KFC Style Popcorn Chicken Air Fryer

If you are up for an even tastier movie night or just a light and easy meal, ditch the popcorns and try this popcorn chicken made with an air fryer. Popcorn chicken has been innovated by the developer from KFC and has been popularized, first in the United States, and now, all over the world. There have been several versions of how you can make the best popcorn chicken since its launch, and they all have something in common – the ease of preparation and lightness of this meal experience.

Popcorn chicken has been launched in the United States in 1992 and have been duly rebranded as KFC Popcorn Nuggets in recent times. Despite this, the term “Popcorn chicken” has stuck with the consumers for its suitability to the dish. The meal is meant to be made of bite-sized chicken breast with ample breading and fried to golden perfection. Popcorn chicken is served in a box similar to that of a popcorn and is meant to be enjoyed as a snack. It can be served with different coatings or dusted with flavors, and even with sauce.

Because this meal is made with chicken breast, there is a lot that could go wrong. The fillet can easily become dry if not processed well. The key to a flavorful, juicy, and satisfying popcorn chicken is to get the flavors into the fillet even before cooking them. Although this recipe does not involve preprocessing of your fillet, you can always try new things. You can use this recipe as a base to your future popcorn chicken cookoffs. There are at least 2 ways to infuse the flavors into your chicken fillet. The first one is to marinate the chicken 12 hours, or at least an hour. The most common marinades include buttermilk or other acidic marinades with soy and barbecue sauce, vinegar, or lemon juice. All these ingredients help tenderize the rather low-fat chicken breast and retain the moisture when you cook them. The other technique is to rub you chicken fillet with the dry spices even before coating them. This way, you can prevent the spices from falling off!

Cooking your popcorn chicken in an air fryer even makes the whole experience worth it. Without the usual oil you use to deep fry popcorn chicken, this recipe even becomes healthier. This recipe is perfect for an air fryer as it does not use heavy coating and keeps everything super simple. It just has to be the perfect way to try your hands on a popcorn chicken recipe. The crispiness of the chicken will all come from the starch you coat the chicken with. Mix and match your spices and you can even make a great sauce to pair this dish with.

Popcorn chicken air fryer recipe

Recipe by Maverick CharlestonCourse: MainCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Medium


Prep time


Cooking time






  • Chicken fillet – 400 g

  • Salt to taste

  • Ground coriander – 1/5 tsp

  • Chicken spices – 1/3 tsp

  • Garlic powder – ¼ tsp

  • Dried herbs – 1/5 tsp

  • Corn starch – 3 tbsp.

  • Vegetable oil – 2 tbsp.


  • Prepare all the food you need – pickling spices, any vegetable oil, starch. Wash the chicken fillet and cut off any excess.Ingredients
  • Cut the chicken fillet into small pieces, about 2 cm on a side.Sliced chicken fillet
  • Add one spoonful of vegetable oil to a bowl, salt the chicken and add the spices. Mix everything thoroughly. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes.Sliced chicken fillet with spices
  • Pour cornstarch into a plastic bag or deep bowl. Place the chicken pieces in the starch and shake thoroughly several times. Then transfer the chicken pieces to a sieve and shake to remove excess starch. Leave it on for 5 minutes.Chicken fillet pieces in starch
  • Grease the grill of the air fryer with vegetable oil. It is convenient to use a silicone cooking brush. Place the chicken pieces on a wire rack and brush each with vegetable oil. Cook at 180 degrees for 20 minutes.Chicken fillet pieces in an air fryer
  • Ready-made chicken popcorn can be served immediately. These small chunks of chicken will have a thin crunchy shell on top to keep the meat tender and juicy. You can serve various sauces, as well as vegetables and herbs with the chicken popcorn.Ready Popcorn chicken

Tips and tricks

  • To make the most delicious chicken popcorn, you need to choose fresh chicken fillet. It should be pale pink in color. Fresh chicken fillet has almost no smell. If there is a sour smell, the fillet is most likely stale and it is best not to buy it.
  • Leftover popcorn can be refrigerated in a tightly closed container. But you need to know that the crispy crust will become soft after a few hours. Therefore, if you want to get crispy popcorn after a while, then put the chicken blanks in the air fryer and cook it again.
  • If you are on a protein diet, then this popcorn is perfect for your everyday menu. By the way, starch can be replaced with almond flour, but the taste will turn out to be a little nutty. You can substitute cornstarch for potato starch.
  • To make the appetizer even tastier, serve your favorite sauce with it. You can use tomato, cheese, garlic, mustard, or curry.
  • Marinating the chicken fillet in small sizes will help speed up the process.
  • Marinating will help you achieve a juicier texture of chicken rather than frying them straight away.
  • Try mixing potato and cornstarch for your coating to make it crispier.
  • For a keto-friendly version of this recipe, replace the starch coating with crushed, dried pork skin. You will happily end up with a crispy texture without the carbohydrates.
  • Alternative to the pork skin, you can also use almond flour. Using this flour alone will not result to a crispy texture. Add up a bit of parmesan cheese to the flour to serve as your coating and make it crispier on the outside.
  • To make your popcorn chicken look more appetizing, add a bit of paprika to the coating you use. This step even adds a hint of spiciness and bold flavor to the dish.

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