Popeyes Secret Menu Hacks You'll Wish You Knew Sooner

Even though the fast food chain was founded in the 1970s, Popeyes has recently become infamous for its controversial fried chicken sandwich. It debuted only a few years ago, in 2019, and launched an all out war among fast food chains (via Complex). But outside of this debate-causing dish, there's not much to fuss over when it comes to Popeyes' menu items. Most people stick to an order of fried chicken — in the form of tenders or nuggets, if you're not getting the sandwich — plus a side like mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, cajun fries, or biscuits. That's not the whole menu, but everything they offer sticks to Popeyes' theme of classically Southern cuisine. And although delicious, this limited menu can become boring after a while.

However, the good news is that there are plenty of ways to spice up your next visit to Popeyes. The Louisiana-inspired-inspired fast food chain has a secret menu of items you can ask the employees to prepare for you that are not officially advertised by Popeyes. There are also exciting ways to fix up a basic Popeyes' order on your own and create something extra special and tasty. Along with creating new flavors, these hidden menu items and special hacks also provide the opportunity to cater to specific dietary restrictions, such as keto, and in some cases can even help you save a few bucks on your drive-thru order. Read on to find out the Popeyes secret menu hacks you'll wish you knew sooner. 

Ask for Cajun Sparkle

Cajun Sparkle is one of the most iconic Popeyes secret menu items. It's not listed on the menu, but ask an employee for some and chances are you'll get it, because this seasoning is so popular that it can barely be considered a secret anymore. According to Elite Daily, Popeyes claims Cajun Sparkle is simply made with garlic, onion, and both red and black pepper. But by looking at the ingredients listed on the package, you can tell there's a lot more to it. Some additional components include onion powder, Worcestershire sauce, tamarind, molasses, vinegar, and MSG, to name a few. You could try to make Cajun Sparkle seasoning yourself, but given the long list of ingredients, why wouldn't you just hit the drive-thru instead?

This flavorful seasoning comes in small, individual packages. Many people rip them open and sprinkle Cajun Sparkle directly onto their food, but you can even mix some into a dipping sauce to experience a whole new flavor. Many Popeyes customers are huge fans of Cajun Sparkle.  "You gotta get cajun sparkle when [you] get Popeyes," insisted one of many recommendations on Twitter.  As one fan on Reddit exclaimed, "This stuff is insane. I can put it anywhere...I would even put it in my soda if I could." And among the endorsements on Yelp, another person called the Cajun Sparkle seasoning "a game changer ... [your] mind, heart and soul gone out to the heavens because it's so dang tasty!!"

Make sweet & spicy red beans and rice

The red beans and rice side from Popeyes is popular by itself, but we recommend you take things to the next level with a sweet and spicy upgrade. Unfortunately, this isn't something that an employee will just hand you. For this secret menu hack, you'll have to get creative yourself. But luckily, it's super easy. First, you order a side of Popeyes' red beans and rice — this can be done so individually or as part of a meal. Then, you ask for two packets of honey and one packet of hot sauce. Finally, empty the three sauces packets onto your red beans and rice. Once you've mixed it up, you'll find the flavor is greatly improved. There's now some sweet and some heat to give a nice kick and round out this savory side dish.

There are other ways to customize your red beans and rice side dish, too. One Twitter user asked, "Does anyone else put Sweat Heat in red beans and rice?" referring to the sweet chili sauce in Popeyes' condiment lineup. Other customers chose to add just honey or just hot sauce to their side. But we think the combination of both the sweet and the heat is just what this simple, starchy side needs. These sauces add lift and zing to what is otherwise an arguably average rice and beans dish.

Order naked chicken tenders

Naked chicken tenders are not currently listed as part of Popeyes' official menu, but they used to be. First released in 2005, Naked Tenders — which are simply Popeyes' signature seasoned chicken tenders without breading — became a hit on the menu, but they only stuck around for a limited time (via Adweek). The tenders made another temporary appearance on the menu in 2011, as part of a specialty "Louisiana Leaux" menu aimed at offering customers some healthier options (per QSR Magazine). The offerings included a Naked Tenders Meal, A Naked BBQ Chicken Po Boy, and a Naked Chicken Wrap. Today, the Louisiana Leaux menu is no more, but naked chicken is here to stay, even if you won't find it on the official menu. They're now more likely referred to as blackened chicken, and all you have to do is go in a Popeyes store and ask for them (via Reddit). 

These tenders may lack the iconic, crispy Popeyes breading, but they are still seasoned with the flavors you know and love. As such, naked chicken has found many fans among the keto community. The blog Keto ASAP recommends Naked Chicken as an option befitting its readers. And they aren't the only ones who appreciate this secret menu item. "Popeyes naked chicken tenders are bomb!" exclaims one customer on Facebook. Another customer said of their naked chicken from Popeyes, "So delicious! This would even be great to add to a salad." Feel free to take their advice.

