Popcorn Chicken is easy to make at home and is a family favorite! I have never met a kid that doesn’t love popcorn chicken, and my kids are no exception. This homemade baked popcorn chicken is a hit for adults and kids at my house! With summer coming up, and everyone loving this, it will be one of my go-to lunch ideas for a quick, easy, and healthier alternative to store-bought popcorn chicken. Made with all-white meat chicken breast and spices, I feel good serving my family something they love! Not to mention there isn’t the guilt of deep fat frying…to be honest my kids don’t even know the difference!
To make this Oven Baked Popcorn Chicken, start by cubing a couple of thawed chicken breasts into small pieces for quick and thorough cooking. I season the chicken cubes with salt and a little bit of sugar. I find it best to take the seasoned chicken and place it into the refrigerator for around 30 minutes minimum. This keeps the chicken nice and firm until cooking.
While the seasoned chicken chills in the refrigerator, I mix together: 1 ½ cups of flour, 1 tablespoon of powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons of garlic powder, 1 ½ teaspoons of salt, 1 ½ teaspoons of pepper, 1 tablespoon of paprika, and 1 tablespoon of chili powder. (Don’t worry…it isn’t too spicy!) In a separate container, mix together two eggs with 1 ½ cups of milk.
I like to put this into my Cooks Choice XL Better Breader Bowl (I know that is a mouthful to say) to make a quick and easy job of battering those bite-sized chicken pieces that have been chilled in the refrigerator. You simply place the breading in the bottom and the chicken pieces above the screen…close and shake to your heart’s content.
After all the chicken pieces are covered in the breading, Take the breaded chicken pieces and place them into the milk and egg mixture. Give them a good coating (this allows another coating of that delicious batter to stick to the chicken and give them the flavorful and extra-crispy texture we all love. One more toss in the breading and set them aside while you prepare to bake.
Go ahead and preheat your oven to 400 degrees. While that is preheating, I spray a sheet pan, or a rack and sheet pan combo with cooking spray and lay out my popcorn chicken evenly to make sure there is an even and thorough cook. Give the tops of the chicken pieces a quick spray of cooking spray…I prefer olive oil (this technique does an amazing job of bringing the crispiness of the chicken to the next level).
After the oven is heated and ready…place the sheet pan with popcorn chicken into the oven and back for 15 to 20 minutes. Make sure to set a timer to flip the chicken pieces around halfway through (7 to 10 minutes into the cook). After you turn the pieces over, give them another quick spray of olive oil or cooking spray of your choice and put them back in the oven for the remainder of the cooking time. Make sure your chicken reaches a final temperature of 165 degrees.
These Oven Baked Popcorn Chicken pieces should come out with a crispy and golden-brown color. The paprika and chili powder give it a great color and flavor. The double-coating of breading and spraying with olive oil make these pieces nice and crispy.
This is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser for larger gatherings as well. It is super easy to make a big batch of these by doubling or tripling this recipe and providing a variety of dipping sauces to suit the needs of your party. I love BBQ and spicy sauces for dipping, my wife is more into honey-mustard, and my kids like them plain or with simple ketchup. But of course, being from the midwest there is the standard Midwestern Dipping Sauce…Ranch!
We also like to grab a few of these and set them back when we make them as toss-in for a salad when we prepare our lunches for the workday. Having this tasty and crispy protein sure does jazz up a salad. Having them already made and available to just toss into a bowl with all your favorite salad ingredients!
Helpful Tips & Frequently Asked Questions
Cooking times can vary, so I always suggest checking the temperature of the chicken with an internal meat thermometer making sure it reaches 165 degrees.
It is important to let the chicken sit for about 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
These are great by themselves or added to a salad or a wrap!
Cut into small pieces for popcorn chicken, but you can also use this same recipe to make larger chicken nuggets. Just cut the chicken into bigger cubes and adjust the cooking time to make sure they are cooked through.
Flipping the popcorn chicken half way through and spraying with olive oil really helps them get crispy.
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- 2 chicken breasts cut into small pieces
- salt and sugar
- cooking spray
- 1 1/2 cups of flour
- 1 TBSP of powdered sugar
- 2 TBSP of garlic powder
- 1 1/2 tsp of salt and pepper
- 1 TBSP each of paprika and chili powder
- 1 1/2 cups of milk
- 2 eggs
- cut chicken into small pieces
- season chicken with salt and sugar
- put chicken in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes
- combine flour, powdered sugar, garlic powder, paprika, chili powder, and salt
- whisk together milk and eggs in a separate container
- coat chicken in flour mixture, egg mixture, and back into the flour mixture
- spray a sheet pan with cooking spray
- put chicken nuggets on the pan and spray the tops of the nuggets with cooking spray
- bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes halfway through flip the chicken nuggets over and spray with cooking spray
- Enjoy! Let me know if you try it out!