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We Ate It: Is KFC's Grilled Chicken as Good as Its Fried?

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
4/28/2009 9:22 AM   :  198 comments

The big news on the fast-food front this week was the launch of Kentucky Grilled Chicken at KFC. We were eager to try it and offer our feedback to you.

Overall, people were pleased about the new chicken's taste, but there were a few surprises in store when we opened the bucket.


Taste


"Tasted pretty good to me! (I think leaving the skin on has something to do with it.)bIt looked to me like they put in on a panini press. I wonder if they cook it some other way than grilling first, and then put it on a grill/ press at the end to add grill marks and crisp it up."

"I like it, because it is very similar to regular KFC, but find it hard to believe it is grilled, it is still just as greasy as the regular one. I think they must deep fry it and then grill it for a second to claim it is grilled. I would say it is exactly the same as the regular with less skin/breading."

"Taste was really good! A little greasy on the outside though. For one piece I removed the skin....it wasn't as greasy then, but still had really good flavor. I would pick this up for the family on the way to the park for an easy meal."

"It tastes just as I'd expect. It's KFC without the fried. That doesn’t make it "healthy," but it sure does make it delicious!"

"It was finger lickin good and moist!"



Nutrition


I'm in charge of organizing taste tests for the blog. I deliberately don't share nutrition info of products with the testers so that they're not swayed either way.

We all imagined the former, but the latter is what we found. The chicken smelled just like regular KFC. While that crispy, crunchy crust was missing, the skin and bones were still there. The chicken was greasier than we expected, too. The chicken has more fat and calories than a regular grilled breast or drumstick, but it is still much better for you than a piece of fried chicken.

Let's compare the nutrition of some chicken breasts:



To save even more calories, take the skin off the grilled chicken at KFC. However, even when you eat a piece of chicken with the skin on, you'll still save half the calories and sodium from the fried chicken!
Have you tried the new KFC grilled chicken? Will you?



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Comments

  • 198
    I've tried it. Don't think it even remotely tasted as good as the regular stuff from KFC but I do like it better than the extra crispy. Still, for chicken it was okay. Beats El Pollo Loco since it isn't nearly as salty tasting. Personally though for the slight diffference, I'd rather buy the regular KFC and just remove the skin. - 2/16/2012   12:33:33 AM
  • 197
    Love your comment Red and I must agree. Fast Foods don't do anything for me. Most of it turns my stomach! Nando's is about the best, I think. I think it's got to do with how much damage they have done to normal folk. I read that whatever they put on it, I forget the ingredient, is addictive, and that's what keeps you coming back for more. I'm horrified! When it come to take-a-ways, I find the best is to go to Woolies and get a grilled chicken, or the like, and make your own picnic basket. - 7/14/2011   7:48:06 AM
  • REDSHOES2011
    196
    Nope and never will wish to taste it, plastic surgery is a real botch.. I cursed every fast food store I ever visited when waking up from my tummy tuck.. They can keep their new taste and choke on it.. - 7/4/2011   2:09:25 PM
  • 195
    "Have you tried the new KFC grilled chicken? Will you?"

    * Nah. I think I'm a typical American when it comes to KFC. If I go to KFC, it's for the crunchy greasy salty extra crispy or the flavorful regular. Non-fried chicken? I could grill up a much healthier and tastier chicken breast at home.

