REVIEW: McDonald’s Crispy Chicken Sandwich (2021)

McDonald s Crispy Chicken Sandwich 2021 Full

If you’ve been living under a rock for the past two years, there’s been a fast food crispy chicken sandwich war going on, thanks to Popeyes launching a chicken sandwich that was so popular, it sold out.

Since then, the number of restaurant chains that have attempted to replicate that deep-fried success goes beyond the eleven fingers on my hands. The latest to enter the war is a little fast food chain called McDonald’s.

McDonald s Crispy Chicken Sandwich 2021 Wrapper

The Golden Arches is offering three versions of its new Crispy Chicken Sandwich that feature a new southern-style fried chicken fillet — Regular (with pickles and a toasted, buttered potato roll), Spicy (with pickles, Original Spicy Sauce, and a toasted potato roll), and Deluxe (with tomatoes, lettuce, mayonnaise, and a toasted potato roll). I ordered the first two.

Coming off those wonderful Spicy Chicken McNuggets, I felt the chain was going to do an excellent job with its new Crispy Chicken Sandwich. But, oh my goodness, they went beyond my expectations. Oh wait, wrote, “beyond.” I meant to write, “below.”

And there’s another B-word I’d like to use to describe the two sandwiches I had — bland.

McDonald s Crispy Chicken Sandwich 2021 Split

With both, the issue with them mainly starts and ends with the new fried chicken fillet. It doesn’t have any distinctive flavors that would make me want to eat it on its own. Combining that with just pickles and a buttered potato roll with the regular one ends up being a joyless event.

McDonald s Crispy Chicken Sandwich 2021 Juicy

However, I will admit that texturally these are the best chicken fillets I’ve had from McDonald’s. The breading has a nice crispiness to it, and the fillets in my sandwiches were juicy and tender. I could squeeze them and some liquid would ooze out. Its thickness was also impressive.

McDonald s Crispy Chicken Sandwich 2021 Spicy Full

McDonald s Crispy Chicken Sandwich 2021 Spicy Top

While the Spicy version includes the Original Spicy Sauce, said sauce is also as bland as the fillets and its name. It does bring some heat that’s significantly below McDonald’s Mighty Hot Sauce, but hotter than the chain’s Hot Mustard. It’s just spicy, though, thanks to the habanero peppers in it. McDonald’s puts out some tasty sauces, so I’m surprised this doesn’t have any flavor.

The only real highlight of the sandwiches was the new potato roll, which has a nice fluffiness and slight sweetness. Besides that, the pickles do bring a tangy kick to the proceedings. But both aren’t enough to save either sandwich. Maybe what’s on the Deluxe version will help.

Purchased Price: $4.99*
Size: N/A
Rating: 5 out of 10 (both version)
Nutrition Facts: Regular – 470 calories, 20 grams of fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 65 milligrams of cholesterol, 1100 milligrams of sodium, 45 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 9 grams of sugar, and 27 grams of protein. Spicy – 530 calories, 26 grams of fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 65 milligrams of cholesterol, 1230 milligrams of sodium, 47 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 9 grams of sugar, and 27 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: McDonald’s McRib (2020)

McDonald s McRib  2020

The McRib is back…for the 57th time! I was surprised to learn it debuted way back in 1981, and that it has apparently been eight years since McDonald’s has offered it nationwide in the U.S.

Even though the McRib is far older than the internet, it might be the perfect food for our social media-focused world. It trends every time McDonald’s unleashes it. Also, furious debates ensue about whether the hype is warranted or just brilliant marketing, and if it is the best or worst fast food item in history. Because on social media, there can be no in-between. But in the frenzy created whenever the restructured boneless pork patty sandwich with BBQ sauce, pickles, and onions is released, an important question is rarely asked.

Does it taste good?

McDonald s McRib  2020 Pickles Onions

It seems like an obvious query, of course, but I’m not sure I’ve ever really thought about it. Like, I’m guessing, the majority of you fine readers of TIB, I’ve had a McRib a few times in my life. But I don’t remember the last time I had one, or even if I enjoyed it.

