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Starbucks’ Chicken Sandwich Is Good for All the Wrong Reasons

·2 min read
Photo:  Brianna Wellen
Photo: Brianna Wellen

In the last few months, I’ve given in to the Starbucks loyalty app. There’s a Starbucks right next to my apartment (and it’s a unionized shop!), there’s a Starbucks right next to my office, I’m working my way through every item on the Starbucks menu like it’s my job. And sometimes, it really is my job, like in the case of trying a new, somewhat trendy but too little too late breakfast offering—i.e. the new Chicken, Maple Butter & Egg Sandwich from Starbucks.

What does Starbucks’ Chicken, Maple Butter & Egg Sandwich taste like?

Before even taking my first bite I could tell they were really going all out on the maple part of the sandwich—in my crowded neighborhood Starbucks filled with all sorts of espresso adjacent scents, the syrupy smell slapped me across the face before my barista even handed me my order. Once it was out of the packaging, if I wasn’t able to see what the item looked like I would have assumed that there was a maple-covered stack of flapjacks in front of me.

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And the look of the sandwich is, well, pretty underwhelming. Still, that didn’t discourage me at first. Starbucks’ sausage, egg, and cheese sandwich is a go-to of mine and it’s not the prettiest thing to look at. The first bite pretty much matched up to what I was smelling—despite the presence of both egg and a chicken patty, the sandwich somehow tastes like pancakes. That’s likely because of the toasted oat biscuit roll used as the sandwich bread, a thick and fluffy bite fully soaked in maple butter that is easily the best part of the sandwich.

The egg is fine, the same kind of egg you would expect to find on any fast food breakfast sandwich, that is to say unoffensive enough but too bland to stand out against more bold flavors. The chicken is the real disappointment. Unfortunately for Starbucks, companies can’t just phone it in on chicken sandwiches anymore. The bar was set too high during the great chicken sandwich surge of 2021. This seemingly microwavable, devastatingly uncripsy, flattened nugget doesn’t cut it, and much like the egg, disappears in the sandwich.

The silver lining of this offering is the toasted oat biscuit roll, and I hope Starbucks continues to experiment with how to incorporate it into other breakfast offers. Heck, I’d even get that on its own with a big old heaping of maple butter. But the chicken can go. It’s okay, Starbucks, you don’t have to be good at everything. And the sooner the chain realizes it’s not good at chicken sandwiches, the better.