REVIEW: Jack in the Box Sauced & Loaded Tots

Jack in the Box Sauced  Loaded Tots Boxes

What are Jack in the Box Sauced & Loaded Tots?

They’re a follow-up to Jack’s Sauced & Loaded Curly Fries. They’re available in two varieties — Cheddar Bacon and Jalapeño Ranch. The former features cheese sauce, shredded cheddar cheese, and bacon bits on top of tater tots. While the latter has cheese sauce, shredded cheddar cheese, jalapeño slices, and buttermilk ranch plopped on tots.

How are they?

In my experience, it’s rare that anything involving cheese-covered deep-fried potato thingies ends up being awful, so it’s not surprising I enjoyed these Sauced & Loaded Tots.

Jack in the Box Sauced  Loaded Tots Cheddar Bacon Closeup

Jack in the Box Sauced  Loaded Tots Cheddar Bacon Forked

But having tried multiple varieties of Jack’s Sauced & Loaded Curly Fries, I think topped curly fries are a better experience than these. The curly fries’ seasoning stands out a little more among the cheeses and sauces, and the coating helps prevent the potato product from falling apart. With both tots varieties, by the time I got to the middle of their boxes, the viscous toppings softened most of the coated tater tots to the point where they fell apart when picked up with a fork.

Also, I don’t mean to be a Danny Double Downer, but Cheddar Bacon and Jalapeño Ranch are uninspiring flavors. If you’ve been eating Jack’s food for years, the flavor combinations will be familiar, so they’re not anything unique.

Jack in the Box Sauced  Loaded Tots Jalapeno Ranch Closeup

Jack in the Box Sauced  Loaded Tots Jalapeno Ranch Forked

With that said, both are tasty, but if I had to pick a favorite between the two, it would be the Jalapeño Ranch. I prefer the ranch’s tang and jalapeño’s zing over the porky and cheesy flavors of the other one. Although, I do wish there were more pickled peppers in the container and with all the cheese and sauces, the jalapeños don’t have a strong kick.

Anything else you need to know?

I’m going by memory, but this might be the first time Jack has offered tater tots. Unfortunately, unsauced and unloaded tater tots aren’t its own thing on Jack in the Box’s menu. However, using the chain’s app, I could remove all the toppings to turn them into plain tots. But, of course, the price doesn’t change even after the deletions. I was able to try a few tots on their own and they taste like any ol’ tots you’ve had.

Conclusion:

If you enjoy anything involving cheese-covered deep-fried potato thingies, Jack in the Box’s Sauced & Loaded Tots will satisfy your cheese and carbohydrate cravings.

Purchased Price: $4.00 each*
Size: N/A
Rating: 6 out of 10 (Cheddar Bacon), 7 out of 10 (Jalapeño Ranch)
Nutrition Facts: Cheddar Bacon – 740 calories, 47 grams of fat, 13 grams of saturated fat, 0.5 grams of trans fat, 30 milligrams of cholesterol, 1670 milligrams of sodium, 65 grams of carbohydrates, 6 grams of fiber, 4 grams of sugar, and 15 grams of protein. Jalapeño Ranch – 750 calories, 49 grams of fat, 13 grams of saturated fat, 0.5 grams of trans fat, 30 milligrams of cholesterol, 1770 milligrams of sodium, 66 grams of carbohydrates, 6 grams of fiber, 4 grams of sugar, and 12 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.

REVIEW: Jack in the Box Cluck Sandwich with Mystery Sauce

Jack in the Box Cluck Sandwich with Mystery Sauce Pouch

I don’t hang out with a gang of teenagers and a dog in a van who rip fake monster masks off the heads of conniving folks. So I’m probably not going to solve what the Mystery Sauce is in Jack in the Box’s new Cluck Sandwich.

It features Jack’s new thicker and crispier 100% all-white meat fried chicken fillet, pickles, and the chain’s Mystery Sauce on a toasted brioche-style bun. There’s also a Deluxe version with cheddar cheese, guacamole, bacon, tomatoes, lettuce, and mayo on a brioche-style bun.

Jack in the Box Cluck Sandwich with Mystery Sauce Closeup

As you can see, I decided to go with the regular version since the Deluxe doesn’t come with the Mystery Sauce. Why? That might be the real mystery here.

The first thing I noticed after pulling the Cluck Sandwich out of the pouch that all post-Popeyes Chicken Sandwich chicken sandwiches seem to come in now is that it’s less like a cluck and more like a cheep. The previously mentioned Popeyes offering is noticeably larger. But thank goodness Jack’s new fillet is thicker. Or is it?

