REVIEW: Popeyes Blackened Chicken Sandwich

Popeyes Blackened Chicken Sandwich Pouch

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).

Popeyes Blackened Chicken Sandwich Top

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.

Popeyes Blackened Chicken Sandwich Closeup

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.

Popeyes Blackened Chicken Sandwich Split

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.

REVIEW: Popeyes Buffalo Ranch Chicken Sandwich

Popeyes Buffalo Ranch Chicken Sandwich Whole

Before Popeyes’ Chicken Sandwich became the darling of the fast food world, the chain was known for its array of dipping sauces. It seemed like there was something new for us to dip its fried food in every quarter. So it’s not surprising to see Popeyes pop out a new condiment for its Buffalo Ranch Chicken Sandwich, which combines creamy herb buttermilk ranch with a zesty and buttery buffalo sauce.

I guess Popeyes could’ve included two different sauces with this sandwich, but that would’ve been, as they like to say in the Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) industry, inefficient. The orange Franken-flavoring is applied to both halves of a buttery brioche bun that also holds the brand’s signature hand-battered and breaded chicken and barrel cured pickles.

Popeyes Buffalo Ranch Chicken Sandwich Top

However, the combo doesn’t create a condiment that I’d consider a Buffalo ranch. Instead, it’s more like a buffalo ranch. Think of it as a less intense Buffalo sauce in terms of flavor and heat, and whatever ranch notes there are, they’re not noticeable. It’s as if the Buffalo sauce’s vinegary tang hides the ranch’s tang. It also doesn’t help that the pickles cut through the condiment’s intensity.

Popeyes Buffalo Ranch Chicken Sandwich Split

You know what you’re getting with the chicken if you’ve had any previous Popeyes Chicken Sandwich. It’s a pleasantly plump piece that has an equally pleasant crunchy coating. But, because the sauce’s flavor isn’t too bold and the poultry is thicker in the middle, it’s the reason why I didn’t notice the condiment at all when I took bites from the center of the sandwich. However, the Buffalo flavor was much more noticeable when I took bites from the sandwich’s edges.

Popeyes’ Buffalo Ranch Chicken Sandwich is a fine evolution of the original but doesn’t surpass or equal it. Because of the solid base built with the now familiar chicken, pickles, and bun, even the addition of a slightly disappointing sauce still makes it worth a try. Although, if you’re a ranch stan, this sandwich may disappoint your taste buds.

SIDE NOTE: I’d really like to see Popeyes reach into its vast sauce vault (it’s probably called The Sault and located in Louisiana) and offer its chicken sandwich with previous sauces.

Price: $7.69*
Size: N/A
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 634 calories, 35 grams of fat, 13 grams of saturated fat, 2 grams of trans fat, 86 milligrams of cholesterol, 1667 milligrams of sodium, 50 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 8 grams of sugar, and 29 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. Also, I got it delivered, so it was 70 cents more expensive in the Doordash app.

REVIEW: Popeyes Chocolate Chip Cookie

Popeyes Chocolate Chip Cookie Wrapper

What is Popeyes Chocolate Chip Cookie?

As the smoke finally clears from the drawn-out and bloated chicken sandwich wars that it started, Popeyes has set its sight on something many of its competitors already offer — chocolate chip cookies. Chick-fil-A, Wendy’s, McDonald’s, and even KFC, all who were challenged by Popeyes’ titan of a chicken sandwich in 2019, have all offered cookies for years, and this time it’s Popeyes showing up fashionably late to the party.

How is it?

What set Popeyes’ chicken sandwich apart from the rest was its hand-breaded freshness. While I know it’s a fast food sandwich, it still felt like a step above the price point and an experience that lived up to and exceeded the hype.

Popeyes Chocolate Chip Cookie Top

It’s with that mindset that I was immediately let down when handed a chocolate chip cookie inside of a cellophane bag, clearly not baked on-site and far from fresh.

Popeyes Chocolate Chip Cookie Split

Maybe my expectations for Popeyes are too high, but this cookie tastes about as generic and nondescript as you can imagine. The base has a typical brown sugar and vanilla flavor with a less than desirable amount of semi-sweet chocolate chips throughout. It’s a bit dry and crumbly, not stale per se but a far cry from the soft and fresh texture of a place like Subway. This cookie isn’t awful, but for such a late entrant into the cookie space, it’s wholly unremarkable.

Anything else you need to know?

Popeyes Chocolate Chip Cookie Bottom

Did this cookie come from Safeway? Costco? KFC? If I didn’t walk into Popeyes and buy it with my own two hands, I would never be able to tell — it’s the definition of underwhelming and basic.

Conclusion:

For a chain that delivers an apple pie with a legitimately crispy crunchy fried outer shell and pulled off freshly fried chocolate-filled beignets, this cookie feels like the definition of an afterthought and not one worthy of capping off a meal that starts with Popeyes’ fantastic sandwich.

Purchased Price: 79 cents
Size: One Cookie
Rating: 5 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 cookie) 190 calories, 08grams of fat, 5 gram of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 25 milligrams of cholesterol, 130 milligrams of sodium, 29 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 17 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Popeyes Homestyle Mac & Cheese

Popeyes Homestyle Mac  Cheese Bowl

Popeyes, widely regarded as the champion of fast food fried chicken, has a new and improved Homestyle Mac & Cheese.

