Popeyes or Chick-fil-A: Which is America’s better fried chicken sandwich?

By Angela Kight

It is the question that has set off a fiery debate on the Internet between fried chicken sandwich lovers everywhere: Does Popeyes or Chick-fil-A have the better fried chicken sandwich?

Popeyes set off a nationwide frenzy when its fried chicken sandwich hit restaurants on August 12. After the sandwich’s release, Chick-fil-A sparked a Twitter battle with Popeyes when the company tweeted, “Bun+Chicken+Pickles = all the [heart] for the original.” This simple tweet started a competition between the two companies over who has the best chicken sandwiches. 

After Twitter exploded comparing the two, I decided to conduct my own taste test.

The Popeyes chicken sandwich comes in two versions, classic or spicy. The classic version pairs a crispy battered chicken fillet with mayonnaise and pickles; the spicy version’s only difference comes from its spicy mayonnaise spread. Of course, I got spicy for that extra kick. And let me tell you, that first bite? Amazing.

The first thing I noticed about the Popeyes chicken sandwich is that it is noticeably larger and more robust than the Chick-fil-A sandwich. Between the fluffy, warm, and buttery brioche buns is a thick piece of chicken, so the sandwich has some bulk. The chicken itself was hot and juicy, with a perfect batter-to-meat ratio that was so crispy you could hear it crunch with every bite. Not only is it downright juicy, but the tangy, spicy mayonnaise spread kicks your taste buds from the very first bite. The pickles were crispy and not overwhelmingly tart, which made this sandwich even better.  

Compared to Chick-fil-A’s spicy chicken sandwich, the bun is more buttery and the chicken fillet is bulkier and crispier, which puts Popeyes’ version in first place. Chick-fil-A’s chicken is dry compared to the juicy center and crispy outer layer of Popeyes’ chicken, which is something Popeyes has always done right. The overall flavors and crunch, when crafted together in the Popeyes sandwich, results in food that is fit for the fast food gods, and is better than any sandwich I’ve ever had at Chick-fil-A.

The sandwich is truly so good—great, even—and I would recommend that everyone try it. But I can’t, because the sandwich is officially cancelled! Well, kind of. Popeyes is sold out of the sandwich everywhere and has pulled it off the menu temporarily. The sandwich will return permanently to the menu at an unspecified date later this year.