Popeye’s Copycat Fried Chicken and Delta Sauce

This recipe for Popeye’s Copycat Fried Chicken and Delta Sauce is extra crispy, a little spicy and in my opinion, tastes even better than Popeye’s famous fried chicken.

Popeye's Copycat Fried Chicken

Popeye’s Fried Chicken started in New Orleans in 1972. They sold “traditional” mild fried chicken but business was just O.K.

They realized they’d have to sell a spicier alternative to their standard chicken recipe if they wanted to impress flavor-seeking New Orleanians.

The homemade breading is perfectly spicy and deliciously crispy after it is fried.

This copycat recipe also has a bonus recipe for Popeye’s delicious Delta Sauce. It is the perfect sauce to eat with any fried chicken dinner, and it is incredibly easy to make.

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Popeye’s Copycat Fried Chicken and Delta Sauce


For the Chicken

1 (3-pound) chicken
1 quart buttermilk
4 cups flour
3 teaspoons cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons fresh ground pepper
2 teaspoons paprika
3 eggs
1/3 cup water
1 cup hot pepper sauce
3 cups peanut oil
salt and fresh ground pepper

For the Delta Sauce:

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 clove garlic, minced very fine
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup chili sauce
1/4 cup ketchup
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon Worchestershire
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon prepared mustard
a few dashes hot pepper sauce to taste


Place the chicken pieces into a very large bowl and add the buttermilk to completely cover. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Make the Delta sauce while the chicken marinates. Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and stir to combine well. Chill 1 hour or more; it will hold up to 1 week.

Combine the flour, cayenne, and all purpose flours and paprika in a large zip-top bag and shake to mix.

Combine the eggs, water, and hot sauce in a large bowl.

Remove the chicken from the buttermilk and arrange on a cooling rack set into a rimmed baking sheet so that excess buttermilk drips off.

In a large skillet that is at least 3 inches deep, place the oil and heat over medium high until it reaches 350 degrees F – use a thermometer to check the temperature.

While the oil is heating, drop the chicken a few pieces at a time into the zip top bag with the dry ingredients and shake to coat, then dip them into the egg mixture and finally back into the dry ingredients again. Shake off excess flour and set on the cooling rack to drip.

When oil is at 350 degrees F, use tongs to lower a few pieces at a time into the hot oil — do not crowd the pan. Cook for about 15 minutes, turning once and keeping an eye on the oil temperature, adjusting the heat to be sure the oil remains at 350 degrees F.

When the chicken pieces are done, remove from the oil with tongs and set on another cooling rack/baking sheet so that air circulates around them. Place into a 300 degree oven while you repeat the procedure until all the chicken is cooked.

Serve right away or at room temperature with the Delta Sauce for dipping.

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By Kana Kahuna