How many carbs are in 3 pieces of Popeyes Chicken?

Popeyes is a popular fast food chicken chain known for its spicy New Orleans-style chicken. Many people enjoy the taste of Popeyes chicken but are concerned about the carb content when following a low-carb or ketogenic diet. This article will provide a detailed breakdown of the amount of carbs found in 3 pieces of Popeyes chicken so you can determine if it fits into your diet.

What Are Carbs?

Carbohydrates, or carbs, are one of the main macronutrients found in food, along with protein and fat. Carbs are the main source of energy for the body and brain. They are found naturally in plant foods like fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes and dairy. Carbs can also be added to processed foods in the form of sweeteners, flours, and other ingredients.

There are three main types of carbs:

  • Sugar – Includes simple sugars like glucose, fructose, sucrose, etc. Found naturally in fruits, dairy, and added to foods.
  • Starch – Long chains of glucose molecules. Found in grains, starchy veggies like potatoes, beans, etc.
  • Fiber – Indigestible carbs from plant cell walls. Found in fruits, veggies, whole grains, etc.

When it comes to nutrition and diets, most people are referring to net carbs, which are total carbs minus fiber. Fiber passes through the body undigested so net carbs give a more accurate picture of their effect on blood sugar.

Why Do Carbs Matter?

Carbs are the main macronutrient that impacts blood sugar and insulin levels. After eating carbs, the body breaks them down into glucose which enters the bloodstream. This causes a rise in blood sugar.

In response, the pancreas releases the hormone insulin to carry the glucose from the blood into the cells to be used for energy. The amount and type of carbs consumed directly impacts how much and how quickly blood sugar rises.

For people with diabetes or insulin resistance, controlling carb intake is crucial for managing healthy blood sugar levels. Low-carb and ketogenic diets also restrict carbs to help induce nutritional ketosis and fat burning.

Even for those without blood sugar issues, excessive carb intake, especially from processed and sugary foods, can promote hunger, overeating, and weight gain. That’s why many people monitor their carb consumption from all foods, including fast food chicken.

Complete Nutrition Facts for Popeyes Chicken

To determine the amount of carbs in Popeyes chicken, we need to look at the complete nutrition information. Popeyes chicken comes in a variety of cuts and preparations. Here are the nutrition facts for the most common Popeyes chicken options:

Popeyes Mild Chicken Breast (Boneless)

Serving Size 1 medium breast (4oz or 114g)
Calories 190
Fat 8g
Carbs 6g
Fiber 0g
Net Carbs 6g
Protein 25g

Popeyes Spicy Chicken Breast (Boneless)

Serving Size 1 medium breast (4oz or 114g)
Calories 190
Fat 8g
Carbs 6g
Fiber 0g
Net Carbs 6g
Protein 25g

Popeyes Chicken Tenders

Serving Size 3 tenders (4.5oz or 128g)
Calories 220
Fat 12g
Carbs 11g
Fiber 0g
Net Carbs 11g
Protein 14g

Popeyes Chicken Thigh

Serving Size 1 medium thigh (2oz or 57g)
Calories 140
Fat 8g
Carbs 0g
Fiber 0g
Net Carbs 0g
Protein 13g

Popeyes Chicken Drumstick

Serving Size 1 drumstick (2.5oz or 71g)
Calories 170
Fat 10g
Carbs 1g
Fiber 0g
Net Carbs 1g
Protein 15g

Carbs in 3 Pieces of Popeyes Chicken

Now that we know the nutrition facts for the different cuts of Popeyes chicken, we can calculate the carbs in 3 pieces. A 3 piece meal typically includes:

  • 1 breast
  • 1 thigh
  • 1 drumstick

So here are the total carbs based on the above nutrition info:

Item Carbs
1 medium chicken breast 6g
1 medium chicken thigh 0g
1 chicken drumstick 1g
Total Carbs in 3pc meal: 7g

So in total, a 3 piece Popeyes fried chicken meal containing a breast, thigh and drumstick has approximately 7g net carbs.

This is a relatively low amount of carbs compared to other fast food meals. For comparison, here are the carbs in 3 pieces of fried chicken from some other popular chains:

Restaurant Carbs in 3pc meal
KFC 16g
Church’s Chicken 18g
Chick-fil-A 12-15g
Bojangles 20g

Popeyes comes in on the lower end for carb content compared to other chains. Their use of zero-carb chicken thigh along with a low-carb batter helps keep the carbs down for their fried chicken pieces.

Tips to Make Popeyes Chicken Even Lower Carb

While Popeyes chicken is already moderately low in carbs, there are some ways you can reduce the carbs even further:

Choose Breast and Thigh Pieces

Opt for chicken breasts and thighs when ordering your 3 piece meal, rather than drumsticks. The drumsticks contain a few more carbs due to the batter while the thighs contain zero carbs.

Skip the Biscuit

The signature Popeyes biscuit adds an additional 23g of carbs to your meal. Leave it out to save yourself the carbs.

Choose Green Beans as a Side

The Cajun rice and fries range from 29-36g of carbs as a side. Opt for the green beans instead, which have just 4g net carbs.

Ask for Extra Sauce on the Side

The Mardi Gras mustard and Blackened Ranch contain 2-4g carbs per serving. Asking for it on the side allows you to control how much sauce and carbs you consume.

Ditch the Sweet Tea

Sweet tea can contain up to 38g carbs from sugar in a large size. Opt for unsweetened tea or water instead.

The Best Low Carb Popeyes Order

If you want to maximize the delicious Louisiana flavors of Popeyes chicken while minimizing carbs, here is the best keto-friendly order:

  • 3 piece combo: 2 chicken breasts + 1 thigh
  • Green beans as the side
  • Unsweetened tea to drink
  • Sauce on the side

This order clocks in at around 10g net carbs, depending on your sauce choices. It lets you enjoy the spicy, crispy fried chicken you crave while sticking to a low carb diet.

When purchasing this order, be sure to verify your selections with the Popeyes cashier and request sauces on the side. This ensures you get exactly what you want for the lowest carb meal possible.

The Bottom Line

A 3 piece meal from Popeyes containing a chicken breast, thigh and drumstick has approximately 7g of net carbs. This is lower than comparable fried chicken meals from other fast food chains.

By choosing breast and thigh pieces, avoiding the biscuit and high carb sides, and skipping sugary drinks, you can bring a Popeyes order down to around 10g net carbs or less.

While not as low carb as grilled chicken, Popeyes makes a convenient and tasty option that can fit into a keto or low carb eating plan in moderation. Be mindful of your other carb intake for the day and enjoy your spicy chicken without the guilt!

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