It all started when I had the audacity to state that I thought Chick Fil a and Wendy’s chicken nuggets taste the same. Chaos ensued as my friends processed what I said. They swore up and down that Chick-fil-A is better in every way and I didn’t know what I was talking about. So, logically, we designed a blind-taste test experiment to get answers.
To prep, my roommate, Kendall, and I drove around for an hour to gather chicken nuggets from four different fast-food chains: McDonalds, Chick-fil-A, Wendy’s, and Checkers. Chick-fil-A by far had the longest line but also the most expensive meal. Kendall and I were also excited to realize that Checkers had a deal for a box of chicken nuggets and fries for $2. (We were later disappointed to realize that having the fries and chicken in the same box meant everything tasted the same).
Several selfies with our collection of fast food bags later, we ended up back at our apartment and enlisted the help of our vegetarian roommate, Emily, and our other friend, Maggie. Emily was there to fairly administer the blind taste test (as she had no bias) and to offer her opinion on the visual looks of the chicken nuggets.
So without further ado… the observations and final rankings:
Kendall: “I think Wendy’s is the best visually because they have a pleasing color, like a toasty brown, and they appear to have specks like they are spiced. They are also a nice nuggety shape.”
Emily: “I like Checkers because they are mixed in with fries and they are a nice size for popping in your mouth.”
Maggie: ”The Chick-fil-A ones look the most like chicken. The McDonald’s ones look like potatoes, honestly. The Checkers one remind me of elementary school when we would have chicken poppers one week and then shrimp poppers the next and they would taste the exact same.”
Me: “ I like the way the McDonald’s look because they remind me of my childhood and just are overall what I expect chicken nuggets to look like. But I agree that Chick-fil-A looks the most like actual chicken.”
“I think this is McDonald’s because not only the taste, but also weirdly the consistency. It feels like theres layers to the nugget almost.” -Kendall
“Ew. I don’t know what it is but I don’t like it.” -Maggie
“Oh this is McDonald’s for sure. It has a distinct taste in my opinion.” -Arden
“That’s a Wendy’s nugget. It’s good. It has not only a toasty color, but also a toasty flavor. I forget how much I like Wendy’s nuggets.”-Kendall
“It’s really crunchy…but I feel like they are all questionably crunchy. I guess this is Checkers?” -Maggie
“This could be Wendy’s or Chick-fil-A because they are the same.” -Arden
“Wait this isn’t Chick-fil-A but that’s all I have left.” -Kendall. She then proceeded to have a chicken-nugget identity crisis because she failed to distinguish between Checkers and Chick Fil A.
“I want to say Chick-fil-A but I feel like I’m going to have an existential crisis like Kendall just did. So, I’m going to say Wendy’s.” -Maggie
“It’s very fried but like not in a good way. I think its the Checkers one.” -Arden
“I don’t recognize this one so it must be Checkers. It feels like real meat which is nice. It definitely has a similar texture to Chick-fil-A.” -Kendall
“Oh this is Chick-fil-A. I know my Chick-fil-A.” -Maggie
“Oh this is Chick-fil-A because it tastes slightly sweeter.” -Arden
Because this wouldn’t be a pseudo-scientific study if there were no results.
Emily (the Vegetarian)
So in the end, Checkers truly was a dark horse as we all realized that Chick-fil-A and Checkers have surprisingly similar tasting nuggets. It was also quickly realized during the experiment that the type of nugget you grew up eating definitely has an impact on which you like the most or can most easily guess. I also learned that should never become a food critic because not only was I awful as describing chicken nuggets but also my Chick-fil-A/ Wendy’s theory was completely shot down.
But most importantly, as the only person to guess all of the chicken nuggets correctly on the first try, I am proclaiming myself a chicken nugget test-tasting champion.