The truth behind Popeyes' Voodoo Tenders

Popeyes new Voodoo Tenders, introduced in late October, were perhaps originally intended as a kind of Halloween-themed limited-time offering, but they may also have been designed to tide customers over until the highly-anticipated return of its super-popular chicken sandwich. The sandwich returned on November 3, but the Voodoo tenders remain on the menu over a week later and have yet to make an official exit. Popeyes may well be thinking, "Why not run them by the biggest crowds we've seen since last August when the sandwich was first launched?" Since, hey, after standing in line for a few hours to get that sure-better-be-as-amazing-as-it's-cracked-up-to-be sandwich, hordes of hungry customers might just decide to check out what else is new at Popeyes.

​So what, exactly, is a Popeyes Voodoo Tender?

A Voodoo Tender, it would seem, is a regular Popeye's chicken tender (one of either three or five, depending on which size you order) which has been dressed up with fried onions, garlic, and ghost peppers. It is also drizzled with a brand-new Popeyes condiment called Voodoo Sauce which, we're going to guess, was created specifically for this dish. Popeyes doesn't reveal whether Voodoo Sauce will remain a dipping option after the Voodoo Tenders have reached the end of their limited time on the menu, but it seems to have an interesting flavor profile regardless. 

The sauce is said to be spicy-sweet, and resembles a Thai sweet chili sauce with a flavor that GrubGrade's reviewer found to be somewhat pineapple-y and definitely more Asian than Cajun, which is no surprise as the third ingredient is pineapple puree, followed by red chili pepper (via OC Register). The pineapple addition is definitely an interesting one, as many people demonize pineapple on pizza, but dousing fried chicken strips is apparently A-OK. 

​ How do the Popeyes Voodoo Tenders taste?

If you're looking for something with some real kick, the Voodoo Tenders may disappoint, since the ghost peppers listed as an ingredient appear to be MIA, taste-wise. GrubGrade calls the tenders themselves plain and flavorless, and says the Voodoo Sauce performs a "subpar job" when it comes to spicing things up. The sauce is also described as tasting "odd," with the chives adding only a little visual interest while doing nothing for the overall taste. Their verdict: Popeyes Voodoo Tenders are "so very forgettable," with an overall grade of 4.75 points out of 10 (just 4 points for taste — the average was brought up a bit by the meal's value and on-the-go eatability).

While YouTuber RodrickEats called the Voodoo Tenders "delicious" and the Discuss Cooking forum gave them a big thumbs up overall, the latter did admit that the sauce had "only a tiny little bit of heat." Redditors commenting on the Voodoo Tenders had a harsher verdict to deliver, with several complaints regarding the overall quality and portion size of Popeyes tenders in general. Several commenters described the tenders they received when they ordered this dish using words such as "thin and dry" and "measley" [sic] — this latter, hopefully, just a misspelling, rather than an indication that the tenders were infected with measles. The Voodoo Sauce, however, really drew some ire for its lack of spiciness and excessive sweetness.

If you do grab some Voodoo Tenders, make sure you grab an extra container of sauce because you'll probably need it, according to the Redditor who lamented the way his local Popeyes "meagerly drizzle[d]" the sauce on his tenders.

​ Popeyes' other seasonal offerings

If you still want to get some Popeyes fall flavor, but you don't manage to snag an order of these Voodoo Tenders before they slither back into the swamp, never fear, Popeyes is big on Thanksgiving, too. 

This year Delish dishes that they're bringing back an old favorite to their dessert menu, the Pumpkin Cream Cheese Pie, and of course they'll be offering their perennially popular Cajun-style turkey which — heads up, busy cooks — is precooked, so it won't require nearly as much prepping and cooking time as a DIY turkey. Plus, it's guaranteed to be awesome since it's Popeyes. What could possibly be more on-trend for the holiday season, 2019-style?

BTW, Popeyes' Voodoo Tenders name is not an occult reference

In case you're Katy Perry's mom and have sworn to avoid such ungodly fare as deviled eggs... well, you're probably going to pass on the Voodoo Tenders out of general disapproval for the whole "spooky" motif. If you're on the fence about all things occult, though, it may reassure you to learn that voodoo (more properly, vodou or vodoun) is not at all Satanic. It's actually considered a syncretic religion, blending West African polytheism with Catholicism. In Popeyes' native New Orleans, voodoo is also a major tourist draw, as numerous visitors flock to the Historic Voodoo Museum and the tomb of 19th-century Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau.