Popeye’s Chicken Sandwich is one of the comfort foods I crave the most. The chicken is so juicy, and the batter is so full of flavor. The spicy mayo sauce slathered over a brioche bun makes every crispy bite perfect. Instead of driving out to a Popeye’s restaurant, how about making one (or four) from your own kitchen? We’ve found the perfect recipe, complete with homemade marinade, batter, and spicy mayo sauce. It’s just as tasty as the real deal, except you never have to leave your house.
The recipe we’re sharing below may look a little complicated. There are several steps and ingredients needed to prepare this meal, but if you look a little closer, you’ll notice that most of the ingredients are fairly common, so you likely already have them on hand. If you don’t have buttermilk, check our tips below this recipe on how to prepare your own with milk and vinegar.
You can use any buns you like, but we recommend using brioche buns because they complement the flavors so well. You can also make a little extra spicy mayo sauce and store it in the fridge for a few days and use it as a fun flavor variation on ham and cheese sandwiches. I like to serve these chicken sandwiches with french fries or chips.
Popeye's Chicken Sandwich Recipe
For the Chicken Marinade
- 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup flour
- 1/2 cup corn starch
- 1 tbsp paprika
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp onion powder
- 1 tbsp cayenne pepper (optional)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
For Spicy Mayo
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tsp hot sauce
- 1 tsp paprika or cajun or taco seasoning
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 4 medium-sized brioche buns
- sliced pickles
- 3-4 cups canola oil for frying
To Marinate Chicken
- First, pound the chicken breasts in between two pieces of parchment paper or plastic wrap. Cut each chicken breast in half crosswise to make 2 small pieces of chicken about the same size as the bun
- In a large bowl, mix the buttermilk, paprika, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper. Add the chicken to the marinade and place in the fridge to marinate up to 24 hours or use right away.
To Prepare Chicken
- Heat the oil to medium heat in a large heavy-duty skillet or pot until the temperature reaches 350F.
- While the pan is heating, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, and spices in a medium shallow bowl. Drizzle 2-3 tablespoons of the buttermilk batter into the flour mixture and mix it thoroughly with a fork.
- Working with 1 piece of chicken at a time, remove the chicken from the marinade and dip it into the flour mixture. Dredge both sides to coat completely. Then dip it back into the buttermilk mixture and then back into the flour mixture, pressing the flour to help it coat the chicken.
- Add the chicken to the pan and fry 3 to 5 minutes per side. The outside should be crispy and golden brown, and the internal temperature should be 165F. Remove the chicken breast from the oil and allow it to drain on a cooling rack over a baking sheet or on a paper-towel-lined plate.
To Prepare Spicy Mayo Sauce
- While the chicken is cooking, gather the spicy mayo ingredients. Whisk them together in a small bowl, and set aside.
To Assemble the Chicken Sandwich
- Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large saucepan, and toast the buns face-down until they're golden and crisp.
- Spread a tablespoon of the spicy mayo sauce onto both sides of the buns. Add a few pickles to the bottom of the bun, top with the chicken, and then cover with the top bun. Serve and enjoy.
- If you don’t have buttermilk, simply add a tablespoon of white vinegar to whole milk and allow it to sit for a few minutes. This will make the milk curdle and become similar to buttermilk.
- Pound out each chicken breast until it's about a 1/2 inch thick. Then cut it in half crosswise so you end up with a chicken cutlet about the same size as your buns.
Not all chicken sandwiches are created equally. Check our list of the Best Chicken Sandwiches of 2020 to see if your favorite one made the list.