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What is Chick Fil A chicken strips made of?

Chick-fil-A is a popular fast food restaurant chain known for its chicken sandwiches and other chicken items like nuggets and strips. Chick-fil-A chicken strips are a fan favorite menu item, enjoyed by kids and adults alike. But what exactly are Chick-fil-A chicken strips made of?

In this article, we’ll take a close look at the ingredients and preparation that go into making Chick-fil-A’s breaded chicken strips. We’ll examine the type of chicken used, the breading and seasoning, how the strips are cooked, and any other details that provide insight into the components of this popular menu item.

The Chicken

According to Chick-fil-A, their chicken strips start with whole, boneless, skinless chicken breasts. The breasts are cut into long, thin strips, ideal for breading and frying.

Chick-fil-A states that all of their chickens are raised humanely, with no antibiotics ever. The chickens are fed a vegetarian diet and are not given any added hormones or steroids. Chick-fil-A works with trusted chicken suppliers to ensure the quality and care of their chickens from farm to restaurant.

So while we don’t know the exact breed of chicken used, we do know the strips start as high-quality, whole chicken breast meat sliced into strips. This produces a tender, juicy texture when cooked.

The Breading

The breading is what gives Chick-fil-A chicken strips their crispy outside and distinct flavor. According to the ingredients list, the breading consists of:

  • Enriched bleached wheat flour (bleached flour, niacin, iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid)
  • Salt
  • Spices
  • Garlic powder
  • Sugar
  • Paprika
  • Leavening (baking soda, sodium aluminum phosphate, monocalcium phosphate)
  • Natural flavor
  • Extractives of paprika
  • Canola oil
  • Palm oil
  • Water

So the breading includes typical flour, spices, and leavening agents to give it a crispy texture when fried. The spices like garlic powder, paprika, black pepper, and natural flavors provide the signature Chick-fil-A taste.

The canola oil and palm oil are likely included to help the breading stick to the chicken. The breading also contributes fibers, proteins, and carbohydrates to the nutritional profile of the chicken strips.

How They’re Cooked

Chick-fil-A chicken strips are cooked (fried) in canola oil. According to Chick-fil-A, they use refined peanut oil to fry food in their restaurants in all states except Texas, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia. In those states, they use 100% refined canola oil due to peanut allergy concerns.

So depending on your location, the strips are fried in either canola oil or peanut oil. The strips likely fry for 2-3 minutes at around 350°F to reach an internal temperature of 165°F. This high heat helps achieve the signature crispy exterior.

Other Details and Ingredients

In addition to the main ingredients of chicken, breading, and oil, Chick-fil-A chicken strips contain:

  • Milk
  • Egg
  • Soybean oil
  • Modified food starch
  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Spices
  • Natural flavor
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Extractives of paprika

The milk and egg are likely used in the breading to help it stick to the chicken. The soybean oil, sugar, salt, and spices further add flavor and texture.

Chick-fil-A also notes their chicken strips may contain peanuts, wheat, egg, and milk since they use shared equipment to prepare menu items. People with severe allergies are advised to avoid consuming the strips.

Nutrition Information

According to Chick-fil-A, their chicken strips provide the following nutrition in a 4-strip serving:

Nutrient Amount
Calories 220
Fat 12g
Carbs 13g
Protein 12g
Sodium 680mg

As you can see, the strips are high in fat, carbs, and sodium, as is common for fried fast food items. The protein comes from the chicken while the carbs and fat come largely from the breading.

Ingredients Recap

To recap, here are the main ingredients in Chick-fil-A chicken strips:

  • Boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • Breading with enriched bleached wheat flour, spices, sugar, and oils
  • Canola oil, peanut oil, or a blend for frying
  • Milk, egg, soybean oil, modified food starch, sugar, salt, and natural flavors

The combination of real chicken breast with the signature seasoned breading, cooked until crispy in hot oil, gives Chick-fil-A strips their beloved taste and texture.

How Chick-fil-A Chicken Compares to Other Chains

Chick-fil-A isn’t the only fast food chain with tasty chicken strips on the menu. How do their strips compare to the competition?

Here’s an overview of how Chick-fil-A chicken strips stack up against other popular chain restaurants:

Chain Breading Cooking Oil Chicken Type
Chick-fil-A Flour, spices, sugar, oils Canola or peanut oil Whole breast meat
McDonald’s Flour, corn starch, spices Vegetable oil White chicken meat strips
Wendy’s Flour, corn starch, spices Vegetable oil Whole muscle breast strips
Burger King Flour, spices Vegetable oil White chicken meat
KFC Flour, spices Palm oil, soybean oil Whole muscle breast strips

As you can see, most chains use a simple flour-based breading fried in vegetable oil. Chick-fil-A stands apart with its signature seasoned breading using ingredients like sugar, milk, and paprika. They also fry in peanut or canola oil for a distinctive taste.

In terms of chicken, most chains including Chick-fil-A use real breast meat rather than processed chicken chunks. But Chick-fil-A uses whole breast meat rather than strips of breast for a more premium texture.

Are Chick-fil-A Chicken Strips Healthy?

Like most fast food, Chick-fil-A chicken strips are higher in calories, fat, carbs, and sodium compared to homemade oven-baked chicken strips. But they make an occasional treat.

Some healthier tips when enjoying Chick-fil-A strips include:

  • Order the 4-strip kids meal instead of the 8-strip large side
  • Opt for a side salad instead of fries
  • Choose diet soda, water, or milk to drink
  • Use just 1-2 packets of sauce instead of several
  • Split the strips as a snack or add a fruit side for a meal

Chicken strips also pack 12g of protein. So while not the healthiest menu option, they do provide some nutrition in moderation.

Are Chick-fil-A Chicken Strips Gluten Free?

No, Chick-fil-A chicken strips are not gluten-free. They contain wheat flour as the main ingredient in the breading. The wheat flour contains gluten protein, so the strips are not safe for anyone with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.

Some gluten-free fast food options that can substitute for strips include:

  • Grilled chicken sandwiches or nuggets
  • Salads with grilled or fried chicken
  • Waffle fries as a gluten-free side

Certain locations may have dedicated fryers for gluten-free menu items. But most Chick-fil-A kitchens have shared fryers, so there is a risk of cross-contamination.

Those with celiac disease or gluten allergy should avoid Chick-fil-A strips and ask about gluten-free preparation policies before ordering.


Chick-fil-A chicken strips are a beloved menu item thanks to their crispy breaded exterior and tender, juicy chicken interior. Real breast meat strips, signature seasoned flour breading, and frying in peanut or canola oil all contribute to the iconic taste and texture.

While not the healthiest fried food option, the strips can be enjoyed in moderation along with some healthier sides and sauces. They pack protein as well as carbs and fat. Those with food allergies or gluten intolerance will want to steer clear due to the high risk of cross-contamination.

Overall, for a quick and satisfying chicken strip experience, it’s easy to see why Chick-fil-A is a go-to choice for many fried chicken lovers. Understanding exactly what goes into these prized strips helps explain their craveworthy appeal.