Copycat Popeyes Buttermilk fried chicken sandwich with spicy mayo is super crispy, spicy and tastes 1000x BETTER homemade!
If you’ve been craving fried chicken sandwiches we’ve got you covered with this delicious crispy Fried chicken Sandwich. It’s super crispy on the outside and tender and juicy on the inside and loaded with spices. It’s as close as you will get to the famous Popeyes chicken sandwich which is currently sold out everywhere but in my opinion, it’s so much BETTER and surprisingly easy to make at home!
The sandwich comes together in under 30 minutes and can be prepared overnight. The chicken is first marinated in buttermilk (DIY buttermilk below) and spices then battered in a mixture of flour, corn starch, and MORE spices. The spices give the sandwich so much flavor but more importantly, they give it a crispy crust that is out of this world.
To make Popeyes chicken sandwich at home you will need:
- chicken breasts
- corn starch
- brioche buns
To get the perfect size fillet: pound each chicken breast down to about 1/2 inch thickness then cut in half crosswise so you end up with a chicken cutlet about the same size as your buns.
To make 5-minute Buttermilk: Using buttermilk gives the chicken the authentic southern taste and helps the crust develop all those small crinkles that make it extra crispy. If you don’t have buttermilk at home, rest assured making your own buttermilk at home is super easy and done in 5 minutes. Stir 1 cup of milk with 1 tablespoon lemon juice or white vinegar in a bowl and let stand for 5 minutes until the milk begins to curdle.
Cornstarch: Cornstarch helps make the crust super crispy and light as opposed to just battering the chicken with just flour. I highly recommend using it for the best results but If you don’t have cornstarch at home, replace it with more flour and add 1 tablespoon of baking powder.
The Bun: Using brioche buns takes this sandwich to the next level and will replicate the flavor and texture of Popeyes chicken sandwich.
To make spicy mayo sauce:
Combine 1/2 cup of mayo with 1 teaspoon hot sauce, teaspoon paprika or taco seasoning, and 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder and whisk. The sauce is delicious in the chicken sandwich and is used to make the spicy version of Popeyes chicken sandwich.
How to Make in Chicken Sandwich the Air Fryer
To make this delicious Popeyes chicken in the air fryer, simply follow the recipe above.
Before frying, spray or brush the chicken with cooking oil and place directly into the air fryer.
Air Fry at 375F for 20 minutes, flipping halfway or until crispy and cooked through.
DIY Popeyes Buttermilk Fried Chicken Sandwich
For the chicken marinade
- 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon EACH paprika garlic powder, black pepper, salt
- 1 cup flour
- ½ cup corn starch
- 1 tablespoon EACH paprika garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper (for spicy)
- 1 teaspoon EACH salt & pepper
- ½ cup mayo
- 1 teaspoon hot sauce
- 1 teaspoon 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
- Pound 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 (see video below).
- In a large bowl, buttermilk, paprika, garlic powder, salt & black pepper. Add the chicken to the mix and place in the fridge to marinate up to 24 hours or use right away.
To Cook Chicken
- Heat oil in a large heavy-duty skillet or pot on medium temperature or until the temperature reaches 350F.
- In a medium shallow bowl, whisk the flour, cornstarch, and spices. Drizzle 2-3 tablespoons of the buttermilk batter into the flour mixture and mix it through with a fork.Working with 1 piece at a time, dredge chicken the flour mixture and press flour on the top chicken to form a thick crust. Transfer chicken to hot oil and fry for 3-5 minutes per side or until the outside is crispy and golden and the internal temperature reaches 165F.
- Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large saucepan and toast buns face down until golden and crisp. Whisk all the ingredients for the mayo in a small bowl and spread a generous layer of mayo on each bun. Top with pickles and chicken. Enjoy hot!
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Oh my god let me tell you i just made this for my family and this was the best chicken sandwich i have ever had. This recipe is EXACTLY identical to popeyes. Never buying it from the restaurant again this was perfect thank you so much everyone absolutely loved it.
