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Popeyes' Flounder Fish Sandwich Review: We're Sad We Can't Get It Year-Round

Fish sandwich on cutting board
Fish sandwich on cutting board - Sam Skopp/Mashed

While some restaurant chains like Taco Bell practically revolve around the addition of new menu items — the Cheez-It Crunchwrap, is just one of more than a dozen planned releases for the year — Popeyes' star is and has always been its fried chicken. Of course, when the chain went viral for its fried chicken sandwich shortly after the item's debut in 2019, the status quo at Popeyes shifted considerably. Nevertheless, fried chicken remains the chain's principal offering, whether served in a sandwich, as tenders, or in a traditional three-piece combo with sides.

In 2021, Popeyes introduced the Flounder Fish Sandwich, available for a limited time that year coinciding with Lent, during which fast food chains often add or spotlight fried fish products. Since Popeyes perhaps inadvertently became a sandwich chain a couple of years earlier, expanding its sandwich range — even if only temporarily — was a logical move. The Flounder Fish Sandwich has returned to the Popeyes menu every year since, and even attracted a vocal fanbase that periodically urges the fast food company to keep the product around full-time.

Here's the lowdown on just what makes the Popeyes Flounder Fish Sandwich stand out enough to earn its cult following, including a firsthand review of the item during its limited 2024 release.

Read more: Ranking Fast Food Fried Chicken Sandwiches From Worst To First

What's On Popeyes' Flounder Fish Sandwich?

Hand Holding Half Fish Sandwich
Hand Holding Half Fish Sandwich - Sam Skopp/Mashed

Just like the restaurant chain's standard chicken sandwich, the composition of Popeyes' Flounder Fish Sandwich prioritizes quality over complexity. The basis of the fish sandwich, of course, is a fried flounder filet. Before it's breaded and fried, each filet is marinated in what the company describes as a blend of Louisiana herbs and spices. This is the same verbiage, it's worth noting, that Popeyes uses to describe the spice blend in which its traditional fried chicken is marinated.

Accompanying the fish filet are just three additional ingredients. On the sandwich itself are pickle slices and tartar sauce. Housing everything is the same brioche bun that the chain uses for its chicken sandwich. While that's the full extent of the Classic Flounder Fish Sandwich, the restaurant also offers a spicy alternative — instead of tartar sauce, the Spicy Flounder Fish Sandwich includes the spicy mayo that flavors the Spicy Chicken Sandwich available on the Popeyes menu year-round.

The Sandwich's Cost Is The Same At Most Popeyes Locations

Fish Sandwich Amidst Packaging
Fish Sandwich Amidst Packaging - Sam Skopp/Mashed

While the Popeyes Flounder Fish Sandwich is meant to serve as a direct alternative to the Chicken Sandwich for anyone abstaining from meat other than seafood during Lent, one notable way the fish sandwich differs from its closest counterpart is its price. Whereas the Original Chicken Sandwich typically costs $4.99 à la carte, the Flounder Fish Sandwich will set customers back one dollar more at a $5.99 price point.

With one regular side — mashed potatoes, red beans & rice, or cajun fries — a sandwich dinner is $8.49. A combo, meanwhile, costs $9.99 and also includes a small drink. Mac 'n' cheese is another side option for an additional cost of $3.00, whereas any regular-sized side can be upgraded to a large for $2.00. Similarly, the size of the drink in the largest combo can be upgraded to a medium for $0.30 or a large for $0.60. Choosing a Frozen Mango Lemonade for that drink adds an additional $0.80. All prices are identical for the Spicy Flounder Fish Sandwich.

These numbers, notably, are standard but will not hold true for every location. Ultimately, they're up to the discretion of each location's owner.

Popeyes Only Offers The Flounder Fish Sandwich During Lent

Flounder Fish Sandwich on Plate
Flounder Fish Sandwich on Plate - Sam Skopp/Mashed

When Popeyes announced the 2024 window for what has become its annual Flounder Fish Sandwich release, it was without a specific end date. The restaurant chain did, however, specify that, as in prior years, availability is limited. Contrary to the explicit desire of the sandwich's vocal fanbase, then, this will not be the year the Flounder Fish Sandwich becomes a permanent addition to the Popeyes menu.

In 2024, the fish sandwich's window of availability began on February 14. Lent kicked off that very day — coincidentally coinciding with Valentine's Day — and will last until March 28. It's unclear whether or not Popeyes will remove the Flounder Fish Sandwich from its menu on the exact last day of Lent or merely around Easter Sunday (which is on March 31), but anyone interested in trying the sandwich might want to plan a Popeyes trip before Easter just to stay on the safe side.

