How many calories are in Popeyes blackened tenders?

Quick Answer

Popeyes blackened tenders contain between 140-160 calories per 2 tenders, depending on the size. A regular order of 3 blackened tenders at Popeyes contains approximately 210-240 calories.

Calories in Popeyes Blackened Tenders

Popeyes blackened tenders are a popular menu item at the fast food chain. They consist of breaded and fried chicken breast strips that are seasoned with Cajun blackening spices.

The number of calories in Popeyes blackened tenders depends on the size of the tenders:

Size Calories per 2 Tenders
Small 140 calories
Medium 150 calories
Large 160 calories

As you can see, the small size has 140 calories per 2 tenders, while the large has 160 calories per 2 tenders. The medium size falls in the middle with 150 calories per 2 tenders.

A regular order of blackened tenders at Popeyes contains 3 tenders. So a regular order provides approximately:

  • Small: 210 calories
  • Medium: 225 calories
  • Large: 240 calories

The breading and frying method adds a significant number of calories. Skinless, boneless chicken breast contains approximately 100 calories per 3 ounces. But after breading and frying, the calorie count increases by 40-60 calories per 2 tenders.

If you want to lower the calorie count, you can order the grilled blackened tenders option available at select Popeyes locations. Grilled tenders have roughly 20-30 less calories than the fried version. Removing the skin and breading reduces the fat and carbohydrates.

Blackened Tenders Nutrition Facts

Here are the nutrition facts for 2 medium blackened tenders from Popeyes (150 calories):

Nutrient Amount
Calories 150
Fat 8g
Carbohydrates 9g
Protein 12g
Cholesterol 50mg
Sodium 820mg

As you can see, the majority of calories come from fat (8g per 2 tenders), followed by carbohydrates (9g per 2 tenders). Protein accounts for a decent portion as well at 12g per 2 tenders.

The sodium is quite high at 820mg for 2 tenders. That’s over one-third of the daily 2300mg limit recommended by health experts.

Ways to Reduce Calories in Popeyes Blackened Tenders

If you’re looking to lower the calorie count, here are some tips:

  • Order the grilled blackened tenders instead of the fried version.
  • Go for the small size rather than medium or large.
  • Skip the dipping sauce, which adds an extra 70-140 calories per container.
  • Choose a side salad instead of fries, which have over 300 calories.
  • Split a 3-piece order with a friend.

Sticking to grilled tenders, smaller portions, and healthier sides can help cut over 100 calories from your meal.

Popeyes Blackened Tenders vs. Other Fried Chicken

How do Popeyes blackened tenders compare to fried chicken from other fast food chains? Here’s a calorie comparison:

Restaurant Menu Item Calories
Popeyes Blackened Tenders (2 medium) 150
KFC Extra Crispy Chicken Tenders (2 pieces) 210
Chick-fil-A Fried Chicken Tenders (3 pieces) 180
McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets (4 pieces) 190

Popeyes has one of the lowest calorie counts for fried chicken tenders, coming in at 150 calories for 2 medium sized tenders. KFC is the highest at 210 calories for 2 tenders. Overall, the calorie range for fried tenders is 150-210 calories for a 2-3 piece serving.

Lower Calorie Alternatives

For lower calorie options, try grilled or oven-baked chicken tenders. These have around 80-120 calories for a 2-3 piece serving since they don’t contain the added calories from breading and deep frying.

You can also make healthier breaded tenders at home by using whole grain breadcrumbs, egg whites, and baking instead of frying. Homemade versions can have around 130-150 calories per serving.

Blackened vs. Mild Tenders at Popeyes

How do the calories differ between blackened and mild tenders at Popeyes?

The mild tenders have slightly fewer calories than the blackened version. Here’s the comparison:

Tender Type Calories (2 medium pieces)
Blackened 150
Mild 140

The mild tenders are 10 calories less per 2-piece serving compared to the blackened tenders.

This minor difference is likely because the mild tenders use a lighter breading compared to the blackened ones. The blackened seasoning also adds a bit more sodium and spices, slightly increasing the calorie density.

Overall, the calorie difference between the two is minimal. So the blackened vs. mild debate comes down mostly to your taste preference for spicy Cajun flavor.

Are Popeyes Blackened Tenders Healthy?

While Popeyes blackened tenders are lower in calories than some other fried chicken options, they aren’t necessarily a healthy choice. Here are some important nutritional considerations:

  • High in sodium – 820mg per 2 tenders, 36% of daily value.
  • High in saturated fat – 2.5g per 2 tenders, 13% of daily value.
  • Fried preparation adds trans and saturated fats.
  • Refined carbohydrates from breading.
  • Lack of fiber, vitamins, minerals.

The high amounts of sodium, saturated fat, and refined carbs make blackened tenders more of a treat than a regular part of a balanced diet. The frying method also leads to more unhealthy fats than grilled chicken.

For a healthier option, your best bet is grilled chicken breast, which is low in calories, fat, and sodium. Boneless skinless chicken breast also provides lean protein.

When eating fried chicken, aim for reasonable portion sizes. Split orders or get smaller sizes to help control calories, fat, and sodium intake.

Healthier Side Options

Choosing healthier side dishes can also offset the nutritional drawbacks of fried blackened tenders:

  • Side salad with vinaigrette instead of creamy dressing
  • Fresh fruit like apple slices
  • Steamed broccoli or green beans
  • Baked sweet potato fries

Pairing your tenders with non-fried vegetables and salads can provide fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. This helps round out the meal nutritionally.

Blackened Tenders and Weight Loss

Are blackened tenders good for weight loss? In moderation, they can be part of a reduced calorie diet. But there are better options for losing weight.

The main considerations are:

  • High fat and sodium content can promote water retention.
  • Fried preparation adds high amounts of oils, increasing calorie density.
  • Breading adds extra refined carbs.
  • Lack of fiber and protein less filling than grilled chicken.

While the calorie count isn’t extremely high, the low nutritional value doesn’t help keep you feeling full. And the extra salt and oil can cause bloating.

For weight loss, you’ll typically get better results from unbreaded grilled chicken, fish, and lean meats. These provide protein, healthy fats, and fiber to help manage hunger.

If eating fried chicken, watch your portion sizes and pair it with vegetables and whole grains to increase nutritional value and fiber. Consider baked chicken tenders as a lower calorie alternative.

Blackened Tenders as an Occasional Treat

Here are some tips for enjoying blackened tenders while managing your weight:

– Get the smallest size or split a regular order.
– Skip the dipping sauce to save 70-140 calories.
– Choose a side salad instead of fries.
– Balance it out by eating plenty of veggies, fruits, and whole grains the rest of the day.
– Limit yourself to 1-2 times per month as a fried food treat.

As an occasional indulgence, blackened tenders can fit into an overall healthy diet and weight loss plan. Just be mindful of portions and pair them with nutritious sides and other meals. Moderation and balance is key.


Popeyes blackened tenders contain between 140-160 calories per 2 pieces, depending on the size. A 3 piece regular order provides around 210-240 calories. While not extremely high in calories, blackened tenders are considered more of a fried food treat than a regular healthy meal option. To lighten them up, go for grilled instead of fried, choose smaller portions, and pair them with fresh salad or vegetables. Enjoying Popeyes blackened tenders in moderation can let you satisfy your fried chicken craving as part of an overall balanced diet.

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