Sunday, December 4 2022
  • I’ve tried chicken fingers from southern chains Raising Cane’s, Zaxby’s and Chick-fil-A.
  • Although I generally like chain food, I found Chick-fil-A’s chicken fingers disappointing.
  • The perfectly crispy chicken fingers and Zaxby’s savory sauce were my favorites.

Chicken fingers may seem like kid food, but I think they make the perfect lunch or snack. They’re fun to enjoy on their own or dip into savory sauces if you have time for a good meal break.

In an attempt to find the best fast-food chicken fingers in San Antonio, Texas, I compared meals from three Southern chains: Zaxby’s, Chick-fil-A, and Raising Cane’s.

In addition to comparing chicken strips, I tried each restaurant’s signature sauce to see which chain put the most flavor in this classic appetizer.

I started with Zaxby’s Chicken Strips

The writer holds a chicken finger with visible white meat in front of a plate of chicken fingers at Zaxby's

The chicken fingers came with fries and Zax sauce.

Jill Robbins

I started at Zaxby’s, a Georgia-based fast-casual restaurant known for its chicken and sandwiches.

Although the restaurant has over 900 locations in the United States, Zaxby’s is primarily spread across the Southeast.

I ordered the chain’s five piece chicken “fingerz” which was $4.99 plus tax. The meal also came with crinkle fries, toast and a container of the chain’s signature condiment, Zax sauce.

Zaxby’s chicken was all I wanted

Zaxby’s chicken fingers were crispy and flavorful on the outside and tender on the inside.

The dough had a strong flavor and the meat itself was plump and generally seemed high quality.

The Zax sauce was tangy and smoky

The writer holds a packet of Zax sauce with a plate of fries and chicken fingers in the background

I loved the Zax sauce.

Jill Robbins

The Zax sauce that came with my meal was perfect – it was tangy, smoky, creamy and flavorful without being overpowering.

My meal came with a packet of sauce and if I wanted more it would have cost $0.39 more per cup.

Some Zax Hearty Sauce recipes call for a combination of ketchup, mayonnaise, garlic powder, pepper, and Worcestershire, which seems about right. The Worcestershire sauce is probably what accounts for that tangy, tangy finish.

Whatever’s in there, I’ll take care of it. I even dipped my fries in Zax sauce.

Chick-fil-A’s fingers were next

The writer holds a box of Chick-fil-A Chicken Tenders

I expected Chick-fil-A chicken fingers to land on it.

Jill Robbins

Then I tried a Georgia-based chain that I already visit quite frequently, Chick-fil-A.

Known for its chicken sandwiches, Chick-fil-A is the most popular of all the chains I’ve tried, with more than 2,800 locations in 49 states.

I ordered a four piece portion of “chick-n-strips” from Chick-fil-A with waffle fries and a drink for $7.35. I ordered my lunch at the drive-in, then ate it at home.

Chick-fil-A’s original chicken sandwich with a delicious spice blend and buttery bun has always been a favorite of mine. As I almost always have a positive experience with chain food, my expectations were high.

My Chick-fil-A meal was not as good as expected

My chicken strips were soft and almost soggy. The breading, while tasty, lacked the crunch that I think is essential in fried chicken.

I thought my food was only average and I don’t think I have enough fries. I wouldn’t say it was bad, but it just wasn’t as good as I expected from Chick-fil-A. Maybe the location was just having a day off.

All in all, I think it’s fair to call the fingers just OK.

Chick-fil-A’s sauce was my favorite part of the meal.

The writer is holding a chicken fillet with Chick-fil-A sauce on it

The Chick-fil-A sauce was one of my favorite parts of the meal.

Jill Robbins

The best part of my meal was the Chick-fil-A sauce, who, according to the chainis a blend of barbecue sauce, ranch and honey mustard.

It had just the right balance of sweet and tangy flavor, which I think saved my lunch from being below average.

I also love the bounty of Chick-fil-A with its sauce, as my order came with four containers of dip. I haven’t been charged extra when I’ve requested extra cups before, although Chick-fil-A also sells an 8-ounce bottle of their signature sauce for $2.50.

Finally I tried Raising Cane fingers

A Raising Cane's meal with chicken tenderloins, fries, a piece of bread and gravy

I ordered my meal with extra fries.

Jill Robbins

Finally, I tried Raising Cane’s, which I had never been to despite having a location 3 miles from my home.

The Louisiana-based fast food chain is known for its chicken fingers and has more than 600 locations across the United States.

I ordered the combo box, which includes four chicken fingers, fries, coleslaw, Texas toast, Cane’s sauce, and a drink for $8.69. Since I don’t like coleslaw, I asked for extra fries instead.

My daughter, who lives in Florida, also asked me to buy her Cane sauce, which gave me very high hopes for my meal here. The sauce so special it has to cross state lines seemed to say a lot.

Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers was OK, but I wanted more flavor

I wasn’t disappointed with Raising Cane’s chicken fingers, but I wish they had more flavor.

They seemed fresh and hit the spot, but they didn’t taste exceptional. The breading itself was crispy, but I thought it also lacked flavor.

There was nothing too negative about my meal, I just didn’t think it was anything other than standard fast food chicken strips with a savory sauce.

The cane sauce did not live up to my expectations

The writer holds a chicken finger in front of gravy and fries at Raising Cane's

I thought Raising Cane’s sauce tasted somewhat similar to Zaxby’s.

Jill Robbins

The box combo comes with a container of Cane sauce, which costs $0.39 per additional cup.

According to the Raising Cane website, the sauce is created with a proprietary blend of spices prepared daily at the restaurant. To me it tasted like Zax sauce but slightly more peppery so I wouldn’t be surprised if they use similar spices.

The sauce kept the meal from being bland, but it didn’t live up to my expectations.

Zaxby’s was my favorite of the 3

Any of the chicken fingers from the three Southern chains would tick the box for a quick and comforting meal.

But I thought the Chick-fil-A and Raising Cane sauces, rather than the chicken, were what kept the meal from being average. I’m going to give Chick-fil-A the benefit of the doubt and call it a day off since my experience with its food is generally more positive.

Zaxby’s gets top marks from me because of its real chicken flavor.

I’m absolutely a sauce girl, but it stood on its own. Zaxby’s breading was also tastier than other chicken fingers I’ve tasted.


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