Air Fryer Popcorn Chicken

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Crispy, crunchy popcorn chicken ready in just 30 minutes in your air fryer.

This quick and super easy recipe doesn’t require you to stand over a hot stove frying chicken, it’s simple to throw together for a quick lunch for the kids or right before a party.

My family LOVES this air fryer popcorn chicken recipe and I love making it because it doesn’t require a lot of prep and is made with basic ingredients that you probably already have in your kitchen.

You can serve this popcorn chicken plain or pair it with your favorite sauce. I personally enjoy it with fresh homemade ranch dressing. I’ll share that recipe below this one and other ways to take this air fryer popcorn chicken recipe to the next level. 

The Recipe: How to Cook Air Fryer Italian Sausage?

In recent years, air fryers have saturated the market because they have become a game changer in the kitchen. Being able to cook food without actually having to stand over a  hot stove has made cooking super convenient and achievable for anyone.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to follow:

Step 1: Preheat Your Air Fryer

Lightly coat the airfryer basket or tray with cooking spray to ensure chicken does not stick.  Preheat to 370℉ or 200℃.

Disclaimer! Temperatures for this recipe may need adjusting based on your air fryer. Please be sure to refer back to your air fryer manufacturers user guide for the correct temperatures

Step 2: Prepare The Ingredients

Chop chicken breast into bite sized pieces. Make sure pieces are not too thick to ensure thorough cooking.

Place chunks in a medium mixing bowl. Add your wet ingredients to the bowl and mix until the chicken is fully covered. (Tip: Let your chicken pieces  marinate overnight in the wet batter in the refrigerator for more flavorful popcorn chicken. Be sure to place it in an airtight container.)

Wet Ingredients:

  • 2lbs chicken breasts cut into small chunks
  • 2 cups milk
  • ½ tbsp onion powder
  • ½ tbsp garlic powder
  • ½ tbsp  paprika
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • ½ tsp salt 

Step 3: Time to Air Fry

While the air fryer is preheating, combine your dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Dip the popcorn chicken pieces into the dry ingredients.

Dip in small batches to make sure all the pieces are covered evenly. Make sure to shake off excess flour.  (Tip: For extra crunchy popcorn chicken, dip pieces back into the wet batter and again into flour mixture) 

Once your air fryer has reached 370℉ or 178℃ place popcorn chicken pieces in a single layer in your air fryer basket or tray. Spritz the tops of the chicken with cooking spray. Be sure chicken pieces are spaced apart to allow the heat to transfer thoroughly while cooking.

Why Use An Air Fryer?
Air-fried foods may be healthier than the deep-fried variety in several ways. They're lower in fat and calories to start with, and even some potentially harmful compounds that can be found in traditionally fried foods.
Air Fryer

Cook popcorn chicken for 8 minutes. Shake basket or flip chicken pieces to ensure that all sides of the popcorn chicken get nice and crispy. Lightly spray chicken pieces with cooking spray again for a nice golden crust.

Continue cooking for another 8 minutes until all pieces are golden brown and crunchy. (Internal temp should be 165℉ or 74℃) 

Place popcorn chicken on a plate and serve with your favorite dipping sauce

Homemade Ranch

Makes 2 cups of ranch dressing

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp parsley flakes

Want to take this Delicious Recipe up a Notch?

 Add crispy chopped bacon and cheddar cheese to the top of your air fryer popcorn chicken then place back them into the air fryer for 5 minutes or until cheese is melted. This will create bacon cheddar popcorn chicken bites. Garnish with green onions and pair with ranch. 

For the spice lovers…

Take it up another notch by adding a little heat. Add ½ cup of buffalo sauce and 1/2 tbsp of red pepper flakes to your wet ingredients to turn your popcorn chicken into buffalo popcorn chicken. It can be paired perfectly with fresh celery and carrot sticks with bleu cheese.

Popcorn-Chicken

Air Fryer Popcorn Chicken

Crispy, crunchy popcorn chicken ready in just 30 minutes in your air fryer
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

Wet Ingredients

  • 2 lbs Chicken Breast Cut into Small Pieces
  • 2 cups Milk
  • ½ tbsp Onion Powder
  • ½ tbsp Garlic Powder

Dry Ingredients

  • 3 cups Flour
  • ½ tbsp Onion Powder
  • ½ tbsp Garlic Powder
  • ½ tbsp Paprika
  • 1 tsp Pepper
  • 1 tsp Salt

Notes

  1. Chop chicken breast into bite sized pieces. Make sure pieces are not too thick to ensure thorough cooking.
  2. Place chunks in a medium mixing bowl. Add your wet ingredients to the bowl and mix until the chicken is fully covered. (Tip: Let your chicken pieces  marinate overnight in the wet batter in the refrigerator for more flavorful popcorn chicken. Be sure to place it in an airtight container.) 
  3. Lightly coat the airfryer basket or tray with cooking spray to ensure chicken does not stick.  Preheat to 370℉ or 178℃.
  4. While the air fryer is preheating, combine your dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. 
  5.  Dredge popcorn chicken pieces in dry ingredients. Dredge in small batches to make sure all pieces are covered evenly. Make sure to shake off excess flour.  (Tip: For extra crunchy popcorn chicken, dip dredged pieces back into  wet batter and dredge in flour mixture again.) 
  6. Once your air fryer has reached 370℉ or 178℃ place popcorn chicken pieces in a single layer in your air fryer basket or tray. Spritz the tops of the chicken with cooking spray. Be sure chicken pieces are spaced apart to allow the heat to transfer thoroughly while cooking.
  7. Cook popcorn chicken for 8 minutes. Shake basket or flip chicken pieces to ensure that all sides of the popcorn chicken get nice and crispy. Lightly spray chicken pieces with cooking spray again for a nice golden crust.
  8. Continue cooking for another 8 minutes until all pieces are golden brown and crunchy. (Internal temp should be 165℉ or 74℃) 
  9. Place popcorn chicken on a plate and serve with your favorite dipping sauce. 

Homemade Ranch Dressing

Makes 2 cups of ranch dressing
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp parsley flakes
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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