So I was left to ponder, is it actually a tasty meal? Or do I — and many of you — buy it because of that innate human desire to snatch up limited-time items (even though, when you think about it, everything on Earth is a limited time item)?

I also find it more than a little coincidental that after initially flopping, the McRib was brought back on a limited basis in 1989, the year after the hair band Cinderella taught us, “Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone).” Seems like some McDonald’s marketing exec was a Cinderella fan.

So back to the question at hand…does the McRib taste good?

McDonald s McRib  2020 Patty Closeup

Well, not really, but it wasn’t bad either. The texture was not as rubbery as I was expecting, so I guess that’s a positive. The pork patty, complete with fake grill or bone marks (I’m not sure which it’s supposed to be), didn’t have a strong flavor. It was definitely pork-like, but I probably could have been convinced it was chicken or turkey. McDonald’s claims the BBQ sauce is tangy, but that’s a bit of a stretch. It seemed like a generic BBQ sauce. The pickles and onions were fine, and the latter added some nice crunch. Simply put, it was an average-tasting sandwich.

McDonald s McRib  2020 Bite

It reminded me of one of those microwavable sandwiches you get out of those sketchy, old school wheel of misfortune-type vending machines. You know, the ones where you make a selection after spinning the food around and then open that plastic door while hoping to retrieve the vittles with your hand and fingers intact.

Would I ever buy a McRib if it were available year-round, like it is, according to McGoogle, in Germany and, for some reason, Luxembourg? I doubt it, and if McDonald’s announced the McRib as a permanent menu item tomorrow, then the one I just had today would probably be my last. But when they bring it back in a year or two and social media makes me feel like I’m missing out, then yes, I must sheepishly admit that I’ll probably have another. I guess McDonald’s knows a thing or two about marketing.

Purchased Price: $3.39
Size: N/A
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 520 calories, 28 grams of fat, 9 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 75 milligrams of cholesterol, 890 milligrams of sodium, 46 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 13 grams of sugar, and 24 grams of protein.

(Editor’s Note: Starting this year, I’m going to have a different TIB writer review the McRib every time it comes back. Why? Just for fun AND content.

REVIEW: McDonald’s Blueberry Muffin, Apple Fritter, and Cinnamon Roll

McDonald s Blueberry Muffin Innards

The McCafe brand has been an undeniable success for McDonald’s all around the globe. Its expanded coffee offerings have allowed the company to keep up with Starbucks with the added benefit of establishing a retail brand visible in the coffee aisle of grocery stores.

You can pull up to the drive-thru speaker and order a large, iced, non-fat Caramel Macchiato with an extra shot of espresso, hazelnut syrup, a chocolate drizzle, and whipped cream while also getting a McNuggets Happy Meal with a Buzz Lightyear toy for your kid. But if you ever craved a treat to accompany your obnoxiously complex McCafe drink, you were usually left with the choice of a handheld apple pie or a rather uninspiring chocolate chip cookie.

McDonald’s has wisely decided to expand its once meager baked goods selection by introducing the McCafe Blueberry Muffin, Apple Fritter, and Cinnamon Roll.

The Blueberry Muffin comes surrounded by a lovely tulip-style muffin wrapper to help distract from the fact that it was handed to me in the same bag as a packet of tangy bbq sauce. The muffin is adorned with a streusel crumb topping and a sprinkling of crystallized sugar that adds a really nice, subtle crunch when consuming.

McDonald s Blueberry Muffin

It is very tender and moist with somewhat sparse but delicious blueberries mixed throughout. There is a slight aftertaste of either a preservative or artificial flavor that I find common in boxed blueberry muffin mixes. While I would have to say that it is borderline too sweet for a blueberry muffin, I think the texture and overall flavor make it a nice addition to McDonald’s menu.

McDonald s Apple Fritter

Apple Fritters are never much to look, and the McCafe offering is no exception. It’s a brown, bumpy mound with a glazed outside that gives way to a dense center with abundant swirls of cinnamon. When biting in, you instantly get the warm cinnamon filling your mouth, followed closely by the tart apple flavor.

