Popeyes Chicken Sandwich – Easy Chicken Recipes

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This copycat Popeyes chicken sandwich is so tasty and super easy to make at home! Juicy fried chicken smothered in a delicious hot sauce between a toasted brioche bun makes this classic chicken sandwich irresistible!

copycat Popeye's chicken sandwich on a tray with pickles and a jar of sauce

Copycat Popeyes Chicken Sandwich

Fast food is “fast” for a reason — it’s missing the TLC needed to turn a basic item into a delicious masterpiece. So we decided to make a homemade version of Popeye’s chicken sandwich that is ridiculously easy, and might be even better than the original!

This copycat recipe tastes just like the famous fried chicken sandwich we all know and love.

Why You’ll Love this Popeyes Spicy Chicken Sandwich Recipe:

  • Flavorful: The deliciously spicy marinade is a blend of buttermilk, hot sauce, paprika, garlic and onion powder, salt, and pepper to make your fried chicken taste out of this world!
  • Instant Favorite: This Popeyes copycat will wow even the pickiest of eaters. Serve your fried chicken sandwiches at one of your family meals and before you know it, it’s everyone’s favorite!
  • Grab & Go Meal: This recipe is perfect for a meal on the go! You can even wrap it up in a paper sleeve or tin foil as if it was coming straight out of the drive-through window.

Trademark Note: In the spirit of transparency, I want to note that this is a copycat recipe for an existing product. Popeyes is a proprietary brand that I want to acknowledge and give credit to. 

three Popeyes fried chicken sandwiches in a tray facing up

How to Make a Popeyes Chicken Sandwich

Be sure to see the recipe card below for full ingredients & instructions!

  1. Marinate chicken for at least an hour, or overnight.
  2. Combine the breading ingredients with the buttermilk marinade until small clumps form.
  3. Dredge and bread the chicken, then let it chill while the oil heats.
  4. Fry chicken in batches.
  5. Combine ingredients to make the spicy mayo, and toast the buns.
  6. Assemble the fried chicken sandwiches, with chicken, mayo, lettuce, and pickles!
tongs grabbing fried chicken out of a pot of oil
What is on a Popeyes chicken sandwich?

A Popeyes chicken sandwich is a simple sandwich consisting of a juicy piece of buttermilk fried chicken, a rich, tangy mayonnaise, and salty pickles on a soft bun.

What’s the difference between the classic Popeyes chicken sandwich and the spicy chicken sandwich?

The main difference is in the sauce. The classic sandwich is made with mayonnaise, and the spicy chicken sandwich is made with spicy mayonnaise. I’ve included instructions to make the spicy mayo, if you’d like!

Do I have to make Popeyes chicken sandwiches with chicken breasts?

Nope! While I like to use chicken breasts, you can also use boneless, skinless chicken thighs.

What kind of pickles are best for a Popeyes chicken sandwich?

The best pickles would be kosher dill or half-sour pickles. Avoid sweet pickles, as they will change the flavor of the sandwich.

Can I make Popeyes chicken sandwiches in an air fryer?

Yes, although they will not be quite as crispy. Bread the chicken as described, then brush with oil and air fry at 375°F for 20 minutes, flipping halfway through.

Recipe Tips and Tricks

  • Use baking soda to tenderize your meat faster. Let your chicken breast fillets sit in a baking soda mixture of vinegar and seasoned salt before dipping it into the buttermilk marinade. You’ll get the most tender, juicy chicken!
  • Alternate between cornstarch and flour for an even crunchier chicken crust! Use 1/2 cup of cornstarch for every 2 1/2 cups of flour as the crust can get dry.
two Popeyes chicken sandwiches on a plate with pickles

Make Ahead Instructions

You can marinate the chicken overnight in the refrigerator in preparation for this recipe.

You can also mix the breading ingredients together and store them in a Ziplock bag at room temperature overnight.

You can mix together the spicy mayonnaise and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Storage Instructions

Store leftover Popeyes chicken sandwiches in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave for 30-60 seconds, until hot.

Freezing Instructions

I do not recommend freezing Popeyes chicken sandwiches. Instead, you can freeze the fried chicken in an airtight container or Ziplock bag for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating in a 350°F for 7-8 minutes, until hot. Once hot, assemble the sandwiches.

Variations

  • Feel free to use boneless, skinless thighs instead of breasts.
  • For a less spicy sandwich, omit the cayenne. For a spicier sandwich, double it!
  • You can also use plain mayo instead of the spicy mayo for a less spicy sandwich.
  • If you don’t have cornstarch at home, replace it with more flour and add 1 tablespoon of baking powder.
  • Try adding iceberg lettuce or cabbage coleslaw for some crunch.
  • If you’re not a fan of spicy mayo, try using ranch or barbecue sauce instead.
  • Add a slice of American cheese to the chicken for cheesy chicken sandwiches.
  • Add a few strips of cooked bacon!

