The product recommendations in this post are recommendations by the writer and/or expert(s)
interviewed and do not contain affiliate links. Meaning: If you use these links to buy
something, we will not earn a commission.
Chick-fil-A’s nuggets are practically unmatched in popularity at the chicken chain, and there are years of data cementing its spot as one of the biggest customer favorites. Those meaty little morsels have been the second most popular Chick-fil-A item for two years running now, lagging behind only the chain’s signature fried chicken sandwich. But recently, those famous bite-sized nuggets received some fresh competition from an unexpected source: Costco.
Last month, Costco inspired some major buzz when it introduced brand-new chicken nuggets under its Kirkland Signature house brand. One customer described the new Kirkland Signature Lightly Breaded Chicken Breast Chunks as “dupes” for Chick-fil-A’s famous nuggets, which is high praise considering the fanfare around Chick-fil-A’s version. Since then, plenty of rave reviews for the new nuggets have popped up on Reddit. Some Costco shoppers even say they’re better than the Just Bare Lightly Breaded Chicken Breast Chunks, another brand at Costco that people previously compared to Chick-fil-A.
As a lifelong chicken nugget fan, the comparisons between the new Kirkland nuggets and Chick-fil-A’s nuggets immediately piqued my interest. But, is the Kirkland version really good enough to compete against a fast-food giant that lives and breathes chicken? I recently set out on a mission to try both in order to find out.
To determine whether the new Kirkland nuggets can compete with Chick-fil-A, I headed over to my nearest Costco to pick up a bag for myself. I baked the nuggets in a conventional oven per the package instructions, though I’m sure they would have been even tastier in an air fryer if I owned one.
While I’ve had Chick-fil-A’s nuggets plenty of times in the past, I also grabbed an order from the nearest location so I could directly study the two. Then, I compared the taste, texture, and appearance of both nuggets to see how closely they match up.
Read on for my thoughts on both types of nuggets, followed by my verdict on whether the Kirkland version lives up to the original!
Per serving (3 oz): 140 cal, 5 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 530 mg sodium, 9 g carbs (1 g sugar), 16 g protein
Kirkland Signature Lightly Breaded Chicken Breast Chunks are made from boneless, skinless chicken breast that was raised without any antibiotics. A 64-ounce bag of these fully-cooked nuggets cost me $13.99.
The look: These were a bit on the lighter side in terms of color. The pieces were all pretty evenly sized, about one to two inches long wherever you measure them. While the coating looked very even and appealing, it was a little thicker than what I expected for something that’s supposed to be lightly breaded.
The taste: I truly don’t think I’ve ever had a tastier frozen chicken nugget in my life. The second I bit into one of these, I was amazed at how flavorful it was. The chicken was perfectly seasoned—salty, peppery, and super savory—from the inside out. And even though the breading was a little thicker than I expected, it wasn’t so thick that it overpowered the chicken on the inside.
Despite their many positive attributes, these nuggets weren’t perfect. The package recommended cooking the nuggets for 15 to 20 minutes at 400 degrees in a conventional oven—I ended up leaving them in for the full 20 in the hopes that they’d develop a good crust. The breading did end up having a nice bite to it, but they didn’t turn out nearly as crispy as I wanted them to be. I also noticed that some of the chicken bites were a little chewy or the tiniest bit dry. Maybe that was my fault for cooking them the maximum amount of time, but still important to note for anyone like me who likes their nuggets extra crispy. Overall, the texture was the biggest flaw in these otherwise delicious nuggets.
Per 12-piece order: 380 cal, 17 g fat (3.5 g saturated fat), 1,820 mg sodium, 16 g carbs (1 g sugar), 40 g protein
Chick-fil-A nuggets are made from bite-sized pieces of boneless chicken breast. They’re seasoned, freshly breaded, and pressure cooked in 100% refined peanut oil. A 12-piece order cost me $9.75.
The look: There were a couple immediate visual differences between the Chick-fil-A and Kirkland nuggets. The Chick-fil-A breading had been cooked to a much deeper golden brown color. The breading layer also wasn’t as thick, but there were also some super crispy bits of breading around the edges.
The taste: I should probably make this clear right off the bat: I absolutely love Chick-fil-A’s nuggets. The quality and taste of these nuggets is always super consistent—and that was very much the case when I snagged an order for this taste test. Both the chicken and the breading were salty, peppery, and overall very well seasoned. The flavor was a little sweeter than the Kirkland nuggets, but I love sweet and salty flavor combos so that was a big bonus. The layer of breading wasn’t so thick that it distracted from the chicken, and those crispy bits around the edges that added some great texture. The actual chicken was firm but easy to bite through and super juicy. Maybe it’s just me, but fried foods cooked in peanut oil always seem to taste a little extra delicious. Overall, these were some pretty stellar nuggets.
I would happily eat either type of nugget on any given day, but Chick-fil-A’s were superior in a few ways. I loved the complexity that the peanut oil and that slightly sweet flavor added to Chick-fil-A’s nuggets. Additionally, Chick-fil-A’s breading had the delectable crispiness factor that the Kirkland nuggets lacked. I also felt like Chick-fil-A’s chicken was slightly higher quality because I barely encountered any of those chewy or dry bits I found in the Kirkland nuggets.
But even though the Kirkland nuggets aren’t a dead ringer for Chick-fil-A, I do think they’re the absolute closest you can get to Chick-fil-A’s taste and quality. They were all pretty identical in size, super well-seasoned, and packed superb flavor in every bite. There’s also something about both the Kirkland and Chick-fil-A nuggets that was very addictive. Honestly, I couldn’t stop eating them even after I was technically done tasting the nuggets for this experiment.
I’d also be remiss not to mention the absolutely massive amount of frozen nuggets that Costco packs into those $13.99 bags, which are technically supposed to come with about 22 servings. Sure, the Kirkland nuggets aren’t quite as good as Chick-fil-A’s, but the deal is pretty hard to beat. It’ll probably take me weeks to polish off the bag, but I’ll relish every bite.