I'm a fast-food reporter who tried Popeyes' fried chicken for the first time, and it's my new favorite menu item

I'm a fast-food reporter who tried Popeyes' fried chicken for the first time, and it's my new favorite menu item
·4 min read
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I tried Popeyes fried chicken for the first time and was highly impressed. Erin McDowell/Insider

As a person who tries and tests fast food for a living, I've tasted most menu items at the chains I have available to me.

erin mcdowell author holding box of popeyes fried chicken
I was excited to try Popeyes' fried chicken for the very first time. Erin McDowell/Insider

In fact, I've eaten pretty much every menu item at Popeyes in both my personal life and for work. However, I've surprisingly never tried the chain's signature fried chicken.

Whenever I've ordered Popeyes in the past, I've opted for either the much-beloved chicken sandwich, the chain's chicken tenders, or even the popcorn shrimp. Somehow, the chain's fried chicken has never called my name — until now.

I decided to try out Popeyes' fried chicken to see if it would become my new go-to order and whether it measured up to other items I've ordered from the chain in the past.

A four-piece chicken combo, which comes with four pieces of fried chicken, a biscuit, a side of your choice, and a drink, came to $12.49.

popeyes box
The Popeyes box. Erin McDowell/Insider

The box of chicken was heavy — I was impressed with how much food I received for the price.

I ordered Cajun fries with my meal, in addition to a Diet Coke.

popeyes box with fried chicken cajun fries and biscuit
My box of fried chicken, Cajun fries, and a biscuit. Erin McDowell/Insider

I've ordered the chicken tender combo from Popeyes before, so I was familiar with how the box comes packed with fries. I had to dig a little into the box to reach the fried chicken, but when I did I noticed that the serving size was bigger than I expected.

The box was supposed to come with four pieces of fried chicken, but my meal actually came with an extra wing.

popeyes box with fried chicken
The Popeyes fried chicken. Erin McDowell/Insider

The extra piece was a pleasant surprise, but I was more excited to see how the fried chicken would actually taste.

The fried chicken was super crispy on the outside.

popeyes box with fried chicken leg
The Popeyes fried chicken leg. Erin McDowell/Insider

Large crystal-like clumps of fried batter coated the outside. It looked almost as if it had been dipped in cornflakes, it was so crunchy. The batter is apparently the same one used for the chain's chicken tenders, but the fried chicken appeared to be even crispier.

Inside, the meat was unbelievably moist and flavorful.

popeyes box with fried chicken leg
The Popeyes fried chicken leg. Erin McDowell/Insider

The fried outer shell had the perfect balance of saltiness and sweetness, with a buttery flavor that brought it all together. It was super crunchy without being greasy — a quality of perfect fried chicken.

Out of every piece I tried, I liked the wings the least and the leg the most.

popeyes box with fried chicken wing
The Popeyes fried chicken wing. Erin McDowell/Insider

All of the pieces of chicken were fried the same amount, but some obviously had more meat than others. This isn't a criticism, just a fact.

The drumstick was my second favorite piece.

popeyes box with fried chicken drumstick
The Popeyes fried chicken drumstick. Erin McDowell/Insider

It was super juicy and had a ton of meat inside, despite being one of the smaller pieces.

By the time I got to the fried chicken thigh, I was stuffed - and I didn't even eat the whole pieces of chicken.

popeyes box with fried chicken thigh
The Popeyes fried chicken thigh. Erin McDowell/Insider

I thought that the bang for your buck at Popeyes was unbeatable. For less than $13, I could have easily split this meal with another person, or even two.

I thought this was an exceptional deal, especially considering a five-piece chicken tenders meal costs $14.99. I felt I got way more meat with the fried chicken than I ever did when I ordered chicken tenders.

The Cajun fries were well seasoned and perfectly fluffy.

popeyes cajun fries spilling out of white paper bag
Popeyes Cajun fries. Erin McDowell/Insider

They complemented the fried chicken well, but next time I might order coleslaw instead for a fresher flavor and more acidity to offset the rich fried chicken.

Overall, I was highly impressed by the fried chicken from Popeyes. I would definitely order it again.

popeyes box with fried chicken
Popeyes fried chicken. Erin McDowell/Insider

In fact, after trying almost every item on the Popeyes menu at this point, the fried chicken might just be my favorite. It was perfectly seasoned, juicy, and the amount of food I received was amazing for the price.

Although the chicken sandwich will always have a place in my heart, I liked the fried chicken better. I also thought it beat the chicken tenders in terms of bang for your buck.

It might have been my first time eating Popeyes' fried chicken, but it definitely won't be my last.

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