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Aug 1, 2012 10:04 PM

Chick-fil-A's Chicken

I'm not starting a political discussion here--I just have a simple question about their chicken. I stopped going to Chick-fil-A a long time ago because I found their food close to inedible, sort of a combination of Wonder Bread and defrosted chicken cutlets (obviously, I am in the minority). Do they use frozen chicken in their stores? And there's nothing wrong with that; I'm just curious, because I scoured their website and saw no mention that they don't use frozen chicken.

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  1. Apparently the chicken they use for their sandwiches is brined and frozen in central locations, then shipped out to the stores where it is thawed, seasoned, dipped, coated, and fried in peanut oil. The seasoning, dip, and coating are all also prepared in a central location and shipped to the stores in bags. Both the seasoning and the seasoned coating contain a variety of ingredients including MSG, that certainly contributes to the final result.

    Much more information here:

    5 Replies
    1. re: johnb

      I stopped eating eat after the first time I tried it (long time ago) because it has too much MSG in it.

      1. re: Christina40

        I stopped eating it after the first time I tried it because it was down right terrible.


        1. re: Davwud

          Agreed. I was first introduced to Chik-fil-A in North Carolina by some friends who were natives and simply raved about it. I not only didn't get the hype, I thought the food was horrible and have never set foot in a Chik-fil-A since. Never will again.

          1. re: biondanonima

            Everyone has an opinion, and I love Chic-fil-a. A lot of people love McDonalds, but I find it down right terrible and will never set foot in one again. The last time I had a quarter pounder with cheese it was so bad, I fed it to a pack of stray dogs, literally. I had five free coupons, and gave the other four away. I went to Chick-fil-A last weekend and ordered my usual, a sandwich with no pickle, like jessiecheese suggests, a good, fresh hot filet. I do not like the bun, however. It is fed to the birds on my patio, they fight over it, and I eat the plain filet. Who needs crappy bread? Another thing, I find the nuggets and strips a different flavor, and I don't like them as much as the fila, but the wife loves them. I also can do without the waffle fries. I've heard the breakfast fila on a biscuit is good, and I have to try that.

        2. re: Christina40

          I never got it myself. It's plain bland fried chicken on a plain bland bun with a scattering of a few pickles.

          To be honest I don't each much fast food at all, on a road trip a year ago I had some wendy's spicy chicken sandwich, and a frosty. Both were editable and had some taste to them. Better than Chick- Fil-A.

          Sodium, MSG, and other dietary restrictions would keep you from going to most fast food joints.

          You can make a proper chicken sandwich at home, won't save you money but it will be tastier and healthier.

      2. I worked in CFA in high school and took part in the chicken preparation. It came to us frozen and was thawed in a very methodical FIFO system. I honestly can't recall 100% if the frozen product was marinated, but I want to say that it was marinated after the thaw. The first team would trim and flatten the chicken breasts. I believe that was when the marinade was added and it was either set aside (grilled chicken) or coated. The chicken was fried in small batches. Few thoughts from my time there:
        *I worked in a crummy mall location and even there, I was surprised at the cleanliness and the methods that were in place at our location. I worked all positions and still ate there after I left, which is not what I can say for all places that I've worked.
        *If you ask for a revision to your order (no pickles, extra pickles, no butter, etc) they'll make you a fresh sandwich instead of serving one from the warmer. Much better quality.

        2 Replies
        1. re: jessicheese

          I worked at and then managed a chickfila for 5 years in highschool/college. Even though that was ten years ago, I remember it like it was yesterday (I really loved working in the kitchen and routinely opened the store on sat mornings to prep for the day, so I made everything on the menu on a regular basis.)

          The chicken for the original sandwiches was, at that time at least, not marinated. It was a whole chicken breast (not a half as some suggest) that comes frozen and is dethawed, filleted and then prepped with a milkwash solution, dredged in a flour batter and cooked in peanut oil in a pressure cooker. The nuggets are cut up pieces of the same breast meat (they come pre cut, but sometimes we would cut it ourselves if we were running low.)

          The grilled sandwiches are filleted, have the fat trimmed from them and are marinated in what basically amounts to an italian seasoning blend, pickle juice and water. The chicken strips are tenderloins marinated in the same solution, then battered and pressure cooked.

          My absolute favorite thing from the CFA, which I have not had in years since I've moved to the northeast, is to batter and fry a marinated fillet out of the "grilled" batch. Its basically a giant chicken strip and the flavor is awesome. I used to always dig the piece out of the bottom of the bucket, batter and fry it and top it with battered, fried pickle chips (pickle chips always ended up in the marinate and since they were tainted with raw chicken we would batter and fry them as a shift snack.) I don't know if you could get a store to do that for you, however I would say they probably wouldn't object if it wasnt busy.
          For what its worth, the quality of the product was really great. The chicken we got was better than what I see at the grocery store- its not freerange or organic but it came in looking better than stuff I've seen working at way pricier restaurants. And all the produce was always handled with great care and rotated very regularly. That job taught me about food safety and, honestly, was the cleanest kitchen I've ever seen professionally. Political views aside, I would never hesitate to eat at a cfa.

          1. re: jessicheese

            I agree that from a business and customer service perspective CFA is one of the best run operations I've seen. The cleanliness is impeccable, the staff is high quality, and the service is top notch. Huge kudos to the managers for their consistent abillity to choose and train their staff.

            On the other hand, I too can't stand their food. It all just tastes like very salty slabs of something on squishy white bread. Yuck. When I had to eat there I would choose a wrap. All the veggies and dressing hid the taste of the chicken. Spouse would choose a salad as the veggies are pretty fresh and decent quality. I no longer eat at CFA, though, as a matter of principle.

          2. " I stopped going to Chick-fil-A a long time ago because I found their food close to inedible, sort of a combination of Wonder Bread and defrosted chicken cutlets (obviously, I am in the minority)."

            You aren't alone. For anyone who has actually had or made a good piece of fried chicken, Chick Fil A tastes like bland, soggy crap.

            1. My (late) mother is cousin by marriage to Dan Cathy, the infamous, and his father Truitt. (I should say here that I am extemely far removed from that family politically and religiously).
              I have been receiving cards for free chik fil a all my life, it seems.

              That said, I never eat there. Ever. Good gracious I find them gross and bland.
              Yes the stores are clean. But the food is overpriced goo.


              And I'm not a food snob, I absolutely will cruise in to chain/fast food stops on occaison and enjoy them.
              Just not Chik Fil A.

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