In this post, you’ll learn how to quickly and confidently order low carb at Popeyes.
Read below to get my 17 item Popeyes low carb menu for free. It’s a great resource for anyone who wants to eat low carb, keto, Atkins, low sugar, or diabetic friendly at Popeyes.
Follow my mission to order low carb at the top 30 fast food chains in the US. For each fast food restaurant I’m evaluating:
- Availability of low carb entrees (less than 20 net carbs).
- Satiety of low carb entrees.
- Price of low carb entrees.
- Taste of low carb entrees.
- Ordering experience.
My 20th stop on this low carb fast food challenge is Popeyes. I think they’re known for spicy fried chicken. I have no idea how their restaurants do from a business standpoint, but I know they’ve done a good job with their jingle because it’s stuck in my head:
Love that chicken from Popeyes!
Let’s see if their lovable chicken is low carb friendly.
Popeyes is low carb friendly thanks to their blackened chicken tenders which you can pair with green beans for a low carb meal. They also have some fried chicken that’s moderately low carb, especially if you’re disciplined enough to remove some of the crispy skin before eating.
- Low carb friendly – Yes.
- Low carb entrees on menu – Yes. They have a Blackened Handcrafted Chicken Tenders which have less than 1 net carb per tender.
- Satiety of low carb entrees – Average. It took me 3 blackened tenders, a regular green bean, and 2.5 pieces of fried chicken to get full. I ate the last half piece of fried chicken just to be sure.
- Taste of low carb entrees – Above Average. Their fried chicken was, of course, delicious. What really shocked me was how great their blackened tenders tasted. They were amazing and will definitely make my “Best of” list once this fast food challenge is complete.
- Price / value of low carb entrees – Average.
- 3 piece fried chicken with green beans (2 thighs, 1 leg) – $6.99
- 3 piece blackened tenders – $4.49
- Ordering experience – Above Average. The drive-thru attendant was friendly and patient. They must not get the Blackened Tenders order very often because I had to pull over to the side and wait while they were prepared.
Overall my Popeyes experience was pleasant and much less hostile versus what I experienced at KFC. I’d go back to Popeyes for the grilled blackened tenders, but I don’t think the Popeyes fried chicken keto movement should start just yet. There’s a bit too many carbs in their batter for that. You’re better off making it yourself using my keto fried chicken recipe.
What I ordered
When you’ve visited 20 different fast food joints in the past 3 months and spent 100+ hours reviewing menus and creating your own low carb versions, you start to appreciate when fast food places DON’T serve breakfast because it saves you a trip.
Thank you, Popeyes, for sticking to what you do best and saving me a trip. I only had to go once to sample all of your low carb options.
#1 Popeyes Handcrafted Chicken Tenders – Blackened
Can you eat keto at Popeyes? Yes, if you get their Handcrafted Blackened Chicken Tenders. The blackened chicken tenders weren’t on the drive thru menu but luckily I had done my research beforehand and knew that Popeyes offered these on their “Live Well” menu (which may get more menu space inside the restaurant).
- Price – $4.49
- Nutrition – 170 calories and 2 net carbs
- Taste – Well Above Average. One of the best fast food chicken entrees I’ve had.
- Notes – Very good. Tender, a little spice, good flavor.
I asked for some hot sauce for dipping, but the tenders were so flavorful that I didn’t end up needing the sauce. Now that’s impressive! The only problem with the tenders is that they don’t provide a ton of calories and thus aren’t very filling.
Fortunately, I ordered some fried chicken as well.
#2 Spicy Fried Chicken Thighs, Regular Green Beans, No Biscuit
The fried chicken thighs are moderately low carb as served, but just to be safe, I removed some of the excess batter before eating. I forgot to ask them for no biscuit, so I tossed it as soon as I got home
- Price – $5.29 for a two piece dinner.
- Nutrition – 615 calories and 17 net carbs.
- 280 calories and 6 net carbs per thigh.
- 55 calories and 5 net carbs for the green beans.
