REVIEW: Popeyes Honey Lemon Pepper Wings

Popeyes has a new sauce to toss its wings in: Honey Lemon Pepper. It follows the Honey BBQ, Roasted Garlic Parmesan, and Signature Hot flavors released late last year. The chicken chain says the wings have “a sweet and tangy punch with zesty lemon and a bit of peppery heat from black pepper, giving you all the flavors you love about lemon pepper wings with an extra hint of honey sweetness.”

Wafting from the black container these came in was a strong lemon scent that I thought smelled a little odd with the Popeyes spices. Thankfully, the thoughts of lemon-scented cleanliness didn’t come to mind. After tasting the sweet, tangy, and peppery chicken, what popped into my head was the goopy lemon sauce I’ve had on chicken from various Chinese takeout places, but with a bit of heat. It’s a strong and natural lemon flavor with an equally intense sweetness that I imagine helps prevent the chicken from getting too spicy.

Popeyes’ website says it’s two on its heat scale of five, and I agree. There’s a kick, but I’m not reaching for a tall glass of lemonade or squirting honey into my mouth from a bear-shaped bottle to soothe any burning. It’s a great tasting sauce, but…

Having 3,609 milligrams of sodium for six pieces is a bit much. In fact, that’s 749 milligrams more than the next highest amount from the Roasted Garlic Parmesan Wings. While I can understand the higher sodium content in chicken with a roasted garlic parmesan sauce, I’m puzzled by how a sauce made from lemons, honey, and pepper could contribute to such a high number. I know it’s fast food, and I know it’s Popeyes, but, geez, that’s a crazy number that doesn’t make sense to me, and I hope it’s a typo.

Popeyes Honey Lemon Pepper Wings are undeniably delicious. While they may not dethrone the Honey BBQ as my favorite, they certainly hold their own. Despite the alarming sodium content, which I hope is a mistake, I believe they’re worth a try.

Purchased Price: $7.49*
Size: 6-piece order
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 1,304 calories, 58 grams of fat, 25 grams of saturated fat, 2 grams of trans fat, 202 milligrams of cholesterol, 3,609 milligrams of sodium, 134 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of fiber, 53 grams of sugar, and 60 grams of protein.

*Because I live on a rock in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, things are a bit pricier here. You’ll probably pay less than I did.

REVIEW: Popeyes Honey BBQ and Roasted Garlic Parmesan Wings

Popeyes has three new chicken wing flavors — Honey BBQ, Roasted Garlic Parmesan, and Signature Hot. Unfortunately, for this review, I was unable to purchase the Signature Hot one (it’s not available at my local Popeyes for some reason), but fortunately for my mouth, I don’t have to experience its burn.

Popeyes’ website says the Honey BBQ and Roasted Garlic Parmesan are two flames on the chain’s five-point spiciness scale, one below its Ghost Pepper Wings. But the Signature Hot is four flames, so both ends of my digestive system are delighted that they had no contact with it. As for the two chicken wing flavors I did try, they would also be two flames on my five-point heat scale. Although I found the Honey BBQ one has a slightly stronger kick and a more lasting spiciness.

To be honest, spicy garlic parmesan wings are a bit weird to me, and the heat distracts from the flavor. It’s odd because every garlic parmesan chicken wing I’ve had up to this point in my life has been the non-mouth-burning kind.

They smell like Caesar salad dressing and have a parmesan-heavy and sometimes mild garlicky taste. But that cheese hits my tongue hard like it’s being used to shave the parmesan onto a Caesar salad. While I enjoyed the gloopy white sauce with minced garlic, I wish it was just one flame on the Popeyes heat index and a tad less salty.

As for the Honey BBQ, it’s sweet, peppery, and spicy. While it has some heat, the honey’s sweetness helps cut through it. It’s also thicker and stickier than the garlic parmesan one. This sauce was my favorite of the two, and I liked it enough that, after finishing every wing, I found myself sucking on my fingers to make sure I wasn’t wasting any of it. Also, BONUS, after eating all six wings, there was still a pool of it sitting in the tray they came in, which I saved and used as a chicken nuggets dipping sauce the next day.

