Review: Sweet & Crunchy Tenders from Popeyes

Over the last decade, Popeyes has been consistently impressive with its rollout of new products and managing to keep the prices and portion sizes in a perfect spot for its consumers. Earlier this year, Restaurant Brands (owner of Burger King and Tim Horton’s) purchased Popeyes for close to two billions dollars.  I’m cringing at the thought of what changes might be in store for the future of Popeyes.  The latest product innovation to hit restaurants is something that’s been in the product pipeline under the old regime, new Sweet & Crunchy Tenders.
On paper, Sweet & Crunchy Tenders seems gimmicky. Strips of white meat chicken breaded in shortbread cookies?  If the Burger King influence was to really hit Popeyes this early, we’d likely be seeing some mashup with Chips Ahoy! cookies and fried chicken.  Popeyes Sweet & Crunchy Tenders are a whole lot more subtle than what I expected.Popeyes is no stranger to sweet and savory with its chicken innovations (see Chicken Waffle Tenders).  Unfortunately, Sweet & Crunchy Tenders didn’t come close to having the same impact Chicken Waffle Tenders had.  Before we get into the negative, let’s look at the positives.  The breading was indeed crunchy and the chicken was meaty and moist.  The combo box is supposed to come with three tenders plus a side and a biscuit.  I received four tenders and maybe that was because one of them seemed to be thinner and flatter than the others.  I opted for Cajun fries for my side and there were plenty of them.  The biscuit was slightly overcooked, but whatever, it was still perfectly edible.  All this food for only $5.  Definitely a familiar, great value from Popeyes.
Where Sweet & Crunchy Tenders fell flat for me was this supposed shortbread cookie breading.  The flavor just didn’t make the impact worthy of even mentioning the shortbread cookies.  I understand that during the frying process the sweetness can take a hit, but there should be a post-frying plan in place to help with that.  Maybe a shortbread cookie seasoning sprinkled on the chicken tenders or something.  The selling point of this chicken was just too subtle and having “Sweet” in its name felt misleading.  Maybe if I tried this product a bunch of times I’d get some tenders that yielded a better sweetness than my batch.  If that’s the case, the inconsistency isn’t worth the gamble.  The Smok’n Pepper Jam dipping sauce wasn’t that special.  I liked the syrupy, sticky consistency and how it perfectly enveloped every chicken morsel, but the flavor didn’t vibe well with me.  This dipping sauce combines a little citrus, some smoke and heat.  I feel this sauce would be a better fit with some other Popeyes creation.There are more pros than cons with new Sweet & Crunchy Tenders, but the uniqueness of the products intended result carries more weight than anything.  I wanted more shortbread cookie impact and since it didn’t come through, I was left underwhelmed with my purchase.

Pros: Typical Popeyes value... lots of food for a great price. Crunchy breading, meaty tenders.

Cons: Shortbread cookie breading fell completely flat. Underwhelming dipping sauce.

Taste: 5.75/10
Value: 8.00/10
Grubbing on-the-go: 5.25/10
Price: $5.00

Overall GrubGrade: 5.75/10

More Info: popeyes.com
Nutrition Facts:
not available

9 comments on “Review: Sweet & Crunchy Tenders from Popeyes

  1. Scram says:

    Such a great idea, Popeyes. I see this trend spreading throughout the food industry.

    “New, from Duncan Hines, Chicken Brownies.”

  2. Richard Ginn says:

    What gets me mad is they can’t give us a deal if we add in a drink here.

    • Patrick Bateman says:

      Yeah, this is LT item, but the Church’s $4 meal and KFC $5 box are much better deals. I prefer Church’s because I usually bring my own water.

    • Jon says:

      I agree. I rarely fully eat the fries and I wish they’d let you sub in a drink rather than a side.

  3. Greg says:

    Breading wise, not worth it for me, it had a taste that just wasn’t right. Chicken was not as moist as their regular tenders. Sauce was the only good thing in this meal. With the normal breading, the sauce would be excellent.

  4. xam says:

    I loved the waffle tenders, but these weren’t great, and the sauce was disgusting.

  5. Food For Thought says:

    My problem is the Waffle Batter Chicken Tenders were essentially the same thing even if you had inhuman sense of taste to pick out subtle differences.

    Smelling like a generic XYZ donut shop that is warming up yesterday’s glazed batch doesn’t help either. I really just want their spicy options now, kinda getting sick of the sweet and savory spiel from them. Love Popeye’s, but see a weakness exposing itself.

  6. Sha'Meless says:

    The sweetness is too muted to be of value, but the extra crunch and pepperjack sauce made this a higher quality Popeye’s tender. I’m not sure if it was just a lucky batch, but I ordered the spicy version and it was much spicier than the norm even without the sauce. A+

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