New Chick-Fil-A Sandwich Piles On The Best Topping

The Honey Pepper Pimento Chicken Sandwich goes big with a regional Southern specialty.

Chick-fil-A might tinker in the test kitchen occasionally, but it rarely messes around with its flagship products. For America's third-largest fast food chain, it's all about the chicken and always has been. That's why the newly announced limited-time offering on the Chick-fil-A menu is a big deal for the brand: It's the first time Chick-fil-A has offered a twist on the original chicken sandwich.

If Chick-fil-A is going to stray from the simple toasted bun and pickle chips, it might as well lean into its brand identity. The new chicken sandwich contains a nod to its Southern roots, making use of a condiment that couldn't be more fitting.

Chick-fil-A’s new chicken sandwich, explained

Chick-fil-A's new sandwich is the Honey Pepper Pimento Chicken Sandwich. The official press release describes it as an original fried chicken filet "topped with custom-made creamy pimento cheese, mild pickled jalapeños and served on a warm, toasted bun drizzled with sweet honey."


Let's get a closer look at it:

This one's clearly going for the combination of heat with sweet (even though the jalapeños are specified as "mild"), but what's most notable is the pimento cheese, which is primarily known as a Southern specialty often eaten as a dip with crackers, but also enjoyed as a sandwich or as a burger topping.

"The Honey Pepper Pimento Chicken Sandwich uses ingredients and flavors our guests have never experienced at Chick-fil-A before," Chef Stuart Tracy said in the press release.

What is pimento cheese?

Pimento (or pimiento) cheese is a relatively simple mix of cheese, mayonnaise, and pimiento peppers. With that combination of ingredients, you can see why it functions well as a dip and a condiment.

While we commonly attribute pimento cheese to the Southern United States, you might be surprised to find out that pimento cheese is actually a Northern invention that coincided with the popularization of cream cheese, which, by the way, was developed not in Philadelphia but in New York.


Cream cheese proved a hit with consumers around the same time that imported Spanish peppers, aka pimientos, were becoming popular. The two ingredients were destined to meet, and in the early 20th century, pimento cheese (which seems to have dropped the second "I" for ease) was born. You can read more about the history of pimento cheese over at Serious Eats.

It's unclear how pimento cheese became known as a Southern staple, though Serious Eats notes that Georgia eventually became the center of domestic pimiento production for the United States, which partially explains the strong Southern connection.

How to use pimento cheese

Pimento cheese is simple to make; we have a recipe right here (make it!). It's great on crackers or as a dip for veggies, but is also right at home by itself between two pieces of squishy white bread, either as-is or in the form of grilled cheese. Pimento cheese is also great melted on top of burger patties, since it sort of forms sort of a sauce as it heats up. Chick-fil-A refers to the pimento cheese on its new chicken sandwich as "a savory, melty spread," which sounds promising.


Chick-fil-A’s previous pimento cheese experiments

The Honey Pepper Pimento Chicken Sandwich has been in the works at Chick-fil-A for years now. We reported in 2020, at the height of the chicken sandwich wars, that it was being tested out in upstate South Carolina as well as the Asheville, North Carolina area.


A representative for Chick-fil-A explained to The Takeout that the 2020 test run was so popular that some customers drove in from over 12 hours away, and that the sandwich's ratings were so strong that it only made sense to roll it out nationwide.

"During the test our customers rated it highly across all metrics of taste and value, surpassing our other seasonal grilled sandwiches," the representative said. "The enthusiastic customer feedback encouraged us to introduce this sandwich as a limited-time offering nationwide."

Chick-fil-A did not comment on why it took three whole years to bring the Honey Pepper Pimento Chicken Sandwich to market. But given the long, complicated process of bringing fast food fads into existence, and the fact that Chick-fil-A rarely takes wild swings with its menu, we assume it has something to do with the size of the fast food chain and its overall sense of caution.  


Chick-fil-A has a new milkshake, too

The Honey Pepper Pimento Chicken Sandwich has a companion item, a limited-time-only milkshake called the Caramel Crumble Milkshake. It's ice cream spun with blondie crumbles and both butterscotch and caramel flavors, topped with whipped cream and a cherry.


Eye-catching LTOs are sort of a rarity at Chick-fil-A, and I'm sure the legions of existing Chick-fil-A fans will get excited over this one (though it likely won't lure consumers who aren't nearly as enthusiastic about the brand). The last time there was any fuss around its food was when the chain announced it'd be 86'ing its side salad, only to reverse course after so many customers complained. And while the Cauliflower Sandwich has been kicking around select test markets since February, there's no news yet about its wider release.

You'll be able to get your hands on the new Honey Pepper Pimento Chicken Sandwich and Caramel Crumble Milkshake starting on August 28 for a limited time. I think we can all agree that pimento cheese in all its many forms is pretty damn delicious, even if you don't head to Chick-fil-A to eat it.