Plant-based chicken is making as much of a splash in 2022 as actual chicken made in 2019 (and 2020, and 2021). Following last fall’s test of faux chicken nuggets, Burger King is testing out something even bigger: the Impossible Original Chick’n Sandwich will debut in Cincinnati this week for a limited time. Ohio, your cup runneth over!
According to a statement sent to The Takeout by Burger King, the Impossible Original Chick’n Sandwich (note the slight spelling change from the original; the apostrophe connotes zero poultry) “features the crispy, juicy taste Guests love, but with a plant -based chicken patty instead—seasoned to perfection [and] topped with shredded lettuce and creamy mayonnaise all on a toasted sesame seed bun.”
Some of fast food’s splashiest plant-based chicken rollouts have seriously impressed us in the past. First, there was the debut of Impossible Chicken Nuggets in 2021, a product that managed to capture the brothy flavor of real cooked poultry and deliver both crunch and chew without tasting springy or spongy. (Burger King tested these nuggets at various locations last fall.) Then, KFC released Beyond Fried Chicken in January 2022; these were essentially nuggets as well, and tasted “pretty spectacular,” according to our taste test.
Both of these, however, were small-format chick’n products. The Impossible Original Chick’n Sandwich at Burger King will feature a much larger patty, meaning more surface area to load with our favorite toppings and condiments. (Impossible Chicken Patties are also being rolled out to major grocery chains nationwide.)
Knowing what we know about the nugget version of this product, we anticipate that this sandwich will deliver on big, crackly crunch, which hopefully won’t be dulled by the potential sogginess of mayonnaise and lettuce. Prices will vary by location; while the cost of plant-based alternatives is typically higher at fast food chains (just as they are at grocery stores), inflation-related cost increases on items like meat and poultry are bringing the two categories closer to price parity, and that could mean good things for fake meat’s popularity.
There’s no guarantee that the product will expand beyond its Cincinnati testing sites, but pending a few factors—customer feedback, sales numbers, and operational seamlessness—the sandwich could soon make its way to a Burger King near you. That last part, operational seamlessness, is important: If it’s too labor-intensive to produce the sandwich on a mass scale, that could mean no Impossible Chick’n for the rest of us. Let’s hope the sandwich keeps things simple, just the way we like our real chicken sandwiches.