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BK Chicken Tenders vs. McDonald's Chicken McNuggets: Which One Is Better?

Taste-Off! Burger King vs. McDonald's Chicken Nuggets

"Crispy. Tender. New," the Burger King website declares of its latest menu item, BK Chicken Tenders. Funny: they might've been new on the BK lineup, but we could've sworn we'd seen them somewhere. Oh, right, on the menu at every McDonald's worldwide for the last three decades as Chicken McNuggets.

Much like the BK Breakfast Muffin was to the McDonald's Sausage McMuffin, the BK Chicken Tenders are near-carbon copies of their Golden Arched counterparts. (When asked to comment, Burger King remarked, "We don't provide details on our secret recipe.")

McDonald's sells its nuggets in packages of four, six, and 10; Burger King's are available in boxes of four, eight, and 20. In our taste test, we learned that just about everything, right down to the packaging, is identical — except, we discovered, with regards to taste. To see how fast food's top two stacked up against each other in a chicken nugget faceoff, read more.

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  • Chicken nuggets: Burger King's nuggets have a breaded texture, akin to that of a frozen chicken tender. McDonald's nuggets have a fluffier consistency, like that of battered, deep-fried fish, and a supple, moist interior. The winner: McDonald's.
  • Barbecue sauce: We weren't sure what to make of the McDonald's barbecue sauce. It doesn't possess any trademark smokiness, and is more like a sweet and sour sauce. We were, on the other hand, crazy for the Burger King barbecue sauce: it's complex, with layers of sweetness, smoke, and spiciness. The winner: Hands down, Burger King.
  • Ranch sauce: Burger King ranch reminded us of Hidden Valley, while McD's ranch sauce has a watery consistency and an eerily sweet taste. The winner: Burger King.

  • Honey mustard sauce: While BK's mustard is sweeter, McDonald's took the cake with a seed-flecked sauce that ends in a spicy hot kick. The winner: McDonald's.
  • Sweet and sour sauce: Another fail in the McDonald's sauce department: the dip tastes like pure corn syrup, without any sour ending whatsoever, making it our least favorite sauce. With a hint of plum, Burger King's dip is how sweet and sour sauce should taste. The winner: Burger King.
  • Buffalo sauce: Like Frank's Red Hot, McDonald's buffalo sauce is just the right heat level, with a pleasant tang. Sadly, we later found out Burger King has a buffalo sauce that we didn't try. The winner: N/A.
  • Overall sauce: Both chains offer one additional sauce (McDonald's, an overly smoky chipotle barbecue, and Burger King, something we didn't get to sample called "Zesty"). McDonald's dipping sauces are significantly larger in size than Burger King's. But in this situation, we'd take quality over quantity. The winner: Burger King.
  • Overall value. While McDonald's charges $3.74 for a six-pack, five pieces at Burger King sell for a mere $1.99, nearly half the price. The winner: Burger King.
  • The net-net: McDonald's has the better nugget, and Burger King the superior sauce.

At the end of the day, all we wanted were some Chicken McNuggets to go with our BK dipping sauces. Was that too much to ask? We know it'll never happen, but here's to hoping one day the two combine their synergies to produce the best chicken nugget combo ever.


Here's what we were working with.

The McDonald's Chicken McNuggets and their sauces.

Burger King's chicken tenders and sauces.

Sauce taste test: From left to right, honey mustard, ranch, sweet and sour, barbecue.

Some of the sauces, like the Honey Mustard, varied widely between McDonald's and Burger King.
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