12 Grocery Store Chains That Make Standout Fried Chicken

As avid entertainers and home cooks, we've tried our share of fried chicken — both in creating our own and taking the shortcut to buy the best we can from local grocery stores, delis, and even restaurants. Eaters seek a crispy, crunchy, flavorful coating and skin, never short on richness, and a perfect foil to the juicy, tender, meat within. It should be deliciously hot and decadent; never soggy, dry, cold, or bland; although cold fried chicken out of the fridge is nothing to be poo-poo'ed. Some prefer it classic — with salt, pepper, and a hint of spice — while others look for additions like smoked paprika, a brine or buttermilk bath beforehand, or specific frying oil for that hard-to-beat flavor.

If you're in a bind for entertaining or just a quick, easy weeknight dinner, knowing where to snag the juiciest, crunchiest fried chicken is a tip worth knowing. Pricing, availability of specific cuts, and the amount of chicken you get does vary from store to store. But, regardless of the specifics, between personal eating experience and guidance from local newspapers, bloggers, online reviews, and chefs, here are our top recommendations for which grocery stores make standout fried chicken.

Brookshire Brothers

Located in Texas and Louisiana, Brookshire Brothers is a grocer that started thanks to brothers Austin and Tom Brookshire back in 1921. After convincing their grandmother to hand over her coveted recipe, the brothers began offering freshly fried chicken soon after the business began expanding. Brookshire Brothers says its chicken is fresh, never frozen, and marinated before being hand-breaded and deep-fried. There's also a blend of secret spices involved.

You can snag an eight-piece box of white and dark meat fried goodness for about $9; and a 100-piece box for about $99. The chicken is described as strongly flavored with pepper and garlic; a little greasy, but in the best way. The skin is crispy and in perfect balance with the juicy, tender meat within.

Reviews across Yelp, FourSquare, Tripadvisor, and Reddit in and around Houston nearly all number Brookshire Brothers' fried chicken as the real deal. We're a little disappointed we can't ship it cross-country.


Criss-crossing the southern United States, grocer Winn-Dixie offers a delicious, down-home style fried chicken that has its own loyal following, as evidenced by numerous Tripadvisor, Reddit, and Yelp posts. In addition to a good selection in its hot bars and in the deli, Winn-Dixie offers a Lip Lickin' Chicken box with eight pieces of its no-trans-fat-fried chicken (or its flame-kissed baked chicken). Guests can pair the box with plenty of down-home classic fried chicken sides, too, for an easy grab-and-go meal for the family.

So, what makes Winn-Dixie's chicken delicious? Like the birds at Brookshire Brothers, the chicken is fresh and never frozen, lending to its juiciness. It's also double-breaded and then fried, giving it an extra crunchy, seasoned exterior. The meat inside is tender and juicy, but for those who aren't as big of fans of the thickness of the breading, this may not be your favorite. Still, many reviewers online say it rivals Publix — a reigning fried chicken powerhouse.


You may be hesitant to mark a grocery store outside the deep south — and in L.A., no less — as a star spot to snag fried chicken. Yet, the deeply dark and golden birds at Ralph's allegedly rival those that you'd find at down-home spots in Georgia and the Carolinas. The LA Times listed it as a go-to item for area chefs, being both memorable and delicious.

The breading is described as perfectly in-between: not too thick, and not so thin that you miss it in the bite with juicy, tender meat inside. The spice mixture is a combination of salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and cayenne pepper; while the buttermilk marinade is what keeps the meat tender and helps absorb additional flavor.

At only $10.99 for eight pieces (and in such an expensive area), Ralph's seems like a solid choice for the grocery store chicken you can eat in your car, unseen, for some self-care. This is a no-judgment zone.


We'd be remiss in not including Publix grocers in a roundup of the best fried chicken at your local supermarket. From its Pub Subs laden with its house-made chicken tenders to its legendary deli menu worthy of daily lines during the lunch hour, Publix has a loyal following — especially for its ready-made and grab-and-go items, like its fried chicken.

