Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) has finally begun to serve its vegan chicken nuggets nationwide, and I had the chance to get my hands on some. Not only did I want to see how the fast-food chain’s Beyond Meat chicken compared to its famous original fried chicken, but I also wanted to bring back some childhood nostalgia. (Up to about fifth grade, nuggets were my go-to.) So, I grabbed a brave friend and headed to the nearest KFC to give it a try.

Here’s my review of KFC's new Beyond Meat nuggets.

When I walked into the  KFC, my nose was greeted by the familiar aroma of fried chicken delights. On its new menu, KFC has a new section dedicated to Beyond Fried Chicken, consisting of four options: A six-piece or twelve-piece box of Beyond Nuggets or the Beyond Nuggets Combo, which includes fries and a drink. I opted for the six-piece Beyond Nuggets, which cost me a reasonable $7.

Editor's Note: If you are fully vegan or have strict dietary restrictions, KFC emphasizes that while the recipes for its Beyond Meat chicken items are fully vegan, the preparation cannot be guaranteed vegan due to the potential for cross-contamination in the kitchen since it's cooked with the same equipment as the actual poultry.

How KFC Vegan Chicken Ranks for Flavor

As I was handed the bright green box containing the nuggets, a delicious smell hit me even before I opened it, promising that they were well-seasoned. As I popped open the sides of the box, six crispy golden nuggets lay neatly inside, inviting me to dive in.
The crispy exterior batter is packed with flavor and the seasoning is spot-on. It is exactly what you would expect in a KFC nugget. The inside chicken filling was no disappointment.

I’m sure many of you are wondering: Does it even taste like chicken? Yes! And I put this to the test. I gave a nugget to a friend who had come with me and had her try it before telling her it was Beyond Meat. “If you hadn’t told me," she said, "I never would’ve doubted that this wasn’t real chicken. It’s actually pretty good!”

This imitation meat really does check all the boxes of tempting smells, great seasoning, and a delectable chicken flavor. Where the vegan nugget doesn’t completely hold up is its texture.

KFC Vegan Nugget's Texture

KFC’s Beyond Chicken nuggets fall short on the texture. When I simply looked at the nuggets before biting in, nothing indicated to me that they weren’t real chicken. The exterior of the Beyond nugget holds up to the crunch of a classic chicken nugget. As I bit into it, I could hear the crispy outside breaking apart, but once I reached the protein, I instantly knew that it wasn’t from the bird.

The slightly rubbery consistency makes for a pretty dense texture, which is the opposite of what I was expecting. I tried tearing the nugget in half with my hands to get a better look at the inside, which was surprisingly difficult to do. It didn't let me separate the halves as a real piece of chicken would have. Though it's pea-protein-based, the inside looks extremely similar to seitan and has a very similar texture; it was stringy in some parts, chewy and dense in others.

The Final Verdict on KFC's Vegan Nuggets

Overall, KFC’s Beyond Fried chicken did not disappoint in flavor – but ultimately lacked a great texture. Although I am not vegan myself, I do like to opt for plant-based alternatives every so often. While KFC’s beyond chicken nuggets may not be my first choice when it comes to a plant-based alternative, I wouldn’t completely cross them off of the list.

Despite their chewy consistency, they really do really hold up in flavor. If you are someone who follows a plant-based diet and is searching for something that truly does taste like chicken, this might be the option for you! And though these fried Beyond chicken nuggets may not be the most nutritious plant-based meal in the market, they offer customers quick and easy access to some pretty tasty nuggets. So, would I get them again? Yes, but I want to explore other fast food menus first to see what other plant-based options are out there before coming back to KFC.

Bottom Line: KFC's Beyond Nuggets Are a Satisfying Substitute for Real Chicken

If you love chicken nuggets but don't want to eat poultry or are trying to eat plant-based for any reason, these nuggets will satisfy the yearning for the nuggets of your youth. Taste-wise and flavor they hold up, even if their texture is denser than real chicken. We say: Try them!

The 6 Best Fast Food Chains With Plant-Based Options on the Menu

Fast-food restaurants have finally got the memo that their customer base isn’t just coming through for a burger, fried chicken, or a beef taco. Many now have plant-based foods and are coming up with creative, delicious ways to get more greens on the menu. Here are the 6 best fast-food chains with plant-based options on the menu.

More From The Beet