Every KFC Side, Ranked

assorted KFC sides
assorted KFC sides - Bryn Gelbart/Daily Meal

When you look at Kentucky Fried Chicken, chicken is right there in the name. But it's not necessarily the star of the show for all KFC fans. When it comes to this fast food chain, it's equally as well known for its reliable roster of sides. It's not KFC night if Dad doesn't bring home the mashed potatoes and coleslaw alongside that bucket of fried chicken.

KFC has changed its menu over the years, but most of the sides available are still the same as when you were a kid. What has definitely changed is the overall and average quality of the food, which is why we felt it was finally time for a taste test. For this ranking, we tried six individual KFC side dishes; fries, mashed potatoes and gravy, coleslaw, corn, mac and cheese, and a biscuit. We compared and ranked them based on flavor and how much we felt they were worth our money. At our nearest KFC location, each side (excluding the 99-cent biscuits) cost us $3.49 before tax.

Read more: The Ultimate Ranking Of The Best Fried Chicken Chains


hand holding KFC corn
hand holding KFC corn - Bryn Gelbart/Daily Meal

Of all the sides you can get at KFC, corn feels like the biggest waste of money. It's healthy, sure, but even compared to the vegetable-based coleslaw the corn lacks any panache.

This seriously just tasted like frozen corn that you heat up in the microwave. That's not even a huge dig, since frozen corn is a pretty cheap and reliable option for buying this vegetable when it's not in season, or if you simply live in a place where you don't get great produce. Point being, the corn at KFC is not terrible, it's just not necessarily any better or worse than what you can get in the freezer aisle.

For the price of a KFC side these days (which will vary depending on your location), we deem this tiny sad cup of corn not worth it. KFC corn has its place and that's inside a Famous Bowl, where its basically tossed in for free. If you're choosing a side for your meal, this should be your last resort.


cup of KFC coleslaw
cup of KFC coleslaw - Bryn Gelbart/Daily Meal

If you love coleslaw, you might be disappointed by what KFC brings to the table. If you hate coleslaw, well you might actually like this creamy, sweet mixture of cabbage and carrots that passes for fast food slaw.

We have a soft spot for this KFC side but admit that it is a bit wimpy for coleslaw. The small chunks of veg are nice and digestible for small children but for an adult, the lack of texture here really drags it down a long way. It is certainly on the sweet side for coleslaw - like the sweetest coleslaw we've ever tasted - which will also turn off plenty of people. The biggest compliment we can give to KFC's slaw is that it's not overly dense or heavy in the mayonnaise department, nor is it too sour when it comes to the amount of vinegar (an essential coleslaw ingredient) added. The side dish actually (dare we say it) balances fat well with the acid, which is pretty impressive for a fast food joint.


hand holding small kfc fries
hand holding small kfc fries - Bryn Gelbart/Daily Meal

All things considered, we were pleasantly surprised by KFC's secret recipe fries. We had not tried this 2020 addition to the menu, mostly out of spite of losing access to our beloved potato wedges. Those gave the mashed potatoes a run for their money and in comparison, the new fries just look disappointing. Once we tried them though, they were perfectly fine.

The secret recipe fries are certainly seasoned well and have a crispiness to them. By the time they reached us, they became cold quickly compared to the other sides we tried, which was difficult to set aside while judging. Like most fast food fries, KFC's are better when they are warm. Coming from the wedges, it's clear these fries are pretty light on actual potato content.

We couldn't help but wish these were heftier and more filling, especially for the nutritional value. Of all the sides these are the least healthy, with a sodium level of 1,100 milligrams per serving and over 40 grams of carbohydrates.

Mac & Cheese

cup of mac and cheese
cup of mac and cheese - Bryn Gelbart/Daily Meal

We don't often opt for macaroni and cheese as our side dish when eating fast food. Something about it feels too much like it should be its own meal. This was our first time trying KFC's mac & cheese and we were pleasantly surprised by the results.

For starters, the noodles were not soggy. They were not what we would consider al dente by any means, but they held up to the heaping amounts of cheese sauce that surrounded them. In terms of flavor, this was a pretty standard mac, which meant it was creamy and salty. Obviously, we wish the cheddar flavor had shown through a bit more, but we also realize that is holding this to a higher standard than it deserves. If you enjoy mac and cheese on the regular or have a child who does, then you won't have any problems with this side dish.


biscuit next to box
biscuit next to box - Bryn Gelbart/Daily Meal

KFC biscuits might not be as buttery as Popeyes', but they are a top-tier fast food biscuit for plenty of other reasons. We actually prefer the soft, flaky inside of the KFC biscuit to the crispness of its biggest competitor, which often gives you a dry product. Plus, it's more versatile and it's just as good as a savory side as it is a sweet one -- the latter is best achieved with a drizzle of honey on each side. Needless to say, this side ranks extremely high.

The biscuit we tried was not the freshest we've ever had, but it was crisp on the outside and soft (but not too doughy) on the inside. These little pillows of heaven come with every non-sandwich meal at KFC and on its own, a biscuit will only cost you 99 cents. That's a pretty good value and about a fourth of the cost of the other sides on the menu.

Mashed Potatoes And Gravy

hand holding spoon and mashed potatoes
hand holding spoon and mashed potatoes - Bryn Gelbart/Daily Meal

It's hard to compete with an old favorite. It wasn't even really a competition. From the first bite, we knew this was the winner. These potatoes and gravy melt in your mouth and impressively (unlike the fries) they even stayed warm en route.

You might as well call these whipped potatoes, given how unnaturally smooth the texture is. Ignoring lingering questions about how KFC gets its potatoes so smooth, we realize that we are eating fast food and shut our brains off. The result is buttery, creamy, savory, and downright delicious. And don't forget the gravy, either. Say what you will about KFC, but it's got that gravy-to-potato ratio down to a science. You can get the two separately, but we can attest that they are better together.

All that was missing was the spork. Whatever happened to those, anyway?

Read the original article on Daily Meal.