All Of Popeyes' New Wings, Ranked

These bold and saucy chicken wings are a hit, but have one surprising flaw.

When it comes to fast food poultry, Popeyes is a giant making serious gains. Its celebrated catalog of chicken sandwiches and chicken dinners has already won over a huge portion of the U.S. population, and now its new wing menu is poised to do the same. Since wings were permanently added to the menu, sales have been through the roof—so they must be incredible, right? I went to the nearest Popeyes here in Los Angeles to assess the good and the bad. Read on, because there's plenty of both.

It's worth mentioning that some people are posting online about how these wings have destroyed their stomach. This post on Reddit titled "Am I The Only One Who Toilet Blew Up Because of The Popeye's New Wings" was clearly written in such a rush that I believe whatever happened to this person was indeed dire. Granted, Reddit is filled with people claiming food has made their stomachs turn, but the reason I mention this particular instance with Popeyes wings is because after trying them, I found myself in a similar position. These wings are loaded with sauce, salt, heat, grease, and breading. In short, they're a gut bomb, and you should know that before diving in.

It's like alcohol: abstain from it for a few months, and that first glass of wine is liable to get you drunk. Similarly, I've been eating pretty healthy these days, so ingesting an order of Popeyes Sweet 'N Spicy wings felt like doing a keg stand from a barrel labeled "nuclear waste."

Still, it might have been worth it. I did actually have a great time eating these wings, and there are plenty of noteworthy things about them. First of all, an order of six wings costs $5.99, which is a pretty damn good deal because these wings are filling. I mean, just calorically, each wing has somewhere between 100-200 calories (according to the placard I read at my local Popeyes). And 200 calories per wing is pretty high, but there's a delicious culprit: the abundance of breading on each one.

The breading on Popeyes' wings rules: a crispy, craggy texture, glistening with sauce. It just looks appetizing, man. I couldn't wait to dive into these glossy drums and flats. However, as good as the breading is, there's simply too much of it, and I was astonished at how little wing meat is actually underneath it all:

Where's the meat? Plump, juicy bar wings these are not. But despite that horrible breading-to-poultry ratio, I still found myself enjoying the experience of eating them. The flavors are really well engineered. Here's a review of each one, ranked from worst to best. (Just, ya know, proceed with caution.)

5. Ghost Pepper Wings

The Ghost Pepper wings are marinated in a dry spice blend, and they even come in their own little box as if to distinguish the ghost pepper offering from the rest of the wings menu. That's unnecessary, however, because the flavor here isn't even all that spicy. In fact, these ghost pepper wings are downright tame. I don't know where these sit on the Scoville scale, but it's certainly a lot lower than 1 million. If you're a fan of spicy things, you will most certainly be let down. Popeyes' wings excel when they lean into sauce.

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4. Roasted Garlic Parmesan Wings

Popeyes' Roasted Garlic Parmesan wings have the least flavor of the five. That said, they're probably the least likely to make your stomach feel like you ingested poison, too. The garlic is timid, but the cheese is very pronounced. Garlic Parmesan wings are best left to your local bar, not Popeyes. They should be meaty, deep-fried wings tossed in a big steel bowl of roasted garlic, good Parm, and butter. This version tastes a little too creamy, a little too manufactured. You can fix these wings by adding one of Popeyes' side sauces: Buttermilk ranch and blackened ranch will ramp up the flavor here considerably.

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3. Honey BBQ Wings

The Honey BBQ wings use tamarind, honey, and molasses for a sweet, tangy, and slightly smoky sauce. The flavor here is balanced and developed, but it doesn't have the same excitement that the Sweet 'N Spicy or the signature hot wings carry. Still, it's like fried chicken candy, and who the hell doesn't want that? Again, I wish there were more meat here. This is all fried breading and honey. Delicious, but you'll be left wanting actual chicken wings after this. I'd rather be at my local wing place.

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2.Signature Hot Wings

This cajun wing brings more heat than the Ghost Pepper wings, and there's something else surprising here, too: a bit of sweetness. These are much more than just a straight-up hot wing. Though heat is the main attribute, they're also tangy and sweet, which makes for a very successful wing flavor.

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1. Sweet ‘N Spicy Wings

Sweet 'N Spicy is a damn good wing flavor, and the best Popeyes has to offer. It combines chili, garlic, ginger, and a whole lot of honey, too. In addition to being sweet and spicy, these wings are also quite sticky. They give a real Chinese-American takeout vibe, almost like General Tso's, which is totally endearing. The crispy, craggy breading is nice, and the meat and breading practically fall off the bone. These are dastardly—bad for your health in every sense of the word, but absolutely delicious. I found myself diving in again and again when I knew I shouldn't. These are a flavor triumph, and I imagine sales will only continue to improve. It's the wing to order at Popeyes, full stop.

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Overall, I'm surprised at how much depth some of these Popeyes' wing flavors possess. Tamarind, garlic, molasses—it's a breath of fresh air. It's only a shame the wings themselves aren't of better quality, but that's almost too much to ask of a national fast food chain on this scale.

If you're looking to get knocked on your ass by hot wings, you'll be disappointed. Still, there's a huge amount of flavor with these wing selections, and with a wealth of sauce options to choose from, they will no doubt satisfy your deepest, nastiest fast food cravings. Just monitor your digestive system afterward. 

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