Copycat 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 y’all today. Trust me 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 and one big idea turned into a craze that swept the nation and the world”,  I  have to tell you I couldn’t agree more with that statement friends.

Popeye’s Mighty Good Fried Chicken was first 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, business was a little on the slow side, and he realized he would have to sell a much spicier more kicked up version if they planned to impress the spice-loving locals.

What’s not to love about Popeye’s Spicy Chicken? Honestly, I am probably one of the biggest Popeyes 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 Popeyes Spicy Chicken to share with y’all today. Trust me if you enjoy Popeyes Spicy Chicken you are going to fall in love with this recipe.

Southerners tend to fry, we will fry almost anything you can think of, okra, tomatoes, pickles, steaks, pork chops, and fried chicken just to name a few of our Southern fried Cuisines. Why do we fry 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 answered your own question after thinking about it for a few moments. It’s pretty darn good, isn’t it Y’all?

Every Southern Belle proudly represents their grannies and mamas in the South when they cook up a batch of fried chicken, 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.

Now not all of our grannies and mamas are from the South or maybe a few just didn’t learn how to make fried chicken yet, that’s ok I have a wonderful copycat recipe for y’all 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 really know your fried chicken after making this Copycat Popeye’s Spicy Chicken.

 

What’s not to love about Popeye’s Spicy Chicken? Honestly, I am probably one of the biggest Popeyes 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 Popeyes Spicy Chicken to share with y’all today. Trust me if you enjoy Popeyes Spicy Chicken you are going to fall in love with this recipe.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 awesome crispy breading just begging you to take a bite and savor the flavor in your mouth,

Now before we get started, this isn’t Popeye’s top-secret recipe; this is just my version of their Spicy Fried Chicken; so keep in mind while it tastes pretty close to the Popeye’s Spicy Chicken if you actually follow the instructions we aren’t top-secret spies and that’s probably a darn good thing because I look hideous in prison orange, let alone those jumpsuits they wear.

 

Notes:

  1. Only frying chickens should be used for the recipe and need to be double dipped in the breading to achieve the texture in images.
  2. Popeye’s Chicken is marinated for over 12 hours before they double hand batter it.
  3. Popeye’s Chicken also contains allergens such as milk, eggs, wheat, and MSG.
  4. Annatto Oil is listed in their ingredients and used more as a colorant than a flavor.

 

5 from 18 votes
Copycat Popeye’s Spicy Fried Chicken
Prep Time
35 mins
Cook Time
35 mins
Brine
12 hrs
Total Time
1 hr 10 mins
 

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 y’all today. 

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Southern
Keyword: Copycat, Fried Chicken
Servings: 6 People
Author: hmccallum
Ingredients
Chicken Brine
  • 5 pounds Whole fryer chicken cut up into 8 pieces skin on
  • 1 quart Buttermilk to brine chicken
  • 1/2 cup Tabasco sauce or more
  • 1 tablespoon Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon Annatto Oil optional for color
Spice Mixture
  • 1 tablespoon Onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon Cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Sweet smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon Sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Black pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon Kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons Dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon Cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Accent (MSG)
  • 1 teaspoon Turmeric
Batter Mixture
  • 3 cups All-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup Cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon Baking soda
  • 1/2 Spice mixture from above list
Other ingredients
  • 4 large eggs lightly beaten
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 tablespoon Cayenne pepper
  • Oil for frying
Instructions
  1. In a large plastic bowl with a tight-fitting lid, combine buttermilk, Tabasco sauce, Annatto Oil, and kosher salt with a small whisk. Add the cut up pieces of whole chicken to the large plastic bowl making sure to completely submerge the chicken in the brine mixture. Refrigerate overnight or 12 hours for the best results.
  2. Pour off the chicken brine, shake off excess buttermilk brine from the chicken. Do not rinse the chicken.
  3. In a small bowl combine all the spices together. Generously season both sides of the cut-up whole chicken. Reserve 1/2 seasoning.
  4. Combine all-purpose flour, 1/2 of a cup of cornstarch, 1 teaspoon of baking soda and about 1/2 of the spice mixture from above. Place the flour mixture into a large 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.
  5. 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
  6. Remove chicken from the paper sack and place on a non-stick baking sheet. Refrigerate for about 1 hour to dry the batter, trust me it becomes so much more crispy after doing this.
  7. Add the peanut oil to a preheated cast iron kettle of about 350 degrees.
  8. Add chicken to cast iron kettle and cook 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.
  9. Place the fried chicken on the bakers rack to drain excess oil; be sure to place a metal baking sheet under it or paper towels while draining the excess peanut oil off of the 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 y'all today. Trust me if you enjoy Popeye's Spicy Chicken you are going to fall in love with this recipe for Copycat Popeye's Spicy Fried Chicken.

