Comparing Burger King’s New Chicken Nuggets to McDonald’s McNuggets

BK Chicken Nuggets

We’re no fans of fast food here. But the sad truth is that many Americans eat several meals a week in “Quick Serve Restaurants”. We recently got pitched by Burger King’s PR department and were hoping to learn of new healthy options. Alas, no:

The advent of 2013 has brought seven new flavorful menu options available at BURGER KING® for guests to enjoy, including juicy premium white meat Chicken Nuggets in a crispy tempura-style batter (Offered in four, six, 10 or 20-piece servings at $1, $1.99 and $2.69 respectively with the 20-piece serving at just $4.29 starting January 7th)

We peeked at BK’s nugget information, and decide to compare to the market leader, McDonald’s.

From a nutrient perspective, they are quite similar. A serving of 4 nuggets is 190 calories, contains 8-10 grams of protein, and 360-400mg of sodium (17% of the daily max). neither has any fiber.

When it comes to ingredients, neither product has a stellar list. But BK appears to have less of the controversial ingredients.

BK Nuggets: Boneless chicken breast with rib meat, water, isolated oat product, potato starch, seasoning (modified corn starch, salt, maltodextrin, yeast extract, chicken stock, flavors, wheat starch, dextrose, propylene glycol and citric acid), salt, sodium phosphates. BATTERED WITH: Water, yellow corn flour, wheat flour, wheat starch, salt, leavening (sodium bicarbonate, sodium aluminum phosphate, sodium acid pyrophosphate), dextrose, spice. BREADED WITH: Wheat flour, leavening (sodium acid pyrophosphate, sodium bicarbonate), spices, salt.  Breading set in vegetable oil.

McDonald’s McNuggets: White boneless chicken, water, food starch-modified, salt, seasoning [yeast extract, salt, wheat starch, natural flavoring (botanical source), safflower oil, dextrose, citric acid], sodium phosphate, natural flavor (botanical source). Battered and breaded with: water, enriched flour (bleached wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), yellow corn flour, bleached wheat flour, food starch-modified, salt, leavening (baking soda, sodium acid pyrophosphate, sodium aluminum phosphate, monocalcium phosphate, calcium lactate), spices, wheat starch, dextrose, corn starch. Prepared in vegetable oil (Canola oil, corn oil, soybean oil, hydrogenated soybean oil with TBHQ and citric acid added to preserve freshness). Dimethylpolysiloxane added as an antifoaming agent.

So does this mean we recommend eating BK nuggets? No. But in the rare case that you are stuck without any food options and need to choose between Burger King or McDonald’s, you are now equipped with the knowledge to choose the lesser of two evils…

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  • http://eNaRDe.com/ eNaRDe

    good article…thanks for sharing

  • Dennis

    Intresting review and I would like to see similar types of assessments. As much as I can, I avoid processed foods and choose organic. However, I also travel extensively for business and do not have the luxury of carrying a kitchen with me through the airport. Depending on the city I’m in, my options are sometimes the “best of the worse”. I attempt to choose “healther” options such as Panera and Chipolte when available, but its not always the case. I would like to see more reviews and analysis of pitfals to avoid at QSRs and best options and popular locations (e.g. Panera, Chipolte, Pei-Wei, Qdoba, etc.)

  • Nikki

    Would love to see the same comparison with Chick-Fil-A nuggets.

    • RedHead88

      Really? Well here is the list of chick fil a nuggets. NO BETTER

      100% natural whole breast filet, seasoning (salt, monosodium glutamate, sugar, spices, paprika), seasoned coater (enriched bleached flour [bleached wheat flour, malted barley flour, niacin, iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid], sugar, salt, monosodium glutamate, nonfat milk, leavening [baking soda, sodium aluminum phosphate, monocalcium phosphate], spice, soybean oil, color [paprika]), milk wash (water, egg, nonfat milk), peanut oil (fully refined peanut oil with TBHQ and citric acid added to preserve freshness and Dimethylpolysiloxane an anti-foaming agent added).

  • Guest

    It’s a bit misleading to lament the lack of fiber seeing as a plain ol’ chicken breast doesn’t have enough fiber to count either?

  • http://www.facebook.com/roger.leszczynski Roger Leszczynski

    Misleading: Breading set in vegetable oil. = partially hydrogenated oil when fried.