Popeyes' menu also includes an item called the Shrimp Tackle Box, consisting of shrimp fried and breaded in a manner similar to the Flounder Fish Sandwich's filet. It's available with a variety of sides.

How Does The Flounder Fish Sandwich Compare To The Rest Of Popeyes' Sandwich Lineup?

Chicken Sandwich and Fish Sandwich
Chicken Sandwich and Fish Sandwich - Sam Skopp/Mashed

As of the 2024 release of the Flounder Fish Sandwich, the sandwich lineup at Popeyes extends beyond just the Classic and Spicy offerings that hit its menu when it debuted the concept. Perhaps most notably, in 2022 Popeyes revealed the Blackened Chicken Sandwich, made with an unbreaded chicken breast filet. Following another menu revamp, customers can add bacon and cheese to any chicken sandwich for an added cost as well. The Flounder Fish Sandwich lacks these options — bacon and cheese are unavailable as add-ons, and the breaded fish filet is the only protein option for the time being.

The single biggest difference between the Classic Flounder Fish Sandwich and its chicken-based counterpart is how each protein is breaded. Whereas the chicken in the chicken sandwich is fried in a buttermilk breading, the flounder in the fish sandwich is encased in what the restaurant chain describes as a crispy coating. Visually, the difference between both types of breading is apparent. The chicken's breading appears flour-based, while the one on the fish is more of a crumb coat.

What Is The Fish Sandwich's Nutritional Value?

Two Fish Sandwich Halves
Two Fish Sandwich Halves - Sam Skopp/Mashed

The nutritional values of the Classic Flounder Fish Sandwich and its spicy counterpart differ somewhat as a result of a spicy mayo replacing the tartar sauce that comes on the standard option. Whereas the Classic contains 681.4 calories, the Spicy Flounder Fish Sandwich contains 729.9 calories. These numbers put each version of the fish sandwich just barely on either side of the Chicken Sandwich's 700 calories.

The spicy version of the sandwich also contains more fat — whereas the Classic has 35.4 grams of fat and 8.6 of saturated fat, the Spicy is listed at 40.6 grams of fat and 9.4 of saturated fat. However, the former's 0.8 grams of trans fat just slightly eclipse the 0.7 grams of trans fat in the Spicy sandwich.

Overall, the Classic sandwich also contains 78.5 milligrams of cholesterol, 65.7 grams of carbohydrates, 2.9 grams of fiber, 8.1 grams of sugar, 25.6 grams of protein, and 2,385.9 milligrams of sodium — just over the FDA's recommended daily intake of 2,300. The Spicy option is largely comparable, at 82 milligrams of cholesterol, 65.5 grams of carbohydrates, 2.8 grams of fiber, 8.1 grams of sugar, 25.6 grams of protein, and 2,350.5 milligrams of sodium.

The Flounder Fish Sandwich Is Good Enough For A Full-Time Spot On The Popeyes Menu

Hand Holding Fish Sandwich
Hand Holding Fish Sandwich - Sam Skopp/Mashed

Rather than try to approximate the chicken sandwich with an alternative protein, Popeyes' Flounder Fish Sandwich has its own identity. Its two most prominent components are the noticeably salty Louisiana spice blend with which the fish filet is seasoned and the tang of pickle slices and tartar sauce. It's worth noting that, while the flavor of some white fish is practically negligible, the flounder in this sandwich does taste identifiably like seafood. It's nothing out of the ordinary, but it might put off anyone with an aversion to fish, whereas a more neutral white fish might not.

That said, the Flounder Fish Sandwich is an undeniable hit for the chicken chain. With few other ingredients accompanying it, the fish filet is the star of the show, and the Louisiana spice blend — so prominent there's a visible orange layer between the breading and protein — is tailor-made for it. Together they're delicious. Texturally, the sandwich offers some nice variety, from its pillowy brioche bun to its distinctly crunchy pickles and flaky filet.

Our cashier characterized the standard option as "mild," and it's accurate to describe the regular sandwich as mildly spicy rather than completely without spice. With the addition of a significantly spicier mayo, the spicy variant is hot enough to satisfy (though perhaps not impress) most heat-seekers. The worst thing about the Flounder Fish Sandwich is that it's not an option year-round.

Read the original article on Mashed.