Does Popeyes Use MSG? (Chicken, Turkey, Fries + More)

Your favorite mouthwatering Popeyes chicken sandwich and other fries are cooked in an array of ingredients developed by the company’s kitchen department.

Therefore, if you are allergic to chemically motivated ingredients and wonder if Popeyes has chemicals in its chicken and mainly if Popeyes uses MSG, here is everything you need to know!

Does Popeyes Use MSG In 2024?

Popeyes uses Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) in its chicken in 2024. However, the company is planning to drop it. The restaurant uses MSG in almost all its menu items to add flavor. Currently, Popeyes has rolled out steps to getting rid of MSG. The company’s goal is to ensure that it does so by the end of 2022.

If you want to find more information on Popeyes’ use of MSG, if the chicken has MSG, why the restaurant has decided not to use MSG, and much more, keep reading!

Does Popeyes’ Chicken Sandwich Have MSG?

Popeyes largely depends on MSG additives on its chicken sandwich to enhance flavor. That said, MSG is a sodium salt derived from an amino acid called glutamic acid.

Generally, MSG enhances the salt taste and salt-taste pleasure while also triggering the brothy umami taste (sweet, sour, and salty).

Why Is Popeyes Planning To Ban MSG?

Generally, Popeyes plans to ban MSG because it wants to produce food items termed as positively good food.

Additionally, customer feedback has put MSG in the spotlight to be responsible for what’s known as “Chinese restaurant syndrome,” causing health problems among Popeyes’ customers.

 That said, symptoms of “Chinese restaurant syndrome” include:

  • Severe headaches
  • Fever
  • Flushing
  • Body numbness, especially in the face and neck
  • Palpitations
  • Nausea
  • Chest pain
  • Insomnia

Because of these health effects, Popeyes has rolled out a plan to eliminate MSG by first removing all colors, flavors, and preservatives from its menu items by the end of 2022.

How Can I Tell If Popeyes’ Fried Chicken Has MSG In It?

Experiencing the “umami taste” –a sweet, salty, and sour taste whenever you eat one of the Popeyes menus is one of the best ways to identify Popeyes as having MSG.

Moreover, Popeyes indicates this chemical by name or by MSG food additive code number 621 in the ingredient list labeled on most of its packed foods.

Also, despite Popeyes’ bold steps of indicating the presence of MSG in its menu items, most manufacturers will hide it or use hidden means to seal the identity of MSG.

Further, MSG is made through protein hydrolysis or bacterial fermentation. Therefore, any mention of hydrolyzed protein or yeast in the ingredients list indicates the presence of MSG.

Again, more often than not, MSG manufacturers use alternative names to mask the presence of the additive in their prepackaged products.

Moreover, at times, producers use nonspecific terms such as “natural flavor,” “vegetable flavoring,” or even “flavor enhancers,” which are generally made from MSG.

How Do You Know If You Are Allergic to Popeyes’ MSG?

How Do You Know If You Are Allergic to Popeyes’ MSG?

You are most likely allergic if you start experiencing short-term and mild symptoms (headache, fever, and nausea) after taking three or more grams of MSG.

Does Popeyes Use MSG In Its Turkey?

Popeyes’ Cajun turkey contains the MSG flavor enhancement chemical. That said, the company argues the additive gives the fried chicken the so-called umami taste.

Further, the combination of MSG and the signature blend of Louisiana seasonings make Popeyes Cajun turkey spicy and crunchy with an overwhelming delicious taste.

Does Popeyes’ Chicken Sandwich Have MSG?

Popeyes fast-food restaurant serves its delicious chicken sandwich accompanied by condiments rich in MSG.

Also, Popeyes has sauces containing MSG to spice up the whole meal and give a salty, peppery flavor.

Moreover, hardly will you find a fast-food chain in the US using real ingredients like chicken and flour to make a chicken sandwich without the input of MSG additive.

Despite the tradition of having artificial tastes on the fried chicken menu, US fast-food, including Popeyes, have committed to offering chicken sandwiches free of MSG by the end of 2022.

What Popeyes Foods Are High In MSG?

At Popeyes, foods such as bonafide chicken breast, handcrafted tenders, catfish filets, spicy chicken sandwiches, and onion rings have large volumes of MSG.

Also, Popeyes’ sauces with very high MSG include:

  • Ketchup
  • Mayonnaise
  • Sweet and tangy BBQ sauce
  • Soy sauce
  • Mustard
  • Buttermilk ranch

Is Popeyes’ Fried Chicken Served With MSG Good For Consumption?

Unfortunately, Popeyes’ chicken sandwich containing MSG is unhealthy.

That said, the popular sandwich contains a lot of calories (690), 42 grams of fat, and a whopping 1,443 milligrams of sodium, which is unfit for usage.

How Many MSG Chemicals Are In Popeyes’ Fries?

Every serving of MSG-enriched Popeyes fries contains less than half a gram of the additive.

Which Fast-Food Chains Use MSG?

MSG is a primary ingredient used by most fast-food chains when making sandwiches and nuggets. Apart from Popeyes, other fast foods using MSG include the following.

  • KFC
  • Burger King
  • Taco Bell
  • Chick-fil-A
  • Zaxby’s
  • McDonald’s

How Can I Avoid MSG In Popeyes’ Food?

Considering that Popeyes publicly indicates MSG as an ingredient if it uses it, you can avoid it by ordering foods that don’t contain MSG or code number 621 included as an ingredient.

To learn more, you can also read our posts on Chick-Fil-A vs Popeyes, is there pork in Popeyes gravy, and does Popeyes deliver.


The iconic fast-food restaurant Popeyes adopted the use of the controversial ingredient most commonly associated with Chinese food to give its sandwiches a flavor boost.

Monosodium glutamate, or MSG, is a key ingredient in chicken sandwiches despite concerns about its elimination from the giant fast-food menu due to health-related complaints.

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Marques Thomas

Marques Thomas graduated with a MBA in 2011. Since then, Marques has worked in the retail and consumer service industry as a manager, advisor, and marketer. Marques is also the head writer and founder of

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