McDonald s Apple Fritter Innards

The light icing adds just the right amount of sweetness, and the dense but tender texture is perfect for a fritter. As one of my favorite treats, I love an apple fritter to have a crispy edge, which this did not. It could also benefit from more abundant apple pieces. But this is the treat I’ll be craving next time I pull into the drive-thru.

McDonald s Cinnamon Roll

The Cinnamon Roll looks the part, served warm with deep valleys of sugar and cinnamon in between the swirled dough and enough cream cheese icing to run down the sides but not flooding the entire roll with an overwhelming sweetness. From the moment I first tried to cut off a piece, I could tell that the outside had gotten tough, no doubt from being reheated.

McDonald s Cinnamon Roll Innards

Perhaps it once had that ideal slightly doughy, gooey center, but lost it in the microwave, sacrificed for the sake of quick service. It is a real shame that the texture is too tough because the cinnamon flavor and the cream cheese frosting are spot on, with the overall level of sweetness being just right. As a big fan of McDonald’s Cinnamon Melts, I can’t help but wish the company just revived it instead because it is a far superior product.

Purchased Price: $1.99 (Blueberry Muffin), $2.19 (Apple Fritter), $2.49 (Cinnamon Roll)
Size: N/A
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Blueberry Muffin), 9 out of 10 (Apple Fritter), 5 out of 10 (Cinnamon Roll)
Nutrition Facts: Blueberry Muffin – 470 calories, 22 grams of fat, 3.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 35 milligrams of cholesterol, 360 milligrams of sodium, 64 grams of carbohydrates, 36 grams of sugar, 2 grams of fiber, and 6 grams of protein. Apple Fritter – 510 calories, 29 grams of fat, 12 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 360 milligrams of sodium, 58 grams of carbohydrates, 28 grams of sugar, 3 grams of fiber, and 5 grams of protein. Cinnamon Roll – 560 calories, 17 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 35 milligrams of cholesterol, 490 milligrams of sodium, 92 grams of carbohydrates, 46 grams of sugar, 8 grams of fiber, and 9 grams of protein.

Click here for our previous fast food reviews.

REVIEW: McDonald’s Chips Ahoy McFlurry

McDonald s Chips Ahoy McFlurry

When was the last time you bought regular Chips Ahoy! Cookies?

I’m talking about those run of the mill, plain ol’ blue bag Chocolate Chip Chips Ahoy!?

I bet it wasn’t recently. Why would you? I did the math, and there are approximately 394 better cookie options sold in any supermarket at any given time. Hell, Chips Ahoy (no more exclamation points) spinoffs probably equate for about 50% of those.

They’re iconic, but they’re just not that good anymore. They’ve been lapped. I have no time for the old school “meh” flavor and texture of a regular Chips Ahoy, so why do I wanna try them as an ice cream topper so badly?

I guess I can chalk it up to loving the Chipwich. And the McDonald’s McFlurry.

The newest member of the McDonald’s frozen family blends chunks of Chips Ahoy cookies and caramel in its classic vanilla soft serve ice cream.

A blended Chipwich with caramel swirls? That sounds damn good to me regardless of the cookie.

If you’ve ever had a McFlurry – and I know you have – you know that iconic vanilla soft serve is a perfect base.

McDonald s Chips Ahoy McFlurry Top

McDonald’s soft serve will forever hold a soft spot in my heart. I always reminisce about getting one of those complimentary tiny cones when I went there as a kid. I wish they sold it as a standard vanilla ice cream in stores, so I can mess around and make my own McFlurry Frankenstein monsters at home.

McDonald s Chips Ahoy McFlurry Cookie Closeup

The aforementioned “meh” texture of Chips Ahoy makes for an ideal ice cream add-in. They never lose that crunch, and I just find that it works better in morsel-sized bites.

McDonald s Chips Ahoy McFlurry Caramel Lid

The heaping blob of caramel piped into the ice cream is the star of the show. It acted as a binding agent that delivered a generous bite of cookie with every scoop of ice cream.

As I ate on, I realized exactly what this reminded me of — a coconut-less Girl Scout Samoas Sundae.

