Popeyes Hopes for Another Hit with New Blackened Chicken Sandwich

Apparently this sandwich was in the works even before the release of Popeyes' popular fried Chicken Sandwich.

Popeye's Blackened Chicken Sandwich

Courtesy of Popeye's

It’s hard to believe over three years have passed since Popeyes first released their chicken sandwich — perhaps the most buzzed about new fast food menu item of my lifetime and a trendsetter that inspired everyone from the obvious, like KFC, to the less obvious, like Starbucks, to attempt to emulate the phenomenon.

But while the competition tried to play catchup, perhaps the biggest challenge has been for Popeyes to replicate its own success. In the ensuing years, Popeyes has given their chicken sandwich a buffalo sauce makeover and a Megan Thee Stallion spin. They've tried new products like a fish sandwich and chicken nuggets. But nothing has been as explosively popular as that sandwich. So perhaps another chicken sandwich is up to the task?

Today, the Louisiana-founded chain proclaimed that they were "reigniting the Chicken Wars" with the official nationwide launch of "its next great menu innovation," the Blackened Chicken Sandwich.

The new sandwich features a breading-free, whole chicken breast that has been marinated for 12 hours, seasoned in Cajun and Creole spices, and then served between Popeyes toasted buttery brioche bun along with pickles and either the brand’s house classic or spicy mayo.

Popeyes points out that the blackening cooking technique traces its roots back to Louisiana, just like the fried chicken chain. Perhaps that's why the brand says they’ve been developing this sandwich for four years — meaning it predates the release of that other Popeyes chicken sandwich.

"Both the Blackened and our classic Chicken Sandwiches have been in different stages of development over the course of several years despite the fact that the original Chicken Sandwich came out first in 2019," Amy Alarcon, Popeyes' VP of culinary innovation, told us via email. "In fact, the original chicken sandwich took four years to develop, so that was in the works long before we actually launched it, too! We tested the Blackened Chicken Sandwich for a while before we finally decided to launch it nationwide in the U.S. — including pulling inspiration and learnings from some of our global menus where we launched Blackened Chicken sandwiches in markets like Brazil and Switzerland."

According to multiple news outlets, the Blackened Chicken Sandwich received a somewhat secretive test run in select U.S. markets back in 2021.

"We certainly took some key learnings from the original Chicken Sandwich launch and applied them to the Blackened Chicken Sandwich," Alarcon continued, "like incorporating the same toasted buttery brioche bun, our house classic or spicy mayo, and crunchy barrel-cured pickles and combining those fan-favorite elements with the classic Blackening cooking technique."

But the question now becomes whether Blackened can live up to Popeyes post-2019 expectations. "Our Chicken Sandwich changed the QSR industry back in 2019," Sami Siddiqui, president of Popeyes North America, stated. He added that now the chain "wanted to reinvent the category of traditional grilled chicken sandwiches."

The Blacked Chicken Sandwich is now available at participating locations nationwide for a limited time. Just how limited of a time will likely depend on whether it can live up to the hype of its chicken sandwich predecessor.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles