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KFC Beyond Fried Chicken is back -- for now. What to know about the meatless nuggets

KFC's plant-based "chicken" nuggets are available nationwide, but only for a limited time.

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After successful test runs, KFC now offers Beyond Chicken at all locations.
Yum Brands

For a limited time, Kentucky Fried Chicken and Beyond Meat have brought back the Beyond Fried Chicken nuggets, a plant-based alternative to the original KFC fried chicken. KFC offers the nuggets in six or 12 pieces, as well as in the fast-food giant's first ever plant-based combo meal. But if you're interested in trying the plant-based nuggets, you'll need to act fast before supplies run out.

KFC originally launched a test run of Beyond Chicken in Atlanta in 2019, when the entire product sold out in 5 hours. KFC Beyond Chicken relaunched this year on Jan. 10 and is now offered at all US locations.

I'll tell you what you need to know about KFC's Beyond Fried Chicken, including cost, what it tastes like, ingredients and nutrition details of the plant-based substitute, as well as how long it'll be around.

Does it taste like real chicken?

It's close. The Beyond Fried Chicken nuggets have a similar taste to KFC's fried chicken, and the texture is similar. Upon opening the box, the nuggets were heavier, larger and more square than regular chicken nuggets. The breading was crisp and fresh, while the inside was much denser than an average nugget, but the flavor was similar to real chicken. I found the plant-based nuggets to be more filling than chicken nuggets.

Yum Brands describes it as "packed with delicious flavor and the juicy satisfaction that you'd expect from KFC's iconic fried chicken but in a plant-based option."

However, some Reddit users had differing opinions about the faux chicken and used terms like "disappointed" and "inedible" to describe it. The decision of how it tastes, however, is ultimately up to you. If you generally enjoy KFC food or Beyond Meat, this might be up your alley. 

Is KFC Beyond Fried Chicken completely vegan?

No. While KFC's Beyond Fried Chicken is plant-based, it's not prepared in a vegan or vegetarian way, Yum Brands said in a press release. Although KFC doesn't specify, it could mean the nuggets may be cooked in oil that isn't vegan. It could also mean it's cooked in the same fryers used to make meat-based fried chicken.

So if your diet doesn't allow for much wiggle room, this will not be the best option for you.

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The nuggets are only back for a limited time.

KFC

What are the ingredients in KFC Beyond Chicken?

Much like KFC's fabled "secret blend of 11 herbs and spices," the recipe for its Beyond Chicken is proprietary and not available to the public. The fast-food company simply attests that the protein in Beyond Chicken is "made from plants instead of animals," and that those proteins come from "soy and wheat proteins." 

The breading for the KFC Beyond Nuggets should be similar to that used on the KFC Popcorn Nuggets. 

How long will KFC Beyond Fried Chicken be available?

KFC didn't specify how long it would keep the Beyond Fried Chicken around. It only said it'd be while supplies last. Since it's testing the market nationally now with the plant-based meat, it's possible KFC could bring it back in the future. 

On the KFC Beyond Fried Chicken FAQ, the company estimates that the plant-based chicken will be available for about four weeks. 

How much does the Beyond Fried Chicken cost?

You can get a 6-piece Beyond nuggets for $7 or a 12-piece Beyond nuggets for $14, plus tax. (Price may vary by location.) You can choose which sauce, and you can order them as a combo meal and choose your side. But if you're planning to keep your meal plant-based, the fries may be the best option.

Are Beyond Fried Chicken nuggets healthier than regular KFC nuggets?

KFC doesn't sell regular chicken nuggets, but it does have fried wings and tenders. Here's what the KFC full nutrition guide says. 

The Beyond Fried Chicken nuggets have 480 calories in a six-piece meal with 27 grams of fat, 1,440 milligrams of sodium and 30 grams of carbohydrates. In comparison, six unsauced fried wings also have 480 calories with 36 grams of fat, 900 milligrams of sodium and 18 grams of carbs. Six pieces of KFC's extra crispy tenders have 810 calories with 43 grams of fat, 1,890 milligrams of sodium and 48 grams of carbs. 

The nutrition of the Beyond Fried Chicken nuggets is fairly similar to the unsauced fried wings, although the sodium and carbs are significantly higher. However, it does appear to be a healthier option than the crispy chicken tenders.

For more, CNET compared the Impossible Burger with the Beyond Meat Burger. Also, when will Fast Food Inc. make up its mind about plant-based meat?

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