Indulge on cinnamon sugar biscuits

If you like to get creative with your desserts, you're going to want to try out cinnamon sugar biscuits at Popeyes. For this secret menu hack, Popeyes signature biscuits get coated in a cinnamon sugar topping. The sweet seasoning blend should pretty much always be available, since it's used to make Popeyes' Cinnamon Apple Pie, which is a permanent dessert on the official menu. Next time you want to try this sweet treat at Popeyes, ask employees to roll some biscuits in the cinnamon sugar topping. Since they already have all the ingredients, it shouldn't be too much to ask.

Per The Krazy Coupon Lady, this menu item is also a sweet tooth-satisfying savings hack. Currently, a single Popeyes biscuit costs $1.29. Getting that biscuit rolled in cinnamon sugar seemingly comes at no extra charge. So if you count this as a dessert, then it's the cheapest dessert on the menu — secret or not.

Popeyes fans are nothing if not passionate, even when it comes to their hidden menu hacks. "This cinnamon sugar biscuit from Popeyes was just the best thing I've ever had," said one Twitter user. And if you want even more sweetness, you could drizzle on a honey packet, as many do with their Popeyes biscuits already.

Make a DIY chicken biscuit

The Popeyes chicken biscuit menu hack is the ultimate breakfast item you've been craving. Unlike fast food chains such as McDonald's or Wendy's, Popeyes doesn't have a biscuit sandwich on its official menu. The chain barely even serves breakfast. However, they are usually open before noon — when some people are still eager for breakfast dishes. That's where this chicken biscuit hack comes in handy.

Some lucky customers who've had the chicken biscuit at Popeyes got their hands on it through the official Popeyes breakfast menu, which is served at very few locations, such as some airports. As one Reddit user posted, "A friend of mine and I had an actual Chicken Biscuit from Popeyes in the Atlanta airport about 15 years ago and to this day it's still the best chicken biscuit I've ever had," they wrote. And even though this option is not available to most of us, getting your hands on a chicken biscuit at Popeyes is relatively easy. All you have to do is order some chicken tenders and a biscuit. You don't have to ask anything special of the restaurant's employees. Simply separate a biscuit into two pieces and place a piece of chicken inside — and that's it. For some, this is where this Popeyes hack ends. But others may want to dress their chicken biscuit up a bit, adding some honey or ketchup (though this condiment choice may cause people to judge you).

Use gravy as a dipping sauce

Another easy and flavorful Popeyes hack is to turn your gravy into dipping sauce. Everyone knows that Popeyes has gravy on the menu because it's included as part of the Mashed Potatoes with Cajun Gravy side. But have you ever dunked your crispy, seasoned chicken into that spicy gravy? If the answer is no, we'd like to help you change that, because you're missing out on a flavor bomb — and once you try it, you may never eat your Popeyes chicken another way. 

All you have to do is ask for a side of gravy with your order. You're free to dip anything you want into it, but the gravy is especially great with chicken. And many people already use Popeyes' Mashed potatoes with Cajun Gravy as a dipping sauce. As one Twitter user wrote, "Dipping Popeyes chicken tenders into mashed potatoes and gravy is better than any dipping sauce they have to offer." But others opt for the gravy by itself. There is one problem with this secret menu hack — Popeyes still charges for gravy, unlike its other dipping sauces. But for many, the small charge is worth it. 

And some locations have more than one type of gravy for your dipping pleasure. According to a Tripadvisor reviewer who visited a Texas location, "The best thing about this Popeye's is that they have white gravy as a dipping sauce ... the best sauce you can dip your spicy chicken tenders in!"

Make yourself some cajun gravy fries

Cajun gravy fries are a Popeyes secret menu hack made for the nostalgic. This dish mimics a menu item that Popeyes has discontinued, and one only offered outside the U.S. These gravy fries remind many of Popeyes' Loaded Cajun Fries. Released in 2017, the limited-time side was composed of Popeyes' signature fries topped with Cajun gravy, cheddar cheese, and bacon bits (via Brand Eating). This menu hack is also reminiscent of Popeyes' poutine, which is only offered in Canada. Popeyes' poutine comes with gravy and cheese curds. The secret menu version of these two dishes, Cajun gravy fries, is more simple, made with only gravy and fries.

For this hack, all you have to do is order fries and a side of gravy. Once the ingredients are in your possession, pour the gravy over the fries. The result? Fries pre-coated in their own dipping sauce. While delicious, be warned that this transforms the fries from a finger food into a dish requiring silverware. 

Try a chicken ranch sandwich

Do you love ranch? Then try making yourself a chicken ranch sandwich from Popeyes. Ordering and preparing this secret menu item is easy and requires little from customers or employees. All you have to do is order Popeyes' famous chicken sandwich, spicy or not spicy. As it currently stands, both versions of this sandwich consist of one piece of chicken, a spicy mayo sauce, and pickles, all sandwiched in a brioche bun. To turn it into a chicken ranch sandwich, just skip the mayo and ask for a side of ranch with your order to drizzle over the chicken.

