Popeyes makes the best chicken sandwich in the fast food universe. We’re not just echoing common consensus, we’ve done a deep investigation into the matter. Not only have we eaten, reviewed, and ranked just about every fast food chicken sandwich we could get our hands-on, we’ve also tried a number of delicious chicken sandwich fillets completely plain (meaning no bread, toppings, nothing!) in an effort to deconstruct the flavors to get a better idea of who really makes the best bird (we’re kind of crazy like that), and Popeyes came out on top in both occasions.
So it shouldn’t surprise you all that much when I tell you that Popeyes also has the best fish sandwich in the game. They have their proteins on lock.
The Popeyes Flounder Fish Sandwich was first introduced around this time last year (coinciding with Lent) for a limited time and served as Popeyes’ first foray into the world of fish fillets. It was a home run but not one that stuck around too long. Well, it’s back now and this time Popeyes is also rolling out a spicy version of the sandwich which is exciting because… I mean c’mon, it’s spicy, spicy is always a welcome inclusion in the fast food realm.
But how does the new recipe stand up to the OG, and is this still worth getting in 2022? We found out by trying both sandwiches. Here are our thoughts.
Classic and Spicy Flounder Fish Sandwich
So I’ve talked up this sandwich a bit and then… well, look at it. I don’t blame you if you feel like something isn’t adding up because this thing doesn’t look so hot. Never mind not looking good, it doesn’t even look mildly appetizing — like maybe it got left in traffic. This is one of Popeyes’ biggest weaknesses in general, their chicken sandwich also looks like roadkill and the chicken tenders are so haphazardly battered that sometimes you get entire bites that contain nothing but crispy salty breading. But who cares? I won’t pretend presentation isn’t important, but at the end of the day flavor is all that matters and, like the chicken sandwich, this delivers.
First of all, it’s flounder — as far as fast food fish sandwiches go, that’s pretty rare. Flounder has a super mild and subtly sweet flavor, it’s not something that could be described as “fishy,” it tastes very clean. Couple that with Popeyes’ spicy Cajun seasoned breading, and the result is a mix of bold zesty cayenne and paprika flavors, with a delicate-bordering-sweet aftertaste. The sandwich is topped with thick brine-y pickles, and savory tartar sauce, but the real star is the fish.
Last year in my review I mentioned that the breading to meat ratio was all off, the OG version featured a thicker batter that didn’t adhere to the filet properly, that’s been improved here, the breading is much lighter and less distracting.
The new sandwich also includes a spicy version that is topped with the same spicy sauce used on Popeyes’ chicken sandwich in place of the tartar sauce. If you’re sensitive to spicy food, stay away from this one, the filet is already spicy on its own thanks to the cayenne pepper in the breading, so this double down on spice can be overwhelming. If you do like spicy food, definitely give it a try though.
I think it’s a slight improvement over the Classic version of the sandwich. The spicy sauce ditches the tang of the tartar sauce for a smokier flavor that sizzles on the tongue and adds an extra top note to the aftertaste and plays well with the briney earthy flavor of the pickles. The sandwich doesn’t need this spicy addition, it’s already good on its own, but more flavor is never a bad thing. Be warned though, it does have a notable kick.
The Bottom Line:
Mild, fresh, light, flakey, and with a semi-sweet finish that tastes even better spicy. This is the best fish sandwich in fast food, and it’s only available for a limited time and, in my experience, constantly selling out — so move fast!
Find your nearest Popeyes here.