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Delicious Crispy Air Fryer Popcorn Chicken

If you have been looking for a way to enjoy popcorn chicken in a healthier way, then this savory and crispy air fryer popcorn chicken is what you need. It is delicious, and you can have this on your dinner table in under 30 minutes. 

What is the Air-Fryer Popcorn chicken?

Air Fryer Popcorn Chicken is a recipe that takes the classic popcorn chicken—one of the most loved snack options of all time and transforms it into a healthier dish without compromising its taste.

Air Fryer Popcorn Chicken is an irresistible treat that’s not just delicious but also a guilt-free and easy-to-make snack that you can enjoy on its own or with other delicious meals such as pasta salad or even coleslaw. All you need to do is simply coat chicken pieces in breadcrumbs and seasoning, then air-fry until crispy and golden brown.  

The cooking process in the air fryer gives the chicken a texture similar to traditional deep-frying but with much less oil. Just like my air fryer crispy chicken tenders, it is a popular go-to for gatherings with friends, or whenever you desire a tasty and satisfying treat. 

This  Air Fryer Popcorn Chicken is crispy on the outside and tender on the inside making you want to have more. It is also very light and a lot healthier than the fried version. This recipe is family friendly and so will become a favorite in no time! 

Deliciously crispy popcorn chicken pieces in an air fryer basket, fresh out of the fryer.

Why You Should Try It:

  1. Healthier Option: By using an air fryer, you significantly reduce the amount of oil used in the cooking process, resulting in a lighter and less greasy snack.
  2. Crispy Perfection: The air fryer circulates hot air around the food, creating a crispy exterior that rivals deep-fried versions.
  3. Quick and Convenient: Air fryer popcorn chicken is ready in a fraction of the time it takes to heat up a traditional oven, making it perfect for impromptu gatherings or last-minute cravings.

Ingredients for making Popcorn chicken 

  • Chicken breast:  This is the major ingredient you need for this recipe. Cut your chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces!
  • Flour: This creates the crispy exterior we all love. 
  • Eggs: Eggs act as a binder in this recipe to help the coating stick to the chicken. 
  • Breadcrumbs or panko: This gives the chicken the crispy texture it has. It is used to coat the chicken. 
  • Paprika, garlic powder & onion powder: These add some spice, flavor, and depth to the meal, giving it a savory taste. 
  • Salt & Black Pepper: Add this to your recipe to taste. 
  • Cooking spray: Spray this lightly on the air fryer basket to prevent the chicken from sticking. 

How to make air fryer popcorn chicken

  • Prepare the air fryer by preheating it to 400°C for 5 minutes. It is important to know that the average cooking times vary depending on the size of the chicken pieces and the model of your air fryer.
  • Mix flour, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and black pepper in a bowl. 
  • Beat eggs in a separate bowl and place breadcrumbs in a third bowl. 
  • Coat chicken pieces in the flour mixture, then dip in the beaten eggs and coat with breadcrumbs. To remove the need for spraying oil on each piece before frying, toast the breadcrumbs in small oil before breading the chicken
  • Place chicken in a single layer in the air fryer basket, ensuring they aren’t touching. 
  • Cook for 10 minutes, flipping the basket halfway through for even cooking. 
  • Serve after allowing the chicken bites to cool slightly.

Serving Suggestions

What can I pair with Airfryer popcorn chicken?

Air fryer popcorn chicken can be enjoyed on its own or paired with a variety of sides and dipping sauces. Here are a few possible ways to serve your air-fryer popcorn:

  • Wraps or Sandwiches: Make wraps or sandwiches using the popcorn chicken by adding lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, and any of your favorite toppings.
  • Potatoes: You may consider sweet potato fries, or mashed potatoes.
  • BBQ Sauce: The good old barbecue sauce adds sweetness to the popcorn chicken.
  • Fruits: Fresh fruits like apple slices, grapes, or watermelon paired with airfryer popcorn is super delicious.  
  • Pasta: Enjoy with pasta salad. This is a delicious pairing. 
  • Coleslaw: Pairing with coleslaw is a wonderful idea. The creamy texture of the coleslaw goes well with the crunchy taste of the popcorn chicken.

Frequently asked questions

Why is my air-fried popcorn chicken not crispy?