Unlike the Buffalo Ranch Chicken Sandwich — which Popeyes released in 2022 — this chicken ranch sandwich is a little more classic. Without the heat of Buffalo sauce, you get a mild, creamy addition to your chicken sandwich, and the Classic Buttermilk Ranch is a good fit for people who can't handle spice. It's also fitting for thrifty individuals, as well. Since ranch comes at no extra charge, you're changing up the flavor without breaking the bank (via Krazy Coupon Lady).

Blackened Ranch and Buffalo both seem to be more popular dipping sauces among Popeyes customers, but there are a few people who still prefer the buttermilk variety. One customer who added ranch to their Popeyes chicken sandwich boldly declared on Facebook, "This is my first time having a Popeyes Chicken Sandwich... Buttermilk Ranch Sauce was better than the sandwich."

Or a blackened ranch chicken sandwich

The blackened ranch chicken sandwich is made by adding Popeyes Blackened Ranch Sauce to the chain's famous chicken sandwich. According to Brand Eating, the Blackened Ranch Sauce has been at Popeyes since at least 2012. To differentiate this sauce from the Classic Buttermilk Ranch, Popeyes adds white, red, and black pepper, along with onion, garlic, and a "blackened seasoning" blend. Chili Pepper Madness describes the spicy seasoning as similar to Creole or Cajun spice blends, which includes ingredients such as paprika and cayenne. The result is a somewhat spicy ranch sauce. 

People love drizzling this onto their Popeyes chicken sandwiches. Fans of the spicy sandwich have a particular affinity for the chain's Blackened Ranch. As one Reddit user recommends "Put blackened ranch on the spicy chicken sandwich. Thank me later." Another Reddit user wrote, "We love Popeyes blackened ranch. It's why we go to Popeyes. That plus their spicy chicken sandwiches, of course." And by combining the two, people are creating their own tasty menu hack.

Tons of people have proclaimed their obsession with this combination on Twitter as well. "If you get the chicken sandwich from Popeyes make sure you add some blackened ranch to it. Gamechanger," said one customer. This pairing is so popular, it's arguably not even really a secret hack. However, it's still not on the menu, so by getting yourself a blackened ranch chicken sandwich, you can enjoy the feeling of getting creative on your own. 

Turn your chicken sandwich into a taco

For a more experimental secret menu hack, try out Popeyes chicken tacos. If this piques your interest, there are two options for transforming your Popeyes sandwich into Mexican-inspired cuisine. First is the recipe suggested by Popeyes itself. In early 2021, Popeyes was locked in a fast food war to make the best chicken sandwich. Chick-Fil-A was their top rival, but soon Wendy's, McDonald's, and other chains joined in. Even Taco Bell released a Crispy Chicken Sandwich Taco. That rubbed Popeyes the wrong way, causing them to retaliate by releasing a TikTok video explaining how to turn their own signature chicken sandwich into two tacos.

This viral video shows a Popeyes employee taking apart a chicken sandwich and ripping the chicken inside in half. The employee rubs the buns together to distribute sauce evenly on both sides, and then folds each bun into a taco shape. Finally, each piece of chicken is placed into the folded bun halves, along with the pickles that come on the sandwich. And voilá, a crispy chicken taco. While the hack was promoted by Popeyes, chicken tacos never made the official menu. 

But that's not the only way to enjoy tacos at Popeyes. Oprah Daily recommend pulling the crispy breading off a piece of Popeyes chicken and filling it with other ingredients, like the red beans and rice. While you'll have to do the work yourself, the results are a far cry from your typical Popeyes order.

Order a cajun turkey at Popeyes

Real Popeyes fans may already know the chain sells whole Cajun Turkeys around Thanksgiving. But these special birds are still lesser-known items released on a limited-time basis — especially compared to the rest of the menu. And seeing as how most people don't know this option is available around the holidays, we think this qualifies Popeyes' Cajun Turkeys as a secret menu item. As this YouTube Short illustrates, you might not expect to be able to pick up a whole turkey from the Popeyes drive-thru, and you won't find it on the menu. But just ask, and you shall receive. 

Each Cajun Turkey from Popeyes consists of a whole, pre-cooked, frozen bird. What makes these turkeys unique is that they are infused with "zesty Louisiana seasonings" reminiscent of the signature flavor you get from Popeyes' chicken. For anyone who's ever eaten a Thanksgiving turkey and wished it was Popeyes chicken instead, this secret menu items aims to give you both. 

It's not hard to find a good review of Popeyes' Cajun Turkey. "Had a Popeyes Cajun Turkey after two years of trying to find one. The light, I've seen it," claimed one happy customer on Twitter. "Upon eating the Popeyes Cajun fried turkey, I no longer call turkey a trash meat," another Twitter user wrote. "The Popeyes Cajun turkey was delicious!" proclaimed yet another pleased Popeyes customer. We say throw away the package and serve this up on your Thanksgiving table instead — it's our secret.