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Popeye’s Spicy Fried Chicken

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.

 

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 youPopeye’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?

 

 

 

 

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 youLook 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

Chicken Marinade

  • 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

 

 

Spice Mixture

  • 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

 

Batter Mixture

  • 3 cups All-purpose flour sifted
  • ½ cup Cornstarch sifted
  • 1 teaspoon Baking soda sifted
  • ½  Spice mixture from the above list sifted

 

 

Other ingredients

  • 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*

 

 

 

Tips

  1. If you would like the chicken to have a spicier batter increase the cayenne pepper and white pepper to one tablespoon each.
  2. Only frying chickens should be used for the recipe.
  3. 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.
  4. Popeye’s Chicken does not double bread their chicken, but in the images above, I did. You do not have to.
  5. 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.
  6. Do not rinse the chicken after brining it overnight. Drain and pat dry with a clean cloth or paper towel for the best results.
  7. 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.
  8. Do not omit any of the listed spices as it does alter the integrity of this excellent chicken.
 

 

 

 

Frequently asked questions

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.)
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4.88 from 95 votes
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
Copycat Popeye’s Spicy Fried Chicken
Prep Time
35 mins
Cook Time
35 mins
Marinade Overnight
8 hrs
Total Time
9 hrs 10 mins
 

Popeye's Spicy Chicken is perfectly seasoned in several spices and super crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Southern
Keyword: Fried Chicken, Popeyes Copycat Fried Chicken
Servings: 6 People
Calories: 406 kcal
Author: hmccallum
Ingredients
Chicken Marinade
  • 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
Spice Mixture
  • 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
Batter Mixture
  • 3 cups All-purpose flour sifted
  • ½ cup Cornstarch sifted
  • 1 teaspoon Baking soda sifted
  • ½ Spice mixture from the above list sifted
Other ingredients
  • 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
Instructions
To Marinate the Chicken
  1. 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
  1. 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
  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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
  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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
  1. 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
  1. Serve while still warm

Recipe Notes

See blog post for additional information

 

 

© 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.

 

 

 

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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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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126 Comments

  • Reply
    Dawn
    September 17, 2020 at 8:27 pm

    I’m looking forward to trying this recipe out – I have a deep fryer though, not a kettle, will it work? Also – do you have a how to video for this recipe? Would love to see it! Thanks for your help – can’t wait to make this recipe!

    • Reply
      hmccallum
      September 18, 2020 at 10:45 am

      Good morning!
      I do not do videos my readers hated them lol! So I stopped doing them. A deep fryer will work. Don’t overcrowd—fry in batches. Be sure to read the blog tips that will help when it comes to your batter. Do not leave any ingredients out.

  • Reply
    JRJ
    August 25, 2020 at 4:02 pm

    Well. I made it.
    I had some difficulty. Even frying at low temperature, and the coating started to turn a bit dark before the chicken was cooked, except for one small drumstick. That took 10 minutes at 330 degrees, after sitting out and coming to room temperature for an hour after breading.

    I was expecting that from my previous adventures. So I put it on an inverted rack over paper towels, to wick the oil, in a preheated oven at 325 until the dark meat reached 170 degrees (lower temperatures are safe, but dark meat has a much better texture above 168).

    I have no idea how you get such light-colored coating and get the chicken to a safe temperature. You must be using smaller chicken pieces than I am.

    My family and I agree. This chicken doesn’t in any fashion resemble the flavor of Popeye’s chicken. And after eating it, none of us ever want to go back to Popeye’s. Every single person said this was the best-fried chicken they had ever eaten, bar none. I paired it with mashed potatoes/rutabaga and used your recipe for Cajun gravy. Again, best taters EVER.

    I didn’t get the results I was looking for, but I Found something ever SO MUCH BETTER!!!

    Thank you!