Some of the beloved qualities of Publix fried chicken include its beloved crunchiness, the perfect saltiness of its juicy meat, and the ginormous size of the pieces. Additionally, the meat is brined, so if you're a fan of fast-food chicken like Chick-fil-A (famous for marinating its chicken pieces in this odd ingredient), Publix will be a new favorite. The addition of celery salt in the seasoning adds a zingy flavor, while the classic combination of salt, pepper, and smoked paprika adds the distinctive down-home flavor patrons love.

Regardless of how you enjoy your fried chicken, Publix offers numerous options. You can snag the bird as whole pieces of bone-in chicken, breaded and fried chicken wings, un-breaded chicken wings, and, of course, breaded chicken tenders.


Stepping into a Wegmans already feels like an upscale shopping experience, between its calming atmosphere, outstanding customer service, and beloved ready-to-eat foods. The grocer, located primarily on the East Coast and started in 1921, feels like the culmination of an upscale grocer and European family market, with the nicest buffet, all rolled into one.

It's not a surprise, then, that Wegmans' fried chicken makes the list of one of our favorites. One Redditor surmises that the chicken is brined, and numerous copy-cat recipes mention a honey-brine used on Wegmans fried birds to ensure juicy, sweet, and well-seasoned meat before breading. Other recipes — and several Wegman's locations — mention buttermilk fried chicken, suggesting a bath in the traditional marinade. Whatever Wegman's fried chicken secrets, the birds are succulent, plump, and delicious. One downside, though: an eight-piece box will run you about $20; nearly double what other grocers are charging. Maybe we'll pay a little extra for the atmosphere we bought it in, though.

Food Lion

No one, ever, has probably ever said that Food Lion is a fancy grocer, or that shopping there is a pleasure. Wegmans, it is not. Heck, it's maybe only a step or two above a convenience store; serving our most basic, essential needs. But, when it comes to fried chicken, it turns out the folks at Food Lion know a thing or two — if you can find a location that serves the bird.

The breading on this very good-to-eat-out-of-the-fridge fried chicken is thick and very crunchy, complementing the dark, decadent fry all over. Black pepper is the dominant flavor here, and the meat is juicy and tender. The only downside would be that the longer this chicken has sat, the less crunchy the coating becomes — because there's such a thick crust of it. The Charlotte Observer called the bird "surprising" in its goodness, but the Raleigh News & Observer found it less delightful. It seems that for Food Lion's birds, location matters. We can attest to our own experiences with Food Lion's fried chicken: It checks the boxes and hits the spot. It's crunchy, hot, juicy, and an excellent lunch for someone with pregnancy cravings (us).

Dave's Markets

If you're not in or around the Cleveland area, you may not be familiar with Dave's Markets, which started as a small family business in the 1920s. With 12 locations around the city, those who've tasted the chain's fried chicken count it as the best in the state.

The grocer starts with Perdue chicken and a secret blend of herbs and spices; no word on if the birds are brined or marinated before being fried in no trans fat oil, but we wouldn't be surprised based on the succulence of the meat. According to Cleveland.com, the birds are then fried skin-on, but there's no lack of crispiness, gumminess, or chewiness to the coating or loss of juiciness. There are lines allegedly at some locations at the time the chicken is being made, so, we're assuming that these birds are as finger-lickin' good as they are affordable (a 24-piece party platter for only $34.99).


Located primarily in the Midwest and started in Michigan, Meijer (pronounced MY-ər) was the first grocery supercenter; it combined produce and grocery with department store offerings, from clothes to toys to gardening and everything in between. It's widely stated that Walmart's inability to understand the grocery game was what gave Meijer the upper hand in the Midwest in the early days. The family-owned grocer puts a lot of stock in its fresh produce, deli, and grab-and-go meals; not least of all, its fried chicken.

