What’s not to love about Popeye’s Spicy Fried Chicken? Honestly, I am probably one of the biggest Popeye’s Spicy Chickens fans out there to date. I adore the taste of that spicy, perfectly seasoned, crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside chicken so much that I had to do a copycat recipe for Popeye’s Spicy Chicken to share with all of you today. Trust me, and if you enjoy Popeye’s Spicy Chicken, you are going to fall in love with this recipe for Copycat Popeye’s Spicy Fried Chicken.
On Popeye’s web page, it says, “Over forty years ago in New Orléans, Louisiana, a taste sensation was born. What began with one small restaurant in Louisiana one and a big idea turned into a craze that swept the nation and the world”, I will tell you I couldn’t agree more with that statement my friends.
Popeye’s Mighty Good Fried Chicken was opened in a suburb of New Orléans in St. Bernard Parish, on June 12, 1972, as “Chicken on the Run,” owned and operated by Mr. Copeland to compete against another well-known restaurant. In the beginning.
Al Copeland sold a more classic-style mild Southern fried chicken; however, the business was a little on the slow side in the beginning. He realized he would have to sell a much spicier, more kicked up version if they planned to impress the spice-loving locals.
Southerners tend to fry; we will cook almost anything you can think of, okra, tomatoes, pickles, steaks, pork chops, and fried chicken, to name a few of our Southern-fried Cuisines. Why do we cook so many foods, you might ask? I might have to answer that with another question. Have you ever eaten any of those items above fried? Ummm, mmmm, then you already responded to your question after thinking about it for a few moments. It’s pretty darn good, isn’t it Y’all?
Look at this lightly browned, crispy, crunchy on the outside, deliciously juicy and moist on the inside Copycat Popeye’s Spicy Chicken; makes you want to grab a piece from this screen doesn’t it? I mean look at that excellent crispy breading just begging you to take a bite and savor the flavor in your mouth,
Every Southern Belle proudly represents their grannies and mamas in the South when they cook up a batch of fried chicken, and it’s a proud moment when it turns out perfect. What is the definition of perfect? Never greasy tasting, super crispy batter on the outside, juicy and moist on the inside, and seasoned to perfection.
Not all of our grannies and mamas are from the South, or maybe a few didn’t learn how to make fried chicken yet, that’s ok I have a wonderful copycat recipe for all of you today to make your own deliciously good batch of the next best thing, Copycat Popeye’s Spicy Chicken. You better make a double batch because the word is going to get out that you know your fried chicken after making this Copycat Popeye’s Spicy Chicken.
Before we get started, this isn’t Popeye’s top-secret recipe; this is my version of their Spicy Fried Chicken. Keep in mind while it tastes pretty close to Popeye’s Spicy Chicken, if you follow the instructions, we aren’t top-secret spies. That’s probably a darn good thing because I look hideous in prison orange, let alone those jumpsuits they wear.
Ingredients list for the recipe
Five pounds whole fryer chicken cut up into 8 pieces skin on
1/2-quart Whole Buttermilk to brine chicken
One cup Louisiana chipotle sauce or hot sauce
Two tablespoons Kosher salt
Two tablespoon Annatto Oil
½ tablespoons Coleman’s Dry Mustard Powder
½ tablespoon Onion powder
½ tablespoon Garlic Powder
½ tablespoon Turmeric
½ tablespoon Cayenne pepper
½ tablespoon Paprika
½ tablespoon Dried Dill
½ tablespoon Cumin
½ tablespoon Accent (MSG)
½ tablespoon White pepper
½ tablespoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon Celery Salt
1 teaspoon Sugar
3 cups All-purpose flour sifted
½ cup Cornstarch sifted
1 teaspoon Baking soda sifted
½ Spice mixture from the above list sifted
3- large eggs lightly beaten
3 tablespoons Water
¼ tablespoon Cayenne pepper
Beef Tallow fill fryer or kettle ½ way
Soybean Oil fill fryer the remaining ½
*May sub oils with lard or shortening*
If you would like the chicken to have a spicier batter increase the cayenne pepper and white pepper to one tablespoon each.
Only frying chickens should be used for the recipe.
Before frying the chicken, be sure to drain the chicken and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before adding to the oil as it will drop the temperature of the oil if not.
Popeye’s Chicken does not double bread their chicken, but in the images above, I did. You do not have to.
Popeye’s Chicken is soaked in a marinade overnight before they hand batter it. The commercial states it is a 12-hour process. Please do not skip this step as it does alter the recipe.
Do not rinse the chicken after brining it overnight. Drain and pat dry with a clean cloth or paper towel for the best results.
Annatto Oil is listed in the ingredients used by Popeyes Chicken and is used as a colorant and a flavoring in the recipe. If left out, it does alter the taste of the Copycat Popeyes Spicy Chicken recipe.
Do not omit any of the listed spices as it does alter the integrity of this excellent chicken.
Frequently asked questions
Does this recipe contain any allergins? Popeye’s Chicken does contain allergens such as wheat, milk, eggs, wheat, soy, and MSG. If allergic to those items or other allergins, please be aware this recipe does contain those items and should not be consumed.
Can I skip the overnight marinating process? I recommend not skipping the buttermilk marinading process as it severely alters the taste of the recipe, and it will lack flavor.
