We Visited 10 Chicken Wing Restaurants to Find the Best Fast-Food Wings
Have you ever wondered which chicken wing restaurants serve the best fast-food wings? After ordering and sampling from 10 places, we ranked them from worst to best. May the best sauce win!
KRISTINA VÄNNI FOR TASTE OF HOME
We visited 10 chicken wing restaurants in search of the very best fast-food chicken wings out there. In our evaluation, we took into consideration the breaded coating, the seasoning or sauces offered and, of course, the tender and juicy nature of the chicken itself. While there are some game-changing homemade chicken wing recipes out there, we found quite a few fast-food contenders that can hold their own. For the purposes of comparison, we selected the spicy option or buffalo-style offering at each restaurant.
With a big pile of napkins and a tall glass of milk, we dove into these always delectable, yet sometimes messy, and pleasantly spicy appetizers. There were some interesting standouts and a few surprises along the way.
Here are the fast-food wing spots we visited:
- bb.q Chicken
- Buffalo Wild Wings
- Dave & Buster’s
- TGI Friday’s
- WingStreet/Pizza Hut
How do your favorite fast-food wings measure up in our taste test?
10. WingStreet/Pizza Hut
While Pizza Hut is known for its pizza and breadsticks, the chain has teamed up with another franchise called WingStreet, and often you will see locations with both names on the sign. This allows the restaurants to expand their menu offerings.
Here you can buy both traditional and boneless wings with dry rub options including lemon pepper and Cajun style, or sauce options including garlic Parmesan, honey barbecue, buffalo mild, spicy garlic, sweet chili, buffalo medium and buffalo burnin’ hot. For this taste test, I went with the middle of the road option and ordered the buffalo medium.
Unfortunately, these wings ranked the lowest on our list. The buffalo sauce had a distinct tomato flavor and almost came across like a spicy pizza sauce. The wings themselves were decently crispy, but without any sort of breading. The sauce wasn’t what we were looking for, and the wings were almost drowning in it, so it was a bit too much.
Bottom Line: It’s nice that customers can pick up pizza and wings in one convenient location, but next time we might just stick with our favorite pizza order instead.
Domino’s is another pizza restaurant that has expanded into the world of wings. It sells both boneless and bone-in wings with sauce flavors including honey barbecue, hot buffalo, sweet mango habanero and garlic Parmesan. Included are your choice of dipping cups with options like ranch, honey barbecue, blue cheese, hot buffalo, sweet mango habanero, marinara sauce and garlic.
We really enjoyed the speed and convenience of ordering at Domino’s, and it’s always nice to know there is a delivery option with a tracker to follow your meal every step of the way. However, the hot buffalo sauce here was quite pungent with a strong vinegar taste. Next time a pizza and wings craving hits, we might opt for a different sauce option.
Bottom Line: We loved the convenience and the fact that Domino’s offers boneless and bone-in options, but the hot buffalo sauce was too vinegary to be enjoyable. We’ll try a different sauce next time.
Next on our ranking came Wingstop, which is a chain restaurant dedicated entirely to chicken wings. Since wings are its focus, the sauce and rub options are seemingly endless. There are flavors and heat levels for just about any palate, and we appreciate the incredible variety available here. With everything from international flavor profiles to regional American options, you’re bound to find a sauce you like.
We really enjoyed their buffalo style wings and the sauce was nicely balanced. Their traditional bone-in chicken wings are not breaded, and for some that is a personal preference when it comes to the style of wings they tend to enjoy. We loved that the wings are always made fresh to order. However, our main complaint with Wingstop is that their chicken pieces tend to be on the smaller side. We wanted bigger pieces.
Bottom Line: The wings are super fresh, but we wanted more substantial, meatier bites and that felt lacking in the Wingstop wings.
KFC is interesting because it doesn’t always offer chicken wings on its menu. While you can always request chicken wing pieces as part of a fried chicken order, for some reason, the chain doesn’t consistently offer appetizer-style wings. KFC has experimented with adding them to the menu in the past, and rumor has it they were wonderful, but recent menu simplifications seem to have left this menu item in the rearview mirror.
For the sake of this taste test, we requested only chicken wings in our fried chicken box. While they didn’t arrive with the classic spicy sauce, they were incredibly enjoyable wings with perfectly tender and juicy chicken under a crisp skin.
Bottom Line: If you want the best chicken possible, KFC should be your go-to order for wings. We just wish they would bring back some sauces and the appetizer-style option.
