Healthier Copycat Popeye's Chicken Sandwich. The crispy chicken, the creamy mayo, the fresh potato roll, and the crunchy pickle. This Healthier Copycat Popeye's Chicken Sandwich is PERFECTION! There are a bunch of different ways you can make this recipe healthier or not, totally up to you what version you decide to use! Regardless, the flavor is always SPOT ON!
Let's talk about the elephant in the room here. If you are anywhere on social media, you would already know about one of the biggest debates to date. Which one is better....Popeye's Chicken Sandwich or Chick Fil A's Chicken Sandwich. Now, I want to start off by saying that I absolutely love both, but if I had to choose a sandwich, I would have to go with Popeye's (no surprise by the title of my recipe). Don't worry though Chick Fil A, nothing will ever match an 8 piece nugget meal with waffle fries, Chick Fil A sauce and a cookies and cream milkshake!
I had my first Popeye's Chicken Sandwich at the beginning of the quarantine. Nate and I didn't know what to do with ourselves, didn't want to cook anything, so we went and got some sandwiches to try out and enjoyed them, on the couch watching Tiger King. Let's just say the experience all together was phenomenal, but the chicken sandwiches were out of this world.
The obsession immediately started. We were hooked and I mean hooked! The next week, I was at the food store and saw some chicken breast tenders. It clicked, I can totally make this sandwich at home! I grabbed the rest of the ingredients I thought I would need and boom, healthier version for a deliciously quick weeknight dinner. Now we find ourselves making them way more than we would probably like to admit, no regrets here though!
Ingredients to make Healthier Copycat Popeye's Chicken Sandwich:
- chicken breast tenders
- gluten free bread crumbs (or gluten full totally up to you)
- dill pickle chips
- mayonnaise (I make my own whole 3o compliant mayo)
- potato bun
The Steps to make Healthier Copycat Popeye's Chicken Sandwich:
- To start off, you want to tenderize the chicken. This helps get the chicken more juicy and tender once fully cooked. To do this, I usually put chicken tenders on a baking sheet and cover them with plastic wrap. This is NECESSARY or else you are going to get chicken juices flying all over...not fun. You then essentially hammer the chicken to slightly flatten with the meat tenderizer. If you don't have a meat tenderizer, a potato masher or the bottom of a sauce pan works well, you will get the best results for a meat tenderizer though.
- I then double coat the chicken in bread crumbs. To do this, first dip the tender in the egg and coat with bread crumb. Then it goes back into the egg and once again into the bread crumb for another coating. Then into the air fryer it goes! Make sure you flip the tenders halfway through so that you get an even crisp!
- It is then time to assemble your sandwich. Spread a little mayo on both ends of the bun and the spread the pickle chips out on the bottom part of the bun. Add your chicken strip and ENJOY!
Are there any ingredients I can sub out?
Absolutely! There are always going to be some ingredients that can be subbed! This one is no different!
Bread Crumb- I use gluten free bread crumbs. That is totally personal preference because I try to cut out gluten whenever possible so I typically do use gluten free bread crumbs. I find though that honestly I get a better crisp when I use the gluten free bread crumb, especially when its cooked in the air fryer.
Potato Bun- Now the potato bun is very gluten full. I did not cut out gluten here. Also a personal preference just because I have an obsession with potato buns and have a hard time not using them. You can absolutely use a gluten free hamburger bun though if you want to make this recipe 100% gluten free.
Mayonnaise- You can absolutely use any mayonnaise you prefer. I make my own whole 30 compliant mayonnaise to help cut down on fat and make this recipe a little healthier! You can also try out Primal Kitchen's Whole 30 Compliant Mayonnaise, it is delicious!
Can I use bread and butter pickle chips?
You can, BUT you will not get that signature flavor you get from a Popeye's Chicken Sandwich. It you are not a fan of dill pickles that is totally up to you, but I personally would not switch them out because I want the flavors to match.
What are some other delicious recipes I can make similar to this Copycat Popeye's Chicken Sandwich?
One of my favorite copycat recipes I have up on my blog is my Homemade Copycat Sausage McGriddles! Between these two recipes you are all set for breakfast and lunch or dinner!
If you love this recipe, you might also love:
- Chipotle Lime Chicken Burgers
- Blue Cheese Burgers
- Air Fried Crispy Chicken Mozzarella Tomato Pesto Sandwiches
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Healthier Copycat Popeye's Chicken Sandwich
- Air Fryer
- Meat Tenderizer
- Place the chicken breast tenders on a baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Use the tenderizer to tenderize the chicken.
- Dip one tender in the egg and then coat with bread crumb. Dip the tender back in the egg and then coat a second time with bread crumb.
- Complete the previous step for all of the tenders.
- Air fry the tenders one layer at a time at 390 degrees for 14 minutes. Flip tenders halfway through. Depending on the size of your air fryer, it might take a couple of batches because you do not want to stack tenders on top of each other or you will not get an even crisp.
- Spread mayonnaise on a potato bun, add about 5 pickles.
- Place one chicken tender on the sandwich and enjoy!
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