Things you should never order from Popeyes

Popeyes, the fast food chain well known and loved for its Louisiana-style fried chicken and other southern-inspired eats, has a dedicated fan base that includes popstars, rappers, food critics, and even the Kardashians

Once just a single location outside of New Orleans, Al Copland's former "Chicken on the Run" brand has grown rapidly since its inception back in 1972. Now officially titled Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, the fast food favorite has reached icon status with over 2,700 locations across 47 states, and boasts a simple menu that is prepared and served "Louisiana fast." 

It's no secret that some Popeyes' menu items are so obsession-worthy that they have caused locations to literally sell out of them, but there are other items that leave much room for improvement. And even after taking a closer look at some of the more popular offerings, we believe there are some that warrant a warning. 

Here is a list of things you should never order from Popeyes.

Popeyes fried chicken livers

Although not available at all locations, those lucky enough to anchor down at a Popeyes that offers fried chicken livers will undoubtedly be the envy of their shipmates. 

An acquired taste but beloved southern delicacy, fried chicken livers are typically only found at more traditional mom-and-pop type restaurants or at your nana's dinner table. However, the fact that these deep-fried nuggets are not widely available is not exactly a blessing for your health. 

The 10-piece meal from Popeyes is packed to the gullet with 1190 calories, 2070 mg of sodium, and 5 grams of the dreaded trans fat that the World Health Organization is working so hard to eliminate from global food suppliers. 

With so many other choices on the Popeyes' menu to scratch your fried comfort food itch, even the not-so-health-conscious will benefit from simply steering clear of this dish. As yummy as fried chicken livers are, Popeyes is not the place to indulge.

Popeyes red beans and rice

The combination of beans and rice is a staple in many domestic and ethnic cuisines — including traditional New Orleans cooking. The hearty mixture of grain and fiber-rich legumes can stand on its own or serve to boost the nutritional substance of a meal. That is part of what makes the Red Beans and Rice side at Popeyes so attractive (that and the fact that a large can usually be purchased for under $6). 

The problem is that, for a dish that seems hard to mess up, Popeyes' version of this New Orleans favorite falls short of what you would expect — even from a fast food chain. Some face is saved by Popeyes' signature seasoning on the rice, which is on almost everything they sell, but it only manages to prop the dish up to passing standards. 

Another issue with Popeye's Red Beans and Rice as a side is that the large will add a good 610 calories to your order, making it calorically an entree. So we say that unless you're in dire need of a quick and cheap vegetarian meal on-the-go, probably best to skip it. 

Popeyes Cajun rice

Speaking of not-so-yummy side dishes at Popeyes, the Cajun Rice, sometimes called "Dirty Rice," is another good example of when something that seems simple goes wrong. 

While traditional New Orleans' Dirty Rice is made using chicken/beef broth, celery, onions, garlic, peppers, and various leftover meat parts. Popeyes' version of the dish, apparently, uses ground beef and ground chicken gizzards.

The result is a somewhat mushy concoction that leaves a strange aftertaste. And what is really shocking is that a large order of this stuff rings in at 548 calories, which is just 60 calories less than the Red Beans and Rice side. This makes the large order a lot of extra energy to consume for such an unimpressive dish that, unlike its competitor, can't stand on its own nutritionally. 

If you need a carb fix, go for a biscuit. 

Popeyes mashed potatoes with gravy

When made fresh from actual boiled potatoes, divinely merged with cream, butter, and salt, mashed potatoes are freaking delicious. Unfortunately, instant versions of this classic dish tend to leave much to be desired. 

We aren't saying that Popeyes' mashed potatoes with gravy is made from just-add-water dehydrated spuds, we're just saying they taste like they could be. Not that one would or should expect anything more from mashed potatoes ordered from a fast food restaurant, but since we are on the subject of what not to order, we felt it was reasonable to add Popeyes mashed potatoes with gravy to the list. 

For a side dish, it would seem that mashed potatoes with Cajun-spiced gravy is not a bad option. With the regular size ringing in at just 110 calories, 4 grams of fat, 590 mg of sodium, and 18 grams of carbs, it makes this side one of the more nutritionally sound choices at Popeyes. However, for what it lacks in bad stuff it also sadly lacks in good stuff. 

The potatoes themselves taste a lot like we imagine paper mache might taste like if we were daring enough to try it. What makes this item even somewhat edible is the Cajun gravy, which is really good but it is also a bit rich.

Popeyes Cajun fish filets

Like the fried chicken livers, Popeyes Cajun fish filets are not available at all locations... and there is probably a good reason for that. 

