And one fan-favorite item is making its return.
Things are heating up this month—and we’re not just talking about the warmer weather. Wendy’s summer menu has officially launched, and it’s all about the heat.
The menu features two brand-new ghost pepper-packed items, plus the return of a fan-favorite that hit menus for the first time last summer. Starting May 2, you’ll find the new Ghost Pepper Ranch Chicken Sandwich and Ghost Pepper Fries at your local Wendy’s—plus, see the Strawberry Frosty back on menus.
“With all of our research, ghost pepper popped out as the one thing that consumers really gravitated towards that liked spicy food,” said John Li, the vice president of culinary innovation at Wendy’s, in an interview with Allrecipes.
Thus the Ghost Pepper Ranch Chicken Sandwich and Ghost Pepper Fries were born. The Ghost Pepper Ranch Chicken Sandwich is the first new item joining Wendy’s Made to Crave menu this year. It’s meant to layer the heat and hit customers at about an eight or nine out of 10 on the spiciness scale, according to Li.
Wendy’s new Ghost Pepper Ranch Chicken Sandwich features Wendy’s original Spicy Chicken topped with ghost pepper American cheese, ghost pepper- and ranch-seasoned crispy onions, lettuce, tomato, and a ghost pepper ranch sauce.
"The magic is delivering the flavor, because you have heat coming in four places, ghost pepper coming in in three places, [and] the ranch … [which] is key because what it does is balance out the heat,” said Li. “We want you to be able to take one bite and say ‘Yes, that was spicy but that tastes so good, I'm gonna plow through this entire sandwich.’”
After the success of the Garlic Fries, which launched in late 2022, Wendy’s knew it needed to continue adding more menu items that included its fan-favorite Hot & Crispy Fries. And what better side to go with a ghost pepper sandwich than Ghost Pepper Fries?
The Ghost Pepper Fries are made to complement the chicken sandwich, with a unique fry seasoning and the new ghost pepper ranch sauce.
“You can’t eat the Ghost Pepper Ranch Chicken Sandwich without getting the fries, I think it’s just a miss,” said Li.
But if all that heat sounds like too much spice, you’ll be happy to know there’s something to cool it down: the Strawberry Frosty.
Wendy’s Strawberry Frosty dominated the menu last summer, so it essentially was a no-brainer to bring it back, Li told Allrecipes. The Strawberry Frosty will make its return early this year and live on the menu beside the Chocolate Frosty—meaning it will replace the Vanilla Frosty once more.
“The Vanilla fans will get their Vanilla again, but for the season of summer, the Strawberry is the perfect substitute," Li says. "As a matter of fact, the demand was so high that the Vanilla users just switched to the Strawberry. We actually had higher sales on the Strawberry than the Chocolate—you do not see that very often in Wendy’s.”
Even though it’s not technically summer yet, these menu items are officially available and will likely be on the menu through the summer months, which means you have plenty of time to get your spice on and indulge in the Strawberry Frosty once again.