I don’t know how I could dislike a cookie so much but love it when it’s added to ice cream. But here we are. I feel the same way about the original Milk Chocolate bag of M&M’s. I would never buy them on their own, yet I can’t get enough of them in ice cream.

This was one of the better McFlurries I’ve had in ages. It also acted as a delicious neutralizing dessert for the Spicy McNuggets (I’d give them a 7 out of 10) I ate before it.

I went in knowing it would be decent at worst. Vanilla ice cream, chocolate chip cookies, and caramel, how could it be bad? I came out shocked at just how good it was. Usually, a “snack size” McFlurry hits the spot just fine, but I was actually bummed I didn’t opt for at least a medium.

I plan on trying the McNuggets again, so you better believe I’ll be chasing them with another Chips Ahoy McFlurry, exclamation point. I hope the ice cream machine is operational next time you hit up Mickey D’s because you need to give this a try.

Purchased Price: $2.79
Size: Snack
Purchased at: McDonald’s
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 460 calories, 13 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 35 milligrams of cholesterol, 210 milligrams of sodium, 77 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 53 grams of sugar, and 9 grams of protein.

REVIEW: McDonald’s Spicy Chicken McNuggets and Mighty Hot Sauce

McDonald s Spicy Chicken McNuggets Package 1

If there were a Netflix mini-series about Fast Food Fried Chicken, spicy nuggets deserve their own episode.

Obviously, spicy chicken is nothing new, but when it comes to fast food’s big players, Wendy’s was the first one out of the gate with spicy nuggets. But its on-again, off-again availability eventually opened up space for Burger King to come onto the scene in 2017. They also came with a healthy side of creative social media stunts, including giving away free nuggets to anyone named “Wendy.” Amazing!

McDonald’s has offered spicy chicken items along the way, from various sandwiches to its Spicy Chicken McBites in 2012. But these new McDonald’s Spicy Chicken McNuggets are, apparently, the first new nugget flavor (officially) since 1983. And that’s not all, folks. These are accompanied by the Mighty Hot Sauce, the first new dipping sauce since 2017 (2018’s Szechuan sauce was a return, remember?)

My first impression? The packaging is lame. But it’s what’s on the inside that counts, so who cares?

McDonald s Spicy Chicken McNuggets Orange 2

My second impression? These nuggets are gorgeous! They had more of an orangey hue (am I imagining that?) than the standard Chicken McNuggets, and the tempura coating looked extra flakey. The Mighty Hot Sauce had the crimson tincture of torturous flames and visible chili flakes. Ohboyohboyohboy!

I tried the Spicy McNuggets without the sauce first. The texture was familiar and on point, super flakey and with that sort of airy fluffiness McNuggets are known for. I’m sure that texture isn’t everyone’s preference, but these deliver if you like McNuggets.

McDonald s Spicy Chicken McNuggets Bite 3

The spice level started out mild and grew naturally, like heat from a real spice source. Mine seemed to have a “dry heat,” which you’d expect on chicken. There doesn’t appear to be any seasoning within the nugget; it’s all on the coating.

My only small complaint is that the spice level seems to vary drastically from nugget to nugget. I was concerned when the first McNugget didn’t deliver much heat, but it grew with the second. But it doesn’t get hot enough for me when eating the Spicy McNuggets without the sauce.

McDonald s Spicy Chicken McNuggets Sauced 4

But then, from a humble little black plastic cup, comes the Mighty Hot Sauce, karate-kicking the doors RIGHT off this mother with HEAT.

This sauce is fire. It coats the Spicy McNugget perfectly. In the laziest of descriptions, it’s like the sweet and sour sauce with heat. But it’s better than that. It has pepper flavor, a vinegar kick that hits you right away, a sweet *thwak* from, what is that on the label, Apricot? And then a long slow burn that leaves your tongue and lips tingling for a while after you’re done eating.

Pretty soon, I couldn’t tell whether the heat of each new bite was building from the McNuggets, or if the Mighty Hot Sauce was just blazing away. I found myself wishing I’d asked for honey or maybe ranch to balance it out. When I get these again (yep, “when”), I’ll definitely order fries and try dipping them in this spicy sauce.

