Air Fryer Popcorn Chicken – Quick and Easy!

A picture of Air Fried Chicken on a plate

I’ve always felt lucky that I have good eaters. My kids are not that picky. Push back is, of course, normal. We get our fair share of it and sometimes I am running on fumes and I want to put something in front of both of the kids I know they will gobble up. Enter: Air Fryer Popcorn Chicken

The need for an Air Fryer

While our need for an Air Fryer is out of necessity (we don’t use our fifth wheel oven except for storage – haha), there are a lot of great reasons to purchase one yourself! [

I recommend reading this article from WebMD (HERE) to get a better idea on the health benefits, but here is some quick take-aways:

  • Air frying vs. cooking in oil can cut calories by 70% – 80%
  • Air fried meals contain a lot less fat
  • Air frying potatoes can lower the amount of acrylamide by 90% (helping cut cancer risk)

So, although we have an air fryer for NEED, you might want to get one for other reasons!

It’s Air Fryer Popcorn Chicken time!

I’m not going to lie and tell you that we cooked up veggies with this meal. Nope. No. Sorry-not-sorry. We ate popcorn chicken. That’s it. That was dinner.

OH BOY, WAS IT GOOD. No regrets guys. This dinner was perfect.

One quick note on cooking this recipe. Everyone’s tastes are a little different so add more time for extra crispy or a little less time for less crispy. These kids (and adults) love crunch. One of the batches we added more time just so I could have them a little extra crispy. When you make these, always-always-always ensure to check the chicken is cooked through.

Okay, okay — two quick notes. The smaller you cut the pieces the shorter the cook time. So if you like big pieces like Dave a little more time is great If you like smaller pieces like me less time will be needed. I mean, I know that SOUNDS like common sense but honestly I didn’t even think about it until I was in the middle of this recipe.

Air Fryer Popcorn Chicken Pinterest Image.
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Air Fryer Popcorn Chicken

Air Fryer Popcorn Chicken

A crazy blast of flavor and crunch from hand-cut chicken breast popcorn chicken. Cooked to a perfect golden brown in our air fryer. Use caraway seeds and dill weed to transform the ordinary into something better that the whole family will love.
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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Air Fryer, Popcorn Chicken
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Marinate (optional): 8 hours
Total Time: 35 minutes
Calories: 170kcal
Author: Instant Pot Dave
Cost: $15


  • Instant Pot or Pressure Cooker


  • 3 lbs Chicken Breasts cut into nugget or smaller sized pieces
  • 1-2 Tbsp Olive Oil in a spray bottle


  • 1 cup Cream
  • 1 Tbsp Hot Sauce

Egg Wash

  • 3 Eggs
  • 1/4 cup Cream


  • 1/2 cup Flour
  • 1/4 cup Corn Starch
  • 1/2 cup Panko
  • 2 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder or Granulated Garlic
  • 1 tsp Onion Powder or Granulated Onion
  • 1 tsp Paprika
  • 1/2 tsp Dill Weed
  • 1/2 tsp Caraway Seeds **optional but recommended
  • 1/2 tsp Black Pepper



  • Cut chicken breast into nugget size pieces
  • Mix cream and hot sauce in a 1 gallon zip lock bag or bowl
  • Add chicken pieces to the cream and mix well to cover chicken pieces evenly
  • Letting the chicken sit in the cream for an hour (I start mine in the morning and let it sit in the fridge until it's time to start cooking)

Wash and Dredge

  • Mix Flour, corn starch, panko, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, dill weed, and caraway seed in a medium mixing bowl
  • Mix 3 eggs with 1/4 cup cream in another medium bowl
  • Grab a handful of chicken out of the cream letting the extra cream run off
  • Put handful of chicken into the dredge mixing well (ensure all of the chicken is covered) and let shake extra dredge off back into the mixing bowl
  • Dip each dredged chicken piece into the egg wash and let extra egg run off back into the bowl
  • Then return the egg washed chicken piece to the dredge and cover the chicken piece again in the dredge (double dip) mixing well
  • *Use one hand for the wet ingredients and the other for the dry ingredients to keep your fingers from building up batter
  • Push the chicken into the dredge (to ensure the dredge is sticking well)
  • Place the each double dipped chicken piece on a plate repeating the process until all chicken pieces are breaded

Air Fry

  • Preheat the air fryer at 400°F for 5 minutes
  • Let the breaded chicken sit for about 5-10 minutes so the dry dredge has a chance to get soaked by the egg wash
  • Oil the air fryer basket well with olive oil, I use the EVO olive oil spray bottle
  • Add breaded chicken pieces to the air fryer basket oiled side down so there is a little room around the chicken so the hot air can move evenly around each piece
  • Spray chicken pieces with oil so there is no dry dredge left on the tops of the chicken pieces
  • *If the dredge goes into the air fryer dry, it will come out dry, if the dredge goes in wet, it'll come out golden brown and crispy
  • Air fry at 380°F for 10 minutes
  • Lightly spray chicken with oil, flip the chicken pieces, and spray chicken again with oil so there is no dry dredge
  • Air fry again for 2-5 minutes until chicken is crispy enough to your liking
  • Plate the popcorn chicken, let cool for 5-8 minutes, and serve with your favorite dips and sauces



I have learned that not all air fryers are made the same and run a little hotter or cooler than one another.  I recommend taking peeks at your popcorn chicken toward the end of the cooking time to make sure they aren’t burning.  If they are looking like they are browning faster than planned then flip them earlier than planned. If they aren’t crispy or golden enough then increase the air fryer cook time until the popcorn chicken is just right. 
Air frying is an art, everybody’s taste is a little different so make according to your taste.  Watch the how to video below for instruction and inspiration.  Enjoy! 


Serving: 6pieces | Calories: 170kcal

Before You Go

Make sure to visit us on our other side of the web on YouTube!

Also, we have TONS of recipes up on our blog… if you love your air fryer (or are just starting out) click HERE for the best bacon you’ll ever have!

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