Taste-Test: The KFC 'Boneless Box' Is A Tasty Rip-Off

Yesterday, we taste-tested KFC's highly-touted "bone-free" original recipe chicken. KFC has billed its boneless chicken as "a contemporary product for the new consumer" — which apparently translates to less food for the same amount of money.

Described as a "dramatic shift" in KFC’s flagship 45-year old product, Original Recipe Boneless chicken retains the same 11 secret herbs and spices, but with all bones removed.

"With more of our Australian customers now opting for chicken ‘off the bone’, the introduction of Original Recipe Boneless is the next step in our ongoing journey to modernise our menu and meet changing consumer needs," KFC Australia’s chief marketing officer Valerie Kubizniak said in a statement.

"Original Recipe Boneless gives our customers the flexibility to enjoy KFC without the messiness of the bones, packed with the same great taste people know and love."

The KFC Boneless Box comes with three pieces of boneless chicken, a small chips, soft drink, bread roll and potato and gravy for $10.95.

This puts it at the same price-point as a traditional three-piece feed which also comes with a small chips, soft drink, bread roll and potato and gravy.

The first thing you notice when opening the box is how meager the meal looks — each piece is around the size of 2.5 chicken nuggets which makes for pretty light fare. It almost feels like you're eating something from the snack menu despite paying full price (especially if you toss the potato and gravy straight in the bin like I do.)

Granted, part of this is a physiological illusion due to the removal of bulky bones, but that doesn't explain why I felt significantly less satisfied after eating the meal. It almost seems as if KFC sneakily stripped some of meat away during the de-boning process. Hmm.

My suspicion is somewhat backed up by the meal's energy content. According to KFC's nutritional info, each piece of boneless chicken contains 527 kilojoules, while a boned piece of original recipe comes in at 658kJ.

Admittedly, other factors could have contributed to this kilojoule anomaly, such as the cooking duration and the inclusion of skin. However, there's no arguing with what my tummy tells me and I definitely felt less full after eating the Boneless Box when compared to a regular three-piece feed. It would need to be priced at around the $7 mark to be considered good value for money.

So we've established that the Boneless Box is overpriced, but what does it actually taste like? After all, a delectable chicken meal is usually worth paying a premium for. Unfortunately, we didn't think the boneless chicken pieces were anything special. Our meal came with one piece of breast and two pieces of thigh fillet (boneless legs and wings aren't offered, which is just as well given how puny the breasts and thighs are).

The breast was as juicy and succulent as you'd expect from KFC. However, the batter seems more dominant than usual which leaves you with floury, slightly unpleasant aftertaste. The thigh pieces, meanwhile, had slightly chewy, greyish flesh. For some reason, this is a lot less appetising when it's not attached to a bone. Perhaps it's because we're used to seeing soft white meat in KFC's nuggets and crispy strips. Frankly, anything other than breast meat doesn't cut it when it comes to boneless, battered chicken.

All in all, the KFC Boneless Box isn't anything you'd want to write home about (presumably to Kentucky). It's pricey, insultingly small and doesn't taste particularly delicious either. If you're keen to try it, we'd recommend picking up a single piece at the introductory price of $2. Bring back the KFC Zinger Pie, we say.

Score: 5/10


Comments

    I tried the zinger pie last week and i found it to be not very zingery and not very filling for $4.

      Yeah, the Zinger Pie I bought based on the emphatic Lifehacker recommendations was flavourless, mushy, soggy and rubbish. I would place it on the level of a microwaved Four 'n Twenty chicken pie. It was a rip off.

      Also: "If your keen to try it..."

      Journalism!

    especially if you toss the potato and gravy straight in the bin like I do Whaaaaatt?? After the chicken, that's the best bit!

      Exactly, dipping chips in potato and gravy is pretty much my #1 reason for going to KFC

        If you arent dipping the boneless chicken into the gravy you are doing it wrong. you can also swap out a potato+gravy for a large gravy and upgrade your dipping powers.

        The only part of KFC I still like is dipping chips into potato and gravy. Something in the chicken always makes me seriously unwell, but the chips/gravy combo is great.

      I always ask for no potato and gravy but a upgrade chips instead for the same price

      This may come as a bit of a shock to you, but brace yourself, different people have ... *pause for effect* different tastes!

      Shocking, I know! Not everyone likes the same things! Whoah! Unbelievable isn't it?

      So just because you find it the best bit, doesn't necessarily mean everyone else does.

        Breaking news: People are allowed to disagree with other people's opinions.

