollar for fried dough showered with cinnamon sugar and served warm.

ONE DOLLAR, people!

They’re not just pocket change purchasable, they’re also truly wonderful, which I find surprising because I haven’t enjoyed Jack’s previous bite-sized desserts, like Mini Churros, Mini Cookies, and Brownie Bites.

The cinnamon sugar provides a little bit of crunch, and because they’re fried, the exterior has a slight crispiness to it. The interior is soft and fluffy.

Jack in the Box Donut Holes Innards

When I pull them out of the sleeve, they’re not completely coated in cinnamon sugar. I imagine a lot of it is at the bottom of the envelope they come in, but even with 50-60% coverage, they still have a bold sweet and cinnamon flavor that’s not overly sweet. There’s also a slight greasiness, but the sugary coating makes me forget about it. If you’ve had a cinnamon sugar donut before, you’ll have an idea of what these taste like. They aren’t breaking any new ground here.

But these taste slightly better than a lot of cinnamon sugar donuts I’ve had. Maybe because they’re served warm or maybe, and I don’t have any scientific data to back this up, they taste better because I spent only a dollar to obtain them. I think I should write a grant proposal to get funds so I can obtain that data. Any decent grant amount would get me a lot of data and, more importantly, a lot of Jack in the Box Donut Holes.

The only real issue I have with these is their shape. The stereotypical donut hole is spherical. Only one of the four in my order was like a donut planet. The other three were round, but they were a little flattened, making them look more like hash brown rounds or mini donuts without the holes in them. Yes, I just called them donut holes that look like mini donuts without holes.

Jack in the Box Donut Holes Waffle Lines

Oh, are you wondering what those marks are on them? It took me longer than I’d like to admit, but I realized they’re probably from the basket the donut holes were deep fried in. Any of our Jack in the Box-employed readers want to confirm this?

Overall, I love the texture and flavor of Jack in the Box’s Donut Holes. I’d happily spend another dollar to get another order to either eat by themselves, as a breakfast side dish, or as an edible garnish for a shake. They’re worth your time and your one dollar.

Purchased Price: $1.00
Size: 4-piece order
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (4 piece order) 200 calories, 13 grams of fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, 0 gram of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 150 milligrams of sodium, 18 grams of carbohydrates, 1 grams of fiber, 4 grams of sugar, and 3 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Jack in the Box Spicy Chicken Strips

Jack in the Box Spicy Chicken Strips

Burnt or ominously seasoned?

Those were the two thoughts in my head when I opened the clamshell container holding my three-piece order of Jack in the Box’s new Spicy Chicken Strips.

After trying them, I realized it might be an equal amount of both as the 100% white meat chicken inside the coating was a little dry, and the menu item as a whole ended up being spicier than I thought it would be.

I expected these strips to be as peppery as Jack in the Box’s old spicy chicken sandwich, which I’ve consumed numerous times. But they’re hotter. Oh, I wrote, “old spicy chicken sandwich” because Jack has updated the menu item by using these chicken strips in it. I also think they do a better job at bringing the heat than Wendy’s spicy chicken. Don’t @ me.

Jack in the Box Spicy Chicken Strips White Meat Chicken

These also have a nice taste and crunch. The coating is crispy, most noticeably on the edges. Their flavor reminds me of Jack in the Box’s tacos for some reason but enhanced and much spicier. They’re tasty enough that they don’t need a dipping sauce, but my order did come with a container of ranch dip.

Jack in the Box did a great job with these Spicy Chicken Strips. They’re hotter and taste better than I expected. But with all that said, I’m not sure I can wholeheartedly recommend these.

Jack in the Box Spicy Chicken Strips Burnt

While I like them, the amount of trans fat they have is alarming. I got the three-piece order, which, according to Jack in the Box’s website while I was writing this, has 4.5 grams of trans fat, and the five-piece option has 8 grams.

Jack in the Box Spicy Chicken Strips Trans Fat

It might be a mistake on the website because Jack’s regular chicken strips don’t have trans fat and the updated Jack’s Spicy Chicken Sandwich that uses these strips also doesn’t have trans fat. But the nutrition for the sandwich might be for the old version, and no one changed it yet. I dunno. I hope it’s an error because I don’t want to go back to the early 1990s when the trans fat flowed as freely as crack cocaine.

Purchased Price: $4.99*
Size: 3 pieces
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 450 calories, 20 grams of fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, 4.5 grams of trans fat (seriously?), 70 milligrams of cholesterol, 1970 milligrams of sodium, 39 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 2 grams of sugar, and 30 grams of protein..

*Because I live on a rock in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, things are a bit pricier here. You’ll most definitely pay less than I did.