Popeyes is a go-to fast food joint for many. It’s famous for flavorful, crispy fried chicken and its mouth-watering sides such as Coleslaw, Cajun fries, and more! To the outside eye, it may not seem like the ideal spot for those on a low-carb diet to frequent. But sometimes the craving is just too real…
Want to enjoy Popeyes but tend to skip it because most of the menu is high on carbs? If you’re craving something from this flavor-packed fast food joint, you don’t have to head home empty-handed! Luckily, this fried chicken spot does have some low-carb options for all you keto-lovers!
Keep reading to discover the top 4 best Popeyes Keto options to satisfy your fast food cravings and what items on the menu to avoid!
4 Best Popeyes Keto Options
Popeyes is notoriously known for their fried chicken, but you should avoid anything breaded. So if you want to walk in and order a keto-friendly meal, you have 4 items on the menu to comprise your takeout order!
Here they are:
1. Main – Blackened Tenders
Blackened tenders are not advertised on the menu board – it’s a part of their secret menu and is available at most stores… you just have to ask! It’s the best low-carb option and packed with flavor. Coated in Popeyes’ secret seasoning blend and fried with absolutely no breading, the blackened tenders are juicy and very crispy that you’ll be wondering if it is low carb or not!
3 pieces of Blackened Tenders: 170 calories | 2g fat | 2g carbs | 26g protein
5 pieces of Blackened Tenders: 283 calories | 3g fat | 3g carbs | 43g protein
10 pieces of Blackened Tenders: 566 calories | 6g fat | 6g carbs | 86g protein
If there is any confusion, despite being non-breaded, the Tenders do have 2-6 grams of carbs because of the Popeyes seasoning that it’s coated with. Not to worry, these chicken pieces are still low-carb and nutritious. Especially made into a meal with a low-carb side dish, sauce, and drink!
2. Side – Mashed Potatoes with Cajun Gravy
Since Popeyes got rid of their green beans side dish, the regular-sized mashed potatoes are the lowest carb side dish you can get at this fast food joint! If you’re craving a side dish, the mashed potatoes aren’t as loaded in carbs as some of the other options on the menu. But if you’re okay with a smaller side and can handle spice, ask for some jalapenos on the side, as they are significantly less in carbs.
1 regular order of Mashed Potatoes with Cajun Gravy
110 calories | 4g fat | 18g carbs | 1g fiber | 15g net carbs | 3g protein
We don’t recommend getting a large order of mashed potatoes with gravy as it comes out to 54g of carbs. Stick to a regular order of mashed potatoes if you’re in the mood for a side, but if possible, ditch the side altogether and just eat the chicken you get as your main order!
3. Sauce – Blackened Ranch
Sauces, in general, have a rep for adding unnecessary calories fast! Most sauces contain added sugars and low-quality oil, which can disturb your diet. Popeyes has a wide variety of sauces to choose from, but not all of them are good for a keto diet. We have recommended the best pick first and added in two more, just in case you want variety!
1 container of Blackened Ranch sauce:
118 calories | 13g fat | 2g carbs | 1g protein
1 container of Buttermilk Ranch:
150 calories | 15g fat | 3g carbs | 0g protein
1 container of Mardi Gras Mustard:
75 calories | 9g fat | 5g carbs | 1g protein
The Popeyes sauces you want to steer clear from are:
- Bayou Buffalo (16g carbs)
- BoldBQ (10g carbs)
- Sweet Heat (19g carbs)
- Creole Cocktail (7g carbs)
4. Drink – Diet Pepsi or Diet Coke
Since you’re buying a full-out meal, you might as well add a carbonated treat to finish it off, right? Popeyes has options for those of you on a low-carb keto diet! They carry Diet Pepsi and Diet Coke, so you can choose whichever team you’re on and not worry about carb intake!
Tips of What NOT to Order at Popeyes
Now that we’ve taken a look at the best possible meal you can order at Popeyes, let’s take a look at meal options to absolutely avoid while on a keto diet!
Here are some tips to remember when you find yourself in front of the Popeyes menu board and you’re eyeing some delicious-looking food!
- Avoid anything breaded (pretty much 90% of the menu). It is not keto-friendly and will rack up the carbs just with one meal!
- Avoid any sandwiches because they come with a thick bun that is not for those on a keto diet!
- If you are transitioning into a keto diet, you can be lenient with yourself and order a chicken sandwich without a bun. While breading of any kind is not keto, you let your body slowly transition into this lifestyle.
- Popeyes’ famous biscuit is a no-no for keto enthusiasts. You may want to ask them to hold the complimentary biscuit.
- Coleslaw may seem keto but it’s not even close! It has 19 grams of carbs and 15 grams of sugar – so this is something you need to steer clear of!
If you’re keto conscious but get occasional cravings for your favorite fried chicken joint, you’re not alone! There usually are keto-friendly options at most fast food places, while it’s very limited you can still enjoy a balanced meal!
At Popeyes, there are very few keto options, and we highlighted each of them for you to purchase a whole meal. The Blackened Tenders aren’t common and probably won’t be advertised on the menu. Stay confident and patient, it may take some time to cook since it’s not asked for very often. But know that the option is always there when you want your chicken fix! Sides and sauces can creep up on you in carb intake – but chosen wisely, you won’t have to worry about that while you scarf down your meal.
Hopefully, this guide helped break down the best keto options at Popeyes and gave you a list of menu items to avoid when you pay your next visit! Stay strong and keep your head in the game!