Did you know it had an old and un-improved Homestyle Mac & Cheese? I sure didn’t. See, the thing is, I’ve never been able to bring myself to order anything other than the red beans and rice or the mashed potatoes with cajun gravy. And this is odd because, as a human person, I love macaroni and cheese. I even love macaroni and cheese from other fast-food chicken places. It is one of my go-to sides when I end up at KFC, where I gladly consume it despite the fact that it tastes inexplicably chlorinated.

But Popeyes nails it on chicken, chicken nuggets, chicken sandwiches, biscuits, and the aforementioned sides, so why WOULDN’T it make a magnificent mac & cheese, too?

Well, they do.

Popeyes website boasts that its new noodle dish is “made with real butter and cream and topped with shredded cheddar cheese,” and this story checks out. The noodles themselves are perfectly cooked — soft and tender but not mushy. And there is plenty of cheese — a mild, creamy cheese that lovingly coats each noodle and the sharper, chewy cheddar that hides in pockets throughout the bowl.

Popeyes Homestyle Mac  Cheese Spoon

It is a rich dish — likely owing to the real butter and cream — but not so rich that you won’t be able to eat the whole thing in like, 90 seconds and then go, “Dammit, Brandon, why did you eat the whole thing? Can’t you exercise more restraint than that?”

Despite the adulation, I do have two quibbles with this delectable side.

The first is that the texture is very one-note. And I get it, I do, this is mac & cheese, which is, by and large, a creamy, soft dish. But you know what elevates a very good mac & cheese to a great mac & cheese? A crunchy top. You know, breadcrumbs or what have you. You get a bit of textural differentiation because of the melted shredded cheddar, but it’s not enough to break up the monotony in your mouth. (Which again, I assure you, isn’t enough to keep you from wanting to consume an industrial barrel’s worth of this stuff.)

Second, I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do now when I get a meal and have to choose two sides. My gut says to alternate between the red beans and rice, mashed potatoes, and the new mac & cheese like a responsible adult. However, the fat kid who lives in my brain says, “GET ‘EM ALL, BUDDY. IT’S THE FUTURE. YOU CAN JUST 3D-PRINT SOME NEW ARTERIES.”

God bless technology, and god bless this macaroni and cheese.

Purchased Price: $2.79
Size: Regular
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 300 calories, 22 grams of fat, 13.5 grams of saturated fat, 0.6 grams of trans fat, 609 milligrams of sodium, 15 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and 11 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Popeyes Megan Thee Stallion Hottie Sauce

Popeyes Megan Thee Stallion Hottie Sauce Container 1

Much like its quick service brethren, Popeyes has hopped on the celebrity endorsement train with its new Megan Thee Stallion Hottie Sauce.

But this isn’t just a launch it and leave it situation. Megan Thee Stallion has apparently been heavily involved in the development of the sauce, a co-branded line of merchandise, a philanthropic commitment to donate to Houston Random Acts of Kindness, and a franchise agreement with the intent to open as many as five new Popeyes restaurants. Now that’s a partnership. I hope they give her some artistic freedom to make her franchise locations road-trip worthy because I would definitely go to a Megan Thee Stallion Popeyes.

Alright, on to the sauce.

Popeyes offers the Hottie sauce on either its new(ish) chicken nuggets or its infamous chicken sandwich. I opted for the 8-piece nuggets because I wanted to be able to focus on the sauce. The order came with two dip cups, which I think is standard for an 8 piece, so that’s a strategic bonus if you’re looking to try the sauce and save one for later.

Popeyes Megan Thee Stallion Hottie Sauce Container

At first glance, this sauce looks an awful lot like Popeyes’ Sweet Heat sauce, a well-established sauce that’s basically diluted honey and hot sauce. Noting visual differences, the Hottie sauce is richer in color and has flakes of red pepper throughout, which made me hopeful it would live up to its “Hottie” name.

Still, there’s a lot of internet speculation going around saying that the two sauces are the same. Let me just Poindexter that one real quick by clarifying that, technically/legally they have different ingredient lines, which means that by definition they are NOT the exact same sauce. But, yeah, they are similar.

The Hottie sauce has a sweet flavor up front, reminiscent of honey or sweet and sour sauce, and then builds a bit of heat in a nice balanced “oh this has hot sauce in it” gradual manner. I really enjoy spicy things, and I think the Hottie sauce falls into the same heat realm as the Popeyes “spicy” chicken tenders. That is, this could be hotter and I wouldn’t be mad.

Maybe Megan Thee Stallion was using the word “hottie” a la hot girl summer more so than an indication that the sauce was spicy. Oh well, a heat level to appease the masses isn’t entirely surprising from a major food chain. It definitely has a bit more kick than the Sweet Heat sauce.

Popeyes Megan Thee Stallion Hottie Sauce Closeup

I also thought the consistency of the sauce was spot on. I could dip a nugget or a chicken strip into this sauce and get a hefty amount of cling with limited drippage. Technical terms.

Popeyes Megan Thee Stallion Hottie Sauce One Sauce

Overall I’d say this sauce is delicious. It falls a bit short in the innovation space since it’s very similar to the Sweet Heat sauce, and with the word “hottie” in the name, I had expected it to be a touch spicier, but it’s certainly not bad. I don’t know if I’ll ask for this sauce again, but I hope to visit a Stallion franchise location someday.

Purchased Price: $4.99 for 8 Nuggets and 2 Sauce Packets
Size: 0.90 oz.
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: Not available online for the Hottie sauce.