What is annatto oil? Annatto oil is an orangish-red condiment, as well as food coloring made from the seeds of the achiote tree. It is often used to add a yellow or orange color to foods, as well as sometimes flavor and aroma to foods.
Can I substitute annatto oil with something else? There is no substitute, unfortunately, for the flavor. You can use something else to give you an orangish-red color, but annatto oil is the one the main ingredients in the brine and what makes the chicken more flavorful.
Is the ingredient Accent MSG? Yes, it is MSG. It is an optional seasoning and can very easily be left out of the recipe. (MSG is the sodium salt of the amino acid, glutamic acid and a form of glutamate.)
I see that you list Louisiana Chipotle Hot Sauce as an ingredient, what is it and where can I find it? Louisiana Chipotle Hot Sauce comes in a 3-ounce glass bottle on Amazon if your market does not sell this item. It is ripened jalapenos, and that has been smoked until dried for a hot, smoky pepper flavor.
Can I substitute the Chipotle Hot Sauce with a Tabasco Sauce? The flavor outcome of this recipe will be slightly different tasting, but in a pinch, you can do so.
Why do you sift the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and remaining half of the spice list? Sifted dry ingredients become slightly lighter than unsifted components. It is also easier to mix in a recipe. When flour is sifted with other dry ingredients, such as those listed in the Popeyes Chicken recipe, it helps to combine them more evenly.
Copycat Popeye’s Spicy Fried Chicken
- 5 pounds whole fryer chicken cut up into 8 pieces skin on
- ½ quart whole buttermilk- full fat to marinate the chicken
- 1 cup Louisiana chipotle sauce or hot sauce
- 2 tablespoons Kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons annatto Oil
- 1 tablespoon dried dill
- ½ tablespoons Coleman's Dry Mustard Powder
- ½ tablespoon Onion powder
- ½ tablespoon Garlic Powder
- ½ tablespoon Turmeric
- ½ tablespoon Cayenne pepper add more to make spicy
- ½ tablespoon Paprika
- ½ tablespoon Cumin
- ½ tablespoon Accent (MSG)
- ½ tablespoon White pepper add more to make spicy
- ½ tablespoon Kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon Celery Salt
- 1 teaspoon Sugar
- 3 cups All-purpose flour sifted
- ½ cup Cornstarch sifted
- 1 teaspoon Baking soda sifted
- ½ Spice mixture from the above list sifted
- 3 large Eggs lightly beat
- 3 tablespoons Water
- ¼ tablespoon Cayenne pepper
- Beef Tallow fill fryer or kettle ½ way
- Soybean Oil fill fryer the remaining ½
To Marinate the Chicken
- In a large plastic bowl with a tight-fitting lid, combine buttermilk, Tabasco sauce, Annatto Oil, dried dillweed, and kosher salt with a small whisk. Add the cut-up pieces of a whole chicken to the large plastic bowl making sure to submerge the chicken in the mixture completely. Refrigerate overnight or 8 hours for the best results. Pour off the chicken marinade, shake off excess buttermilk mixture from the chicken. Do not rinse the chicken.
To season the chicken
- In a small bowl, combine all the spices. Use ½ of seasoning to generously season both sides of the cut-up whole chicken. Then reserve ½ seasoning for the dredge mixture below. If you prefer a spicier fried chicken add more cayenne pepper and white pepper to the seasoning.
To batter the chicken
- Combine all-purpose flour, ½ of a cup of cornstarch, one teaspoon of baking soda, and the rest of the spice mixture from above, then sift all ingredients for the Dredge. Then place the flour mixture into a significant paper, add the brine seasoned chicken to the paper sack Roll the top of the bag down to close tightly, and shake gently to coat the brined chicken. Remove the chicken from the paper sack, then shake off the excess batter. Reserve until ready.
- In a medium glass dish, combine the eggs and water. Dunk each piece of the coated chicken into the egg mixture and then shake off the excess egg mixture. Place chicken back into the paper sack and then shake gently to coat the chicken.
- Remove the chicken from the paper sack and place it on a non-stick baking sheet. Refrigerate for about 1 hour to dry the batter. Trust me; the batter becomes so much more crispy after doing this.
To cook the chicken
- Before frying the chicken, be sure to let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before adding to the oil as it will drop the temperature of the oil if not.
- Add the oil mixture of 1 part beef tallow and 1 part soybean oil to a preheated cast-iron kettle. Bring the oil mixture to 340° before adding the battered chicken. If need be you can sub the oils listed with another frying oil of your choice. Reduce oil temp if needed.
- Next, add the chicken to a cast-iron kettle and cook the chicken until golden brown. Be sure to the chicken is completely covered with oil. Do not overcrowd the cast-iron kettle if need be make in batches. The meat's internal temperature; the temperature should read 165° degrees when done.
To remove excess oils
- Place the fried chicken on bakers rack to drain excess oil; be sure to place a metal baking sheet under it or paper towels while removing the excess oil off of the chicken.
To serve the chicken
- Serve while still warm
© Heidy L. McCallum and The McCallum’s Shamrock Patch, 2021-2013 unauthorized use and duplication of content/ material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Heidy L. McCallum and The McCallum’s Shamrock Patch with proper and specific direction to the original content.
Pin and Print Options are available to Save the recipe!