The best chicken sandwich I’ve ever made. The whole family loved it.
Husband and two teens said this was the best chicken I had ever made!!!!
i also made this it was good aswell just a comment on the breeding but overall pretty nice. 3 for ok I feel as tho I could be better but honestly ima just rate it a 3.5-4 for good
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I love this recipe, but admittedly, I’m one of those annoying people that modded it. I swap out regular paprika for smoked.
Thanks for the deliciousness!
Matthew Lief says
Question for the author: where did you find the buns pictured here?
Or if anyone else has suggestions for a brioche brand similar to what Popeyes uses.
St. Rosen’s Brioche toasted with butter are pretty good!
Delicious!! My boyfriend said this was probably the most delicious meal I’ve made so far- he said it was 10/10
your wrong your boyfriend said i was the most delicious meal he’s ever had so girlllllllll.
I’ve mad these twice already! But I made them in bite sized nugget form. For a while I’ve been going through recipes trying to find the best chicken nugget recipe and I couldn’t find any that I wanted to try. This recipe is perfect. Perfectly crispy, perfect balance of spices and flavors, perfectly salted (not salty, only perfect).
Pro tip is definitely frying twice! Fry once, let it cool for a minute or two and then fry again. It’ll make sure the coating stays on and it’s crispy. Ugh so good! Thank you for this recipe. I haven’t had fried chicken in years so I couldn’t tell you if it’s identical to Popeyes but in my opinion it’s definitely way better than any chicken nuggets that I remember eating in my life. Can definitely be made gluten and dairy free too for anyone wondering.
Chris B. says
OMG, this was amazing. My family was floored and we all loved. It even beat Popeye’s. I’ve tried some other Fried Chicken recipes that never lived up to my expectorations, but this was easy and tasted even better that I hoped. THANK YOU!!
I love you for this recipe. It tastes exactly like the Popeyes spicy chicken sandwich. Well actually a lot better cause it was more tender. Thank you
Made this recipe in the air fryer and it was wonderful! The sauce was delish
I tried this recipe because I love the Popeyes sandwich so much. This recipe doesn’t even come close. I followed the recipe to a T and it’s nowhere near the same taste as Popeyes.
Air Fryer recipe failed. Followed instructions to the letter and it just did not work. Recommend using oil.
Can I substitute chili powder for the cayenne powder?
I think substituting this would be fine but it wouldn’t be as spicy because the cayenne is spicier, if chili powder is all u have on hand sure it’s would work fine, will still be tasty!
If u r using chili powder from regular grocery store it is not very spicy but if it is from and Indian or middle eastern grocery store those chilie powders r spicy
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Made this today for football games and my boys loved it!!
Yum!! We doubled all the spices in the breading and kept the temp at around 150, preferred the te tenderloins took around 3 mins to cook. This recipe was delicious!! Definitely a keeper and better than takeout! Thank you!!
DELICIOUS! Thank you for the recipe!
Fourth time making this. Guests keep asking for the recipe. Thank you!
Delicious! Saving this recipe, super easy. Turned out great, the mayo was the icing on the cake.
Definitely will make this again! Easy flavorful and something different. I am going to do strips next time. However, I took the chicken straight form the fridge coated it and fried, which cooled the oil too much and lost some crispiness. Or I may have had too many pieces in the oil since I doubled the recipe. Next time I will take the chicken out and let it rest at room temp for 1/2 hr. Thank you for the great recipe 🙂
I was great I loved it. Would use less corn starch next time and the temp on the grease was too hot but I used vegetable oil and not canola oil. Not Popeyes but Over all great recipe. Will try again.
I think just a little extra seasoning in the dredge.
I have not made the recipe yet but looking forward to it! .. FYI your video isn’t popping up on the site which would be helpful.
This recipe is getting locked into my book of favourites!