    • Reply
      hmccallum
      August 25, 2020 at 10:27 pm

      Thank you, JRJ! Your comment made my day. I appreciate the sweet comments! Let me ask a few questions about what were you frying the chicken in? A Fryer, frying pan, or kettle? I use a large cast-iron kettle. The oil is relatively deep, and the kettle should never be crowded–that’s the secret to mine being lighter and cooking a little easier. I only us a frying chicken which has thick fatty skin, which makes the breading much crisper. I hope that helps you next time.

      Have a great night
      Heidy

  • Reply
    Jay
    June 6, 2020 at 10:31 am

    I loved this chicken recipe for Popeyes! Can you also post KFC original chicken recipe? I would love to see how close that comes too.

    • Reply
      hmccallum
      September 17, 2020 at 9:57 am

      Thanks, Jay! Glad you enjoyed the recipe! I might just think about doing that—however, they use a pressure fryer and I do not have one! Thanks for the request.

  • Reply
    Darnell Mitchell
    May 10, 2020 at 3:06 pm

    If you get beef bones and roast them in the oven, the fat that will be in the pan, stain it , let it cool and freeze it…..Beef Tallow, then use bones to make beef stock.

    • Reply
      hmccallum
      September 17, 2020 at 9:56 am

      Thanks Darnell! I had no idea you could do that!

  • Reply
    Blake
    March 28, 2020 at 3:44 am

    This was a great recipe and we really enjoyed it. I will be making it again.

    • Reply
      hmccallum
      March 28, 2020 at 10:13 am

      Good morning and thank you for your feedback!
      Have a beautiful day!

  • Reply
    John P.
    March 1, 2020 at 9:51 am

    Thanks for sharing a great recipe! I made it and it turned out perfect. I couldn’t be any happier with the results! I will be making this again. Can you please post more recipes like this one?

    • Reply
      hmccallum
      March 2, 2020 at 10:11 am

      John, you just made my day with your comment. I’m thrilled you enjoy my copycat recipes. Have a wonderful day.

      • Reply
        Steven Au
        September 14, 2020 at 4:57 pm

        Is the images popeyes chicken or your chicken? I’m looking for a similar texture batter like popeyes.

        • Reply
          hmccallum
          September 15, 2020 at 6:33 am

          Good morning!
          Yes, it is my chicken, Steven. Popeyes chicken usually looks better lol! Keep a close eye on your temperature.

  • Reply
    Margo
    December 26, 2019 at 11:40 am

    Hello Heidy, well you are the most loved in our house! No prime rib, no lasagna, no turkey or ham for Christmas dinner….they wanted your chicken. I have made your recipe before, and your fried chicken is what the family requested. My son wanted it for his birthday as well.

    Hey, what can I say? They have good taste 🙂 I made chicken tenders, wings, and thighs, and all were crunchy, spicy, and absolutely delicious. My family PREFERS your fried chicken over Popeyes. Fresh is best! Thank you for all your hard work and diligence. Stop chasing that unicorn Heidy

    • Reply
      hmccallum
      December 26, 2019 at 1:49 pm

      Margo,
      Thank you so much that really made my day! I am so thrilled to hear they enjoyed the recipe.

  • Reply
    Ramesh Kc
    December 14, 2019 at 6:52 am

    I made this Popeyes chicken and really liked it. However, I’m from Kuwait working as a chef. How can I make a recipe like KFC chicken? What type of flour did they use?

    • Reply
      hmccallum
      December 16, 2019 at 8:55 am

      Good morning, Ramesh. I’m sorry this recipe is for Popeye’s chicken. I would say they probably use all-purpose in KFC chicken. My best advice is to pull up their ingredient list and go from there. Have a great day.

  • Reply
    JEN
    November 18, 2019 at 6:51 pm

    This chicken was great. Turned out excellent. I’ve also just had the Sweet Heat sauce today from Popeyes and it tastes like Honey and Hot Sauce. The sweet chili Voodoo tastes like the Asian sweet chili sauce with a bit of Cajun seasoning. Great sauces.

    • Reply
      hmccallum
      November 20, 2019 at 3:45 pm

      Thanks for sharing that Jen! I’m wondering if we dig a little deeper what other ingredients we might find or maybe it’s just as simple as that. Thank you for sharing.

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