First Look

The New Chicken Sandwich at Popeyes Is a Game-Changer in the Fast-Food World

This fast-food chicken sandwich is unlike any other fast-food chicken sandwich.
This fast-food chicken sandwich is unlike any other fast-food chicken sandwich. TC Fleming
The people in my life have a lot of the same questions about the new chicken sandwich at Popeyes. You notice these things when you start most conversations with, “Have you tried the new Popeyes chicken sandwich?”

The three most popular questions are: 1) Did Popeyes not already have a chicken sandwich? 2) Is it just the same tenders but on bread? 3) What makes it different from other chicken sandwiches?

All fair queries. The answers: 1) No. They did not. 2) No. It is not. This is a full chicken breast. 3) Everything.

The thing you’re going to notice first when you dive into this experience is the component that hits you first, the bread. It’s sweet in a way that is a departure from the Popeyes biscuit, and it definitely makes the bread distinct from those used in other expedited dining chicken sandwiches. Most of those sandwiches have some element of sweet. Chick-fil-A, for example, really leans into the sweet when it comes to the batter. But it’s rare to find the bun doing that work.

That brings us to the focus of the sandwich: By exporting the sweetness to the bread, it frees up the batter of the chicken to be its authentic Popeyes self, and that’s the real magic. Popeyes has the best breading in the game. They have 3,102 stores in 30 countries, and they have built that empire thanks to that delicious, crisp crunch — that and the consistently juicy meat found under that perfect exterior. With the breast in this sandwich, this divine combo is given a more expansive canvas to work with than just the normal tender.

Popeyes finishes off the sandwich off with mayo (either classic or Cajun, depending on whether you ordered it spicy) and some thick pickle slices. Both do their job in an understated fashion, letting the chicken be the rightful star.

Not to brag, but I probably eat a lot more fast-food chicken sandwiches than the people you know, and this is the best one going right now.
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