TikTok swears these Costco frozen chicken nuggets taste just like Chick-fil-A, but I tried them and they're no replacement for the real thing
- TikTokers say a brand of frozen nuggets available at
Costcotaste just like Chick-fil-Anuggets.
- I tried the two side-by-side to test the theory.
- The Just Bare nuggets were good but didn't taste quite like Chick-fil-A's.
And while I've tested numerous brands of frozen nuggets sold in supermarkets, I hadn't yet tried Just Bare's lightly breaded chicken breast chunks from Costco, which TikTok user @floridamomof3 says taste exactly like the beloved fast-food.
The video, which had 2.3 million views at the time of writing, shows @floridamomof3 and her daughter swooning over the Just Bare chicken (A 64-ounce bag retails for $17.40 at the wholesale club).
Many other TikTokers who tried the nuggets agreed, posting taste-test videos under the hashtag #justbarechicken, which has 3 million views at the time of writing.
So to test this claim, I put on my most critical nugget-eating hat and pit the two against one another for a side-by-side comparison to see if the Costco chicken chunks could serve as an at-home replacement for Chick-fil-A, which cost me $9.85 for a 12-piece order.
Just Bare nuggets vary in size and texture more than Chick-fil-A nuggets
Right off the bat, I could see a clear difference: The Just Bare chicken piece sizes were all over the place.
Some of the Just Bare white meat pieces were crunchy and the size of a bottle cap and others were softer on the outside and the size of my palm. Though Chick-fil-A's nuggets aren't completely uniform in size and shape either, they were mostly all within the same range, about the size of a walnut.
While some of the Just Bare coatings were crunchy and held up over time, others were softer and soggier and separated easily from the actual chicken inside. When I took a look at the Chick-fil-A coating, I was able to see the consistency across chunks - crunchy bits held up, but soft bits never became soggy.
Chick-fil-A has an outer layer that's more like breadcrumbs that have completely fused with the meat itself. On the other hand, Just Bare was coated in what felt more like a flour-based breading which easily pulled away from the meat.
For those reasons, the smaller, crunchier Just Bare chunks were most similar to Chick-fil-A's nuggets, but the bigger ones were miles away in texture.
In terms of color, the Chick-fil-A chunks were, overall, slightly less yellow in hue.
Inside, both nuggets were extremely similar
Each piece of poultry was white, juicy, and looked like a freshly cooked piece of chicken breast.
Breading aside, the actual chicken meat looked identical. I can see why people would equate the chicken quality of the frozen, bulk-buy brand with that of Chick-fil-A.
The only difference was that chewy fat pockets were more common in the Just Bare nuggets.
The difference in flavor was most noticeable
Chick-fil-A's bite-sized breaded chicken has a sweetness to it that I hadn't noticed until I pit it against nuggets made by another company. It's hard to put a finger on the quality, but it reminded me of the underlying sweetness of a pie crust.
It's such a distinct flavor, one I've never gotten from something savory outside of these little golden drops of chicken-y goodness. The flavor made me want to keep going back for more, and more, and more.
On the other hand, the Just Bare nuggets were saltier and more directly savory. There was a little bit of a spicy, white pepper kick, but nothing major - there is no hint of heat in Chick-fil-A's nugget flavor profile. These Costco-stocked
I even tried dipping both nuggets into Chick-fil-A sauce, but tasting one after the other, the difference was still unmistakable.
Overall, I can see why someone would think Just Bare's lightly breaded chicken breast chunks taste like Chick-fil-A if they weren't doing a direct side-by-side comparison.
It's easy to miss the sweetness that comes from the fast-food nuggets and equate any small, crispy, white meat chicken bits to the cult-favorite.
But make no mistake, there is no nugget out there that tastes exactly like Chick-fil-A's - or at least I haven't found it yet.
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