This crispy Easy Popcorn Chicken is ideal served as a dinner entree, as a selection for finger food parties or paired with your favorite toppings and served in slider rolls or as a wrap. It's one of those Southern inspired dishes that appeals to kids of all ages. The crispy flavorful breading takes boneless fried chicken to another level.
Easy Popcorn Chicken
I think both of my boys lived on chicken as toddlers. Whether it was chicken tenders, chicken nuggets or chicken sandwiches they always seemed to gravitate to some sort of chicken as their entree of choice. I often wondered if it was the chicken or the dipping sauce that they loved, none-the-less it's a fact. Now that they are teenagers, it hasn't changed all that much. They still love these bite-size popcorn chicken bites any day of the week for dinner or snacking.
Pancake Mix and Cornstarch
Unbeknownst to many, a fair amount of tried and true Southern cooks use pancake mix as part of the breading for frying chicken. It lends a tasty flavor to the coating and the addition of cornstarch for this chicken takes it over-the-top. The seasonings added to the mix are imperative to ensure you enjoy a flavorful bite every single time.
Favorite Dipping Sauces
I love serving this popcorn chicken, or any chicken for that matter, with Copycat Chick fil Sauce or Southern Comeback Sauce. My homemade Dr Pepper Barbecue Sauce goes well with it, too. Other fun dipping sauces you may like to try is, my Avocado Lime Ranch or this homemade Honey Mustard from Diethood.
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Helpful Kitchen Items:
Easy Popcorn Chicken
- 2 ½-3 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts
cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 2 ½ cups pancake mix
- ½ cup cornstarch
- 2 tsp seasoned salt
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 2 large eggs beaten
- ½ cup whole milk
- peanut or vegetable oil for frying
- Place chicken pieces into a plastic storage bag and cover with buttermilk. Marinate in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight.
- To prepare: Remove chicken pieces from buttermilk to a colander to drain. Discard marinade.
- Set-up dredging station: Mix together pancake mix, cornstarch, seasoned salt, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder and black pepper in a shallow dish. Whisk together eggs and milk in a separate shallow dish. Have nearby a pan to place breaded pieces.
- Dredge each chicken piece in dry mixture, dip in egg wash and into dry mixture a second time. Place onto the pan in a single layer. Repeat until all chicken pieces are breaded. (This can be done up to an hour in advance then placed into the fridge until ready to fry)
- Heat vegetable oil in a deep pot to 350-360°F. Fry chicken in batches for about 3 minutes total or until golden on both sides and cooked through. Turn as needed for even browning. Maintain cooking temperature while frying.
- Use a slotted spoon and remove to a paper towel lined pan or platerr. Season lightly with additional seasoned salt immediately.
- Serve hot with your favorite dipping sauces.