Crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside, this easy Popcorn Chicken recipe can be baked, fried or cooked in the air fryer.

Serve with your favorite dipping sauce like Marinara, BBQ Sauce, homemade chick-fil-a sauce, Ranch, or Fry sauce.

BAKED Popcorn Chicken pieces on a tray with BBQ sauce.

Any occasion is appropriate for these fun popcorn chicken bites, whether your serving them at a Super bowl, or for a fun kid-friendly dinner. I love prefer my popcorn chicken baked in the oven or cooked in the air fryer, but you could fry them in oil too.

Ingredients Needed:

  • Chicken: We use boneless, skinless chicken breasts, but you can also try this recipe with boneless, skinless chicken thighs, or chicken tenderloins.
  • Eggs.
  • Milk: Whole milk or half & half works best.
  • Flour.
  • Cornflakes cereal, crushed, or use dried breadcrumbs, or crushed potato chips.
  • Spices: All common pantry spices.
The ingredients needed to make popcorn chicken.

HOW TO MAKE POPCORN CHICKEN:

  • Coat chicken. Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces, place in a bowl or ziplock bag and add flour. Stir or shake to coat then set aside.
  • Prep bowls. Add eggs, milk, and spices to a bowl and stir to combine. Set aside. Fill another shallow bowl with crushed cornflakes.
  • Dip & roll. Dip the flour-coated chicken pieces into the egg mixture, followed by the crushed cornflakes. Gently press the chicken into the cornflakes for that crispy coating!
Four process photos for preparing Popcorn Chicken.
  • To Bake. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees F for 10 minutes. Flip chicken and bake for another 7-8 minutes or until cooked through.
  • To Fry: Heat a few inches of vegetable oil in a pot. Once hot, work in batches to lower the chicken into the oil and cook for 3-4 minutes, until cooked through. Remove to a paper towel lined plate.
  • To Air Fry: Spray the bottom of the fry basket with nonstick cooking spray and place half of the chicken pieces into a single layer in the basket. Generously spray the top of each piece of chicken with cooking spray. Air Fry at 360 for 3 minutes. Open air fryer, flip chicken pieces to the other side, and spray tops again with cooking spray. Increase air fryer temperature to 400 degrees and cook for 2-3 more minutes, or until crisp and cooked through. 

SIDES FOR POPCORN CHICKEN:

Enjoy popcorn chicken on it’s own, or make it a meal served with rice and roasted veggies, or mashed potatoes and peas, or toss it into my delicious honey mustard chicken salad.

RECIPE VARIATIONS:

  • No cornflakes? Try potato chips in any flavor (kettle chips work great!), panko, or panko AND cornmeal for an extra crispy crunch!
  • Dairy-free. Replace cow’s milk for soy, almond, or other non-dairy milk.
  • Dark or white meat — your choice! Replace chicken breast for chicken thighs, or use full chicken tenderloins for “chicken-strip” style.
  • Make it sweet. Sub honey for eggs. Use 1 tablespoon honey for every 1 pound of chicken. For optimal flavor, marinate the honey and spices for about 20 to 30 minutes in a resealable bag.
  • Use full-flavored buttermilk in place of regular milk.
A hand dipping Homemade BAKED Popcorn Chicken in BBQ sauce.

MAKE AHEAD AND FREEZING INSTRUCTIONS:

To Make Ahead: All you need to do is coat the chicken pieces in the flour, cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.

To Reheat: If you’re using an air fryer, spread the chicken into a single layer, spread apart in the basket. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until warmed and crisp. Or, set the oven to 325 degrees F and bake for about 10 minutes on a lightly greased baking rack or baking sheet. We don’t recommend using the microwave since the chicken will lose its crispy exterior, but if you’re in a hurry and don’t mind sacrificing the crunch, just transfer the chicken to a microwave-safe plate and cook until warmed.

To Freeze: Allow chicken to cool to room temperature, then space the chicken out on a baking sheet that will fit into the freezer. Keep chicken in freezer for about 1 hour or until mostly frozen, then transfer to a freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months. To reheat, place frozen popcorn chicken on a baking sheet and bake at 425 degrees F for about 15 minutes or until heated through.

