McDonald's Bacon Cajun Ranch McCrispy review: How does it hold up versus the Spicy McCrispy?

We pitted two chicken sandwiches against each other in a no-holds-barred competition to destroy our stomachs.
McDonald's Bacon Cajun Ranch McCrispy
McDonald's Bacon Cajun Ranch McCrispy /

It’s pretty clear to any fast food observer that we are in the middle of a second salvo in the chicken sandwich wars. From meal deals to new takes on old favorites, it’s all chicken, all the time. Enter into the ring, a new challenger: McDonald’s Bacon Cajun Ranch McCrispy, which officially joined the Mickey Dees menu for a limited time as of yesterday (April 22).

The new sandwich comes with most of the stuff in its name… What the chain claims is a “southern-style fried chicken fillet,” along with applewood smoked bacon, pickles, and a Cajun ranch sauce on a toasted potato roll. There’s also a deluxe version that adds lettuce and tomato.

And that’s all well and good, but how does it taste?

In order to test this properly, I ran an experiment and ordered both a non-Deluxe Bacon Cajun Ranch McCrispy, and a Spicy McCrispy, which has been available on the menu for over a year. My thought process was that adding lettuce and tomato would dilute the pure experience. Additionally, I wanted to see how the new sammie held up against the previous spicy sandwich, which I would generally categorize as “fast food spicy.”

What I mean by that is while the Spicy McCrispy has a habanero sauce, it’s mostly just prickly heat without any real flavor. If anything, it overshadows whatever flavor you might get from the relatively substantial chicken breast, washing it out with spice covering your full mouth. So is the Bacon Cajun Ranch McCrispy any better?

Short answer: yes. Unlike the Spicy McCrispy, which continues to seem to have the main goal of lightly wrecking your taste buds (this isn’t Hot Ones level heat we’re talking about, it’s just flavorless), the Bacon Cajun Ranch McCrispy actually tastes like something. As you might expect from a McDonald’s-ified Cajun sauce, this isn’t the explosion of flavor you would find in a po’boy out of New Orleans. But it’s nicely creamy, which cuts through any heat. And you can definitely taste something gesturing in the direction of “Cajun” – i.e., cayenne, paprika, garlic powder, maybe some chili powder – without it being too unpalatable to the masses who regularly visit McDonald’s.

McDonald's Bacon Cajun Ranch McCrispy /

The less said about the rest of the sandwich, probably the better. I personally prefer McDonald’s chicken sandwiches if I have to eat there because the meat is heftier than the burgers, which are wafer-thin. But the bacon was limp and barely present. There was a pickle slice or two tossed on top, and that was it. The main feature was the chicken and the bun, with the Cajun Ranch giving the mildest amount of flavor to the sandwich.

In fact, I probably would have liked the Cajun Ranch better as a dipping sauce for fries – or nuggets – than on the sandwich itself, which diffused the whole taste.

Ultimately, when it comes to Chicken Sandwich War II, McDonald’s continues to be a minor player. Which is surprising, given its prominence otherwise in the fast food world. If you are going to get a spicy chicken sandwich there, I definitely recommend the Bacon Cajun Ranch McCrispy over the Spicy McCrispy. But perhaps you’re better served asking for the sauce on the side and dipping your fries in it, instead.

McDonald's Bacon Cajun Ranch McCrispy. C-. The new sandwich has some nice flavor from the sauce, but otherwise is a minor player in the ongoing chicken sandwich wars.. . McDonald's Bacon Cajun Ranch McCrispy

Next. McDonald’s launching Bacon Cajun Ranch McCrispy for a limited time. McDonald’s launching Bacon Cajun Ranch McCrispy for a limited time. dark