Several years ago, pre-Popeyes Chicken Sandwich, the chain was known for creating creative sauces. It seemed like there was a new one every other month. Rajun Cajun BBQ, Garlic Herb, Cajun Creamy Garlic, Smokin’ Pepper Jam, Wild Honey Mustard, Spicy Pepper Ranch, Red Hot Honey, Creamy Cayenne, Smokin’ Pepper Ranch, Spicy Orange, and Ghost Pepper Ranch, just to name more than a few. While the current wing flavors seem like a good start, I hope Popeyes gets creative with sauces again and comes up with more for its wings.

Purchased Price: $13.99*
Size: 12 wings
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Roasted Garlic Parmesan), 8 out of 10 (Honey BBQ)
Nutrition Facts: (6 pieces) Roasted Garlic Parmesan – 1040 calories, 81 grams of fat, 24 grams of saturated fat, 2 grams of trans fat, 240 milligrams of cholesterol, 2860 milligrams of sodium, 29 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 3 grams of sugar, and 48 grams of protein. Honey BBQ – 880 calories, 46 grams of fat, 17 grams of saturated fat, 2 grams of trans fat, 210 milligrams of cholesterol, 2230 milligrams of sodium, 70 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, 45 grams of sugar, and 46 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Popeyes TRUFF Chicken Sandwich

TRUFF has been around since 2017, but I only became aware of the brand in 2022 when it collaborated with Taco Bell to feature its hot sauce. While researching, I was surprised to learn how many different products it had infused with the infamous fungus. Hot sauce was where it started, but now there’s a variety of products, including oil, pasta sauce, salt, and mayo.

Popeyes’ Spicy TRUFF Chicken Sandwich takes the original chicken sandwich and swaps the standard mayo with Spicy TRUFF Mayo. It’s a rich, creamy base that gets its spicy flavor from red jalapeños and earthiness from the black winter truffles. You can also add a side of the Spicy TRUFF Mayo to your order if you want to try it without committing to having it on your sandwich.

Truffles and I have a mixed relationship. I appreciate the savory, deep, and earthy flavor they can bring to food. When paired and balanced right, the meal can be very enjoyable. However, when low-quality truffle oil is haphazardly added to something simply to make it sound fancy, it usually results in an inedible dish. I approached this limited time item with a healthy amount of skepticism but also a genuine hope it would surprise me.

The smell of the truffles was extremely bold as I took the sandwich out of the package. While not unbearable or nauseating, it was not pleasant. It reminded me of mushrooms in the back of the fridge one day away from becoming inedible. Interestingly, my husband didn’t mind the smell. (Holly Fact: Truffles are similar to cilantro in that a genetic component is most likely the cause of how you smell/taste them). Moving past the smell, I tried a bit of the sauce on its own first.

The creaminess of the mayo and the slight spice of the red jalapeño were the first flavors I tasted. The truffle came creeping up at the end, bringing the umami finish. The mayo didn’t really stand out in a positive or negative way after taking a bite of the sandwich. It was just sort of there, occasionally adding a slightly spicy tang or earth layer to the iconic sandwich with each bite. It was a bit disappointing to have the sauce feel so secondary to the flavor profile. The crunchy, juicy chicken breast, pickles, and soft brioche bun are still as good as they’ve always been.

Popeyes’ Spicy TRUFF Chicken Sandwich is an interesting dabble into “fancy” for the chain, but it didn’t move the needle for me. The fungus-based condiment is certain to have its fans and haters, but for me, I fall in the middle. The sandwich did the heavy lifting of making the sauce palatable when it should have been the other way around, having the sauce elevate the sandwich.

Purchased Price: $5.99 (sandwich only)
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 670 calories, 38 grams of fat, 12 grams of saturated fat, 95 milligrams of cholesterol, 1560 milligrams of sodium, 50 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 8 grams of sugar, and 28 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Popeyes Classic Bacon & Cheese Chicken Sandwich

Will you ever catch a rainbow? Will you ever get within whispering distance of Taylor Swift? Will you ever watch everything available on Netflix? Does adding bacon and cheese make Popeyes’ already great chicken sandwich even better?

The answer to all of these questions is no.

Popeyes’ new Classic Bacon & Cheese Chicken Sandwich combines the chain’s original Chicken Sandwich (with barrel-cured pickle slices, mayo, and buttery toasted brioche buns) with a few bacon slices and some Havarti cheese. Oh, and to make the others on the menu feel included, bacon and cheese are also available on all Popeyes Chicken Sandwich varieties, even the returning Blackened version (which is now a permanent item).