Serving Suggestions

Serve these Popeyes chicken sandwiches with classic Popeyes sides, such as:

Tips for the Best Popeyes Chicken Sandwiches

  • Marinate the chicken for at least 1 hour (overnight preferred) for the most tender and flavorful chicken.
  • Once breaded, let the chicken sit for at least 10 minutes to help the coating to better adhere to the chicken.
  • While you certainly can air fry this chicken, I recommend deep frying for the crispiest, crunchiest chicken.
  • You may need more or less frying oil depending on the size of your pot.
  • Properly cooked chicken should be 165°F internally when checked with an instant-read thermometer.
  • To keep the already cooked chicken warm while frying the rest, lay the pieces on a wire rack set in a rimmed baking sheet in a 200°F oven. This will help keep the chicken crisp.

Skip the drive-thru and make this crispy fried chicken sandwich at home!

fried chicken sandwiches on a tray with pickles and sauce

I hope you love this new and improved version of the famous Popeyes chicken sandwich! Let us know how yours turned out in the comments below!

If you’ve made this recipe, please be sure to let us know by leaving a star rating or a comment below. Enjoy!

three Popeyes fried chicken sandwiches in a tray facing up

Popeyes Chicken Sandwich Recipe

This copycat Popeyes chicken sandwich is so tasty and easy to make at home, you’ll find it better than than the original!

Instructions

  • Place a chicken breast on a cutting board and cover with a piece of plastic wrap. Use a meat mallet or rolling pin to pound the chicken into an even thickness. Remove the wrap and cut the chicken in half to fit the bun. Repeat with the second chicken breast.

    2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

  • In a large bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, hot sauce, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, pepper, and salt. Add in the chicken and toss to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour and up to overnight.

    1 cup buttermilk, 2 tablespoons hot sauce, 1 teaspoon ground paprika, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 1 teaspoon ground black pepper, 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • In a shallow bowl, whisk together the breading ingredients. Add in ¼ cup of the buttermilk mixture from the chicken and use a fork to stir until small clumps form.

    1 cup all-purpose flour, ½ cup cornstarch, 1 tablespoon ground paprika, 1 tablespoon garlic powder, 1 tablespoon onion powder, 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • Bread the chicken in the flour mixture, pressing it into the chicken to create a thick crust. Refrigerate for 10 minutes.

  • While the chicken chills, heat the oil in a Dutch oven or other heavy-bottomed pot until it reaches 350°F.

    4 cups vegetable oil

  • Fry the chicken, in batches if needed, until crisp and golden on both sides and the chicken is cooked through, about 3-5 minutes. Set on a paper towel lined plate to drain.

  • While the chicken cooks, stir together the ingredients for the spicy mayo.

    ½ cup mayonnaise, 2 teaspoons hot sauce, 1 teaspoon honey, ½ teaspoon garlic powder

  • Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Toast the buns until golden.

    2 tablespoons unsalted butter, 4 brioche buns

  • To assemble, spread spicy mayo on the bottom bun, top with pickles, fried chicken, and another drizzle of spicy mayo. Add the top bun and enjoy!

    16 dill pickle slices

Notes

  • DIY Buttermilk: To make your own buttermilk, measure 1 cup of milk, remove 1 tablespoon of it, and mix in 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar. Let this mixture sit for 5 minutes before using in the recipe.
  • Feel free to use boneless, skinless thighs instead of breasts.
  • For a less spicy sandwich, omit the cayenne. For a spicier sandwich, double it!
  • You can also use plain mayo instead of the spicy mayo for a less spicy sandwich.
  • If you don’t have cornstarch at home, replace it with more flour and add 1 tablespoon of baking powder.
  • Try adding iceberg lettuce or cabbage coleslaw for some crunch.
  • If you’re not a fan of spicy mayo, try using ranch or barbecue sauce instead.
  • Add a slice of American cheese to the chicken for cheesy chicken sandwiches.
  • Add a few strips of cooked bacon!
  • Marinate the chicken for at least 1 hour (overnight preferred) for the most tender and flavorful chicken.
  • Once breaded, let the chicken sit for at least 10 minutes to help the coating to better adhere to the chicken.
  • While you certainly can air fry this chicken, I recommend deep frying for the crispiest, crunchiest chicken.
  • You may need more or less frying oil depending on the size of your pot.
  • Properly cooked chicken should be 165°F internally when checked with an instant-read thermometer.
  • To keep the already cooked chicken warm while frying the rest, lay the pieces on a wire rack set in a rimmed baking sheet in a 200°F oven. This will help keep the chicken crisp. 

Storage: Store Popeyes chicken sandwiches in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Nutrition Facts

Popeyes Chicken Sandwich Recipe

Amount Per Serving (1 sandwich)

Calories 1036
Calories from Fat 576

% Daily Value*

Fat 64g98%

Saturated Fat 21g131%

Trans Fat 0.4g

Polyunsaturated Fat 21g

Monounsaturated Fat 10g

Cholesterol 213mg71%

Sodium 2312mg101%

Potassium 510mg15%

Carbohydrates 88g29%

Fiber 3g13%

Sugar 6g7%

Protein 29g58%

Vitamin A 2416IU48%

Vitamin C 9mg11%

Calcium 167mg17%

Iron 4mg22%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.





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