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.
Popeye’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?
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 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 Popeye’s Spicy Fried Chicken
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
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
3 cups All-purpose flour sifted
½ cup Cornstarch sifted
1 teaspoon Baking soda sifted
½ Spice mixture from the above list sifted
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 for making Popeye’s Spicy Fried Chicken
If you would like the chicken to have a spicier batter increase the cayenne pepper and white pepper to one tablespoon each.
Only frying chickens should be used for the recipe.
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.
Popeye’s Chicken does not double bread their chicken, but in the images above, I did. You do not have to.
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.
Do not rinse the chicken after brining it overnight. Drain and pat dry with a clean cloth or paper towel for the best results.
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.
Do not omit any of the listed spices as it does alter the integrity of this excellent chicken.
Frequently asked questions about Popeye’s Spicy Fried Chicken
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
If you enjoy Popeye’s Spicy Fried Chicken here are some 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, 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, 2021-2013 unauthorized use and duplication of content/ material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or 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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