Chicken popcorn is a popular snack made with small pieces of chicken that are seasoned, coated in a batter, and then deep-fried until crispy. The name “popcorn” comes from the fact that the chicken pieces resemble small, round balls similar to popcorn.
Chicken popcorn is often served as a party appetizer or as a snack with a dipping sauce. It can also be used as a topping for salads or in wraps or sandwiches.
While the recipe for chicken popcorn may vary, the basic ingredients typically include boneless chicken pieces, flour, cornmeal, breadcrumbs, and spices such as paprika, garlic powder, and black pepper. The chicken is usually marinated in a mixture of buttermilk and spices before being coated in the batter and fried.
Like any deep-fried food, chicken popcorn should be consumed in moderation as it is high in calories, fat, and sodium. It is also important to ensure that the chicken is cooked thoroughly to avoid foodborne illness.
Ingredients for Chicken Popcorn
- 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into small pieces
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup cornmeal
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
- 1 tbsp paprika
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp salt
- Vegetable oil, for frying
Instruction for Chicken Popcorn
- In a large bowl, mix together the buttermilk, paprika, garlic powder, black pepper, and salt. Add the chicken pieces and toss to coat. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or overnight for best results.
- In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, cornmeal, breadcrumbs, paprika, garlic powder, black pepper, and salt.
- Heat about 2 inches of vegetable oil in a large pot or deep-fryer to 350°F.
- Working in batches, remove the chicken from the buttermilk mixture and dredge in the flour mixture, shaking off any excess.
- Carefully drop the chicken into the hot oil and fry until golden brown and crispy, about 3-5 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove the chicken from the oil and place on a paper towel-lined plate to drain excess oil.
- Repeat with the remaining chicken pieces.
- Serve hot with your favorite dipping sauce.
- Enjoy your delicious and crispy chicken popcorn!
- Serve chicken popcorn plain as a snack with french fries or with your favorite dipping sauce, such as barbecue sauce, ranch dressing, or honey mustard.
- Serve chicken popcorn with a side of rice and vegetables for a balanced meal. Create a sweet and savory meal by serving it with waffles and syrup.
- Serve chicken popcorn with a side of mac and cheese for a comforting and filling meal.
Recipe Notes & Tips
- Marinate the chicken pieces in a buttermilk mixture for at least 30 minutes before coating them.
- Use a mixture of all-purpose flour and cornstarch for the coating. The cornstarch helps make the chicken crispy and light.
- Add some spices to the coating mixture, such as garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and cayenne pepper, for extra flavor.
- Fry the chicken pieces in hot oil (around 375°F/190°C) until golden brown and crispy.
- Drain the fried chicken popcorn on a wire rack or paper towels to remove excess oil.
- You can also bake the chicken popcorn in the oven for a healthier option. Preheat the oven to 425°F/220°C, coat the chicken pieces in the same coating mixture, and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 20-25 minutes, flipping halfway through, until golden brown and cooked through.
- What type of chicken should I use?
You should use boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Cut the chicken into small, bite-sized pieces.
- How do I make the chicken pieces round like popcorn?
The chicken pieces will naturally form a round shape when you coat them in the batter and fry them. You can use a cookie scoop or spoon to make uniform-sized pieces.
- Can I bake chicken popcorn instead of frying it?
Yes, you can bake in the oven at 400°F for about 20-25 minutes, flipping halfway through. However, the texture won’t be as crispy as fried chicken popcorn.
- What dipping sauces go well with chicken popcorn?
Some popular dipping sauces include honey mustard, ranch dressing, barbecue sauce, and sweet chili sauce.
- How can I store leftovers?
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. To reheat, place the chicken in a preheated oven at 350°F for about 10-15 minutes, or until heated through.
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