  • Jane Hersey

    Thanks so much for looking into this. I was surprised that the BK nuggets didn’t have a longer ingredient list and when I went on their site I found that they listed Chicken Nuggets (Fried) with more ingredients than are shown above. (The info on their web site says it was revised in June of 2012.)
    I see many MSG cousins listed, plus “flavoring” which can mean anything. It also lists high fructose corn syrup in their online version.
    While the McDonald’s nuggets list TBHQ — a petroleum based preservative that is a real trouble-maker, BK does not. However, I’ve done fast food restaurant research for a number of years and have recently completed the Feingold Association’s 2013 Fast Food Guide, and I suspect that the oil BK uses has TBHQ, but since it’s a secondary ingredient they don’t bother to list it.
    I know of only three fast food chains nationwide that use oil without added TBHQ; and most restaurants in general used frying oil that is preserved with it.

  • Jane Hersey

    In response to the reader who asked about Chick-fil-A’s food. They are right up there with KFC and Taco Bell when it comes to obscene amounts of MSG and MSG clones — and not just in their chicken. The difference is that the other two don’t pretend to be healthy!

    • RedHead88

      Exactly. All oneneeds to do is look it up for themselves

      100% natural whole breast filet, seasoning (salt, monosodium glutamate, sugar, spices, paprika), seasoned coater (enriched bleached flour [bleached wheat flour, malted barley flour, niacin, iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid], sugar, salt, monosodium glutamate, nonfat milk, leavening [baking soda, sodium aluminum phosphate, monocalcium phosphate], spice, soybean oil, color [paprika]), milk wash (water, egg, nonfat milk), peanut oil (fully refined peanut oil with TBHQ and citric acid added to preserve freshness and Dimethylpolysiloxane an anti-foaming agent added).

  • The Candid RD

    I used to eat McDonalds “Mc”nuggets ALL time TIME as a child! Why didn’t I just go for the burger?! Gross.
    Thanks for the information. In case I’m one day stranded without a Subway in sight….I’ll know what to do! Although I’d still rather just get a McDonald’s soft serve :)

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  • Kevin

    BK changed their nuggets about 18 months ago, now these ones. What they need to revamp is their burgers.

  • gbbbb@yahoo.com

    Oh go fuck yourselves.

  • Vgvbtdrfg

    Please go fuck yourselves to hell.

  • Bad man forward bad man pullup

    If unu keep eating dis scunt, unu ah go dead soon, yah hear mi?!?

  • grapesnowcone

    Flavor and texturewise they are exactly the same. I have three boys 9 to 14 and they noticed a few months ago that Burger King had changed from crown shaped nuggets that were white meat to McNuggets. I am betting they are being made by the same supplier.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=34201368 Jean Claude Van Kickinthenutss

    I will never understand the beef with Fast Food being unhealthy. You don’t go to the cookie aisle in a grocery store and get angry that there aren’t vegetables, do you? Do you get upset when you go to a Lamborghini dealership and there aren’t any cars that get 50 miles to the gallon? No.

    • http://www.fooducate.com/ Fooducate

      It’s simple – we are bombarded with enticements to eat cheap unhealthy food. Whether it’s cookies or fast food, that does not matter. We eat way too much unhealthy fare.

  • Kaizer

    I just noticed they changed when I opened my box of nuggets around 10 minutes ago. I rarely eat nuggets in general but this took me by surprise. I did kinda notice they looked different but since I’ve not seen them in a long time I thought it was my imagination. It was when I started eating them that right away I thought I was eating McNuggets or something. I ate 7 left 3, the flavor is just not right. Feels like I’m eating a piece of mechanized chicken surrounded by a crispy fat cracker and it’s just disgusting. If I would have known it was like this I would have got chicken strip instead to get a good flavored chicken. Now I know why a 10 piece was so cheap…

  • KimLnyc

    It’s all bad!

  • Bobby Murphy

    I’ve seen a video where live little chicks with the yellow fur were kept in a compartment that swirled down,& when the trap door opened, they’d fall into a grinder,alive, so you’re eating bones, fur, everything that was on the live chick is what you’re eating. I’ve only seen it for McDonald’s chicken mcnuggets, & have looked for Burger King nuggets, buy couldn’t find anything. Witch means, I’ll be eating burger kings nuggets