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Popeyes side dishes
Photograph: Popeyes

All the Popeyes sides, ranked from worst to best

We've tasted the entire menu of Popeyes sides to find the best sidekick to their crispy fried chicken

Written by
Bao Ong
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Early in 2021, the menu of Popeyes sides got smaller. The fried chicken chain announced that their green beans and beloved Cajun rice were being dropped from the menu. Enthusiasts, particularly Team Cajun Rice, bemoaned the loss of their favorite fried chicken sandwich sidekick. Though baffling and a blow to many, the remaining side items are an equally tasty option to pair with their famous crunchy fried chicken. In fact, the list of Popeye’s sides include some sleeper hits that just might satisfy you on their own (Red beans and rice and a biscuit? We think that’s a pretty fine meal).

A Popeyes three-piece, crispy tenders or their in-demand chicken sandwich can all stand on their own, but for a satisfying, well-rounded fast-food meal, a side dish is a must. We devoured a crazy amount of the fried bird so we could offer you our rankings of these remaining side dishes. From mashed potatoes to coleslaw, here are our thoughts on the small but mighty menu of Popeyes sides. Crunchy, salty, cool, and satisfying, these Popeyes sides make the chain’s renowned fried chicken a full meal.

Still hungry? Check out our expert takes on the best Subway sandwich, the McDonald’s breakfast menu, and the full Taco Bell menu.

Popeyes sides, ranked

Biscuits
Photograph: Popeyes

9. Biscuits

The buttermilk biscuits haven’t left the menu since debuting in 1983. They’re soft and delicate, yet flaky and crumbly. Whether you eat them plain or create your own chicken sando, you can’t go wrong. If anything, you can’t go to Popeyes and not get biscuits with your fried chicken.

Cinnamon Apple Pie
Photograph: Popeyes

8. Cinnamon Apple Pie

Desserts aren’t top of mind when you think of a fried chicken destination like Popeyes. But like many fans, we’d agree it’s even better than the McDonald’s version. The fried pocket treat is just sweet enough with cinnamon sugar on the outside, and when it’s warm and crisp on the outside, the inside burts with a generous apple filling.

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Red Beans & Rice
Photograph: Popeyes

7. Red Beans & Rice

This dish is a classic in Creole cooking, so it’s no surprise to find it on the Popeyes menu. Is the best rendition of the Mardi Gras favorite? Definitely not (sometimes the rice is overcooked). But it’s a nice counterpoint to fried chicken with its smokey flavor.

Green Beans
Photograph: Popeyes

6. Green Beans

If you want to ensure you’re getting some greens in, go for an order of green beans. They’re nostalgic in the way canned cranberry sauce is on Thanksgiving. It’s definitely not gourmet and your beans aren’t sourced from some farm growing only heirloom varieties.

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Cajun Rice
Photograph: Popeyes

5. Cajun Rice

This dish, more commonly known as “dirty rice,” was often made with leftover organ meats of chicken. While there’s definitely a generous amount of spices used to add flavor into this side, it’s still a far cry from superior versions we’ve tasted.

Mashed Potatoes with Gravy
Photograph: Popeyes

4. Mashed Potatoes with Gravy

Mashed potatoes are a great foil to the fried chicken. You experience comfort food at its best combining the poultry with a bed of soft potatoes. But what make this side so good is the richness of the gravy because otherwise the potatoes on their own are bland.

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Coleslaw
Photograph: Popeyes

3. Coleslaw

You’re not exactly getting your fill of vegetables at Popeyes. While it may seem like coleslaw and fried chicken are a great pairing, we’d recommend passing on this side order. It’s almost too creamy and even worse, too bland.

Cajun Fries
Photograph: Popeyes

2. Cajun Fries

The Cajun fries nod to Popeyes’s New Orleans connection. When they’re hot and crispy, the fries are great, but if they’ve been sitting around for too long, we’d recommend passing and getting your carbs in with the other sides.

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Popcorn Shrimp
Photograph: Popeyes

1. Popcorn Shrimp

We love that the breaded shrimp is fried, but it’s a tall order to live up to when Popeyes’s fried chicken is textbook perfect. These little bite-sized crustaceans lack a crisp exterior and leave us wanting more.

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