Popeyes chicken sandwich

Popeyes chicken sandwich (Photo by KDC-1 on Shutterstock)

Popeyes has been a popular fried chicken restaurant for decades. From its signature chicken to its chicken sandwich and its biscuits, there are several mouthwatering items Popeyes offers on its menu. Have you been in the mood for some tasty fried chicken? StudyFinds has put together a list of the best Popeyes menu items.

Millions of Americans eat fast food on a daily basis. A recent study reveals that 79 percent of Americans ate fast food the previous week. Contradicting a long-held popular belief that poor Americans are the predominant fast food consumers, an Ohio State University study finds that even the richest of those surveyed are eating at the quicker, cheaper chain restaurants at nearly the same volume.

Fast food is such a modern American staple that some hungry customers won’t even go to a restaurant without a drive-thru, a study reveals. In fact, nearly half of Americans in a new poll would avoid going to a store that didn’t have a drive-thru option (47%). The survey of 2,000 U.S. adults found that twice as many people prefer the drive-thru to actually entering a store on foot (28% vs. 14%). A third of those who prefer drive-thrus claim they will “always” choose that option when it’s available (32%).

So, are you craving the decadent crunch of Popeyes chicken? As their jingle says, “Love That Chicken From Popeyes!” If you don’t know where to start, StudyFinds has compiled a list of the top five best Popeyes menu items. Did we miss one of your favorites? Let us know in the comments below!

Popeyes sign
Popeyes sign (Photo by Jonathan Weiss on Shutterstock)

The List: Best Popeyes Menu Items, According to Experts

1. Signature Chicken

As it should, Popeyes’ signature chicken takes the top spot. “Ah, the classic. The chicken that started it all,” writes Mashed. “Popeyes Signature Chicken is great. There’s just something about the smell of the spices and grease that gets the blood flowing and the stomach growling, isn’t there? Ever since the ‘Love That Chicken’ tagline originated in 1980, people have been singing the praises of Popeyes Signature Chicken. Regardless of whether you’re a wing person, a breast person, or a drumstick person, you’ll love the crunch of their famous batter. Popeyes marinates their chicken for 12 hours, which is rather noteworthy for a fast food chain. It just goes to show that they don’t skimp on quality here. The result is that the chicken is juicy and moist. No dry fried chicken to be found here!”

“Popeyes’ Signature Chicken is what started it all,” notes Shopfood. “Before the chain became successful, it was a struggling restaurant called Chicken on the Run, serving traditional Southern-fried chicken. It was reopened in 1972 as Popeyes Famous Fried Chicken, this time selling New Orleans-style chicken, and the rest is history.”

Patrons can get the signature chicken spicy or mild. “I don’t care where you are in the world, the smell of Popeyes spicy chicken will invade an entire room (usually a barroom, and often on Saints Sunday), and if you grew up in these parts, it’s our equivalent to Proust’s madeleines,” says Thrillist. “But it really is better here in NOLA than anywhere else, even if they have a Popeyes in Dubai or wherever. That crackly skin and fragrant, spicy meat… it’s basically our birthright. This beautiful, hot chicken is the reason that Popeyes exists, and boy howdy, do we love it.”

2. Biscuits

One of Popeye’s favorite sides customers go for is their tasty biscuits. “A meal is not a meal without bread,” says Spoon University. “The biscuits are salty and buttery and fluffy on the inside. If you sit one on a napkin, it leaves a grease spot. I may shave three years off my life every time I eat one of these, but it is worth every greasy bite.”

“The buttermilk biscuits haven’t left the menu since debuting in 1983. They’re soft and delicate, yet flaky and crumbly,” writes Time Out. “Whether you eat them plain or create your own chicken sando, you can’t go wrong. If anything, you can’t go to Popeyes and not get biscuits with your fried chicken.”

Audacy refers to Popeye’s biscuits as the “main attraction.” “The description of Popeyes own website, ‘hearty and flaky buttermilk biscuits’ hardly does justice to the chain’s own supreme bakery item. They’re not a side, but a main attraction of the eating experience, rising above mere carbs or protein accompaniment to achieve pillowy nirvana. They’re salty and buttery and perfect. There’s a reason every home baker has posted a copycat recipe online.”

3. Red Beans & Rice

Red beans and rice is not your standard fast-food fare, but Popeyes has made it its own. “Red beans and rice is another one of my favorite Popeyes signature sides straight from the Louisiana kitchen,” writes Restaurant Clicks. “A staple of Creole cooking, red kidney beans are slowly simmered with onion, garlic, bell peppers, and a blend of spices, thyme, cayenne, paprika, and served over seasoned rice. Traditionally, the addition of pork or sausage gave the dish a natural smoky flavor. Why does fast food does have to always be the same boring old thing? I enjoy discovering a food option like Popeyes red beans and rice. Something different.”