Jack in the Box Cluck Sandwich with Mystery Sauce Split

I mean, is Jack counting the breading as part of the thickness like how I use the top of my spiky gelled hair to determine my height? To be honest, I really can’t say it’s noticeably thicker than Jack’s previous chicken. But thank goodness Jack’s new fillet is crispier. Or is it?

Jack in the Box Cluck Sandwich with Mystery Sauce Crunch

Jack in the Box Cluck Sandwich with Mystery Sauce Crispy

Just kidding. It is, but only at the edges of the fillet. It’s not a hearty crunch, but it’s better than what came before. Taking a closer look at the breading, there’s some seasoning in it, which gives the fillet a slightly peppery flavor when eaten separately. It’s not Popeyes-great, but it’s a step above Jack’s previous chicken.

Now I’ll attempt to solve the Mystery Sauce. I thought it was a combination of peppery barbecue sauce and Thousand Island dressing (minus the chopped bits) with my first taste. But after a few more bites and licks, I realized its flavor is like a less zesty Burger King Zesty Sauce, which is the only excellent dipping sauce at Burger King. And that sweet, tangy, and peppery condiment gets enhanced with the pickles’ tang and slight sweetness from the brioche bun.

With all of that said, Jack in the Box’s Cluck Sandwich is the best tasting chicken sandwich I’ve ever had from the chain and I’d be happy if it ended up being a permanent addition to the menu. Is it better than a Popeyes Chicken Sandwich? No, but while I think the current king of chicken sandwiches has better tasting chicken and a better bun, I prefer Jack’s Mystery Sauce over Popeyes’ mayo.

Purchased Price: $4.99*
Size: N/A
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 490 calories, 22 grams of fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 45 milligrams of cholesterol, 1260 milligrams of sodium, 54 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 10 grams of sugar, and 23 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.

Click here for our previous fast food reviews.

REVIEW: Jack in the Box Unchicken Sandwich

Jack in the Box Unchicken Sandwich Sign

Which came first, the chicken or the pea protein isolate?

Domesticated chickens date back to 2000 BC, but peas were present a few thousand years before that. When considering whether those peas were dried, milled, wet filtered, and put in a centrifuge to extract the protein… I’m going to just give the chicken a win. And Jack in the Box is giving the chicken a win too, sparing them from its new offering, the Unchicken Sandwich.

Jack in the Box is currently testing the Unchicken Sandwich only in restaurants near Reno, NV and Monterey, CA, making them just the second major fast food chain in the US to test plant-based chicken. This follows KFC’s Beyond Fried Chicken tests in 2019 and earlier this year. Jack in the Box has partnered with Raised & Rooted, a subsidiary of Tyson Foods, to bring its Unchicken Sandwich to the meatless crazed masses.

Raised & Rooted advertises its chicken alternative as a blend of pea protein isolate, bamboo fibers, egg white, and golden flaxseed. The breading is Jack’s recipe, available in original and spicy. I opted for the latter.

Jack in the Box Unchicken Sandwich Lettuce

Aside from having a plant-based patty, the sandwich offers the standard accompaniments of a toasted split top bun, mayonnaise, lettuce, and tomato. My sandwich came with what can only be described as an aggressive amount of lettuce. While Jack in the Box is usually generous with lettuce, it seems it may have gone overboard to compensate for the very thin Unchicken patty.

Jack in the Box Unchicken Sandwich Spicy Coating

Upon my first bite, I was immediately hit with an intense amount of spice. As someone who is often disappointed by the lack of spice in fast food offerings, the strong cayenne and paprika flavor from the crisp breading offered a welcomed punch. The plentiful amount of lettuce, along with the tomatoes, worked well to help cool down the heat.

Jack in the Box Unchicken Sandwich Split

If I was not cued to the fact that it was a plant-based sandwich, I don’t think I would question that it was anything but a thin, processed chicken patty sandwich. The grain-like aftertaste you get when tasting the patty alone is masked quite well by the spices in the breading. On close inspection, the Unchicken is denser than most chicken patties. But when eating the sandwich together, it is remarkably similar to the texture of chicken.

Having tried plant-based burgers and chicken nuggets in the past, Jack in the Box’s Spicy Unchicken Sandwich takes the top spot as the most convincing imitation. Keeping the patty thin and having a crisp, spicy breading really hides any shortcomings that come from utilizing a chicken alternative. If you’re inclined to eat a more plant-based diet, this is definitely one to try.

