KFC vs Popeyes: What’s better KFC or Popeyes?


Is there such a thing as bad fried chicken? Not if you’re relying on Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) and Popeyes, which were respectively America’s second and third favorite fried chicken fast food restaurants in 2019, according to QSR. When the trio of flavors — salty, crunchy, and juicy — hits your taste buds, there’s no turning back. And when perfectly cooked fried chicken is accompanied by memorable sides, it makes for an even more spectacular meal.

There are plenty of similarities across the two fried chicken fast food chains, but also just enough exciting differences that set them apart, making for an interesting head to head battle. How does the fried chicken compare? And what about the side dish options? We wanted to find out which ranked higher — the Louisiana-influenced flair of Popeyes or the Americana-drenched cuisine of Kentucky Fried Chicken? Let’s take a closer look at some of the key factors to help us decide.

Bone-in fried chicken

KFC vs Popeyes

Kentucky’s extra crispy bone-in chicken brought back some good memories. I hadn’t eaten it for some time, but growing up, it used to be such a great treat when we’d swing by the Colonel’s home and pick up a chicken feast for dinner.

The extra crispy skin had a nice crunch and texture. The quality of the meat was decent and all the flavors worked well.

The Louisiana fried chicken has such an iconic crunch. There’s a little something extra in the seasoning that really does it for me. About the same quality of chicken as KFC, but what sets it apart is that breading. For that reason, I had Popeyes as a 7.9 and KFC a 7.1.

KFC vs Popeyes

Something for you, the people, to try is either the blackened or spicy fried chicken at Popeyes. I generally will opt for one of those over the mild, but to keep an even playing field, I went for mild. Integrity.


Popeyes boasts cajun fries, while KFC recently overhauled their crispy potato option and added “secret recipe” fries to its menu.

I’m not blown away by either, but I like both. KFC’s fry is more of a classic take that’s salty, crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. Popeyes has smaller fries, but the textures weren’t too far from each other. I liked Popeyes’ fry seasoning more, though, so I had Popeyes with a 6.9-6.6 edge. A nice win there.

Chicken strips

KFC vs Popeyes

KFC has a fairly straight forward chicken tender, but it’s done well. The breading is crispy and salty, but the meat seems more susceptible to drying out, which is what I experienced a bit here. It was still a decent effort, but aired on the dry side.

Popeyes chicken strips are some of my go-to tenders. They’re similar to KFC’s, but the crunch goes to the next level and I like the flavors a bit more than KFC’s. That and the KFC dryness boosted Popeyes to a 7.8-7 W.

Mashed potatoes

I have only had the mashed potatoes at Popeyes a couple times. They do it a little differently than KFC and stay on brand with a cajun gravy. It’s an interesting twist on mashed potatoes and gravy that gives the dish a slight, very mild kick.

KFC has that classic mashed potatoes and gravy dish that is hard to top. There’s just something about the creaminess of the potatoes with that brown gravy that’s addicting. You already know where this is headed. KFC gets on the board and takes the mashed potato round 8.1-7.2.


I liked the Popeyes biscuit far more than I thought I would. I’m not a biscuit connoisseur by any means, but this seemed like a very strong effort. It was buttery, flaky and not dried out. I guess it’s like an 8.3 biscuit to KFC’s slightly dryer, slightly less buttery 7.5.


Both places produce a respectable condiment. I had never seen KFC Sauce before, but it was similar to Chick-fil-A sauce. It was a hair on the sweet side for me though. It had a strong honey mustard vibe.

Popeyes blackened ranch is always tasty. It’s creamy and delicious with a nice, low heat. I had the blackened ranch at 7.5 and KFC Sauce 7.1. Both good sauces, but I preferred the spice to the sweet.

Classic chicken sandwich

Ah, finally. Chicken sandwich time. If you’ve been here before, you know how I feel about the Popeyes chicken sandwich. It’s a staple on my fast food Mount Rushmore.

t’s such a good sandwich. The chicken is SO crispy and I can’t get over it. These were the last items I ate in a video that featured way too much fried chicken, and the crunch was still insane. If there is one thing I want you to see in the video, it’s the crunch of that first Popeyes sandwich bite.

KFC recently overhauled its chicken sandwich and this was my first time having it. There was a weird char mark or something on my bun that I did my best to look past and did not let it affect the score. I’ll let it slide … this time.

This is a good sandwich. This is a very good sandwich. The chicken was crispy and juicy, and I actually liked the KFC pickles better? Which is weird, but that’s how I feel.

The new KFC sandwich is most certainly a strong effort that I’d love to eat again, but it didn’t get to that upper echelon that the Popeyes sandwich resides at. Popeyes 8.2, KFC 7.5 in the classic chicken sandwich department.

I also had a slight gaffe at the end of the video and said the Popeyes chicken sandwich was the lone elite here. That is incorrect. KFC’s mashed potatoes are at the same level and the Popeyes biscuit probably is, but I’m not that knowledgeable in that department and 8.3 could be a criminally bad score. My apologies.

Well, there ya have it. Popeyes, from my POV, is the superior fast-food chicken joint. I will say, though, KFC was better throughout than I anticipated. It had been a long time since I had it, and I think KFC is heading in the right direction.

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