While some people are enthusiastic about ordering fish from a drive-thru window, others (like those who have been employed at fast food restaurants) urge against it. However, these warnings seem to have more to do with the lack of popularity of the items, hence causing them to sit all day, then they do the actual quality of the fish. 

Though we can't be sure how long the Cajun fish filets we tried at Popeyes were actually sitting, we can say that they lacked flavor and their consistency was dry and tough. And as far as we are concerned, these are not words that one should use when describing fish. 

When it comes to Popeyes Cajun fish filets, just order the chicken.

Popeyes spicy chicken

Ironically, it was the addition of spicy chicken to the Chicken on the Run menu that marked the inception of the Popeyes brand, so it is kind of strange to have that exact item end up on our list. 

And the truth is, there really isn't anything wrong with Popeyes Spicy Chicken, per se, it just so happens to be one of the less popular items on the menu. For this reason, it has been said to often sit around for longer than 30 minutes, which has a negative impact on the taste. 

This could explain our experience, which was that the batter on the spicy chicken seemed to be a little soggier than the regular signature chicken, and why we found the regular signature chicken to be so much tastier. 

It also seems like the batter isn't actually that spicy — you really need to add a bunch of hot sauce to get it where it needs to be.

Popeyes Cajun fries

If you're not the kind of person who feels strongly that french fries should be crispy, then Popeyes Cajun fries might be completely fine for you. For the rest of us, however, it is quite the culinary bummer to be on the receiving end of an order of soggy french fries, which appears to be the main affliction of Popeyes Cajun fries. 

A soft, floppy french fry is to be somewhat expected when ordering poutine, french fry nachos, or some other fries-based dish that involves wet toppings. But the Cajun fries at Popeyes are essentially just regular fries adorned with a Cajun seasoning, so there's no good reason for them to lack the crispiness they do. 

If you happen to still really like Popeyes Cajun fries despite their lackluster form, we suggest ordering them well-done. This actually did help add to their crispiness, but only a little.

Popeyes macaroni and cheese

We really don't want to undermine the proclivities of the late and great Anthony Bourdain on this one, but in our opinion, Popeyes macaroni and cheese is not the breakfast delicacy that the Parts Unknown host claimed it to be. 

While the presentation of this dish most likely varies from location to location, our experience of the macaroni was that it was both overdone and rubbery (perhaps this batch had been sitting out too long). While the cheese-to-noodle ratio on Popeyes macaroni and cheese was good, others have agreed that the cheese sauce itself lacks flavor and texture. 

For a dish that's exploding with sodium (2995 mg, yikes!), no one should not have to add salt to enjoy it. And speaking of nutritional value, at 655 calories for a size large, this "side" should definitely be divvied up among at least two people, so make sure and bring a friend. 

Popeyes handcrafted chicken tenders

We will be the first to say that Popeyes handcrafted chicken tenders are yummy AF. They deliver on everything that Popeyes is famous for — juicy, tender chicken engulfed in just the right amount of Popeyes famous batter, deep-fried into crispy chicken tender perfection. 

However, like many of life's great pleasures, Popeyes' delectable battered and fried chicken tenders should only be enjoyed in serious moderation. While the regular three-piece order offers what you might expect in terms of nutritional violations, the larger five-piece order full-on criminalizes the fast food eating experience. This size of Popeyes handcrafted chicken tenders is essentially a feast of fat (34 g), cholesterol (172 mg), carbs(48 grams), and sodium (3035 mg), along with 710 no-joke calories. 

And while the dish does serve up a hefty dose of protein, it's simply not enough of a reason to justify this cordial invitation for deep-fried heart failure. 

Popeyes chicken sandwich

It is not without a heavy heart that we add the highly revered Popeyes Chicken Sandwich to our list. This was not without careful consideration, as the mass obsession with this menu item, which caused it to sell out just two weeks after release, could render this post quite unpopular. 

Nevertheless, we feel it is our responsibility to brave the storm and tell you that while the Popeyes chicken sandwich is undoubtedly delicious, it is also undoubtedly bad for your health. 

This 700-calorie sandwich is loaded with 42 grams of fat, 14 grams of saturated fat, 1443 mg of sodium, and 50 grams of carbs — turning lunch into a rapid flush of toxins into your system. 

We aren't saying that ordering one $250 sandwich off eBay is going to kill you, especially when the shipping is free, we are just suggesting that when Popeyes chicken sandwich is available, it's not an indulgence to make a habit of.