Purchased Price: $5.49 (sandwich only)
Size: N/A
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: Not available.

REVIEW: Jack in the Box Chili Cheeseburger

Jack in the Box Chili Cheeseburger Wrapper

A few thoughts popped into my head right before I was about to order Jack in the Box’s Chili Cheeseburger.

  1. Is the chili just the seasoned meat in Jack’s tacos?
  2. Does the chili have beans?
  3. Will there be a Twitter war between Jack in the Box and Wendy’s because Wendy’s tweeted Jack’s chili must not be good since it isn’t offered in a bowl, and then Jack retorted by tweeting Wendy’s chili is made from old beef patties?
  4. I should start going to sleep earlier.
  5. Can I use Apple Pay in the drive-thru?
  6. Should I get onion rings?
  7. Is the drive-thru cashier upset because I’ve been sitting here in front of the speaker without saying a word for about a minute? What about the four cars behind me?

Jack’s Chili Cheeseburger features a beef patty, two slices of cheese, a layer of beef chili, and onions on a bun. If you want something even beefier, there’s a double version with two patties.

While it’s being advertised as new, the internet tells me this is not the first time Jack has offered a chili-topped cheeseburger. So maybe the recipe was pulled out of the Jack in the Box vault, which I imagine is shaped like Jack’s head and the combination dial is Jack’s hat, while the lever to open it is Jack’s nose.

Jack in the Box Chili Cheeseburger Top

The chili is bean-free, in case you were wondering, and, even though they look somewhat alike, I’m pretty sure it’s not the seasoned ground beef in Jack’s tacos. What’s on this burger is redder and they don’t taste the same.

While it’s never going to win a chili cook-off, the marquee ingredient in the burger tastes fine on its own and is even meatier thanks to the beef patty. But the elements that make this limited time menu item delectable are the chopped onions and cheese. The American cheese complements the chili’s spices, while the onions not only enhance the chili with their pungent flavor, but also add some crunch to the mush-fest.

Jack in the Box Chili Cheeseburger Split

Oddly, even though the idea of topping a burger with chili sounds like a mess-fest, all of it stayed between the buns. Also, something to note, I ordered one for my wife and hers had noticeably less of the topping than mine.

While I’m not sure I’d order Jack’s chili a la carte, if it was available that way, it does makes this cheeseburger surprisingly tasty.

Purchased Price: $7.49*
Size: Small combo
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: Not available on the website.

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

REVIEW: Jack in the Box Southwest Cheddar Cheeseburger

What is the Jack in the Box Southwest Cheddar Cheeseburger?

It features a beef patty, smoked cheddar cheese, chipotle sauce, grilled onions, lettuce, and tomatoes on a buttery bakery bun. If you want something with a bit more heft, it’s also available in a double version that has two beef patties and two slices of cheese.

How is it?

I thought it gave me an idea of what a cheeseburger would taste like if Jack in the Box decided to make one using two of its tacos as the burger’s bun. (Please make this happen, Jack in the Box!)

It’s all thanks to the beef patty and chipotle sauce, which I’ve said previously tastes like a combination of Jack’s taco sauce and mayonnaise. It’s not at all spicy, but instead more smoky and peppery. I’ve enjoyed it with other Jack in the Box chicken sandwiches and breakfast burritos, and I like it on this.

The other ingredient that gets product name-billing, the smoked cheddar cheese, doesn’t seem to enhance the burger. I’m not sure it does anything else besides sweat. I mean, look at the photo above. It appears as if it’s guilty of something. What are you hiding, smoked cheddar cheese?

Maybe the cheese helps with the smokiness of the chipotle sauce. Or perhaps it sweats to make you not pay attention to how little flavor the grilled onions have in this cheeseburger.

Also, I feel as if the vegetables in the cheeseburger slightly affect the flavor punch of the chipotle sauce.

Is there anything else you need to know?

You can get it a la carte, but it’s being promoted as the headliner of a $4.99 combo that also comes with a small fries and drink.

Conclusion:

I know it reads as if Jack in the Box’s Southwest Cheddar Cheeseburger isn’t worth the price. But here’s the thing, it’s worth it because of the chipotle sauce, and because the price of the combo is low enough that I can forgive the other ingredients.

Purchased Price: $6.99*
Size: Medium combo
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: Not available at time of publication.

*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. The combo has an advertised price of $4.99.

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.