What’s not to love about Popeye’s Spicy Fried Chicken? I am probably one of the biggest Popeye’s Spicy Chickens fans. 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 will 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 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 Spicy Fried ChickenPopeye’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 slow initially. 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, you already responded to your question after thinking about it briefly. It’s pretty darn good, isn’t it Y’all?



Popeye's Spicy Fried ChickenLook at this lightly browned, crispy, crunchy on the outside, deliciously juicy, and moist inside. Copycat Popeye’s Spicy Chicken makes you want to grab a piece from this screen. 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 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 haven’t yet learned how to make fried chicken. That’s OK. Today, I have a wonderful copycat recipe to make your deliciously good batch of the next best thing, Copycat Popeye’s Spicy Chicken. You better make a double batch because the word will get out that you know your fried chicken after making this Copycat Popeye’s Spicy Chicken.

Before we start, this isn’t Popeye’s top-secret recipe; this is my version of their Spicy Fried Chicken. While it tastes close to Popeye’s Spicy Chicken, we aren’t top-secret spies if you follow the instructions.  That’s probably a good thing because I look hideous in prison orange, let alone those jumpsuits they wear.



Ingredients list for Popeye’s Spicy Fried Chicken

Chicken Marinade

  • Five pounds of whole fryer chicken cut up into eight pieces, skin on
  • 1/2-quart Whole Buttermilk to soak the chicken
  • One cup of Louisiana chipotle sauce or hot sauce
  • Two tablespoons Kosher salt
  • Two tablespoons of Annatto Oil
  • One tablespoon of 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
  • ½ tablespoon Paprika
  • ½ tablespoon Dried Dill
  • ½ tablespoon Cumin
  • ½ tablespoon Accent (MSG)
  • ½ tablespoon White pepper
  • ½ tablespoon Kosher salt
  • One teaspoon of Celery Salt
  • One teaspoon Sugar


Batter Mixture

  • Three cups all-purpose flour sifted
  • ½ cup Cornstarch sifted
  • One teaspoon of Baking soda sifted
  • ½  Spice mixture from the above list sifted


Other ingredients

  • Three- large eggs lightly beaten
  • Three 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 for making Popeye’s Spicy Fried Chicken

  1. If you want the chicken to have a spicier batter, increase the cayenne and white pepper to one tablespoon each.
  2. Only frying chickens should be used for the recipe.
  3. Before frying the chicken, drain it and let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before adding it to the oil, as it will drop the temperature 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 soaking 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 listed spices, which alters this excellent chicken’s integrity.


Frequently asked questions about Popeye’s Spicy Fried Chicken.

  1. Does this recipe contain any allergens? Popeye’s Chicken does contain allergens such as wheat, milk, eggs, wheat, soy, and MSG.  If you are 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 soaking process as it severely alters the recipe’s taste and 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 one of the main ingredients in the brine and makes the chicken more flavorful.
  5. Is the ingredient Accent MSG? Yes, it is MSG. It is an optional seasoning and can easily be omitted from 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? If your market does not sell this item, Louisiana Chipotle Hot Sauce comes in a 3-ounce glass bottle on Amazon. It is ripened jalapenos that have 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 the 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.


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

Heidy McCallum
Popeye's Spicy Chicken is perfectly seasoned in several spices and super crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside.
4.89 from 90 votes
Prep Time 35 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Marinade Overnight 8 hours
Total Time 9 hours 10 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Southern
Servings 6 People
Calories 818 kcal


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
  • 1 tablespoon 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
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


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 for 8 hours for the best results. Pour off the chicken marinade, and shake off the 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 the 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, and 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, cayenne pepper, and water. Dunk each piece of the coated chicken into the egg mixture and 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


See blog post for additional information
Although themccallumsshamrockpatch.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and how ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Under no circumstances will themccallumsshamrockpatch.com be responsible for any loss or damage resulting from your reliance on nutritional information.


Serving: 01Calories: 818kcalCarbohydrates: 72gProtein: 47gFat: 37gSaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 232mgSodium: 4228mgPotassium: 635mgFiber: 7gSugar: 8gVitamin A: 2732IUVitamin C: 6mgCalcium: 170mgIron: 7mg
Keyword Fried Chicken, Popeyes Copycat Fried Chicken
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

If you enjoy Popeye’s Spicy Fried Chicken, here are more recipe suggestions.

  • Southern Fried Chicken is a Southern staple on our table all year round and lovingly served on several occasions, whether it be a family meal, a church potluck, or even a wedding.
  • Southern Oven-Fried Lemony Pepper Chicken is the best of both worlds: juicy boneless chicken thighs marinated in freshly squeezed lemon juice and buttermilk, seasoned to perfection with a delicious homemade lemon pepper seasoning,  coated with one of the best Southern chicken batters, then smothered in a Lemon and Cream-based Gravy made from the perfect roux.
  • Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeno Popper Stuffed Chicken Thighs are a super delicious step up from one of America’s favorite appetizers, “Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers.”


© Heidy L. McCallum and The McCallum’s Shamrock Patch, 2024-2013. Unauthorized use and duplication of content/ material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and owner are 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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  1. On the ingredients above at the very top of the page there is no dill in the marinade but 1/2 a teaspoon in the spice mix

    Then when you go further down the article you see another recipe this time there is a table spoon of dill in the marinade and none in the spice mix.
    Could you clarify which is which.

  2. 5 stars
    Hi Heidy,
    I just want to thank you for this absolutely fantastic recipe. I have made it 3 times now. My son’s have proclaimed that your recipe is better than Popeyes! We are Popeyes snobs. We like one Popeyes more than the other 2 that are close by. I appreciate that you worked hard to perfect the recipe. So many seasonings to experiment with and it tastes, dare I say, even better lol. The refrigeration for 30 minutes to dry the batter up a bit is key to the super crunchy chicken. I didn’t have a whole fryer so I used about 3 lbs of boneless skinless chicken breasts that I cut into strips. They were so tender and juicy from the overnight buttermilk and Franks Hot Sauce. Thank you so very much.

  3. 4 stars
    I loved this recipe- as suggested, I did add a little more heat. It was crispy though it had a hint of the correct type of flavor. I prefer it hotter. Thanks for suggesting adding more heat!

  4. 5 stars
    Hello Ma’am I have an additional question to ask when using the soybean oil and the beef tallow at what point would you recommend. I realize and. Read that the beef tallow has a high smoke Point and what to. be safe in the kitchen would. it is better to use my deep fryer? or just regular stove old fashions way for the chicken to be a success. just want to make sure I don’t burn the house down if I have the heat too high

  5. 5 stars
    Hello ma’am, I plan on making this on Sunday. I wonder Hawaii doesn’t have the Annato oil on hand at the stores, but they do have the seeds/powder; what do you recommend on how I can do that?

    And also, on frying the Oil, do I put half soybean or peanut oil along with beef tallow inside and let it get hot? I’m confused on this part as I’ve never done this before

    Also, lastly, I do not use eggs or buttermilk when making my fried chicken. Will that alternate the taste or the resemblance of the popeyes style copycat

  6. If I just want to coat the chicken once, do I just dip the pieces straight into egg wash before dredging in the seasoned flour?

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