Vegan Popeye's Chick'n Sandwich
Updated: Sep 24
A vegan version of the iconic sandwich that made everybody go crazy!
I went vegan before Popeye's came out with their sandwich, and thus, I've never had the famous dish. But I have had many a fried chicken sandwich before going vegan, and this thing more than satisfied those cravings! I had two non-vegan friends over and they devoured it!
It's a fairly simple sandwich, but simplicity can oftentimes be the key to deliciousness. You don't need much more than a few pickles, some tangy sauce and some well seasoned fried chick'n now do you?
Tips for Fried Chick'n:
If using Gardein Chick'n products, thaw them overnight in the fridge or on the counter top for about an hour. DO NOT microwave or you'll end up cooking them and they won't be pliable.
Use an electric Deep Fryer like this FryDaddy.
If not using an electric deep fryer, get a deep fry thermometer. You can use a different one if you fry in a pan, but for my money, the deep fry thermometer has been a big help. I like to fry at 375° F.
Use a wire rack after frying to prevent the chick'n from steaming itself and getting soggy. You can also keep the Fried Chick'n warm in the oven on a wire rack. Just set the oven to lowest setting possible. Mine goes down to 170° F as an example.
Don't use olive oil to fry. You need to use something with a high smoke point, I usually fry with peanut or vegetable oil.
For the vegan buttermilk, really let the plant-milk and vinegar sit for a good 5 -10 minutes. I have found that different plant-milks will thicken more or less. If it's not thick enough, add some more vinegar.
The seasoning for the dry mix is something you can and should tailor to your tastes! I personally like using a Cajun Seasoning most the time.
Shake off the excess flour and batter when you dredge.
Make sure you press the flour into the chick'n so it sticks!
You can freeze these for later, just Air Fry to reheat (I would do it at 380° in 5 - 6 minute increments and check until it's heated through). Or if using an oven, preheat to 400° F and let the Chick'n sit at room temperature while the oven heats up. Then cook on a wire rack for 10 - 15 minutes.
I'm using Gardein Scallopini filets in this recipe, but you could just as easily use my recipes for Tofu Fried Chick'n HERE or my recipe for Fried Seitan Chick'n HERE or even my recipe for Fried Oyster Mushrooms HERE.
If you prefer less oil, you can use the same technique for Air Frying with THIS RECIPE.
Additionally, you can use half the ingredients for the dry and wet batter and Air Fry this recipe too. All you need to do is line your Air Fryer with some parchment paper that you've poked holes with (the parchment paper keeps the batter from sticking to the air fryer). Then do a single dredge and place your chick'n in the air fryer. Make sure not to crowd the air fryer, you don't want any pieces touching. Next, spray the chick'n with some cooking spray, you want to make sure you don't see any dry flour. Then flip them and spray again.
Air Fry for about 6 minutes at 380° F, then flip and spray them again, and repeat the process until they are at your desired doneness!
One important note, DO NOT preheat your Air Fryer with the parchment paper. Otherwise the paper will fly into the coils and cause a fire! NOOOO!
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Makes 1 Large or 2 Regular Sized Sandwiches
2 Gardein Chick’n Scallopini filet (thawed)
1/3 cup plant milk
2 Tbsp hot sauce
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp flour
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 Tbsp cajun seasoning
Dill pickle slices
1-2 Vegan Brioche Buns (or use any bun you like)
2 Tbsp vegan mayo
1/2 tsp cajun seasoning
1/4 tsp vinegar
Combine ingredients for cajun mayo and set aside.
Bring a pot of oil to 375 degrees.
While your oil is heating up, let's prepare the chick'n. If you are making 1 BIG sandwich, combine the 2 filets together by mashing them until they form 1 big patty.
Prepare your dredging station. Combine the plant milk, hot sauce and apple cider vinegar in one bowl, let it sit for 5-10 minutes to form the buttermilk, if it's not thick enough to stick to the chick'n, add some more vinegar. Combine the flour, cornstarch, baking powder and cajun seasoning in another bowl.
Once oil is up to frying temperature, dredge your filet(s) first in the wet mixture, then dry, shake off the excess, and then repeat to double dredge. Place carefully in oil and let it fry until golden brown. Let it rest on a cooling rack.
Add some cajun mayo to both the top and bottom buns. Add some pickle slices to the bottom, then plop your chick'n on the bottom bun and add the top bun.
Recipe Notes; Hat tip to Lauren Toyota at Hot for Food for the brilliant idea of smashing two Gardein patties together!