Deep frying is a lot of hassle, makes a mess, and isn’t the healthiest choice. With this easy air fryer popcorn chicken recipe, you can enjoy your favorite dish without all the hassle and extra fat. This popcorn chicken is crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside – perfect for a snack or dinner.
All about Air Frying
Air frying is a newer cooking method that uses hot air to cook food instead of oil. By using heated air, you can make all types of foods with fewer calories and fat than traditional deep-frying methods.
Air frying allows you to use less oil or no oil at all. The lack of oil makes clean-up much easier because there’s no greasy mess to worry about. Air frying offers a healthier alternative to fried foods without compromising on taste and texture.
To cook with an air fryer, place your food inside the basket or tray and set the timer. Hot air is circulated through the chamber, heating up and cooking your food to perfection with minimal added fat or calories. Some recipes may call for a light coating of oil before air frying, but with some dishes you won’t need it. Air fryers are great for making a variety of meals, including chicken, vegetables, fish, fries, and more.
Ingredients You’ll Need for Popcorn Chicken
Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Regular breadcrumbs (mine had garlic and parsley in it)
Olive oil spray
How to Make Popcorn Chicken in the Air Fryer
- Cut the chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces.
- Crack 2 eggs and 1/2 teaspoon of salt into a bowl. Whisk and set aside.
- Add the white flour to a second bowl.
- Add the panko breadcrumbs, regular breadcrumbs, garlic powder, oregano, basil, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt to a third bowl. Mix well and set aside.
- First, dip each piece of chicken in the flour.
- Second, dip each piece in the egg wash.
- Third, press each piece against the breadcrumb mixture to make sure all sides get coated.
- Spray the air fryer basket with olive oil and place the prepped popcorn chicken in a single layer. You will need to work in batches.
- Spray the chicken with olive oil and cook for 10 minutes at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
- Serve with the sauce of your choice.
Tips for Popcorn Chicken in the Air Fryer
Follow these tips to make sure your popcorn chicken comes out of the air fryer just right:
- Preheat the air fryer for at least 5 minutes before adding the chicken. This will allow for even cooking and maximum crispiness.
- Don’t overcrowd the basket. Make sure the air can circulate around each piece of popcorn chicken so that they get crispy and don’t stick together. You will need to work in batches.
- Spray the air fryer basket before each batch to keep the chicken from sticking to the basket.
- Serve the popcorn chicken with ranch dressing, barbecue sauce, or mustard.
- Make a sriracha mayo sauce to go with the popcorn chicken. Mix 3 tablespoons of mayonnaise with 2 teaspoons of sriracha.
Popcorn Chicken FAQs
How do I know when the popcorn chicken is cooked through?
Cooking times will vary based on the size of your popcorn chicken. To be sure the chicken is cooked through, the internal temperature of the chicken should reach at least 165 degrees F.
Do I need to shake or turn my popcorn chicken while it’s cooking in the air fryer?
It is not necessary. But if you want your popcorn chicken to come out extra crispy, give it a good shake or flip halfway through the cooking process.
How do I store and reheat leftover popcorn chicken?
These popcorn chicken are best eaten right after being made. But they are also good as leftovers. Store leftovers in an air-tight container in the fridge. Reheat them in the air fryer for a couple of minutes at the same temperature.
Can I cook frozen popcorn chicken in the air fryer?
Yes, you can. To get the best results, increase the cooking time and preheat your machine before adding the food. And check to make sure the chicken reaches a safe internal temperature.
Other Air Fryer Recipes
- Air Fryer Frozen Turkey Burgers
- The Best Air Fryer Crispy Tofu
- Air Fryer Chicken Milanese
- Air Fryer Fish Sticks
Air fryers are a great way to make delicious popcorn chicken without all the fat and calories of deep frying. By using panko and regular breadcrumbs, eggs, flour, and spices, you can have a delicious popcorn chicken meal in minutes. With these tips and tricks for popcorn chicken in the air fryer, you’ll be able to enjoy this classic comfort food with less fuss and fewer dishes to clean up afterward.
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast diced in bite-sized pieces.
- 2 eggs
- 1 ½ cup white flour
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 cup regular breadcrumbs (mine had already garlic and parsley in it)
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon basil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons olive oil (preferably in spray format)
1. Start by cutting your chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces if yours are not already cut.
2. In one of the bowls crack the two eggs and add half a teaspoon of salt. Whisk them and set them aside.
3. In the second bowl add the white flour and set aside.
4. In the third bowl add the panko breadcrumbs and the regular breadcrumbs, and add the garlic powder, oregano, basil, and the rest of the salt. Mix well and set aside.
5. Dip each piece of chicken in the following order:
- First in the flour
- Second in the egg wash.
- Third in the breadcrumbs mixture. Press each piece against the breadcrumbs to make sure all get evenly coated.
6. Spray the basket of your air fryer with olive oil and lay the prepped chicken popcorn bites. Work in batches.
7. Spray the chicken with some olive oil and cook for 10 minutes at 374F/190 C
8. Serve with the sauce of your choice.
This popcorn chicken goes very well with sriracha mayo sauce, to make it mix 3 tablespoons mayonnaise with 2 teaspoons sriracha, mix well, and enjoy.
You can also serve it with ranch sauce, bbq, or mustard.
These popcorn chicken are best eaten right after being made, however, are also good as leftovers. If there’s any stored in the fridge in an air-tight container, heat in the air fryer for a couple of minutes at the same temperature.