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Is Arby’s Diablo Chicken Sandwich Spicy?

In with a bang, the age of spicy chicken sandwiches rolls forth in 2022, as was foretold in the capsaicin prophecies.

arbys diablo dare chicken box

Diablo Chicken Sandwich Ingredients

We’ll be looking for the full ingredient breakdown of the Diablo Chicken Sandwich over the next few weeks, but in the short term here’s what we know. The Diablo Chicken Sandwich includes the following: ghost pepper jack cheese, fiery hot seasoning, fire-roasted jalapeños, and Diablo BBQ sauce served on a toasted red chipotle bun with lettuce, pickle, mayo, and a fried chicken patty.

The big spice bringers ingredient-wise are the ghost pepper jack cheese and the Diablo BBQ sauce. Ghost pepper jack cheese tends to have bits of diced or finely chopped peppers inside, but this slice looked to be closer to tiny little flecks. If we were talking about Pepper X cheese then maybe this ends up being a big contributor. Still capable of adding heat, but probably not much in this case. This leaves the Diablo BBQ sauce as the doom bringer of the ingredients. What’s in it? Who knows, but from a mouthfeel, it seems like there could be some extract or base-level pepper powder that brings some pain.

Once we have the full ingredient list it will be easier to identify what spices are in the “fiery hot seasoning” but for now we can say it’s likely some combo of black pepper, cayenne, and paprika, classics in the peppery seasoning game. None of these contribute much to the heat but add a familiar flavor.

Spicy detractors here include the mayo, lettuce, and pickle. Mayo as a base is notorious for bringing down the level of heat, but darn if it doesn’t add a tasty layer (said the Midwesterner). Pickles are the other primary detractors because the brine and acidity automatically begin offsetting the spicy layers that are brought forth by the peppers, thus why you see it as a primary ingredient in most hot sauces.

Diablo Chicken Sandwich Taste Test

Via Arby’s: “Crispy chicken with ghost pepper jack cheese, fiery seasoning, fire-roasted jalapenos, pickles, lettuce, mayonnaise, and a Diablo BBQ sauce on a toasted red chipotle bun. Served with a free snack-size Vanilla shake to help cool you down. Trust us, you’ll need it.”

From the presentation alone, Arby’s Diablo Chicken Sandwich screams heat. That’s at least what a red bun will do for a sandwich. Lifting a half to my face, the Diablo BBQ sauce oozes out the sides, a thick sticky sauce, tying the whole sandwich together. The first bite is tame enough, all ingredients combining to take you on a roller coaster from not hot, to hot, to less hot, back up a bit, then leveling out at a mid-range heat with a lasting linger.

Halfway through the sandwich, the Diablo BBQ sauce was starting to take hold. While the other ingredients noted above play a part, the Diablo BBQ sauce is the main bringer of heat. Lips tingling from what I believe to be pepper extract, I could feel the mucus in my head starting to dislodge a bit.

The bun, chicken, mayo, pickles, and lettuce, bring a welcomed coolness to the sandwich, but the driving sweet heat of the Diablo BBQ keeps bringing you back to the top of the fast-food spicy chain, the whole point of what Arby’s was setting out to do. The diary and peppers of the cheese play as a cooling/warming mechanism, adding to the up and down of the spicy experience.

As a fast-food sandwich, it’s average. Wendy’s and Chick-Fil-A do a much better chicken breast/patty, while Arby’s is similar to what you’d expect in a an average chicken from both a breading and thickness perspective. The additional ingredients are a welcome advancement in spicy chicken technology, with the roasted jalapenos adding just a slight smokiness. Verdict: good enough, with the spicy contributors taking this to the top of the spicy chicken wars.

So, Is Arby’s Diablo Chicken Sandwich Spicy?

Yes, actually. For those heatseekers that are numb to burning off your receptors, this won’t blow you away, but for the average heat-curious restaurant goer, the Diablo Chicken Sandwich is likely to have you sniffling and mouth-breathing with the level of heat it brings. Be sure to get your shake (they forgot ours), because if you’re not used to heat, this one is going to burn.

arbys diablo dare chicken sandwich

It looks sad.

The Arby’s Diablo Chicken Sandwich is the spiciest chicken sandwich in the fast-food game and it’s all thanks to their spicy sauce. Without further verification of the ingredient list, all we have is our hunch, but from taste, smell, and linger of heat, we believe the sauce to contain oleoresin capsicum or pepper extract. This pure form of capsaicin is an oily resin that stays longer on your lips and tongue, tastes a bit of chemical, and is very hot. We believe Arby’s is leveraging this in their sauce, leading to the enhanced heat.

A word of warning, the Arby’s Diablo Chicken Sandwich contains 70%+ of your daily allowance of sodium (1,752mg).

For more spicy fast food sandwiches, check out our posts about the Spicy Chicken Sandwich at McDonald’s.

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