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Recipe

Crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside, BAKED Popcorn Chicken, served with your favorite dipping sauce! | Tastes Better From Scratch
Prep 15 mins
Cook 20 mins
Total 35 mins
Add to Meal Plan

Ingredients
  

  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts , cut into bite-sized pieces (about 2-3 large breasts)
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 1/2 cups corn flakes cereal , lightly crushed
  • ½ teaspoon salt and pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika

Instructions
 

  • Place chicken pieces in a bowl or ziplock bag and add flour, stirring or shaking to coat completely. Set aside.
  • Add eggs, milk, salt and pepper, garlic powder and paprika to a bowl and stir to combine. Set aside. 
  • In another shallow bowl combine crushed cornflakes.
  • Dip each piece of flour-coated chicken into the egg mixture, followed by the cornflakes, gently pressing the cornflake mixture into the chicken. 
  • To Bake. Place chicken on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees F for 10 minutes. Flip chicken and bake for another 7-8 minutes or until cooked through.
  • To Fry: Heat a few inches of vegetable oil in a pot. Once hot, work in batches to lower the chicken into the oil and cook for 3-4 minutes, until cooked through. Remove to a paper towel lined plate.
  • To Air Fry: Spray the bottom of the fry basket with nonstick cooking spray and place half of the chicken pieces into a single layer in the basket. Generously spray the top of each piece of chicken with cooking spray. Air Fry at 360 for 3 minutes. Open air fryer, flip chicken pieces to the other side, and spray tops again with cooking spray. Increase air fryer temperature to 400 degrees and cook for 2-3 more minutes, or until crisp and cooked through.
  • Serve warm with BBQ sauce, ranch, Chick-fil-A sauce, honey mustard, or another favorite dipping sauce.

Notes

Yield: Makes about 40 pieces.
Make Ahead Instructions: All you need to do is coat the chicken pieces in the flour, cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.
Reheating Instructions: If you’re using an air fryer, spread the chicken into a single layer, spread apart in the basket. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until warmed and crisp. Or, set the oven to 325 degrees F and bake for about 10 minutes on a lightly greased baking rack or baking sheet. We don’t recommend using the microwave since the chicken will lose its crispy exterior, but if you’re in a hurry and don’t mind sacrificing the crunch, just transfer the chicken to a microwave-safe plate and cook until warmed.
Freezing Instructions: Allow chicken to cool to room temperature, then space the chicken out on a baking sheet that will fit into the freezer. Keep chicken in freezer for about 1 hour or until mostly frozen, then transfer to a freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months. To reheat, place frozen popcorn chicken on a baking sheet and bake at 425 degrees F for about 15 minutes or until heated through.
Recipe Variations:
  • No cornflakes? Try potato chips in any flavor (kettle chips work great!), panko, or panko AND cornmeal for an extra crispy crunch!
  • Dairy-free. Replace cow’s milk for soy, almond, or other non-dairy milk.
  • Dark or white meat — your choice! Replace chicken breast for chicken thighs, or use full chicken tenderloins for “chicken-strip” style.
  • Make it sweet. Sub honey for eggs. Use 1 tablespoon honey for every 1 pound of chicken. For optimal flavor, marinate the honey and spices for about 20 to 30 minutes in a resealable bag.
  • Use full-flavored buttermilk in place of regular milk.

Nutrition

Calories: 265kcalCarbohydrates: 25gProtein: 28gFat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 119mgSodium: 267mgPotassium: 490mgSugar: 1gVitamin A: 425IUVitamin C: 4.7mgCalcium: 24mgIron: 5.9mg

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I originally shared this recipe January 2017. Updated February 2021.

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About The Author

Lauren Allen

Welcome! I’m Lauren, a mom of four and lover of good food. Here you’ll find easy recipes and weeknight meal ideas made with real ingredients, with step-by-step photos and videos.

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  1. 4 stars
    My 12 yr old gets to cook dinner 1 night each week. She generally picks a chicken dish and I thought this would be an easy, fun one for her to try tonight. We all loved it put def. would make a few adjustments. Make sure the chunks aren’t too big. Really think bite-size. Also, mix the spices with the flour so they stick to the chicken. We found that mixing with the cornflakes caused the spices to sink to the bottom of the bowl leaving the chicken with little “spice”. We look forward to making this again.

  2. I wanted to like this but they were just flavorless. I added spices to the flour mix based on comments and that still wasn’t enough. I’m thinking a good remoulade sauce would make all the difference. Like a bang bang sauce. Don’t look to the chicken for flavor. On a good note, it does make a Crispy coating without frying and that definitely gives it points.

  3. 5 stars
    Loved these! Fun way to mix up the weekday meals and loved that the whole family enjoyed them. I already have requests to make them again. 🙂

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