- Taste – Average.
- Notes – The green beans are actually delicious and have a little spice to them, plus there are also some tiny bacon pieces. The fried chicken thighs are good, but a little cumbersome to eat. I prefer the ease of the drumstick. The spicy batter was only mildly spicy, I would have preferred a stronger kick.
Because I removed some of the crispy batter before eating and ate around much of the rest, my total nutrition stats for this meal were probably more like 565 calories and 12 net carbs.
#3 Original Drumsticks, Green Beans, No Biscuit
- Price – $5.29 for a two piece drumstick dinner (though I only ordered one for this review).
- Nutrition – 375 calories and 13 net carbs for a two-piece drumsticks + regular green bean
- 160 calories and 4 net carbs per drumstick. Because I removed some of the crispy batter before eating the drumstick, my actual intake was probably more like 140 calories and 2 net carbs per drumstick.
- 55 calories and 5 net carbs for the green beans.
- Taste – Above Average.
- Notes – Original drum leg is good. A little bland but not a turn off. I tore off some of the batter from the skin to save a carb or two.
Even though I tend to like Spicy fried chicken batter more than Original, I liked the drumstick better than the thighs. It was easier to eat and the Original batter tasted just as good as the spicy.
What you should order
Rather than stressing about how much fried chicken batter you need to remove to hit your carb quota, I’d recommend getting a 5 piece Popeyes Handcrafted Blackened Chicken Tenders because it’s the perfect Popeyes keto meal.
That’ll be 283 calories and 3 net carbs. If you’re starving make it a double.
The regular-sized order of the Popeyes Green Beans are really tasty and worth a try as a side, but only if your carb quota can withstand the 5 net carbs they contain.
What you can order
As of writing this post, the Popeyes menu only has the Handcrafted Blackened Chicken Tenders that can be ordered strict low carb.
The battered fried chicken is moderately low carb and have 4 net carbs (drumstick) to 14 net carbs (full chicken breast) depending on which cut you choose. It may not be appropriate for people following a strict keto diet, for example.
They do have some low carb dipping sauces you can order to add flavor to your chicken.
It should be the perfect resource if you’re looking for a Popeyes sugar free menu or a Popeyes diabetic menu.
My low carb menu is derived from my own online research and review of the Popeyes nutrition menu online. Popeyes is one of the few fast food restaurants with a clear and easy to read nutrition menu. They don’t have an online build-a-meal calculator, but creating my low carb Popeyes menu was still pretty easy to do.
What you should avoid
In case you’re new to low carb eating, I’ll point out that you can’t eat any of the Popeyes sides such as fries, biscuits, mashed potatoes, red beans & rice, mac & cheese, and corn on the cob. They all have too many carbs.
There also some tricky and tempting items to avoid.
Avoid these Sauces
- SWEET HEAT – 19 net carbs
- BAYOU BUFFALO -16 net carbs
- BOLDBQ – 10 net carbs
- CREOLE COCKTAIL – 7 net carbs
If you need some additional flavor for your blackened chicken tenders, I’d advise asking for their Hot Sauce packets which are 0 carb and contain only cayenne, salt, and vinegar.
Avoid these Sides
- COLE SLAW – 11 net carbs
Avoid these Items with Too Much Batter
- CRISPY HANDCRAFTED TENDERS – SPICY OR MILD – 3+ PIECES – 27 Net Carbs
- POPCORN SHRIMP – 25 net carbs
- BUTTERFLY SHRIMP – 30 net carbs
- CAJUN FISH FILET – 35 net carbs
- CATFISH FILET – 26 net carbs
- HANDCRAFTED NUGGETS (RISKY) – 13 net carbs
If you’re looking for a moderately low carb fast food fried chicken option, then check out my Chick-Fil-A low carb post.
My next low carb fast food guide is for Little Caesars which I’m hoping isn’t just another darn pizza place where I have to get wings or eat toppings only. Chances are slim. That’s why I keep putting it off.
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aka “Mr. SkinnyPants”