Jan 28, 2013

Head-to-Head: Burger King vs. McDonald's - Chicken Nuggets

Burger King has played second (and sometimes third) fiddle to McDonald's #1 for as long as I can remember. Most recently, BK has taken imitation to an art form with their new Chicken Nuggets, which are most remarkable in how much they resemble McDonald's Chicken McNuggets.

The two are very similar but which are the better nuggets? I decided to compare them and find out!

I thought about using a boxing 10-point must scoring system for this, but then I'd have to explain the 10-point must scoring system and I would get confused... I mean people would get confused! So instead, I'm just going to break it down by arbitrary criteria that I came up with on the fly (highly scientific I know). Here we go! I mean, "Ding! Ding!"

Appearance: Almost the same. The BK nuggets have more or less a standardized shape while the McNugget offers a little more fun and variety, but for the most part they look the same. The one noticeable difference is the color: while McNuggets are a yellow/golden color, Burger King's version looks to have spent a little more time in the fryer and are darkened and more like the nuggets you find at the supermarket in color.

I would call it a draw here. Neither look sways me more than the other.

McDonald's McNugget - Left; Burger King's Chicken Nugget - Right
Texture: The Burger King Nuggets were surprisingly crispier than the McNuggets. They both sport a thin crispy, battered shell (and are described as "tempura battered", but Burger King might be ever so slightly thicker and were markedly crispier. They might also be slightly oilier though.

A surprising nod to Burger King. The two times I've tried BK's nuggets, they've been pretty fresh and really crispy. I've heard some of you speak of soggy ones, but I can only comment on what I've tried.

I can only say that inconsistency is a pretty big problem for fast food chains despite all the specialized tools and processes to minimize it.

Taste: I found myself standing there taking a nibble of each repeatedly trying to discern the differences between the two. Honestly, they taste almost exactly the same. The slight difference was the Burger King nuggets were just slightly oily and had just a tinge of caramelized flavor.

Intangibles: I've pretty much eaten McNuggets since I was a kid. They're comfortable and they're good. Plus, I love McDonald's Sweet 'N Sour sauce.

Burger King's Nuggets are brand spanking new but this is not televisions we're talking about.

Price: Depends. There's a tiered pricing structure for both and Burger King's is kinda wonky.

The McNugget dances on its opponent in an unsporting fashion.
Oh the world of fast food battles is harsh.
Verdict: Too close to call. But when it's too close, the champ keeps the belt i.e. if they were on a plate next to each other, I'd eat the McNuggets and maybe if I still had room, I'd eat a Burger King Chicken Nugget or two.

They're even nutritionally very similar:

Nutritional Info - Burger King Chicken Nuggets - 10 pieces (175g)
Calories - 470 (from Fat - 260)
Fat - 29g (Saturated Fat - 5g)
Sodium - 890mg
Carbs - 34g (Sugar - 0g)
Protein - 21g

Nutritional Info - McDonald's Chicken McNuggets - 10 pieces (162g)
Calories - 470 (from Fat - 270)
Fat - 30g (Saturated Fat - 5g)
Sodium - 900mg
Carbs - 30g (Sugar - 0g)
Protein - 22g


  1. You should mention that Burger Kings' nugget need to be almost out of the fryer, otherwise they suck (maybe you have been lucky to have only eaten fresh ones). The texture becomes hard and ruins the experience, in other words BK's nuggets need to be really fresh. While it is better if McDonald's nuggets are fresh rather than "old", I think they hold on better than BK's nuggets. So I would recommend McD's nugget in a random pickup. Or when going to BK, expressly demand fresh/out of the fryer nuggets.

  2. I definitely agree. The batter becomes almost cardboard like with how hard/chewy it gets when cold. :/

  3. I really like this comparison post! Nice to get a breakdown between the original and copycat items to see which is best. I also really enjoyed your commentary... I giggled uncontrollably at your caption on the last picture. XD

  4. I liked this "head-to-head" comparison... would love to see more like this.

  5. I think I was lucky that they were pretty fresh out of the fryer. The ones I got weren't horrible when they got cold though. Cold, they're ok for me. It might vary from location to location maybe?

    Once they're cold, I would recommend heating them up in a pan a bit to recapture some of the crispiness though.

  6. Haha, just have to wait and see...

  7. I love both McDonald's McNuggets and BK's Nuggets even though the tastes are different. They're each good in their own special ways. Although I'm more accustomed to eating McNuggets a lot more since I've been eating them since they came out when I was 9.


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