This KFC-style Popcorn Chicken is everything you love about the fast food chain’s most popular dish, but made with fresh ingredients in the comfort of your own home! They’re flavorful and have the perfect, satisfying crunch.
What’s in this Popcorn Chicken Recipe?
We seasoned our chicken with a flavorful mix of garlic powder, paprika, onion powder, salt, and black pepper to give these bite-sized pieces of chicken tons of flavor!
- All-Purpose Flour: Helps the egg stick to the chicken.
- Spices: Garlic powder, paprika, onion powder, kosher salt, and black pepper give this chicken a delicious flavor.
- Eggs: Help the breadcrumbs stick to the chicken.
- Panko Breadcrumbs: Make this chicken extra crunchy.
- Chicken: I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts, but you could also use thighs.
- Vegetable Oil: The perfect high smoke point neutral oil for frying chicken.
Pro Tip: It’s important to refrigerate the dredged chicken pieces for at least 15 minutes or up to 2 hours, so make sure to plan ahead!
Variations on KFC Popcorn Chicken
You can use regular or Italian breadcrumbs in place of the Panko, or try ground up cornflakes!
To make this chicken gluten-free, swap the all-purpose flour for gluten-free flour and use gluten-free breadcrumbs.
Popcorn chicken is a dish consisting of small, bite-sized pieces of chicken that have been breaded and fried. The idea was originally developed by KFC, but it has since spread to many other food establishments!
It’s called popcorn chicken because the small fried pieces of chicken resemble popcorn. They’re small enough to pop a few in your mouth at a time like popcorn, too!
Nope! Popcorn chicken is much smaller than chicken nuggets, at about half the size, and it is also traditionally made from chicken breast meat. Nuggets are generally made from ground chicken from both the breasts and thighs.
A quarter-pound of this chicken has 467 calories.
Not really. This chicken is pretty high in saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium, so it is best enjoyed in moderation!
Absolutely! To bake this chicken, place the dredged pieces on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake at 400°F for about 17 minutes, flipping halfway through.
You sure can! To air fry this chicken, place the dredged chicken pieces in an air fryer basket, spray them with cooking spray, and air fry them at 360°F for about 6 minutes, flipping halfway through.
How to Store and Reheat
Store leftover chicken in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in a 350°F oven for about 5-7 minutes, until heated through.
How to Freeze
Freeze this chicken in a single layer on a lined baking sheet until solid, about 1-2 hours. Transfer to an airtight container or Ziplock bag to store for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
Serve these delicious fried chicken bites with your favorite dipping sauces, such as Buffalo sauce, sweet and sour sauce, balsamic glaze, Chick Fil A sauce, barbecue sauce, honey mustard, bang bang sauce, or ranch.
Popcorn Chicken Recipe
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon ground paprika
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1½ cups Panko breadcrumbs
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts cubed
- ¼ inch vegetable oil for frying
- Mix the flour, garlic powder, paprika, onion powder, salt, and black pepper together in a shallow bowl. Beat the eggs and water together in a separate shallow bowl. Place panko in a third shallow bowl.¾ cup all-purpose flour, 2 teaspoons garlic powder, 1 teaspoon ground paprika, ½ teaspoon onion powder, ½ teaspoon kosher salt, ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper, 2 large eggs, 1 tablespoon water, 1½ cups Panko breadcrumbs
- Dredge chicken pieces in flour mixture and shake off excess. Dip into beaten egg, allowing excess to drip back into the bowl. Press the chicken into the panko until well coated.1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- Transfer the dredged chicken to a clean plate and refrigerate for 15 minutes to 2 hours.
- Heat ½-inch of oil in a Dutch oven set over medium heat until it’s 350-365°F.¼ inch vegetable oil
- When the oil is hot, carefully add the chicken pieces to the skillet, working in batches to avoid crowding the pan. Fry for 2 minutes per side, until golden and cooked through. The internal temperature of the chicken will reach 165°F when done.
- Transfer the cooked chicken to a paper-towel-lined plate, and repeat with the remaining chicken. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce.
- To make popcorn chicken gluten-free, swap the all-purpose flour for gluten-free flour and use gluten-free breadcrumbs.
- You can use regular or Italian breadcrumbs in place of the Panko, or try ground up cornflakes!
- You can use boneless, skinless chicken thighs instead of breasts if you prefer.
- In place of the vegetable oil, you can use peanut, canola, corn, or sunflower oil.
- Try to cut the chicken into uniform pieces so it cooks at the same rate.
- To make the chicken easier to cut, you can use partially frozen chicken breasts and a sharp knife. Be sure to let the breasts thaw completely after cutting them.
- Make sure the chicken pieces are thoroughly coated in breading. You don’t want any exposed chicken!
- Let the chicken chill in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes or up to 2 hours to help the breading stick!
- Don’t overcrowd the frying pot. This will reduce the oil temperature, leading to greasy chicken.
- Use a thermometer to keep track of the oil temperature! If the oil is too cold, your chicken will end up greasy; if it’s too hot, your chicken will end up raw with burnt breading.