          In that case I'd suggest being more careful in your wording next time if all you intend to infer is a difference of opinion to another person because it came across as a telling of another person that they're wrong.

            It's not what you said, but how you said it..

            Really? I thought I came across as rather light hearted, it's not like I insulted him or anything. I think it's maybe you who needs to lighten up a bit.

            Pretty sure none of the responses above your actually said someone else wrong because of their own personal opinions, to me they just look like personal opinions...

            Plus I'm pretty sure if the majority of people didn't want the Potato and Gravy KFC with all their market research would have figured that out and started using something else. Infact, now that I think about it, they already do, some countries use different things, pretty sure the UK uses Peas and Gravy.

            Me, PERSONALLY, I love the gravy and mashed potato, definitely up there with my reasons for going to KFC!

            You are either a troll or you really need to lighten up

      Toss the potato and gravy away you inhuman monster

      potato and gravy is gross, just let us upsize the chips instead

      I get my Potato and Gravy swapped for an upsize on the chips.

      why dont you just tell the server not to give it to you? instead you waste it. douche!

        sentiment good, namecalling bad!

        anyways i always swap mine for coleslaw!

      Why wouldn't you swap it for something else? Like more chips? Or coleslaw?...And you're complaining about it being expensive and you throw a piece of the meal away OP..

    I prefer thigh fillets over breast. Breast dries out too easily.

    Of course, if it's grey and chewy then I'll take a pass. Chicken not 'sposed to be that colour!

      It most definitely IS meant to be...

      After a few days in the sun.

    I tried this the other day. I wasn't impressed. It didn't help that the moron who served me gave me half a box of chips when I ordered and paid for an upsize (do KFC make a point of hiring idiots or something?). Even so, I was very underwhelmed by it. The pieces were tiny. Even the breast portion of the normal chicken bits has more meat, even when you remove the bone/cartilage in the middle. It did taste nice, but I think I'll stick with the normal pieces rather than get this again.

      ARGH! I hate it when that happens. KFC seem to be the worst offenders of half-filling large chip boxes (so you only get as many as you would have if you didn't upsize it, if not less) and that's the most likely store I'm likely to do drive-through for so it's harder to check before leaving. :/

        Tell me about it. I usually check before leaving, but this time I forgot. The one time I forget, and they do it to me. They never do it when I'm eating in or when I remember to check.
        I don't get why they do it though. A friend of mine works at MacDonald's, and at his particular store they would be racked over the coals if they did something like this. However, every single KFC I've been to have been sub-par. What is it with KFC and useless staff?

          A. Why do you keep going if you've been burnt so many times?
          B. Maybe you're just exaggerating...
          C. So you've never made a mistake at work before?

            A. Maybe he likes KFC
            B. Hardly, I've been burnt by KFC, McDonalds and Hungry Jacks at various stores. You just figure it's that person, not the organisation and they'll do better next time with different staff?
            C. Of course, however you don't expect the same damn mistake time after time with the 'superior training' these companies supposedly offer.

            D. I hate lettered lists.

              E. Have you tried numbered lists?

                Numbered, Roman Numerals and even Startrek Captains!
                Pike.
                Kirk.
                Chekov.
                Harriman.
                Picard.
                Sisko.
                Janeway.
                Archer.
                Pike.
                Nu-Kirk.
                Quinto-Spock.
                Nu-Kirk again.

                Doesn't make for a very sequential list...

              A. She, not he. ;) And yes, I do like KFC every now and then. Doesn't everyone? (well, maybe not vegetarians/vegans)
              B. That's exactly what I expect.
              C. Good point. They are supposed to be trained, but I just don't see it.
              D. I agree.

            A. So by your reasoning I should avoid anywhere I get bad customer service? If that's the case, then I wouldn't be able to do grocery shopping, and I certainly wouldn't have internet access. Why should I change the way I do anything or avoid going to certain places simply because said place can't train its staff correctly? Besides, it's up to the business and staff to change things, not the customer.

            B. I wish I were, but I'm not. There's a high turnover of staff at my local KFC, and the vast majority of them don't want to be there and are completely uninterested in their job.

            C. Of course I've made mistakes at work. I'm only human. However, I learn from them and strive to do better.

      I don't think they make a point of hiring idiots, it is just that any idiot can get a job there. All they want is people that can "do" and without question. Monkeys in rockets pressing buttons - they do not need to know why or even how, just so long as they "do".

        Sadly I suspect you're right. It also doesn't help that most of the employees are teenagers who have yet to develop a proper work ethic (that's not to say all teenagers are like that. Just that those I've encountered at KFC are like that).