“One of the top Popeyes classic sides that came directly from Louisiana’s kitchen is red beans and rice,” notes Whimsy & Spice. “Red kidney beans, a mainstay of Creole cuisine, are gently softened with onion, garlic, bell peppers, and a mixture of seasonings, including thyme, cayenne, and paprika. They are then added as topping to seasoned rice. Historically, this item’s natural charred flavor came from the addition of meaty products like pork and sausage.”

“Popeye’s briefly removed red beans and rice in 2021, but customer demand brought the dish back,” according to Shopfood. “Popeyes combines long-grain rice and red kidney beans to create this hearty side dish. It’s served in a sauce made with pork fat, brown sugar, and a blend of spices, which bursts with flavor.”

4. Tenders

A classic staple, you can get Popeyes tenders made in a variety of ways, including spicy, mild, blackened and chicken waffle. “There’s something inevitably sad about taking chicken from the bone, a loss of an essential, elemental carnivorous component,” writes Thrillist. “That said, these tenders are our jam. They are designed to be eaten by the bucketful.”

If you really want to kick it up a notch, Mashed recommends Popeyes’ voodoo tenders. “Popeyes comes out with limited edition offerings all the time, but most of them pass on without any real fan base. These Voodoo Chicken Tenders though? We would fight for these. Not only do you get three or five of Popeyes delicious chicken tenders with each order, but they pack a major flavor punch with their drizzling of ghost pepper, garlic, fried green onions. Add in that Voodoo Sauce and it’s spicy, sweet, and salty is everything you need in your mouth (and life). They’re not for everyone,though. Ghost peppers are typically over 1 million on the Scoville scale for spiciness (that’s up to 400 times hotter than a jalapeno by the way), and while you won’t be biting right into one, these tenders do pack a punch. The sweetness of the sugar and pineapple in the sauce balances it out though, so don’t be afraid to try these if you haven’t yet (and if they’re still available).”

Restaurant Clicks is a fan of Popeye’s chicken waffle tenders. “Fried chicken and waffles are part of the American South’s soul food culture. I do not understand quite how, but, the salty, crunchy chicken is somehow complemented by the buttered waffles in sweet syrup. Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen has managed to create the two tastes with their Chicken Waffle Tenders. Chicken Waffle Tenders are handcrafted by dipping them in a light waffle batter instead of classic buttermilk, then deep-fried. Chicken and waffles in one! Sign me up! With a side dip of sweet Honey-Maple sauce, Popeyes once again captures a Southern-style classic taste making it available as a delicious fast-food item.”

5. Chicken Sandwich

Rounding out the top five is the ever-popular Popeyes chicken sandwich. “Every so often, a menu item will generate so much buzz that it will result in long lines and sell-outs. This is exactly what has been happening all these years with Popeyes’ iconic Chicken Sandwich,” writes Whimsy & Spice. “With all the hoopla, you cannot but try it to see for yourself if it’s worth it. But let us tell you that it absolutely is worth all the hype. Why is that so? What you get when you order this chicken sandwich is a fresh and toasted brioche bun with sour pickles and your choice of traditional or hot mayo, along with a warm and flavorful chicken breast that has been cooked in a mix of Louisiana spices.”

“The Chicken Sandwich is my favorite item on the Popeyes menu,” notes Shopfood. “I love the classic chicken sandwich, but you can also order the spicy version. Both sandwiches include an all-white meat chicken breast marinated in a blend of Louisiana spices and coated in buttermilk breading. They are served on a toasted and buttered brioche bun and topped with pickle chips. The classic sandwich includes a mayo spread, while the spicy chicken sandwich uses a spicy mayonnaise sauce instead.”

The Popeyes chicken sandwich comes in classic or spicy. “Popeyes destroyed the chicken sando game in 2019, launching a viral sensation and equally furious backlash when sandwich stocks ran out at most Popeyes locations,” says Audacy. “Even after the media and the hype died down, though, the sandwich is still bonkers good, providing Popeyes signature chicken on the go.”

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Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. 

About Matt Higgins

Matt Higgins worked in national and local news for 15 years. He started out as an overnight production assistant at Fox News Radio in 2007 and ended in 2021 as the Digital Managing Editor at CBS Philadelphia. Following his news career, he spent one year in the automotive industry as a Digital Platforms Content Specialist contractor with Subaru of America and is currently a freelance writer and editor for StudyFinds. Matt believes in facts, science and Philadelphia sports teams crushing his soul.

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