FOOD: KFC – Chicken & Donuts Sandwich

Are you tired of chicken yet? Chicken sandwiches have truly taken over fast food. I mean, how many of the most recent reviews we’ve done have been chicken sandwiches? 2019 was the Year of the Chicken Sandwich and 2020 is the first year truly affected by this paradigm shift. Naturally, those benefiting from this change in America’s tastes are the classic chicken joints. But where has that most classic of chicken chains gone off to? If you know anything about eating fast food, you’ll know KFC has undergone some serious rebranding in the past few years in an attempt to shed its filthy, greasy image. A greater focus on the Colonel as their mascot, a revamp of the recipe, a complete overhaul of their visual image – the works.

But KFC is still Kentucky Fried Chicken, and this is the restaurant that invented the Double Down. KFC wants to clad itself in a new image of cleaner, better food, but still market the occasional high-caloric nightmare to clog up America’s valves. The Chicken & Donuts sandwich is yet another attempt to keep heart disease as the number one killer of people across the country.

Is it even good, or is it just another tacky gimmick? Hit the jump to find out.

Literally all of the KFCs in our area were closed down at once and replaced with Popeyes, so we had to go a bit out of our way to get to a KFC. The closest KFC to us is right next to a Raising Cane’s, a generally much superior purveyor of deep-fried fowl, so we haven’t had any reason to go there until this. The Chicken & Donuts sandwich actually came out back in September, but was a test-offer only available in Norfolk and Richmond, Virginia, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. When we heard that it was coming out nationwide, we knew we had to try it. This was so popular that My Brother, My Brother and Me did two bits on it, including a segment where they bought one hundred of them to hand out at a live show!

We ordered the sandwiches in a combo that came with a small side and a drink. We also got the Sweet Lightning Mountain Dew, so here’s a brief mini-review of that: just like you’d expect out of a beverage flavored like peaches and honey, it’s sickly sweet. If your favorite candy is gummy peach rings, you will love this stuff. It’s so, so, so sweet, like wow. Warden loved it, but Paula found it a bit overwhelming, especially with the food.

But let’s get to the sandwich! We were on pins and needles to get our hands on this thing and boy, did it deliver. The sandwich was a normal size for a chicken sandwich (however you would define that), but the doughnuts were HUGE. Like, three quarters of this sandwich was the doughnuts alone. We thought that the doughnuts were only lightly glazed, but taking the top off revealed that the bulk of the glaze was within the sandwich itself.

Regardless of how much glaze was actually on the doughnuts, they were so sticky! Holding the sandwich was unpleasant! We were having to wipe sugar residue off our fingers and faces the whole ride home. It was a challenge to eat. You had to either squish the doughnuts down with your hands and risk getting them completely covered in sugar glaze, or try to stretch your mouth open as wide as possible and still end up getting sugar glaze all over your face. 

But how did it taste? As a matter of fact, really good. The chicken patty was flavorful and savory, something we can chalk up to those legendary herbs and spices: eleven different kinds of MSG. Seriously, the sandwich smacked of the stuff. This is fine by us, because we like MSG and understand that it’s a totally harmless food additive that should have a place in kitchens across the world right next to the salt. The patty was light and fluffy, almost marshmallowy. The experience of eating the soft, fluffy doughnuts with the soft, fluffy chicken was like biting into mattress foam. If you think the texture of Popeyes’s chicken sandwich is too tough, try KFC.

The doughnuts really were good, though! Nothing standout, and you definitely can get better at any local bakery, but they were warm, sweet, and soft. The interior was light and creamy, while the exterior had a crispy crust that crunched when you bit into it. The sugar glaze was nothing extraordinary – it is just sugar glaze, after all – but it was sweet and paired deliciously with the chicken.

The problem really is just how hard this sandwich is to eat. It’s a good sandwich, and it tastes good, and it’s enjoyable to eat. What isn’t enjoyable is the incredible mess everywhere. It’s so, so, so sticky. We ended up eating our sandwiches in one go, with no breaks. This isn’t an impressive feat: we were simply too scared to touch anything else or even put down the sandwiches until they were gone, for fear of covering everything in that sticky glaze. Fortunately the sandwich is not the only doughnut offering KFC has available; there are also baskets that come with either tenders or bone-in chicken. If we want this again, we might order one of those along with a fork and a knife.

Chicken & Donuts Sandwich: 2 out of 5 – Not Worth Trying
Chicken & Donuts basket: A Hypothetical 4 out of 5 – Worth Trying (Worth Getting Again)?

It’s weird. If we had eaten the components individually, the Chicken & Donuts sandwich would have been a solid 4 for sure. But put together like this, it becomes an arduous experience that we would never want to try again. How can you explain that? Too much of a good thing, we guess. Don’t get us wrong, it was delicious, and we could probably eat it again provided we took necessary precautions, like wearing gloves. It’s a fun gimmick that stands out in the already crowded chicken sandwich scene. It helps a lot that KFC’s newest chicken recipes are a lot better than they used to be, too. It’s just… hard to eat. And why bother too much with something that’s physically difficult to put into your mouth?

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