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Crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside, this easy Air Fryer Popcorn Chicken will quickly become a family favorite!

A much healthier version of the little bite-sized fried chicken nuggets that we all love, this Air Fryer version is simply addicting!

Marinated in buttermilk, dredged in seasoned flour and dipped in egg before adding to the air fryer, this easy chicken recipe is ready in under 20 minutes!

Just grab your favorite dipping sauce and make this easy dinner. It’s the perfect way to make crispy chicken that the whole family will love! This is one of my favorite air fryer recipes.

air fryer popcorn chicken on a cutting board

Homemade Popcorn Chicken

Did you know that popcorn chicken was first developed by KFC but is now a favorite in households, fast food restaurants, and in grocery stores?! They were!

These small, bite-sized pieces of chicken are breaded and fried traditionally – but now you can make them a little healthier with this Air Fryer version!

This recipe is a great way to make dinner or an easy snack. Air frying cooks the chicken perfectly while you get to use simple ingredients! This is one of my favorite recipes for a quick meal. You’ll be so impressed with the texture of this air fry popcorn chicken. It’s the perfect small bite-sized pieces.

ingredients needed to make popcorn chicken in the air fryer

Ingredients

  • Chicken Breast – cut into bite sized pieces
  • Flour – I use all purpose but you can experiment with flour alternatives.
  • Cornstarch
  • Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Paprika
  • Salt + Pepper
  • Buttermilk
  • Eggs
  • Olive Oil
how to cook popcorn chicken in the air fryer - step by step

How To Make Air Fryer Popcorn Chicken

Step 1.
In a medium size bowl marinade the chicken in buttermilk, set aside

Step 2.
Combine in a separate medium size bowl garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, salt, pepper, and flour

Step 3.
In a small bowl whisk eggs. In another small bowl add the cornstarch

Step 4.
Remove chicken from buttermilk shaking off the excess milk. Then roll the chicken in the cornstarch. Next, dip the chicken into the egg wash. Finally, add chicken to flour mixture and coat well, shake off excess.

Step 5.
Lightly coat air fryer basket with olive oil. Set Air Fryer to 390 degrees F and add chicken into the basket.

Step 6.
Cook for 5-10 minutes, depending on the air fryer, or until the chicken is no longer pink inside, shaking halfway through.

Enjoy!
Be sure to have a variety of dipping sauces available! My family loves these with honey mustard dipping sauce and French Fry Dipping Sauce!

air fryer popcorn chicken bites on a white plate with dipping sauces

Tips or Variations

  • Chicken Breasts or chicken tenders work well for this recipe.
  • Be sure to cut your chicken into uniform size so they all cook at the same rate.
  • If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, check out my DIY hack below!
  • If your nuggets look a little floury at the halfway mark, spray them with a little olive oil to get a little crispier.
  • Try adding in other spices for fun flavors! Cumin, Cayenne pepper, and red pepper flakes are all good additions.
  • Use a good quality olive oil spray for the best flavor.
  • Add some hot sauce to turn these into air fryer buffalo popcorn chicken. Use your favorite brand to make awesome flavors!
  • Have fun making the bite-size popcorn shapes! They’re perfect small pieces for a great snack. Excellent to add to the dinner table. (and fun to pair with some french fries)

Oven Directions:

This recipe is written for the air fryer, but you can easily add to your oven instead. Here’s how: Preheat the oven to 400°F. Bake for 8-10 minutes flip and bake for another 8-10 minutes. Finish off under the broiler to help give a bit more crunch. 

FAQ

HOW TO MAKE DIY BUTTERMILK

If you don’t have buttermilk on hand – here’s an easy hack!  You can make DIY buttermilk easily! Add 2 tablespoons of vinegar or lemon juice to a measuring glass. Add whole milk to equal 1 cups.  Give it a stir and let sit 5-10 minutes in order to activate.

MAKE AHEAD AND FREEZING INSTRUCTIONS:

Coat the chicken pieces in the flour, cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.

HOW TO REHEAT POPCORN CHICKEN BITES

Preheat the air fryer to 375 degrees. Allow your chicken to come to room temperature and then add a single layer of nuggets to the basket and cook for about four minutes, flipping it once to ensure it’s heated through.

air fryer popcorn chicken on a cutting board

Air Fryer Popcorn Chicken

Crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside, this easy Air Fryer Popcorn Chicken will quickly become a family favorite!
3.25 from 4 votes
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Author: Kasey Schwartz
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients  

  • 1-2 pounds chicken breast cut into 1 inch pieces
  • ½ cup flour
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ cup buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs
  • Olive oil

Instructions 

  • In a medium size bowl marinade the chicken in buttermilk, set aside
  • Combine in a separate medium size bowl garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, salt, pepper, and flour
  • In a small bowl whisk eggs
  • In another small bowl add the cornstarch
  • Remove chicken from buttermilk shaking off the excess milk
  • Roll chicken in cornstarch
  • Dip chicken into egg wash
  • Finally add chicken to flour mixture and coat well, shake off excess
  • Lightly coat air fryer basket with olive oil
  • Set Air Fryer to 390 degrees F and add chicken into basket
  • Cook for 5-10 minutes, depending on the air fryer, or until the chicken is no longer pink inside, shaking halfway through
  • Serve immediately

Notes

If they look a little floury at the half way mark spray them with a little olive oil to get them a little crispier

Nutrition

Calories: 875kcal | Carbohydrates: 72g | Protein: 106g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 297mg | Sodium: 2923mg | Potassium: 1955mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 733IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 122mg | Iron: 5mg
Keyword: air fryer, chicken
Did you make this recipe?Mention @kasey_allthingsmamma or tag #allthingsmamma!

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About Kasey Schwartz

Hi, I’m Kasey, Founder of All Things Mamma – where I am dishing up family favorite recipes that are easy to make with simple, everyday ingredients. Plus – tips and tricks for living your best life!

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