KFC’s Vegetarian Chicken Chicken Review: I Tried It

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Chicken nugget lovers, listen up.

Hi! I’m Hannah, and while I’m not vegan or vegetarian, I’ve been trying to embrace a more plant-based diet — both at home and at restaurants.

A while back, I caught wind that KFC would be introducing Beyond Chicken to its menu, and I was following the news to see when the plant-based nuggets would be available nationwide. Well, that time has come — and I was eager to try them for myself.


I’ve always been pretty impressed with Beyond Meat, and I actually buy their products often. My husband absolutely loves meat, so their plant-based options let us cut beef from our diet without sacrificing the flavors (and recipes) we both enjoy. 

Earlier this week, KFC Beyond Fried Chicken finally hit stores around the country, so I secured a 6-piece box of the nuggets.

Hannah Loewentheil

The main ingredient in the nuggets is soy protein — and you can find the whole ingredient and nutritional breakdown here

They’re now available in a 6-piece or 12-piece box at over 4,000 locations nationwide. A 6-piece nuggets is $7, while a 12-piece nugget combo (which comes with a side, two dipping sauces, and a drink) is $14.99. 

My first impression was the smell. The smell wafting from the box of Beyond Fried Chicken smelled shockingly like the mouthwatering scent of real, crispy chicken straight from the fryer.

Just based on the smell alone, you easily could have fooled me that these were real-deal chicken nuggets.

As for the appearance, the plant-based nuggets looked like any average chicken nugs. But once you bite into it, the inside — bright white and perfectly shaped — looks almost like tofu coated in breading. 👀

Hannah Loewentheil

It’s also worth mentioning that KFC has made it clear that while all of the ingredients in the Beyond Chicken are vegan, the nuggets overall are technically *not* vegan or vegetarian. That’s because they are prepared in the same frying oil as the regular nuggets.

I recruited my husband Zack to help me with the tasting because he’s a fried chicken fanatic. (JK, he actually came willingly, sprinting into the kitchen when he smelled the “chicken,” so I had no choice but to allow him to join in on the tasting.)

Zack and I came to the same consensus: The plant-based nuggets taste scarily similar to your average fast food chicken nuggets. In fact, the flavor of the Beyond Chicken nugget is almost identical to a real chicken nugget, as was the signature KFC breading. However, the texture is similar — but slightly off. While the exterior is nice and crispy, the inside of the nugget is a bit rubbery and fairly dense.

Hannah Loewentheil

Also, side note: KFC sauce might even be better than the Chick-fil-A version. 😳

I should mention, KFC’s Beyond chicken isn’t the first plant-based chicken I’ve tried. I’ve had Gardein’s mandarin crispy chick’n and seven-grain crispy tenders, which I thoroughly enjoyed. The KFC/Beyond Meat version tastes more like your standard fast food nugget, though.

But the ultimate test was whether or not the Beyond Fried Chicken could trick my dog, a notoriously picky Cavapoo. I will admit he only eats human food, and every time I’ve tried to give him bites of Beyond Beef and he has always turned his nose away. It never fooled him!

But, by golly, he was convinced by the Beyond Fried Chicken. After a quick moment of skepticism, he happily took a bite and then pawed me for more.

TL;DR: Sure, heavily processed meat alternatives like KFC’s Beyond Fried Chicken might not be super “healthy” — but they make it easier and convenient for consumers to embrace a more plant-based diet. And they taste pretty darn good, too. I would buy these again.


These nuggets make me especially curious to see if Beyond Meat (or anyone) can produce a plant-based fried “chicken wing” in addition to these nuggets. 👀👀👀

Have you tried these — or similar versions from other brands or restaurants? What did you think of them? Tell me in the comments.

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