chicken sandwich and milkshake

Review of Chick-fil-A’s New Maple Pepper Bacon Sandwich

The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and outdoor grilling season is about to be in full force, which means it’s time for new summer menu items to make their way to fast food restaurants around the country. Just in time to meet the moment, Chick-fil-A is rolling out its summer menu for 2024, offering a new sandwich item, the Maple Pepper Bacon Sandwich, as well as a re-launch of one of its most popular seasonal sweet treats, the Peach Milkshake.

Fans of grilled chicken sandwiches (as opposed to fried ones) will be delighted to see Chick-fil-A bolstering its grilled chicken options, tapping into summer cooking techniques which tend to be lighter and more grill-focused — without skimping on flavor or innovative toppings. And since no meal is complete without a sweet sidekick, the Peach Milkshake is the ideal accompaniment to just about any Chick-fil-A menu item, making its return to Chick-fil-A’s summer menu for the 15th time this year.

I tried the new Maple Pepper Bacon Sandwich at the Chick-fil-A test kitchen and innovation center in Georgia before it was made available to the public. Let this review guide you through the latest from this fast-food chicken behemoth, to decide if this limited-time offering is worthy of being part of your hot grill summer.

New 2024 summer offerings from Chick-fil-A

chicken sandwich with fries

As the fast food chicken sandwich battle continues to rage on, Chick-fil-A is propping up its grilled chicken offerings this summer with the Maple Pepper Bacon Sandwich, leaning into sweet summer heat and backyard grilling season. According to Christy Cook, Senior Culinary Lead for Chick-fil-A, the test kitchen created 16 variations of the sandwich, tested six of them, and finally landed on the Maple Pepper Bacon Sandwich as its final product.

The sandwich starts with a grilled lemon herb marinated boneless chicken breast, which is then topped with a slice of pepper jack cheese, green leaf lettuce, sweet and spicy pickle chips, and brown sugar and pepper bacon. For a sweet finish, everything is then sandwiched between two brioche buns, which are studded with little pockets of maple syrup throughout.

In addition to the new grilled chicken sandwich, Chick-fil-A is also signaling a return to summer with the return of its Peach Milkshake. The milkshake is a blend of Chick-fil-A’s Icedream dessert, peach puree, and chunks of sweet, ripe peach, topped with whipped cream and a cherry.

Menu availability

Chick-fil-A store front

Starting June 10, grilled chicken sandwich fans can flock to their local Chick-fil-A location to get the Maple Pepper Bacon Sandwich and the Peach Milkshake. Both items are available at participating locations across the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico. But, as these are summertime releases, they will only be available for a limited time while supplies last.

For those new to Chick-fil-A and its menu offerings, the Chick-fil-A app is available for all of your chicken-related needs, from finding the closest location to you to seeing what the newest menu items are in your area. If you’re unsure if your local Chick-fil-A will actually be carrying these new summer menu offerings, just head over to the app (or website) or contact your local restaurant to see if they’re available for dine-in, pick-up, or delivery. We tested 15 fast food loyalty apps, and Chick-fil-A’s happens to be our favorite thanks to its generous rewards and status system.

Taste test: Maple Pepper Bacon Sandwich

maple pepper bacon chicken sandwich

Sara Kay/Look

When I think about ordering a chicken sandwich at a fast food or fast casual restaurant, I almost always consider fried as the first and only option. It’s crispy, it’s delicious, and it’s what typically puts a restaurant on the map when it comes to participating in the continuous race for chicken sandwich dominance. However, after trying the Maple Pepper Bacon Sandwich, my mind is forever changed. Could it be that the grilled chicken sandwich is the new default option?

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Grilled chicken, especially from a fast food restaurant, can be very hit or miss. This, however, is an absolute hit. The chicken is juicy and herbaceous, with just the right amount of lemon for some bright zip. The sweet and spicy pickles add just the right crunch and have subtle heat, with a strong kick of brine and spice to turn everything up without going over the top. The star, however, is the maple pepper bacon. Sweet and smoky, the fattiness from the bacon adds another layer of richness that one simple slice of cheese just can’t provide. And the best part? Each bite gets a little burst of maple syrup, adding some delicate sweetness to contrast the rich flavors of the chicken and bacon. If this is the new standard for fast casual grilled chicken sandwiches, I look forward to seeing competitors step up to the challenge.

Maple Pepper Bacon Sandwich vs. Grilled Chicken Club

Grilled Chicken Club Sandwich

Chick-fil-A/Facebook

The Maple Pepper Bacon is essentially a second iteration of Chick-Fil-A’s Grilled Chicken Club Sandwich, but with some notable upgrades. Both sandwiches have the lemon herb marinated grilled chicken breast, but it’s there that the similarities between the two sandwiches end, and the Maple Pepper Bacon goes above and beyond.

To start, we have the cheese. The Grilled Chicken Club is topped with Colby jack cheese (although you can opt for a different cheese if you choose), which is perfectly fine, but the Maple Pepper Bacon Sandwich opts for pepper jack, a far more flavorful cheese with an added kick of heat as well. The Grilled Chicken Club uses applewood smoked bacon, whereas the Maple Pepper Bacon uses bacon that has been hand-tossed in brown sugar and black pepper for a sweet and savory combination that’s really difficult to beat. Finally, it’s the bun that puts Maple Pepper Bacon firmly in the top position; a maple syrup-studded brioche bun far outshines a multigrain bun any way you bake it.

For the grilled chicken sandwich purist, perhaps the Grilled Chicken Club is all you need in life. But for those who want their grilled chicken to be a little more indulgent, the Maple Pepper Bacon Sandwich is far and away the more impressive of the two options.

Is it worth it?

maple pepper bacon chicken sandwich

Sara Kay/Look

As a lover of any and all crispy chicken sandwiches, it’s typically difficult for a grilled chicken sandwich to even come close in comparison. However, the Maple Pepper Bacon Sandwich deserves its flowers, and while the original crispy chicken sandwich from Chick-fil-A is a delicious option, this newest sandwich is giving the gold standard a run for its money.

Since this is another limited-time offering from Chick-fil-A, it’s entirely worth it to find your closest location and try it before it gets taken off the menu later this summer. As Chick-fil-A moves into a new generation of seasonal menu offerings and new and exciting flavors and ingredients, we hope that this latest innovation will pave the way for future items, tapping into worthwhile food trends and outside-the-box thinking across its menu, going above and beyond the sandwich. There’s a lot to look forward to when it comes to summer food staples, and the Maple Pepper Bacon Sandwich is most certainly one of them.

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