Your air fryer popcorn chicken may not be crispy if the chicken is not coated with enough breading, the air fryer is not preheated properly, the chicken is too moist, or the air fryer basket is overcrowded, preventing proper air circulation. Ensure to check for all of these to get the crispiest popcorn chicken. 

How do I know when my popcorn chicken is fully cooked and safe to eat?

Ensure your air-fried popcorn chicken is fully cooked to an internal temperature of at least 165°F/74°C to guarantee it is safe to eat. Check the chicken’s temperature with a meat thermometer to confirm it is fully cooked.

How do I ensure that my air-fried popcorn chicken stays moist on the inside?

If you want to keep your air-fried popcorn chicken moist on the inside, marinating the chicken before cooking, using a meat thermometer to avoid overcooking, and ensuring that the air fryer is not overcrowded for proper air circulation can help achieve even cooking.

How can I prevent the popcorn chicken from sticking to the air fryer basket?

Before putting the chicken in the air fryer, lightly spray the basket with cooking spray or olive oil. Also, coat the chicken with a thin layer of flour, breadcrumbs, or seasoning, making sure it’s evenly coated. Don’t put too much in the basket at once, as this can make the chicken cook unevenly and stick.

Storage & Reheating Tips

How to preserve your Air-fried Popcorn chicken

  • Make sure to allow the air-fried popcorn to cool completely before storing it to prevent sogginess afterward.
  • Use an airtight, clean, and dry container to store the popcorn. Moisture and crispy foods don’t do well together, so do your best to avoid them as much as possible.
  • Store in a cool, dry place where there’s no sunlight to retain the texture and flavor of the popcorn. In case you find out that some of the crispiness of the has been lost, you can always reheat, but do not overdo this to prevent it from dying out.  

Can I reheat leftover air-fried popcorn chicken?

Leftover air-fried popcorn chicken can be reheated, but it may not be as crispy as when it was freshly cooked. To help maintain some of its crispiness, preheat your air fryer to 375°C, lightly brush the chicken with a small amount of oil before reheating, and serve immediately. It is best to enjoy the reheated air-fried popcorn chicken immediately to fully savor its texture and flavor. 

Can I freeze air-fried popcorn chicken?

You can freeze air fryer popcorn chicken. It’s a convenient and easy option for a quick meal or snack.

Equipments for this recipe

  • Airfryer 
  • Tongs: for flipping the chicken 
  • Deep bowls: for dredging and breading the chicken 
  • Meat thermometer: for checking the doneness of the chicken. It is optional

Other delicious chicken recipes to try out

Close-up air-fried popcorn chicken revealing crispy exterior.

Airfryer Popcorn Chicken

If you have been looking for a way to enjoy popcorn chicken in a healthier way, then this savory and crunchy airfryer popcorn chicken is what you need. It is delicious, and also doesn’t take too long to get it ready. In under 30 minutes, you can have this on your dinner table.
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Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 339.3kcal

Equipment

  • Airfryer
  • Deep bowls
  • Meat thermometer

Ingredients

  • 1 pound chicken breast cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs or panko
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Cooking spray

Instructions

  • Preheat your air fryer to 400°F (200°C) for about 5 minutes.
  • In a shallow bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and black pepper. Stir until well mixed.
  • In another bowl, beat the eggs. In the third bowl, pour in the breadcrumbs.
  • Dredge the chicken pieces in the seasoned flour, making sure all pieces are covered. Shake off the excess flour.
  • Dip the floured chicken pieces into the beaten eggs, allowing the excess to drip off.
  • Roll the chicken pieces in the breadcrumbs, pressing lightly to ensure full coverage.
  • Spray the air fryer basket lightly with cooking spray. Place the breaded chicken pieces into the basket in a single layer, making sure they aren’t touching to allow airflow around each piece.
  • Cook for about 10 minutes, or until the chicken bites are golden brown and crispy. Be sure to flip or shake the basket halfway through the cooking process for even cooking.
  • Remove the chicken bites from the air fryer, allow them to cool slightly, and then serve.

Nutrition

Calories: 339.3kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 32.3g | Fat: 6.2g | Saturated Fat: 1.6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1.9g | Trans Fat: 0.02g | Cholesterol: 154.4mg | Sodium: 284.1mg | Potassium: 538mg | Fiber: 1.8g | Sugar: 1.2g | Vitamin A: 399.1IU | Vitamin C: 1.5mg | Calcium: 53.8mg | Iron: 3.1mg

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