It’s hard to think of a four word combination that suggests a more satisfying fast food breakfast than a “Honey Butter Chicken Cookie.” Texans who are lucky enough to live in Whataburger Country, where the sandwich is one of the chain’s most iconic dishes, understand: the rest of the country can have their McMuffins or their Croissan’wiches, we have the Biscuit of honey butter chicken, its very name is a mouth-watering combination of four foods that make each other better, each compounded by the next until the expected tangy pleasures multiply exponentially. The “honey” is good, the “honey butter” is really very good, the “honey butter chicken” is awesome, and putting it all on a cookie is perhaps the most delicious way to get 560 calories to start the day from someone across a window at the wheel for just $ 2.89.
Don’t just take our word for it: Whataburger Honey Butter Chicken Biscuit has spawned a cottage industry around its greatness. HEB sells Whataburger-branded Honey Butter on its shelves, so intrepid home cooks can try to ward off confectionery in their own kitchens; the minor league baseball team in the hometown of Whataburger literally change name for each Wednesday game, from Corpus Christi Hooks to Corpus Christi Honey Butter Chicken Cookies. And visitors, newcomers, and texpats alike lean from afar at the delight of creation, going viral in their tributes to slam poetry or oozing sincerity in their melancholy blog posts. Fans petition to the company to offer it on a 24-hour basis, and improvise menu hacks to order one outside of breakfast hours. While Whataburger is ubiquitous throughout Texas, with around seven hundred locations in the Lone Star State, it’s downright rare in the rest of the country. There are a handful of states with a few dozen locations – Arizona, Florida, and Oklahoma among them – but once you leave Texas, generally speaking, you not only leave Whataburger territory but also, by extension, the very concept of honey. Butter chicken cookie behind.
Until recently, anyway. Wendy’s, the second national burger chain, recently started a new push for the revamped breakfast menu it introduced in 2020 – and among the offerings is, indeed, a Wendy’s Honey Butter Chicken Cookie.
It would be foolish to put the two face to face in a tasting competition. Whataburger Honey Butter Chicken Biscuit holds a special place in the hearts of many Texans, and we ourselves are not excluded from that group. Considering the loyalty Texans tend to have to those orange and white stripes, we didn’t taste the Wendy’s sandwich to decide whether to pledge allegiance to the pigtail burger supplier, but rather to determine if you’re one of the many Texpats who spend their busiest mornings longing for the combination of sugar, fat and protein that is the honey butter chicken cookie of their youth – the offer from Wendy’s, which has over eight times as many locations as Whataburger, in every part of the United States, satisfy your craving?
The star of the show: honey butter
Whataburger Honey Butter is such a beloved condiment that you literally can buy it by the bottle. He gets the orange and white striped star not by fluke, but because he’s the star of the show. Any old restaurant can put a strip of fried chicken between a cookie and call it a sandwich; the honey butter that dresses the beloved menu item is where the magic happens, with all the fun of a liberally applied layer of butter melting on a hot chunk of carbs, with a sweet kick and honeyed.
At Wendy’s, honey butter is less noticeable. If consumed straight from the bottle – an experiment we would be happy to conduct, if Wendy’s wanted to send us one – it could be as delicious as Whataburger’s Honey Butter. It’s still butter, still infused with honey (or honey flavoring, or whatever) – but on the Wendy’s sandwich, it doesn’t get the same light as Whataburger does. It’s a problem, if what you fantasize about when you crave the Whataburger sandwich is mostly just that sweet, melt-in-the-mouth layer. If you get stuck in a Wendy’s, we recommend that you apologize if it makes you gluttonous and ask for the sandwich with extra honey butter. But it’s not Wendy’s fault that honey butter doesn’t stand out the same way: it’s chicken butter.
The centerpiece: the chicken
Whataburger Honey Butter Chicken Cookie is a cookie covered in honey butter with a chicken strip in the middle. Whataburger’s chicken strips aren’t shaped like a cookie – they’re small, oblong logs of breaded and fried chicken breast. The cookie is round, so some bites are mostly chicken, while other bites are just cookie and honey butter. At Wendy’s, the chicken is a thin hockey puck that matches the bite-for-bite cookie, so the honey butter doesn’t get a chance to steal the show. It might be bad for honey butter, but it’s good for chicken, which you’ll enjoy more regularly throughout your sandwich experience.
The anchor: the cookies
The biggest difference between the Whataburger and Wendy’s sandwich, however, is the cookie. You don’t need us to tell you that, but Whataburger cookies are good, you all. If you went to a restaurant in a small town and were served a Whataburger cookie, you’d be like, “Yeah, that’s what I expected.” If you have a Wendy’s cookie, you’ll probably be wondering, “Did this come from a little tube of prepackaged cookie dough?” Wendy’s cookie is about on par with McDonald’s cookies, not the glorious floof of a true Southern-style cookie you get at Whataburger. Wendy’s is, after all, a chain from Columbus, Ohio. That’s fine, for fast food, but it’s not transcendent.
Ultimately, this is also where Wendy’s Honey Butter Chicken Biscuit lands. It’s quite tasty for Wendy’s! It has enough echoes of the Whataburger sandwich that, if we were forced to live in a part of the country without Whataburger, would probably make us feel more nostalgic glee in its similarities than sadness because of its differences. Someone is unlikely to perform slam poetry in his honor, or name his minor league baseball team after that, but if you want a sweet, buttery, and chicken kick on something that looks like a cookie in the morning you want it for three dollars, and want to stay in your car while it is served to you, you will find something similar to what you are looking for at Wendy’s.