So, why the fuss about this particular bird? Meijer's fried chicken isn't especially spiced or brined in a magical concoction. But the pieces of not-too-greasy poultry are some of the biggest around. Breading is fairly thick, but if you get it really fresh, it stays crispy and acts as the perfect foil to the juicy meat within, according to Redditors. An eight-piece box will run you anywhere from $5.99 to 8.99, so cost-wise, you're getting a lot of bang for your buck, too.

SuperLo Foods

In Tennessee, you can get eight pieces of fried chicken for $8.99 at SuperLo Foods. It sounds a little too good to be true, and maybe it is, but this grocer — with locations around the Memphis area — not only has cheap fried chicken, but delicious cheap fried chicken. Named a top spot to nab the bird in Garden & Gun's fried chicken bucket list, the black pepper-laden crust makes SuperLo's chicken irresistible.

One Yelp user said the chicken was the best deal in the area; plus, that getting there around 4:30 p.m. ensured a fresh bird with sides like Hawaiian rolls, macaroni & cheese, and more — enough to feed a family of four — hot and ready. According to Memphis' The Commercial Appeal, waiting for a fresh batch of the fried tenders is your best bet; the crispy thick breading is really at its best when fresh out of the fryer; not sitting under a heat lamp.


Located mainly on the West Coast with a few stores scattered in the Mid-Atlantic, Safeway, a subsidiary of Albertson's grocery stores, has been around for about 100 years. In that time, it seems like they may have learned a few pointers when it comes to fried chicken, which they dish out in their deli daily. An 8-piece bag or box will run about $9.99, with options for all white meat, all dark, just tenders, hot or cold.

According to Insider, the chicken beats out the competition not on looks, but on taste. Its flavor is reminiscent of rotisserie chicken, and the crispy coating, though a bit lacking in areas and not a perfectly uniform dredge, is crunchy and flavorful.

If you're curious about trying this particular bird but aren't ready to commit to more than one piece, Safeway is extremely flexible with the amount of fried chicken you can buy. Guests can grab a single leg, thigh, or breast with several options in terms of coating, sauce, and finish.


Founded near Asheville, North Carolina, Ingles Markets boasts being family and American-owned since 1963. Littered across Alabama, Georgia, the Carolinas, Tennessee, and Virginia, it should come as no surprise to you that this grocery store knows a thing or two about fried chicken. Reviews on TripAdvisor, FourSquare, Yelp, and Reddit all laud the market's ability to produce a plump, juicy chicken with crispy, dark golden skin, and a smattering of spice — which is absolutely everything we want in our grocery store fried chicken.

Prices run about $8.99 for an eight-piece bucket or bag, which includes both dark and white meat pieces, perfect for family members who prefer different things. A pro tip to definitely consider: Most Ingles Markets start dishing out the fried chicken around 11 a.m., so get there on time to grab a hot, juicy piece, no matter what type of fried chicken you are going for.


A collection of grocers sprang up in the 1940s and eventually banded together to create Northeast and Mid-Atlantic supermarket giant, ShopRite. Based primarily in the Garden State of New Jersey (with a few stores in New York and Maryland), ShopRite stores litter the turnpike from north to south and carry plenty of grab-and-go items — primarily Italian-American fare and Pan-Asian offerings. But, perhaps surprisingly, ShopRite's deli section has a knack for serving up delicious fried chicken, which, according to some commenters, is even better than area restaurants.

Some Southerners may scoff at a Northern grocery having delicious, juicy, golden fried birds, but reviewers swear by it — even when store service is frequently lamented as not great. Crafted from antibiotic-free Perdue chicken, the legs, thighs, tenders, breasts, and wings are hand-breaded with a traditional blend of herbs and spices before being fried in trans-fat-free oil. At about $10.99 for an eight-piece basket of the good stuff, the chicken is a great deal for an easy weeknight dinner, too.