We Tried Popeyes' Buffalo Ranch Chicken Sandwich to See if It Can Rival the Original

Does this new chicken sandwich deserve the same success as the original?

Courtesy of Popeyes
Courtesy of Popeyes

In 2019 when Popeyes dropped its chicken sandwich, it shook the fast food world to its core. From Carl's Jr. to Culver's, fast food chains debuted or revived their own versions of a fried chicken sandwich.

Now, the question is, can Popeyes out-do its original sandwich? This month the fast food chain came out with a new version of its iconic fried chicken sandwich, the Buffalo Ranch Chicken Sandwich. The new sandwich, which made its debut on May 3 nationwide, is made with a new creamy herb buttermilk ranch and buffalo sauce on top of the chicken from the classic sandwich placed between a brioche bun. Oh, and there are pickles, too, unless you want them removed. 

The original sandwich, which the brand started crafting in 2016, features classic Popeyes chicken between a brioche bun with chunky pickle slices and creamy mayo. The famed sandwich also comes in a spicy variety with a similar build but features a spicy cajun sauce on top of the chicken.

First thoughts:

Every time I unwrap a chicken sandwich of any kind, the warm package in the center of my hand feels like a little life-giving heart, but I digress. For a sandwich delivered via Doordash, it looked a lot like the picture. That is to say, it was able to handle a New York City commute intact. The bright orange creamy herb buttermilk ranch and buffalo sauce did not coat the chicken, but it was clearly drizzled as a flavor barrier between the fried chicken and the brioche buns.

I could also see a few plump pickles hanging out of the sandwich. I know it isn't much, but having a sandwich as aesthetically pleasing as advertised is enough to whet any appetite. As I inspected the sandwich, lifting the bun to get an eyeful of that bright buffalo dressing, the powerful buffalo sauce smell smacked me in the face, making the sandwich that much more enticing. 

Photo by Janae Price for Thrillist

Ok, let's get down to business. How does it taste?

Despite the powerful smell, the sauce wasn't as robust as I expected. It's almost as if the chain wanted to avoid upstaging the Popeyes' well-known chicken sandwich flavor.

The sandwich had some good spice to it as well. The spice definitely isn't enough to send anyone running, but just enough to need a quick sip of water. As for the ranch in the Buffalo Ranch Chicken Sandwich, there was none. The buffalo sauce totally overshadowed any ranch flavors.

Photo by Janae Price for Thrillist

Final thoughts:

I thoroughly enjoyed the Buffalo Ranch Chicken Sandwich. I like that the sandwich still tasted like the original with that crispy yet juicy chicken and pickles. It wasn't overpowered by or drowned in the buffalo sauce, and that's a good thing. I will say this, though, there wasn't a massive difference between the Spicy Chicken Sandwich and the Buffalo Ranch Chicken Sandwich. If you like one, you will definitely enjoy the other. Honestly, if you blindfolded me and asked me to take a bite of each sandwich, I'm not so sure I could immediately spot the difference. They both have the same spice level, and the sauces are not too different.

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Janae Price is a News Staff Writer at Thrillist. She's a native New Yorker and loves all things cheese, K-pop, and culture. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter @janae_larie.