BEST Crispy Homemade Popcorn Chicken

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  • There is a time and a place for processed frozen chicken nuggets. But I’ve never seen a piece of meat that also came in the shape of a dinosaur or star, so I tend to shy away.

    And why not when making your own popcorn chicken is SO EASY?

    This Popcorn Chicken Recipe is a simple and easy to make deliciously crispy popcorn chicken bites at home. Great for game days, parties or even lunch! #popcornchicken #howtomakepopcornchicken www.savoryexperiments.com

    Homemade Popcorn Chicken

    Instead, make your own at home. Popcorn chicken is quite literally crispy, crunchy nuggets.

    You’d think KFC invented popcorn chicken. They did not. Bite-sized chicken nuggets were around long before they popularized it.

    Popcorn chicken can be eaten as a lunch or dinner, but my absolute favorite way is as an appetizer. It also makes a mean chicken parm sub and with little bite-size pieces, it is much easier to eat than a whole big sandwich.

    They are also great on a salad or even tossed in sauce on pasta.

    Popcorn Chicken Recipe

    This recipe is also proof that popcorn chicken is not just for kids. Adults can indulge in these deliciously crunchy chicken bites too .

    Popcorn chicken in a black bowl with pickles.

    Judging by the fact that they mysteriously disappear within minutes of being put on the table, I can say that adults like them as much as kids. Or maybe is it just the collection of chicken dipping sauces.

    I like to provide options. Not only is it fun to taste them all, it is also a conversation piece.

    How to Make Popcorn Chicken

    There are some complicated ideas of how to make popcorn chicken out there, ones that include a grocery list of ingredients, marinating and brining for hours.

    I’m totally guilty of this when making a good, down home fried chicken, but not for popcorn chicken. These are supposed to be as easy to make as they are to pop in your mouth and eat.

    PRO TIP: For juicer meat, use chicken thigh fillets instead of chicken breast.

    • Place lightly beaten egg into a bowl.
    • In another shallow dish, combine flour, onion powder, paprika, salt and white pepper.
    • Toss chicken in flour mixture, then egg and flour again.
    • Place on a baking sheet or plate. Continue to repeat for all chicken.
    • Allow breaded chicken to sit at room temperature for 10-15 minutes. This allows the breading to harden and stick, preventing it from flaking off during cooking.
    • Heat vegetable or peanut oil in a large, shallow frying pan or cast iron skillet. Oil should be on medium-high heat and reach 350 degrees. 
    • Working small batches, fry chicken. Small pieces should only take 5-6 minutes, being turned every 2 minutes.
    • Cook until lightly browned and remove to a paper towel lined plate.
    • Serve with choice of sauces.

    Chicken Dipping Sauces

    When I am entertaining, I like to set a buffet of sauces next to my chicken platter.

    This Popcorn Chicken Recipe is a simple and easy to make deliciously crispy popcorn chicken bites at home. Great for game days, parties or even lunch! #popcornchicken #howtomakepopcornchicken www.savoryexperiments.com
    This Popcorn Chicken Recipe is a simple and easy to make deliciously crispy popcorn chicken bites at home. Great for game days, parties or even lunch! #popcornchicken #howtomakepopcornchicken www.savoryexperiments.com

    Make Ahead & Freezing

    You can can make these ahead of time and reheat them in the oven. Be mindful that no fried food will ever be as crispy as it was when originally fried, but it can come close.

    Cooked chicken pieces can be frozen in airtight bags for up to 3 months. Reheat in the oven at 350 for about 15 minutes. Actual times will vary depending on the size of your nuggets.

    Air Fryer Popcorn Chicken

    You can save a few calories by making these in an Air Fryer. Keep in mind that all Air Fryers are a slightly different depending on make, model and size, so keep a watchful eye.

    Preheat Air Fryer and then set temperature to 375 degrees. Spray cooking oil on the air fryer basket.

