Michelina’s Pop’n Chicken (Smiles) Review

Michelina's Pop'n Chicken (Smiles)

We reviewed the dinosaur-shaped version of the Michelina’s Pop’n Chicken a while back. One thing we learned while researching that particular meal is that there’s actually another version of the dish that has smiley-face-shaped pieces instead of dino-bites. And those smiles… Ooof. Those smiles are the thing of nightmares. There’s something genuinely disconcerting about those hollow eyes and vacant smiles…

So when we spotted the smiley-face version at our local grocery store, we knew immediately that we had to review them. These faces have been haunting our nightmares for weeks, and maybe this is a way to finally break the curse. Also, one of our commenters insisted that the smiley version actually tastes better than the dino version, and we just can’t let that hypothesis go untested.

So curse or no curse, we’re digging into the Michelina’s Pop’n Chicken today, which we got on sale for $1.25. Yeah, these used to get discounted down to a dollar, but inflation has been pretty intense this year…

Anyway, the box contains instructions for both the microwave or the oven. We were feeling kind of lazy and impatient, so we went with the microwave for this, which requires you to place two layers of paper towels on a plate, then place the food on top of it. After that you’ll nuke these for two and a half to three minutes. For the record, we did cook the dino-shaped ones in the oven when we wrote that review. (If you want to read the full cooking instructions for both the microwave and oven, check out the package scans at the bottom of this review.)

Michelina's Pop'n Chicken (Smiles)

We will never get over how creepy and weird these faces look. Just look at this:

Michelina's Pop'n Chicken (Smiles)

We can think of at least a dozen horror-movie premises just looking into those dead, creepy eyes!

Now, something else that’s super weird about this particular meal is that the smiley faces are actually made from potatoes, while the smaller pieces are chicken nuggets. This might come as a surprise to anyone who just reads the title and assumes this is all chicken (which is admittedly what we did when we picked up the previous batch of these).

The smiley-face potatoes, as weird as they look, are actually the better-tasting part of this meal. These taste like a compromise between French fries and seasoned mashed potatoes. The texture is a little weird (and those faces are even weirder), but they taste pretty decent.

And yes, we do think the smiley faces taste better than the dino shapes. We’re not sure why this is, but after looking into those soulless eyes for this long, we’re not really questioning anything anymore.

The chicken just isn’t very good. These nuggets are kind of dried out (even in the microwave) and rubbery. You might blame the rubbery consistency on the fact that we nuked these, but we’ll counter that we cooked the previous batch in the oven and also commented on them feeling rubbery. Plus, they taste kind of fake. Yes, the package insists this is real chicken, but we’ve had vegetarian chicken nuggets that have tasted more like real chicken than these things do.

You might look at the nutrition facts and find the 250 calories and 430 mg of sodium to be pretty reasonable, but keep in mind, there’s hardly any food here. This is not something that will make up a complete lunch.

Everything about the Michelina’s Pop’n Chicken is weird. The concept is weird, the chicken tastes weird, and those faces are so weird that we keep thinking there’s no way they’re actually real — perhaps we just had a super weird frozen-food-related dream last night. While the $1.25 price is pretty reasonable, we don’t really recommend these to anyone looking for a tasty meal. Michelina’s has better products in their extensive lineup, like the Macaroni & Cheese Bake and the Buffalo-Style Chicken Snackers.

To learn more about the nutrition content, ingredients, or cooking instructions for this frozen meal, check out our package scan below.

Michelina's Pop'n Chicken (Smiles)

And because those cooking instructions are super tiny on the package, we decided to zoom in and give you a bigger, more legible version:

Michelina's Pop'n Chicken (Smiles)
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x