6. Buffalo Wild Wings
Buffalo Wild Wings is another restaurant that puts its dedication to wings right there in the name. Here, not only can you order traditional and boneless wings, but they even have cauliflower wings for your vegetarian friends. With an endless list of dry rubs and sauces, there is something here for every palate. For your convenience, they even rank them on a scale from mildest to hottest, so there aren’t any surprises.
Compared to Wingstop (the other wing-focused restaurant on our list), we found that Buffalo Wild Wings offered chicken that was flavorful and juicy, and also had a hearty amount on each bone. The medium sauce was flavorful and coated the wings nicely. We found BDubs to be convenient for sit down dining as well as take out orders.
Bottom Line: At Buffalo Wild Wings, the wings are certainly enjoyable. There are just a few restaurants that happened to be even better! Keep reading to find out who.
5. TGI Friday’s
The first standout about TGI Friday’s is that it offers their menu for dine-in, carry-out or curbside delivery. The buffalo wings arrived with a beautiful color and a nice amount of classic buffalo sauce without drowning the chicken. This was the only place that also included a few pieces of celery in the box as well—one of the must-have sides for fried chicken!
Here, you aren’t stuck with just one flavor option. In fact, they also offer a Wings Roulette Platter where you can choose up to three sauces. With flavors such as Whiskey Glaze, Nashville Hot or Apple Butter Barbecue, we liked the idea of coming back to try more options next time.
Bottom Line: If you prefer your buffalo sauce on the milder side, this place is for you. We were able to enjoy the flavor without consistently reaching for a glass of milk. We also found TGI Friday’s had the best blue cheese option for dipping.
Popeyes is always a top competitor when it comes to fast-food chicken options. Its chicken sandwich is legendary, but its chicken wings are top-notch as well. As always, the chicken itself was succulent and on par with what we have come to expect at Popeyes.
The wings were tossed in the Popeyes signature thick coating style. While it is always nice and crispy, this can be where personal preference comes into play with chicken wings. Popeyes sells this more thickly breaded style of wings, while other places are more restrained with the breading before deep-frying.
Bottom Line: While we love the super crunchy breading, some might find it distracting from the chicken itself. The sauce really stood out as it had a touch of sweetness at first followed by a kick of heat—talk about a perfect pairing.
In previous fast-food rankings (like the one we did on fast-food mozzarella sticks), Checkers didn’t tend to rank very high. When we opened up the order of chicken wings, we were pleasantly surprised and truly impressed that this drive thru restaurant really stepped it up when it comes to its wings.
The chicken itself was tender, and the sauce was flavorful, balanced and not too overpowering. We appreciated that the five pieces of wings were packaged nicely and didn’t flop all around the box in transport. With something as messy as chicken wings, neatness counts!
Bottom Line: Despite lower rankings in other fast-food taste tests, Checkers really stepped up its game when it comes to chicken wings. Juicy chicken and the right amount of flavorful sauce put these wings in the top three.
2. Dave & Buster’s
The wings from Dave & Buster’s was a surprise hit on our ranked list. Who knew that this establishment known for adult arcade games also sold some of the best chicken wings out there? I suppose it shouldn’t come as the biggest surprise since there is an entire area on their menu dedicated to wings. Again, diners can choose from boneless or bone-in options with a selection of dry rubs or sauces.
The classic buffalo wings arrived with nice heat, beautiful color and substantial amounts of juicy chicken in every bite. It was easy to order take-out from the bar and the food arrived quickly. Even though it would have been fun to get in a few games of skeeball in the meantime!
Bottom Line: If you can’t win any games at Dave & Busters, you can at least count on the wings being a surefire hit—the heat in the sauce was just right and there was plenty of meat in every bite.
1. bb.q chicken
If you take a look at our best fast-food fried chicken ranking, bb.q Chicken is no stranger to the top spot on our lists. The bottom line is, this Korean fried chicken chain is simply outstanding. Every time we visit, the chicken is so tender and juicy, we keep coming back for more. The breading on the chain’s fried chicken is substantial without being overwhelming or distracting to the meat itself. We found the same to be true of their wing options too.
The chicken wings had a great crunch and the seasoning was dynamic in such a way that there was almost a hint of sweetness at first, followed by a nice hit of heat that sneaks up on you in the best way possible. I kept going back for bite after bite because the wings were so tasty.
Bottom Line: The spice is assertive, so these wings aren’t for the faint of heart. That being said, they checked all our boxes for flavor, juicy meat and crispy breading. Even though this international chain has thousands of locations, it was new to us when we started the taste test journey. We definitely recommend keeping your eyes peeled for a location near you for the best wings ever.