    Bottom Line: No thanks - 6/6/2010   5:34:40 PM
  • 194
    I tried it the day it was free and I thought it was good. I later tried it a few times and noticed it made my stomach ache. SOooo, I give it a zero! - 4/28/2010   11:31:46 AM
  • DAISY2203
    193
    I tried it when they were giving free pieces out with a coupon. Sure it was good.. but I refuse to spend money on fast food! It is so much better and frankly cheaper to make it at home, then at least you know eactly how it is prepared and what is in it.
    KFC is too expensive for silly old chicken anyway, but that is just my view on it. To marinate and grill a boneless skinless chicken breast at home takes little time and effort and tastes SO MUCH BETTER. :) - 4/23/2010   5:54:09 PM
  • 192
    It good. It's also nice to have a somewhat healthy option when your with someone who wants KFC and trying to lose weight. - 4/23/2010   2:53:48 PM
  • 191
    I tried KFC Grilled and I would much rather grill my own. Sorry KFC but I think I'm moving on. - 4/16/2010   4:27:35 PM
  • 190
    I have had it a few times, and I like it better than their fried chicken. I always take the skin off anyway. Not bad for fast food. - 4/10/2010   7:06:56 AM
  • 189
    I tried this when it first came out. Apparently it isn't popular where I live because it had been sitting so long that it was almost as dry as jerky. My family wouldn't even try it. I will go to Costco or Sams Club for roasted chicken. There's is consistently good. - 4/9/2010   1:06:39 PM
  • BRIOBRIO
    188
    Wish I could try it. I can't believe it, but this grilled chicken has wheat in it! I have celiac disease. There's not hardly anything at KRC without wheat, even the mashed potatoes! - 4/8/2010   8:20:32 PM
  • 187
    ***WARNING*** I recently found out that KFC uses beef flavoring in their Grilled chicken via rendered beef fat and/or beef powder!!! I think it's important to know what you're putting in your mouth. Also very deceiving of KFC! http://sheerbrandage.wordpress.com/
    2009/06/18/brand-backlash-beef-flav
    or-in-kfc-grilled-chicken
    / - 6/24/2009   4:17:04 AM
  • 186
    I've tasted the KFC Grilled chicken and while its not nasty, its not as good as I thought it would be. I'll pass. Even the typically KFC chicken hasn't been tasting so good of a late, but then maybe its just me. - 6/23/2009   11:44:20 AM
  • 185
    I'm not a huge KFC fan so I wouldn't be tempted, but of course, the kids love it. So for an occasional treat, I'd give it a try. - 6/14/2009   9:33:39 AM
  • 184
    As disgusting as KFC is for you i crave it every so often. this sounds like a much better alternative. i can't say i am chomping at the bit to try it,but if I am there, I will probably make the better of the two choices. Thanks for the info. - 6/12/2009   9:33:50 AM
  • 183
    I tried it and liked it well enough. I never like skin, so after one bite I took that off. I wish they'd marinate it skinless in their spice mix. The flavor was better on the skin. I did notice the pieces were smaller than the fried pieces. KFC is still just a once-in-a-while thing for me, though. - 6/10/2009   6:19:53 PM
  • 182
    Blech! Never again!

    I finally tried this and was definitely NOT impressed. The chicken was dry. The pieces were tiny. At $18.93 for 12 pieces of chicken (no sides) it was far too expensive. For that much money I can purchase 3 rotisserie chickens at my grocery store or the equivalent of 2 chickens - but white meat only - at this fabulous Costa Rican restaurant (The Roasting Company) near my home. Both are much much much better.

    I wish Bojangles would bring back their skinless Cajun roasted chicken. That wa amazing!

    LJAVES posted that chicken skin contains carbs - it does not unless it is breaded. It just contains loads of fat. So it is definitely good to remove it.

    - 5/21/2009   7:40:02 AM
  • LJAVES
    181
    I was so excited to try - especially with Oprah's free 2 piece meal coupon. I was disappointed to open the box and see the skin on. I ALWAYS remove skin - it is pure fat and carbs. It did taste good but so does the fried version with the skin removed. What I would like to know is which version - fried vs grilled - is lowest in fat and calories?

    KFC's people are really being stupid here. The world is reaching for better health and longer lives. Their goal should be to produce the best healthliest option yet with great flavors. - 5/17/2009   2:22:40 PM
  • 180
    I tried it & loved it. I think it tastes better than their fried chicken. - 5/11/2009   10:29:42 AM
  • MS-CEE
    179
    I tried it with the skin off and on. The skin is greasy, but not nearly as grease-laden as the original. With the skin off, it's better. Small pieces, tho, but what the hey! Not a bad option for lunch. - 5/6/2009   11:13:32 AM
  • 178
    Everyone has a chance to try it free if they like. I'm not sure if someone else commented on this or not, because its early here and I didnt read ALL the comments! So sorry If someone already said this.

    Oprah just bought everyone fried chicken and you have till this afternoon to go to her website /kfc and print out coupons (up to four per computer i think? there are some kinda barcodes or something on them).

