We compared the most popular menu items at KFC and Popeyes — and the winner is crystal clear

Katie Canales/Business InsiderThe menus at KFC and Popeyes sport similar items, but whose takes on fried-chicken staples are the best?
  • When a craving for fast-food fried chicken hits, KFC and Popeyes offer two viable options for satisfying your deep-fried desires.
  • To see how the two fried chicken chains compare, we visited both chains in the San Francisco Bay Area and collected some of the most popular menu items at each.
  • While KFC didn’t bring much to the table, Popeyes shone brightly for its high-quality, mouthwatering, and crispy chicken.
  • Take a look at how the two chicken chains stack up:


Popeyes and KFC are two of the biggest names in the fried chicken fast-food scene.

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Source: Business Insider and The Huffington Post


And you’ll find similar items on the menu at both restaurants.

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The chicken tenders, the nuggets, the chicken sandwich — these are staples at any go-to chicken spot.

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But what helps brands distinguish themselves from each other is offering a unique and distinct take on these classic items.

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So we set out to see for ourselves how the two chains set themselves a part from the crowd.

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We sampled the most popular or best-selling menu items from each chain, referencing rankings posted by the companies and other publications and public forums.

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Source: Business Insider, Business Insider, Quora,Business Insider


That meant different dishes for each chain.

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We picked up original fried chicken tenders from KFC and Popeye’s spicy chicken tenders, a crowd favourite.

Katie Canales/Business InsiderA KFC original fried chicken tender.

Source: Business Insider and

Quora


The KFC chicken pieces were large in size, but the breading on it was more uneven than on the Popeyes pieces.

Katie Canales/Business InsiderA KFC original fried chicken tender.

The KFC chicken was also less crispy and lacked the flavour that was packed in the Popeyes tenders.

Katie Canales/Business InsiderA KFC original fried chicken tender.

Each one of Popeye’s fried chicken pieces were warm, juicy, and perfectly tender, with an even layer of breading all around.

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But that’s just the chicken by itself — how does it perform when constructed into a sandwich?

Katie Canales/Business InsiderOn the left is Popeye’s Chicken Po’ Boy and on the right is KFC’s Smoky Mountain BBQ-flavored Crispy Colonel sandwich.

We went with KFC’s Smoky Mountain BBQ-flavored Crispy Colonel Sandwich, with its BBQ-sauce-soaked fried chicken nestled alongside pickles between two buns.

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It certainly packs a mean punch.

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Each bite delivered a powerful, all-enveloping kick.

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There wasn’t much of a crisp to the chicken, though, which was disappointing.

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But at least the sandwich was a good size.

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The chain’s Chicken Littles were more on the smaller side, as the name suggests.

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The mini-sandwiches, dressed with pickles, are one of KFC’s specialty items.

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The look of them was more reminiscent of hot dogs than anything else.

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As small as they were, they were still tasty, with their breaded and mayo-dressed tenderness.

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But any sandwich variation KFC offered paled in comparison to Popeyes’ Chicken Po’ Boy.

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The sandwich comes dressed in lettuce, pickles, and mayo with two chicken tenders tucked in a French baguette.

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The sandwich is full-sized and delicious.

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Each bite was bursting with flavour thanks to the flawlessly crispy chicken.

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It was more than memorable.

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We gobbled up every bite.

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For the side orders, we went with french fries at Popeyes.

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KFC tries to pass its seasoned potato wedges off as french fries, but we don’t think that counts. So we opted for KFC’s classic creamy gravy-topped mashed potatoes, which were pretty tasty.

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Source: KFC and Business Insider


But Popeye’s french fries was a much more delectable side order.

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The restaurant, which originated in New Orleans, knows how to season food.

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Each fry comes dressed in an even layer of Cajun spice. They’re difficult to ignore.

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The same could be said about the flaky, buttery triumph that is the Popeyes biscuit.

Katie Canales/Business InsiderOn the left is Popeyes’ biscuit, and on the right is KFC’s.

KFC’s was nothing noteworthy — it lacked any fluff or taste.

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Popeyes’ buttermilk biscuit easily knocked KFC’s biscuits out of the park.

Katie Canales/Business InsiderPopeye’s buttery biscuit.

It’s easy to say with certainty that in our taste test, KFC was completely overshadowed by Popeyes.

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One of the more minor, but equally annoying, grievances against KFC is its poorly designed take-out boxes that are awkwardly narrow for reaching into.

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We didn’t have that problem with Popeyes — the restaurant delivered all of its food in a wide box, allowing for all of our hands to pull from it at once.

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There’s a lot to be said about a sharing-friendly take-out container.

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But even if its packaging design wasn’t on-point, Popeyes wins this taste test without question.

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The sheer quality of its fried chicken can’t be matched.

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The crisp, the breading, the texture, and the taste — Popeyes nails it every time.

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Popeyes may have been bred as a regional chain from the South, but it’s garnered national attention for a reason.

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Source: Business Insider

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