Hands down, it is definitely way better than going to the restaurant and ordering one there. It is identical in flavour, mine was just less oily than Popeye’s version, which is better in my opinion. I’ve had this recipe saved for far too long and just hadn’t made it for some reason until today. Lesson learned. I’ve already been asked when I can make it again.
We made this countless times this year! The recipe is perfection and we just keep forwarding and sharing it with everyone who ask! The sauce is amazing and we tried it both air fried (spray with oil top and bottom) and deep fried. Both great!
Would you share your air frying technique for this recipe please?
What type of oil is best? Canola? Veggie? Or peanut?
I use grape seed oil or avocado oil it has less of an oily taste and definitely add more seasoning to the flour mixture!!
Delicious chicken ever love it!!! Only thing I added is a bit more salt but not needed.
Adam K says
For true Popeyes flavor, you have to add MSG! No joke – it would probably boost the flavor to the next level and make it even closer to the original.
Lashaela Miller says
Youre right. I sub msg for salt in everything i make. It has more flavor and less sodium than table salt.
Msg to the buttermilk, flour mix, or both?
Michelle Harris says
This is a family favorite since I found this recipe last year. We’ve even done a Friday “Popeye” Sandwich Night (as opposed to the usual Fish Fry Fridays) with family and friends using this recipe. I make it at least once a month and its always a hit. I’ve done the breast chicken after butterflying the halves to make more and even out the cooking but have found that the boneless chicken thighs work the best. You just pile a couple of them on your bun! Also only use a 1/3 cup of corn starch and frying in peanut oil gives the sandwich a deep, southern taste to it. Everything else I keep the same. Its so easy to prepare, that I prep everything in the morning and then just cook it in the evening! Yum!
I’m glad you put info in there about using peanut oil, because I have a deep fryer and that’s what I use! Thx👍🏼
What do you do with your oil after you’ve used it?
Has anyone tried this with frozen chicken breasts?
No way, unless you want an explosion in your kitchen. Frozen things and frying do not go well. Thaw first.
Can you deep fry it ? If so for how long?
sounds like you should learn how to fry homie
We tried making this last night and the results were just ok. Heating the oil to 350 degrees was way too hot. The crust burned before the chicken cooked (user error, oops). I pounded the chicken but I think next time I will have to thin out the chicken by cutting them. Once, we got the temp of the oil right then it was better but my family is not interested in trying this again, and we all agreed that it doesnt taste like Popeyes at all. Sorry.
Made these a few times. Very good recipe and it is very easy.
Josarie Bou says
Made this for lunch today in the air fryer. I made the marinade after I ate breakfast and enjoyed them for lunch. Mmmmm soo good. Now I’m wondering can I prep these ahead of time? For example can I put the marinade including the buttermilk and chicken together in the freezer and then take it out to thaw the day I want to use it?
You can go ahead and bread the chicken then place it in the freezer and to use it, remove straight into oil or air fryer.
Did you put tub foil in your air fryer or just stick the chicken right in?
Rebecca Vega says
did this last night, came out perfect and amazing.
Can this be made in the air fryer?
Yes it can! Air fry 20 minutes or until cooked through.
I made this tonight for my family. I doubled the ingredients and OMG it tasted delicious. The whole family enjoyed them. Will be keeping this recepie for sure. Thank you.
I made this tonight, made spicy chicken fingers. I let it marinate for only about 1 hour and OMG! Fantastic! Juicy tender chicken and perfect amount of heat! Highly recommend!
How much oil do you need in the pot?
about 2 inches
This is so good my family loved it.
I made this tonight and it was delicious! I did a mix of chicken thighs and breasts and added some pickle juice to the marinade. I let it sit for about 4 hours. After I dredged the chicken in the flour mixture I let it sit for 30 minutes before frying. The chicken was juicy and had great flavor. I like my food extremely spicy so I would probably add more cayenne when making again. I pickled some red onions and threw those on top of my sandwich. Definitely will be making again!!