Popeyes' New Buffalo Ranch Chicken Tenders Have the Perfect Heat-to-Ranch Ratio

Thinking about switching up your Popeyes order? We gotchu.

Courtesy of Popeyes
Courtesy of Popeyes

Popeyes changed the game with the debut of its wildly popular chicken sandwich back in 2019. And though we'd never diminish the clear fave's excellence or acclaim (it's the GOAT for a reason), that also doesn't mean we've gotta renounce the rest of the menu in response.

Especially now that the southern-style fast food chain is adding buffalo ranch chicken tenders to the roster. Earlier this month, Popeyes gave its classic, crispy fried chicken tenders an upgrade by dousing them in a new buffalo ranch sauce. The menu newcomer also comes with a biscuit, choice of side, and an extra buttermilk ranch for dipping. 

But as the (self-appointed) captain of the Popeyes chicken sandwich fan club, even I was unsure how the buffalo ranch tenders would stack up. Could they possibly rival my passion for the sandwich? 

The buffalo and ranch combo strikes the perfect balance

The buffalo ranch is what makes these new tenders stand apart from other menu classics, but Popeyes was careful to not let it distract from the main event. While it won't scorch your tongue like certain hot sauces (this is a positive for some and negative for others), it packs enough flavor. The buffalo and ranch balance each other out, giving the tenders a subtle kick and layer of smooth creamy texture.

As someone that douses just about everything in Cholula, I could've gone with more sauce than the careful drizzle Popeyes provided, but that's not to say you'll agree. The sauce adds an extra element of flavor but avoids outshining the chicken, which ultimately, is a smart move.

If you're still afraid of any buffalo heat, your order does come with more buttermilk ranch for dipping. But as someone with an off-the-charts spice tolerance, it tamed the experience too much. I would've preferred more straight-up buffalo ranch.

Megan Schaltegger/Thrillist

What's so special about the chicken, anyways?

If you've had any sort of fried chicken from Popeyes then you already know. It has that immaculate crisp, crunchy coating with hot, juicy meat inside. Each tender is marinated and seasoned ahead of time, so even those bites sans buffalo ranch are a flavor journey. 

Would you order it over the chicken sandwich? 

Typically? No. My heart still belongs to the chicken sandwich, but that's not to say I've never tired of it. Occasionally, I'll have the desire to switch things up and the buffalo ranch tenders are different enough to do the job. While I don't expect them to garner the same craze as our beloved sammie, this $5 box is more than worth a spot on your order lineup. 

My only request: Can we get a buffalo ranch version of the chicken sandwich? 

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Megan Schaltegger is a staff writer at Thrillist.