31 thoughts on “Copycat Popeye’s Spicy Fried Chicken”

  • I don’t have Tabasco sauce or poultry seasoning or shortening/peanut oil… Is there anything I can do about that?

    • HI, Sofia, do you have vegetable oil or canola oil? You can use either in place of the peanut oil. I prefer peanut oil but the 2nd place would be canola oil. My grandmother used to use Crisco as well. You can either omit the hot sauce or you can make you own.

      4 tablespoons of vinegar
      3 tablespoons of water
      2 tablespoons of ground cayenne pepper
      1 tablespoon of salt

      Use this in place of the hot sauce- keep the measurement to the measurement of the recipe though. Recommended for use only in recipes, not as a topping.

      Thanks,
      Heidy

  • After your friends are over with a couple of drinks!!! This is great comfort food. I used Tapatio instead of Tabasco. Dipped in egg back to the batter. This is great. I sided it with green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, and some dinner rolls with honey,

  • I followed this recipe as written and though it does produce excellent spicy chicken it isn’t exactly like taste and texture of Popeyes. I wish I could find the recipe and process that does taste 100% like it though.

  • I just made this last night and let me tell you after trying 6 recipes on Pinterest for Popeye’s Chicken this is the closest one by far. I don’t expect it to be 100% but this is a good 95% that is for sure. Thanks for one of the better recipes. Our family loved it.

    • Hey there Maggy, I appreciate you sharing that with me. I too tried a ton of recipes that were not even close and this is what we came up with. One of the biggest things is the way they actual fry theirs— hard to replicate pressure frying in a normal household kitchen. That’s why it’s never going to be 100% on but we get closer and closer.

  • We made this recipe 2 x, the first time I didn’t follow it to a T, examples were did not brine overnight and cut the spice mix. It was a flop. I decided to do the right thing and I brine the chicken exactly as you said for over night, used the right amount of spice, breaded it, placed in refrigerator as directed and HOLY shit it was pretty damn close for sure of tasting like you said, It’s really good and we will continue to make this recipe.

  • Holy cow, I made this last night and man it was off the chain! I know it’s not exactly like theirs but I was pretty surprised at how close it was. We will be doing this more often! Thanks for a great new dinner item to add to our rotation.

  • I was reading the comment that the idiot “Eric” left, you should just delete that comment because he apparently has no clue. Popeye’s Chicken contains eggs, they list it right on their food allergens list along with milk and wheat.I almost died laughing at the comment you could have killed me if I hadn’t read the ingredients myself. My question is *HOW* is he allergic to eggs and eating Popeye’s Chicken? Maybe it’s just Natural selection. I tried the recipe and really it was outstanding. Now was it 100% exactly like theirs? No, but I have to hand it to you it was fairly close to the taste of their Spicy Chicken.

    • Patricia, you just made my day as I was reading that I was just shaking my head. I think I will take your advice and do just that as it didn’t even make sense to me. lol, Thank you for sharing with us today.

  • My husband LOVES Popeye’s Chicken and he thought your Copycat recipe was really good. We tried a few others and they didn’t come close.

  • I was thrilled this turned out so well and we followefollowedfollowefollowed your directions to the last letter. My family gave it a 10!

  • What do you mean by double dip? Out of the buttermilk, in the flour, then egg, in flour, in egg, then flour again or…? Just wanted to clarify.

  • What happens if you brine it too long? Is it better to brine it longer or shorter? If I put it in the fridge this morning can I make it tomorrow night? Or should I make it tonight having it brine less than 12 hours?

  • Hey there, I know this post is a little older and it will get you pretty dang close to Popeys addictive, delectable, and to die for chicken. The question I have for ANYONE reading this, what are the ingredients and/or recipe for Popeyes Southern Sweet Heat dipping sauce?? I’ve searched online and irl for YEARS now but alas its not to be. Ladies and gentleman this is my white whale, and every tactic to acquire their recipe or one that’ll get me close has failed. I’ve even considered going to their headquarters with a pantyhose mask and toy gun and demanding the recipe…insane I know but it is THAT GOOD. Of course I really wouldn’t do that but this is my life’s work, and I have failed miserably…ill do anything for anyone that can get me a recipe that is at least close to their Sweet Heat sauce. Then and only then can I die a happy woman/man(don’t assume my gender, that’s just wrong).

    Please, don’t let my soul languish any longer chicken Gods, send me a sauce saviour or a supply truck full of that amazing Sweet Heat sauce, its truly the nectar of the Gods. Send word quick, reply to this as I will check it periodically with slim hope. A mere mortal I need not, but a he-man of a by gone era, where Sweet Heat was every mans bestest of friends.

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