After nearly a decade of absence, the Double Down sandwich is finally coming back to KFC restaurants nationwide. For those of you who have somehow managed to wipe it from your memory, let us remind you that the Double Down consists of bacon, cheese, and mayonnaise sandwiched between two fried chicken breast filets instead of bread. It is, in my opinion, one of the most ballsy fast food concoctions ever created, and on March 6 you’ll be able to experience it for yourself once more.
It’s hard to overstate the impact that the KFC Double Down had on pop culture when it was released. It debuted nationally in 2010, made waves in the media, and led to quotes like “Whoa, look at all that grease” being published in the name of journalism. It stayed on the menu consistently until its removal in 2014; the internet has (perhaps unsurprisingly) been clamoring for its return ever since. We even tried to fill the void with alternative concoctions in the meantime, but there really is no sandwich quite like it.
“The Double Down is one of the most buzzworthy fast food menu items ever,” said Nick Chavez, KFC U.S. chief marketing officer, in a press release. “After nearly a decade of people begging for its return, we’re embracing the chaos, bringing back our most iconic sandwich ever for just four weeks.”
I’m not sure my body (or anyone’s, for that matter) is ready for this thing. Back in the day, the chicken breast filets were fairly modest in size, but the revived version will feature the giant chicken breasts currently found in KFC’s chicken sandwiches, the kind made fashionable in the years since the Double Down’s retirement by the Popeyes chicken sandwich.
When I visited the KFC test kitchen in early February, I was given a preview of the refreshed Double Down, and holy shit, is this a beast of an item. The amount of sodium and fat in this thing frankly makes me feel a little bit uncomfortable—but to each their own. Anyone who isn’t bothered by those factors has a whole month in which to indulge their curiosity.
I mean, just look at how thick this thing is. I can admittedly go to town on a lot of fried chicken in one sitting, but it’s usually not a solid four-inch-tall stack of chicken dressed with mayo and cheese and and bacon strips.
KFC realizes that the Double Down might not be for everyone, so it’s also releasing a decidedly more modest version of this sandwich at the same time. The creatively named Bacon and Cheese Chicken Sandwich has only one chicken breast, plus bacon, mayo, cheese, and pickles, and yes, it’s on a bun instead of more fried poultry.
I’m conflicted here. The whole draw of a Double Down is its absurdity—when tamed into a lesser being, it doesn’t quite seem as compelling, you know? But I guess if someone else in your household is picking up a Double Down and you don’t want to be left out of the fun, you can ask them to bring you back a Bacon and Cheese Chicken Sandwich. (I’ll be sticking with the Extra Crispy, bone-in, please.)
The Double Down isn’t going to be around for very long. If you want to try it, you’ll have four weeks starting from its debut on March 6. Obviously if you miss out, there’s nothing stopping you from dissecting a few of the Colonel’s regular chicken sandwiches and cobbling together your own homemade version, but on the other hand, you won’t get to tell your friends you survived an officially sanctioned KFC Double Down.
Here’s what I’m wondering: If you were a fan of the original Double Down back in 2010, do you think you’ll still love it this time around? Have you been waiting for its return? Are you afraid your palate might handle it differently in 2023? Let us know in the comments, because it’s a divisive sandwich and I have no idea where people land on it.