Overall, I think this entry into the spicy nugget competitive landscape was well done by Mc’y D’s. It stayed true to its style of McNuggets while offering something new with a spice level you can build upon to your liking. If you want to take it to a 10, load on that Hot Mighty Sauce.

I’m glad McDonald’s didn’t try to overhaul its signature McNuggets too much, and that it launched a hot sauce that is genuinely hot. I will definitely be a repeat customer.

P.S. For what it’s worth, 50% of my McNuggets were boot shapes! Is there some kind of McNugget horoscope reading for when that happens?

Purchased Price: $2.00
Size: 6 Spicy McNuggets + 1 Mighty Hot Sauce
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (6 McNuggets) 250 Calories, 16 grams of fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, 45 milligrams of cholesterol, 540 milligrams of sodium, 12 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of sugar, 0 grams of fiber, and 14 grams of protein.

REVIEW: McDonald’s Oreo Shamrock McFlurry

McDonald s Oreo Shamrock McFlurry

My mother recently enrolled in the 23andMe ancestry service, and I found out I’m about 3% more Irish than I had initially thought.

I wasn’t sure how I’d get over the fact that my entire life had been a giant lie, but luckily for me, the news coincided with the annual release of McDonald’s Shamrock Shake – a treat that’s probably as authentically Irish as I am. I’m about 8%.

To me, late-February/March is Shamrock Season. The winter holidays are all done, Baseball isn’t starting for another month, and there’s not much happening other than the rebirth of the single greatest item McDonald’s has ever offered.

I said it. I’m standing by it.

While I fully intend to have about 12 Shamrock Shakes over the next few weeks, I had to put the O.G. on hold and try the new Oreo Shamrock McFlurry first.

Mashed up Oreo? Shamrock infused vanilla soft serve? That weird McFlurry spoon!? How could I pass that up?

They couldn’t possibly improve on perfection, could they?

McDonald s Oreo Shamrock McFlurry Lidless

If I were rating on looks alone, we’d be talking about a 3 out 10 review. I honestly think the guy took a couple of spoonfuls for himself before he handed it to me. It was a mess.

That classic Shamrock Shake green doesn’t pop as well in a McFlurry. I guess the Oreo cookies had something to do with that, but it still wasn’t as fun. I also thought I’d get it served a cool little clear cup, but I just got a sloppy blob of mint chocolate chip ice cream in a non-festive paper cup.

But ya know what, looks, like the lifelong belief in your family’s genealogical history, can be deceiving.

If you like the Shamrock Shake, there’s absolutely zero reasons you won’t like this McFlurry.

McDonald s Oreo Shamrock McFlurry Down

It’s as if they made a Mint Oreo-flavored ice cream. They use regular Oreo cookies, but it may as well have been the Mint ones.

The Oreo cookie pieces were nice and fresh, but the best parts were the little bits of crème dispersed throughout. I feel like that texture often gets lost when Oreo is used in ice creams. They really popped here. Between the crispy cookie pieces, the soft serve, and those little chalky yet chewy crème pieces, it made for a perfect blend.

If I had one minor complaint, it would be that the mint was slightly subdued compared to a classic Shamrock Shake. I would’ve loved one more pump of syrup to compensate for the Oreo additive, but it didn’t ruin the experience at all. The touch of chocolate and crème flavor was a tasty twist on the norm.

Hot fudge topping was also offered (which may have been an extra charge), but I skipped it, fearing it would overpower the Shamrock and Oreo flavors. This doesn’t need more chocolate.

So yeah, I had little doubt about the Oreo Shamrock McFlurry. It’s legit.

I still prefer drinking my Shamrock Shakes, but this is close.

My test results conclude that the classic Shamrock Shake is about 3% better than the Shamrock McFlurry. Get em both. It’s Shamrock Season.

Purchased Price: $3.59
Size: Regular
Purchased at: McDonald’s
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 560 calories, 17 grams of fat, 9 grams of saturated fat, .5 grams of trans fats, 45 mg of cholesterol, 260 milligrams of sodium, 93 grams of carbohydrates, 71 grams of sugar, and 12 grams of protein.