America's Favorite Chicken Place: A Comprehensive Guide

Chick-fil-A is the favorite chicken chain of consumers, scoring the highest in all categories compared to its competitors. If you're not from the southeastern United States, you may not have heard of this place. But their influence on finger and wing play in their part of the country is strong. Zaxby's specializes in original buffalo flavored chicken that is far superior to KFC poultry.

According to foodservice industry publication Nation's Restaurant News (NRN), fast food chicken chains are the fastest growing segment in the business, with total sales of 8.9% that far exceed the 3.2% overall average growth of the country's top 200 chains. Chick-fil-A's bone-in bird has incredibly crispy skin, a juicy and tasty interior, and the perfect blend of Cajun spices that make it a truly perfect piece of fried chicken. This combination is an absolute winner, and that's why so many Instagram users come to this place to take pictures of their chicken. Zaxby's chicken is pickled salty, which imparts a decent amount of flavor to the thick, often rubbery chicken breast.

Senior reporter Bettina Makalintal failed to make it past the Second Round, so Popeyes is officially out of the race. Its length means a smaller diameter and a ratio of breading to filling, and that means every bite of fried chicken feels a little small and a little too soggy. Based on Foodbeast crew travel, national impact, and overall quality of fried chicken, we've put together this list of the 10 tastiest fried chicken fast food chains you can find in the country. KFC deserves recognition for its fried chicken because they still make really good chicken.

Church's is essentially the KFC of gourmet fried chicken, as they have the national reach of KFC but raise every aspect of their chicken to a level beyond Colonel Sanders's reach. The chain's signature fried chicken sandwich, the Chicken Shack, is a tasty combination of fried chicken, lettuce, pickles and buttermilk mayonnaise. Meanwhile, I didn't grow up with a Bojangles near me, and my only real experience with the Southern favorite was a hasty, mediocre meal in the basement of Union Station before catching a train. It could be argued that fried chicken is an inferior format and the market would not support it.

To date, none of the major alternative meat companies has published a riff on fried chicken, not even Burger King which has tried plant-based nuggets. The unique savory notes of Jollibee's sauce complement fried chicken in a way that no other fast-food chain on this list can replicate - that's why Jollibee deserves such a high spot on this list. We stayed with chains with 20 or more restaurants, so we apologize to fans of hyperlocal fast-food fried chicken (aka Koko's and Flyrite in Texas).

Tristan Gagliardo
Tristan Gagliardo

Proud social media ninja. Bacon expert. Unapologetic gamer. Proud zombie nerd. Freelance pop culture scholar.

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