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It's on! Wendy's, Burger King unveil new chicken sandwiches to compete with McDonald's

The chicken sandwich wars are heating up. Again.
The chicken sandwich wars heat up as both Wendy's and Burger King announce new menu items.
The chicken sandwich wars heat up as both Wendy's and Burger King announce new menu items.TODAY Illustration / Burger King/ Wendy's
/ Source: TODAY

Just before McDonald's rolls out not one but three new chicken sandwiches on Feb. 24, rival fast-food chains are fighting back with new chicken sandwiches of their own.

Both Wendy’s and Burger King just announced they are introducing new chicken sandwiches to their menus this year, and they're both clearly both in it to win it. ("It" being total world fried-chicken sandwich domination, of course.)

Wendy's is introducing a Jalapeño Popper Chicken Sandwich.The Wendy's Company

Wendy’s threw some shade at Mickey D’s as it unveiled its Jalapeño Popper Chicken Sandwich, which features jalapeño cream cheese, six slices of jalapeños, smoked bacon strips, and both cheddar and pepper jack cheese. The $5.99 sandwich is now available.

"While everyone else is playing catch up and distracting consumers with stale chicken drops, we are listening and bringing exciting flavors and bold ingredients forward to help fans avoid the McStake of settling for the same boring chicken sandwiches from other fast-food joints," Carl Loredo, Wendy’s chief marketing officer, said in a release.

Burger King's new, "hand-breaded" chicken sandwich will come out later this year.Burger King

Meanwhile, Burger King revealed Wednesday it is working on a Hand-Breaded Chicken Sandwich, served original or spicy on a potato bun with pickles and a signature sauce. The sandwich, which will come in both Original and Spicy, as well as a version with lettuce and tomato, won’t be available until later this year — for which Burger King had a saucy explanation.

“Since we aren’t down to half a** the process, we plan to introduce our sandwich later this year,” the chain said in a press release. “We promise it will be worth the wait.”

This new escalation in the chicken sandwich wars comes after KFC announced its upgrade to its own fried chicken sandwich earlier this year. The fast food chain is known for all things chicken, of course, but it said it wanted to revamp its current offering to compete with the growing popularity of crispy chicken sandwiches across the board.

"Many customers hadn't considered KFC as a part of the chicken sandwich conversation, but anyone who tastes this sandwich will know, without a doubt, that we're playing to win,” KFC said in a release in January.

And then, of course, there’s the viral Popeyes chicken sandwich, which is the Helen of Troy of this Trojan War. When Popeyes launched its first chicken sandwich in 2019, other fast food chains including Wendy’s and Chick-Fil-A began beefing over who really had the best chicken sandwich in an epic (and hilarious) Twitter battle. And the battle, both on social media and IRL, continues to this day.

With so many new chicken sandwiches coming out this year, it’s hard to say who will come out on top. But really, as every fast-food chain competes to make the crispiest, tastiest chicken burgers around, we’d argue we are the true winners.