    Good to know the quality and pricing is still a farce at KFC.

    Still the best thing that you can get on the menu is the Chicken fillet pieces.

    Ask for them instead and prepare to be all deliscioused out. They are not on the menu, but they are damn worth asking for.

      THIS. There's a name for it, but I keep forgetting - I generally can say "it's called the fillet box or something" and they know what I'm after.

        Fillet box, I got them all the time when they were on the menu. It was the best when they did the H&S fillets box with supercharged dipping sauce.

      You mean the pieces they use for the burgers? How much are they?

        They're pretty expensive, even more expensive than this box. I think the last time I got them it was 3 fillets for about $11, but I was drunk at the time so not only do I not remember the specifics, I remember thinking I had a lot more money than I really did. They are incredible though. Really crispy batter and tender inside.

          Yep, Fillets Box, ask for that and they know what you talking about. And yeah they are the fillets they put on the burgers but after you add the sauce and lettuce on a burger they go all soggy. They are nice and crunchy, good white chicken.

          I get charged $11.45 for three at my local KFC (Gladesville) but last night I got charged $6 because the girl working the drivethru said she charged me the boneless chicken special price ($2 a piece at the mo).

          I was trying to be (somewhat) healthy last night (even though I could inhale them in 3 seconds flat) so I took them home and chopped them up into slices on a salad of lettuce, crumbled fetta, capsicum and cherry tomatoes with balsamic vinaigrette all over it. Its the biz.

    Tried the meal the other day and yes they are small, the old fillet box or 3 piece meal is better, but the last time I got a 3 piece meal I got 2 wings and a drumstick plus stale chips, bit of a lucky dip,

    There is a KFC game on android at least where you earn vouchers for beating levels. It's a bad game apparently. Haven't played it but were with people that were.

    I found that they were quite tough and dry compared with the usual piece of original recipe

    Eating around the bones also slows down the eating process, which allows the body to feel more full. Take out the bones and you're bite bite done...where's the rest.

      Good point! So its potentially more fattening despite the lower kJ count. Worst 'ongoing journey to modernise our menu' ever.

        Also, they introduced them so people could eat chicken pieces one handed while on their phone. true story, check it out.

        I by far prefer these to regular KFC, which is half the time mostly composed by a thick layer of flabby skin..

        Just give me the good stuff, and 5x as much of it, muahaha.

    How about just not eat KFC?

      That's my method, I'm very satisfied with the results so far. I haven't felt cheated by KFC in years.

    Thats larger than the one's I got in my pack, seriously it was like a nugget https://twitter.com/DamonBransom/status/389314719070175233/photo/1

    I think some (but not all) of the lower kilojoule count will come from the fact that there is less surface area and therefore less spiced flour dusting the chicken, which also means less oil and fat.
    Lean, skinless chicken breast, for example, has a low Kj count even for a large piece.

    Dman - I took it as light hearted ...... but I think you are wrong. Thats stuffs straight to the gut. Tasty Tasty gut food

    Chris Jager, maybe in the interest of fairness you could go out and get one of these meals and an equivalent prices boned meal, take the meat off the boned pieces and weigh them to find out if its actually true or just your brain telling you?

    Good News Everyone!

    Some KFCs are now selling the zinger pie for $2! KFC Nunawading has them for those in eastern vic :)

    I tried the Boneless Box the other night and I was really disappointed for the same reason. It didn't feel like a good enough meal given what it cost. I can't see myself buying one again.

    Also, now I desperately want KFC, damn it!

    I find the sizes of the Chicken vary on visit per visit, last night i got 4 pieces but they were a bit smaller than usual, when i went last week they were bigger. Also when the has the same thing last year i sometimes got pieces the size of which goes in the burgers

    On the greyish meat, if its like that then they have overcooked it. Thighs if cooked right are more tender

    EDIT: According to the website its meant to be "skinless" so there is no inclusion of skin, also it is breast, thigh and leg meat, so it varies what part you are eating.

    In my opinion i think you should have two visits (at separate stores) before making an article to get a better idea of what its like, or if the first visit was just shit.

    Its also been on the menu for 2 years now.

    Last edited 14/10/13 8:29 pm

    I don't know but it just seems like the "Boneless" is exactly the same as the chicken you find in the original recipe fillet burger. I've worked at KFC and those Fillets are breaded the exact same way as the original recipe chicken. Haven't tasted the boneless, don't plan to.

    Australia needs proper fast food fried chicken fast! We gotta get Jollibee set up here! They have great fried chicken in the form of "Chickenjoy".

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