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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