Crispy, crunchy little bites of juicy fried popcorn chicken will make your family forget about the fast food joints. Nuggets? What nuggets?
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There is a general love for fried chicken, amiright?
I can’t think of one person I have ever met that doesn’t like fried chicken. Even vegans, though they don’t fry up chicken, per say, but they eat things that are fried chicken-esque…
Don’t judge me, I don’t really know what vegans eat, haha.
I love these poppable little fried chicken bites, and I have a two secret ingredients to make them extra crispy and super crunchy: panko breadcrumbs and cornstarch. If you’ve made my mongolian beef or General Tso’s chicken, you’ll notice the use of cornstarch makes the coating super crisp. It works just the same with popcorn chicken, and the panko in the dredging is optional, but I love it since it brings more crunch to the breading.
But that’s not the most important step to bringing great crunchy goodness to my popcorn chicken; just like those chicken recipes, these chicken pieces are double fried to ensure utter crispiness. It really does make a huge difference, trust me, though it is optional if you are satisfied with just one fry, just keep the chicken in for the entire cook time of about 4-5 minutes or until deep golden brown. Lower the oil temperature to 325 degrees F if you do this.
As with most of my chicken recipes, I use the thighs. It’s just a personal preference, so use chicken breasts as you please. They will cook through at a similar time to the thighs, maybe just under a minute quicker.
These are great for an after-school snack -kids absolutely love these-, a fun family dinner, during game night or watching the game (oh, this would be great for Super Bowl Sunday or while watching a basketball game), and they go great with any dipping sauce or tossed in barbecue or buffalo sauce.
Here’s my attempt at looking fancy.
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- 1 quart vegetable oil
- 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1 inch (bite sized) cubes
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs, optional
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
- 1/2 tsp paprika powder
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- Heat oil in a dutch oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C)
- Soak chicken in the egg and buttermilk mixture for five to ten minutes.
- In a medium sized bowl, beat the eggs well then add buttermilk to the bowl. In a separate large bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, breadcrumbs, and all seasonings and spices until well combined.
- Dredge chicken pieces in flour mixture, then let rest on a plate to set for 3 minutes. Drop 8-10 pieces of chicken into hot oil for 1 to 2 minutes, then pull from oil to rest on a paper towel lined plate. Repeat with another batch, then put previous batch in oil to cook through, about 3 minutes, until the chicken is a deep golden brown. Then place on a wire rack over clean paper towels to cool.
- Repeat double fry method until all chicken is done and cooled on the wire rack. Serve with dipping sauces.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 376
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Eden Westbrook is the recipe developer, writer, and photographer behind Sweet Tea and Thyme. A classically trained chef, Eden has inspired home cooks into the kitchen with cultural comfort foods, easy family-friendly eats and sweets, and glorious spreads for date night and entertaining since 2015.