    Its completely free, you get two peices, most likely a drumstick and thigh (they get to pick) and two sides and a biscuit per person. So we did that for dinner last night. I found that if you get the corn and greenbeans, its not that bad actually. Yes its kinda greasy---its KFC, duh!---but its MUCH better than the fried, and you still feel like you are getting a treat to eat out. Plus, its free. No sales tax, at least where we live. We walked in with our family of 4 and walked out with 4 meals.
    Just don't eat the biscuit! LoL. I checked on SP's food list and it said it had something like 10 grams of fat--yikes!!

    - 5/6/2009   7:51:20 AM
  • GOZOSA1980
    177
    i tried it. i wasn't very impressed. i'd rather order the fried breast and remove the skin. - 5/5/2009   10:47:52 PM
  • IMPROVEHEART
    176
    My husband and I tried KFC grilled chicken and had mixed taste. I did not like the skin, taste after skin removed was good. He loved with skin on or off. - 5/5/2009   5:18:53 PM
  • 175
    Lol, I live in the town where the famous girls took a bath in the sinks at KFC a few months back. In fact my younger brother knows all three of them. Nobody eats at that KFC anymore! That parking lot is always empty when I drive by.

    I'm not a fan of their overly greasy chicken anyways. - 5/5/2009   4:52:44 PM
  • 174
    Yea, I will eventually try it. - 5/5/2009   2:50:06 PM
  • MADESI
    173
    I think it's a good alternative if you're going to have fast food. I liked it, and not the healthiest. But hey, I was there to buy the fried chicken. - 5/5/2009   12:33:27 PM
  • CHICKFORCHRIST
    172
    I would try it. I love chicken. - 5/5/2009   10:31:48 AM
  • 171
    My husband and I tried this the other day. He just got eight pieces of chicken which took up about a ¼ of a bucket, turned out there were 6 (unless he nibbled on the way home), and he paid $8. It was tasty, but the pieces were very small. Makes you wonder about the skin and crust on the regular? Anyway, there was enough for him to take to lunch for a few days. Not worth the money, I could marinate my own and grill. But in a pinch, if needing fast food, I would buy this as a healthy alternative. - 5/5/2009   9:03:46 AM
  • GUNNADO8
    170
    I ate the 2 piece lunch. It was greasy, so I took extra napkins and blotted it. Also took off the skin. The tase was great. What always makes KFC an enjoyable expeience, for me, is the cole slaw. Lotta calories and fat but worth the sacrifices I have to make....... - 5/5/2009   8:00:16 AM
  • ECHO81
    169
    I tried it the other day and other than them screwing up my order and giving me dark meat instead of white meat, it wasn't bad. I think its more baked than grilled though. - 5/5/2009   7:46:16 AM
  • 168
    My boyfriend and I went last night and tried it. It did taste very good, but we both thought it was greasyer than grilled chicken was supposed to be. I'd say it tastes just as good as fried, if not better. It's not the healthyest food to eat, but I suppose it works for a "Splurge" meal without being too terrible for you. - 5/4/2009   9:59:21 PM
  • NCJELLYBEAN
    167
    I tried it and thought that it was great! It was tender and juicy... YUMMY ;-) - 5/4/2009   9:31:45 PM
  • 166
    I am glad that you guys put this up here. I have been interested in knowing the deal of the new KFC grilled chicken. I do not eat fast-food and this was about to put me back into that at least once a month, but now hearing what others have told me. I am not sure if I want to even eat it. Or try it. Reading the part where people said it looked fried and then grilled for a second has me extremely disgusted. I mean the commercials are A LOT desceiving because one it makes them look like there is no skin or bones on the chicken. It really makes them look really good. Ah such a shame. - 5/4/2009   8:30:42 PM
  • SMUNCY
    165
    I ate it last week and thought t tasted pretty good but was surprised by the greasiness it still has. It's a nice try...a step in the right direction...but why not just broil some chicken breasts with spices and leave it at that if you really want to enter into offering some healthier options for people? And stopping the addition of grease into the vegetables on the buffet bar would also be helpful. - 5/4/2009   3:00:17 PM
  • 164