I’ve never had bacon from Popeyes, but after peeling a small rogue piece off the bun and tasting it, I have to say that it was the most memorable piece of fast food bacon I’ve ever had. It was smoky, meaty, salty, and slightly crispy. Unfortunately, most of the flavor characteristics get lost when eating it with the rest of the sandwich. There’s a hint of smokiness, but the bacon’s texture is more noticeable than its flavor.

While the bacon doesn’t provide much taste, the Havarti is pretty much like a ghost, opaque and flavorless. I don’t know how Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man do it. Even when eating the cheese on its own, I couldn’t detect any flavor. Although, if it did have some, I imagine it would be hard for the mild tasting cheese to compete with the mayo, pickles, and the chicken’s Cajun spices.

With that said, I’m not in any way, shape, or form saying this sandwich is terrible. It’s just not worth the premium. It still pretty much tastes like Popeyes’ Classic Chicken Sandwich, and biting into it confirms that Popeyes’ offering continues to be my favorite fast food chicken sandwich. There’s a very slight smokiness from the bacon, but that doesn’t make this better than the original and it’s not enough to convince me to repurchase it. If I want a Popeyes sandwich that tastes like the chain’s Classic Chicken Sandwich, I’d just buy the original, which is also a dollar cheaper.

Purchased Price: $7.99*
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 830 calories, 53 grams of fat, 19 grams of saturated fat, 1.5 grams of trans fat, 120 milligrams of cholesterol, 1875 milligrams of sodium, 51 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 8 grams of sugar, and 36 grams of protein.

*Because I live on a rock in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, things are a bit pricier here. You’ll probably pay less than I did.

REVIEW: Popeyes Blackened Chicken Sandwich

It is undeniable the impact the Popeyes Chicken Sandwich continues to have on the fast food landscape over three years since it first debuted. With its newest offering, Popeyes is looking at the unbreaded chicken sandwich options and raising the bar yet again. The Popeyes Blackened Chicken Sandwich starts with a 12-hour marinated filet that is finished with a unique blend of spices that give the item a signature blackened flavor. After frying it, it’s placed on a brioche bun with crisp pickles and mayo (or spicy sauce if you opt for the Spicy version).

While I am a huge fan of the Popeyes Chicken Sandwich, I was a little worried about this new version. Unbreaded (“grilled”) chicken sandwiches at fast food restaurants are usually awful in my experience. They are often a bizarre textural blend of wet on the outside but dry on the inside. I also wanted to find out how the blackened flavor would be as I’ve had some instances where it overpowered the protein it’s used on.

The aromatic smell of the spices was absolutely delightful as I took the sandwich out of its bag. In case you’re not familiar, blackened seasoning is a blend of spices that usually has paprika as the base with cayenne pepper, onion powder, oregano, thyme, and garlic. Popeyes’ version adds three types of pepper (red, black, white) and cumin to give it a unique flavor profile.

The blend that Popeyes developed for this sandwich was perfect. It’s well balanced to have a bit of the peppery spice but not cross into painfully spicy. There was even a bit of sweetness in the seasoning that really pushed it over the edge in terms of deliciousness. Since this was an unbreaded filet, I was incredibly curious about how it would come out. My worries about it being overly dry were immediately put to rest as I cut the sandwich in half.

The outside of the filet was crisp but not dry, and the inside was incredibly juicy and tender. The mayo and pickles work well with the blackened seasoning by supporting it and not competing with it. The brioche bun elevates the whole thing by adding a slight sweetness. The first few bites were nearly perfect, until the chicken’s succulence started to create a soggy mess. I think the person who made the sandwich went a little heavy on the mayo, and the bun wasn’t nearly toasted enough to stand up to the components as they sat longer.

There is no doubt in my mind that Popeyes continues to set the bar when it comes to chicken sandwiches. Even though it wasn’t made “perfectly,” my sandwich was incredibly delicious. The blackened seasoning works well, the unbreaded chicken filet is extremely tasty, and when you get that bite with all the ingredients, it’s just an enjoyable flavor experience. I will absolutely get this again and look forward to trying the spicy variation.

Purchased Price: $4.99
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 550 calories, 29 grams of fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, 90 milligrams of cholesterol, 1900 milligrams of sodium, 41 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 8 grams of sugar, and 32 grams of protein.