Fast Food Chicken Nuggets: A Definitive Guide

Rating the best (and worst) nugget selections Omaha has to offer

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Fast Food Chicken Nuggets: A Definitive Guide

The elusive chicken nugget: seemingly so simple, yet the perfect formula is shrouded in mystery.

The elusive chicken nugget: seemingly so simple, yet the perfect formula is shrouded in mystery.

Photo by Lily Yates

The elusive chicken nugget: seemingly so simple, yet the perfect formula is shrouded in mystery.

Photo by Lily Yates

Photo by Lily Yates

The elusive chicken nugget: seemingly so simple, yet the perfect formula is shrouded in mystery.

Lily Yates, Quintessence Editor-in-Chief

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I’d really like to take the job of whoever is in charge of prepping and shooting chicken nugget commercials. In my experience, no honest omnivore can remain completely unfazed when faced with a slow-motion shot of those delicately steaming vessels of meat, crispy goodness, and happiness.

In an effort to determine whether those glorious chicken nugget ads from various fast food restaurants really ring true, this week this nugget enthusiast began a quest to bring every deserving high schooler the definitive ratings, once and for all.



Chik-Fil-A’s nuggets are delicious but tiny.

Anticipating a long and arduous chicken nugget campaign, I decided to start with a candidate with a good nug’ reputation as a baseline. While these guys are noticeably smaller than what I’d call the average size, they more than make up for it in terms of everything else. Juicy and rich with a slightly sweet aftertaste, the seasoning and texture of these nuggets were nothing short of divine. Though I must caution: these will end up gone much faster than you want them to be.

Crispiness: 6/10
Wallet Friendly: 2/10 ($3.55 for an 8 piece)
Seasoning: 10/10
Nugget Size: 4/10
Good Without Sauce: absolutely


Burger King

Burger King’s nugget meal included a Care Bear toy, which doesn’t hurt matters.

One of the old standards in the chicken nugget pecking order, Burger King has long established itself as a serious contender in the game. While in the past the media has loved to hawk stories about “pink slime” and other atrocities, I think if nothing else the fact that I’m still kicking after consuming so many of them says more than enough about that argument. This selection is a very convenient, satisfying, and cheap way to get your nugget fill.

Crispiness: varies; average 7/10
Wallet Friendly: 9/10 ($1.50 for a 10 piece)
Seasoning: 5/10
Nugget Size: 8/10
Good Without Sauce: not ideal



The old faithful option, McNuggets’ brand name really sells the deal.

The other most prominent and long-standing player in the chicken nugget industry has to be Mickey D’s. One of the great mysteries of our time is to determine who really has the best nuggets between McDonald’s and its rival, Burger King. Maybe it helps some people to have a branded name for their meal- McNuggets. Who really knows? What I found was that these nuggets were pretty similar overall; the thinner, batter-like breading was the biggest difference between the two here.

Crispiness: 9/10
Wallet Friendly: 4/10 ($4.49 for a 10 piece)
Seasoning: 6/10
Nugget Size: 7/10
Good Without Sauce: pretty okay



I may or may not have gotten too excited and eaten them all before the photo.

Even though Wendy’s hurtfully chose to axe their fan-favorite spicy nuggets, I’m willing to overlook it for the overall goodness of their standard variety. Not generally known for its chicken as much as its cheeseburgers and shakes, Wendy’s still holds its own against other, more established fast food giants in terms of nuggets. Oddly, the taste was reminiscent of Burger King’s chicken fries (read: not their nuggets)- but it definitely wasn’t a negative association. While you may have to go a bit out of the way to find an Omaha Wendy’s, their notably thick variety is well worth a try.

Crispiness: 6/10
Wallet Friendly: 7/10 ($1.89 for a 6 piece)
Seasoning: 8/10
Nugget Size: 9/10
Good Without Sauce: absolutely



KFC’s popcorn nuggets don’t quite fit the nugget classification.

Here lies the true outlier from the nugget arena. Wanting to bring chicken connoisseurs a truly wide variety of options, but unable to find another closely accessible chain with chicken nuggets on the menu, I figured a restaurant with chicken in the name wouldn’t be the worst place to get popcorn chicken from. Its definition is hotly debated (I looked it up) but generally accepted to be smaller, bite sized pieces with more crunch than a classic nugget. Knowing the quality of the rest of KFC’s well-crafted repertoire, I had high hopes for this comparably large snack box, and was not disappointed. All in all, this might be a stop to hit when you’re feeling a bit hungrier- but not as hungry for nuggets specifically.

Crispiness: 10/10
Wallet Friendly: not comparable- $6.95 for a whole box filled to the brim
Seasoning: 9/10
Nugget(?) Size: 2/10
Good Without Sauce: absolutely


Now that you know one palate’s impression, where will you be hitting for your next nugget escapade? No matter the restaurant, chicken nuggets will always occupy a special place in the teenage heart, and for good reason.

Just as with people, there’s no such thing as a truly bad nugget.

Lily Yates - Quintessence Editor-in-Chief

Lily became a member of The Flightline in August of 2015. She is a senior this year and enjoys an array of activities including choir, theatre and slam poetry. She is also on staff as a library aide at the Omaha Public Library. You can email her at [email protected]