    Arrange breaded popcorn chicken in a single layer leaving room between each piece (air needs to circulate around each piece to brown). Spray the top of your popcorn chicken with cooking oil.

    Set timer for 8-10 minutes, flipping halfway through the cooking process.

    This Popcorn Chicken Recipe is a simple and easy to make deliciously crispy popcorn chicken bites at home. Great for game days, parties or even lunch! #popcornchicken #howtomakepopcornchicken www.savoryexperiments.com

    More easy appetizer recipes:

    Pimento Cheese Deviled Eggs
    pimento cheese hard boiled egg on slate serving tray
    If you're looking for a way to step up your usual deviled eggs, look no further than this easy southern Pimento Cheese Deviled Eggs recipe!
    German Egg Rolls
    sauerkraut and potato egg rolls
    Your new favorite fried appetizer, kielbasa and sauerkraut with potatoes and cheese wrapped in an egg rolls wrapper, fried + dipped in mustard aioli sauce!
    Bacon Ranch Dip
    bowl of bacon ranch dip with scallions and potato chips
    Bacon and ranch collide into one delicious chip dip with this easy Bacon Ranch Dip recipe!

    Tools for making Popcorn Chicken:

    Fry Daddy – You can totally fry these up on the stove, but controlling temperture is so much easier with a fryer.

    Kitchen thermometer – If you aren’t using an electric fryer, then make sure to use a thermometer to monitor the oil temperture.

    This Popcorn Chicken Recipe is a simple and easy to make deliciously crispy popcorn chicken bites at home. Great for game days, parties or even lunch! #popcornchicken #howtomakepopcornchicken www.savoryexperiments.com

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    Homemade popcorn chicken is easier than you think! Give it a whirl and let us know what your favorite dipping sauce is below in the comments.

    This Popcorn Chicken Recipe is a simple and easy to make deliciously crispy popcorn chicken bites at home. Great for game days, parties or even lunch! #popcornchicken #howtomakepopcornchicken www.savoryexperiments.com
    Print Recipe
    4.86 from 14 votes

    Popcorn Chicken

    This Popcorn Chicken Recipe is a simple and easy to make deliciously crispy popcorn chicken bites at home. Great for game days, parties or even lunch!
    Prep Time10 mins
    Cook Time20 mins
    Total Time30 mins
    Course: Appetizer
    Cuisine: American
    Keyword: popcorn chicken
    Servings: 6
    Calories: 297kcal
    Author: Jessica Formicola

    Ingredients

    Instructions

    • Place lightly beaten egg into a bowl.
    • In another shallow dish, combine flour, onion powder, paprika, salt and white pepper.
    • Toss chicken in flour mixture, then egg and flour again.
    • Place on a baking sheet or plate. Continue to repeat for all chicken.
    • Allow breaded chicken to sit at room temperature for 10-15 minutes. This allows the breading to harden and stick, preventing it from flaking off during cooking.
    • Heat oil in a large, shallow frying pan or cast iron skillet. Oil should be on medium-high heat and reach 350 degrees. 
    • Working small batches, fry chicken. Small pieces should only take 5-6 minutes, being turned very 2 minutes. Cook until lightly browned and remove to a paper towel lined plate.
    • Serve hot with choice of sauces.
    • If you’ve tried this recipe, make sure to come back and let us know how you liked it! 

    Video

    Notes

    *The amount of oil you will use depends on the pan you are using, I suggest a low sided frying pan or cast iron skillet. Anything with sides too high will essentially steam your chicken, making it soggy instead of crunchy. You also don’t want to crowd the pan, so a larger surface space is ideal. Lastly, your chicken doesn’t need to be submerged in oil. If you have about 1/2 inch, you’ll be good.

    Nutrition

    Calories: 297kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 102mg | Sodium: 497mg | Potassium: 370mg | Fiber: 1g | Vitamin A: 430IU | Vitamin C: 1.2mg | Calcium: 23mg | Iron: 2.7mg

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