    The fried chicken w/o the skin has less calories & fat than the "grilled" version! If you're going to take the skin off anyway, then why not just stick with the fried? I'm very skeptical. I think somewhere along the way, we're going to find out that it's really a lot more calories than they told you because so far everyone is remarking about how greasy it is. I just don't trust it. But I want to......... LOL - 5/4/2009   1:51:44 PM
  • 163
    Just had it for dinner yesterday. Not bad! It's still pretty tasty and my 12 yr old said it was better than the fried! - 5/4/2009   12:55:15 PM
  • PDK827
    162
    I just tried it yesterday and thought it was pretty good. I like the reduction in calories and sodium, though it seemed a little greasy. I removed the skin and it was still quite tasty. I will get it again. - 5/4/2009   11:23:18 AM
  • 161
    I'm VERY glad this article was posted (even with pics!) I was thinking of trying the grilled chicken since it looks so good in the KFC ads/coupons but now I don't think it's worth spending my time & $$. I'll stick to grilling my own skinless chicken breasts on my Foreman grill and add my own spices & herbs :-) Although if the KFC grilled chicken shows up at a picnic this summer, I'll have to try a few bites since I haven't had it in years. Thank-you SP! - 5/4/2009   2:25:07 AM
  • DESERTQUEEN
    160
    I was greatly disappointed that it was as highly greasy as it was. It lacked flavor and didn't seem cooked all the way. I will not be having again. I'll stick with my favorite: El Pollo Loco - 5/3/2009   5:39:08 PM
  • 159
    I tried the grilled on the day they gave out the free piece. Mine was so greasy I thought (and still don't know for sure) that they made a mistake and gave me a piece of the original. I have a hard time believing this is healthier.
    I think I will stick my boneless, skinless grilled breasts cooked at home. ") - 5/3/2009   3:00:13 PM
  • 158
    I haven't eaten KFC in probably 10+ years. Don't think the 'new' grilled version is going to make me go there. The sodium is outrageous! - 5/3/2009   12:18:51 PM
  • 157
    Every now and then we crave KFC (I take the skin off) so we will probably try this too (and take the skin off) -- on a busy night when it's hard to cook, having this and lots of veggies works for me. - 5/3/2009   11:51:27 AM
  • 156
    my husband loves KFC's fried chicken too much..i'm glad there's a healthier alternative. - 5/3/2009   9:15:21 AM
  • 155
    i'll eat chicken at home-- so i know what im putting into my body. - 5/3/2009   7:11:25 AM
  • 154
    I tried it I thought it was good. I just took off the skin. I love chicken, I used to eat the skin but haven't done that in a long time due to my change in eating habits. - 5/2/2009   11:35:45 PM
  • 153
    I generally stay away from fast food (as we all should) and have never been a big KFC fan. Still, the next time my friends drag me there, I'll try the grilled chicken. If it's as greasy as most have said, I'll be very disappointed, but not surprised. - 5/2/2009   10:10:06 PM
  • 152
    I gave it a try the other day. I was pleased with the flavor, but I was surprised to find the skin on. It was a little greasier than I like now that I'm eating so much healthier, but I have always LOVED KFC and unfortunately work right across the road from one, so I figure with the difference in calories, fat and sodium, I can "afford" an occassional treat now. The serving seemed to be the same size, minus breading, as the regular. Seeing the comments here about pieces being small makes me wonder about how they regulate serving sizes and how that affects the nutrition info.) - 5/2/2009   9:20:42 PM
  • 151
    A friend just call to tell me he had tried this chicken at KFC and it did not taste good. He said it was dry, and the pieces were so small that he needed a magnifying glass to see them. - 5/2/2009   8:36:51 PM
  • COLLIELUVR
    150
    I had it at a church gathering and found the breasts to be very dry. Haven't tried the dark meat yet, but with the extremely high sodium content of this fast food, I can't afford too! Sure wish someone would put some legislation on these fast food chains that are ruining the health of most of us! - 5/2/2009   8:31:19 PM
  • MOMMAYIK
    149
    my family tried and loved the grilled chicken. was not greasy at all. I love the wings, not dry at all and meaty. Guess each KFC is different from the next. - 5/2/2009   7:14:11 PM

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