Crispy Air Fryer Popcorn Hen

Crunchy on the surface and tender and juicy on the within, this Air Fryer Popcorn Hen is prepared in 20 minutes from begin to end! These dippable crispy nuggets are the proper recreation day appetizer or enjoyable household dinner.

Crispy air fryer popcorn chicken on a white place next to a ramekin of BBQ sauce for dipping.

20-Minute, Extremely-Crispy Air Fryer Popcorn Hen

We love a very good chicken tender recipe round right here, and I additionally LOVE my air fryer. I really feel like I make a batch of Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Tenders not less than as soon as per week. With soccer season arising, I needed a recipe that’s simply as straightforward to make, but additionally completely snackable. Howdy, recreation day.

So, at this time we’re making a bite-sized variation of one in every of my favourite meals: crispy air fryer popcorn hen. These crunchy, juicy nuggets of pleasure are a fast, straightforward appetizer to make for a crowd, and simply as scrumptious to function a meal on weeknights.

Popcorn hen is ideal for dipping in our favourite Copycat Chick-Fil-A Sauce, or barbecue sauce. You received’t consider how crispy these hen nuggets get in only a few minutes!

Close up of air fryer popcorn chicken with a bite missing from a nugget.

Why You’ll Love This Air Fryer Recipe

So, why use the air fryer to cook dinner popcorn hen? Should you’re simply getting acquainted with the world of air frying, I’ve a super-handy information for How to Use an Air Fryer. An air fryer is mainly a countertop convection oven, and it’s a handy, lighter approach of getting your favourite meals good and crispy.

I’ll warn you now: when you get the cling of it, you’ll wish to put every little thing in your air fryer. Biscuits? Air fryer. Mac and Cheese Balls? Air fried. I even use the air fryer to make Chocolate Chip Cookies! It’s a life-style. 

Right here’s why we will’t get sufficient of this air fryer hen recipe:

  • A lighter approach of frying. This air fryer popcorn hen crisps up completely, minus the surplus grease and oil of deep frying (to not point out, clear up is simple, since there aren’t any oil splatters to wipe off the partitions afterward).
  • Prepared in below 20 minutes. Having an air fryer in the home is a deal with on weeknights. These hen bites come out crazy-crispy in a fraction of the time that it could take within the oven.
  • Nice for freshmen. That is a straightforward air fryer recipe that anybody could make. Merely coat the hen, pop it into the fryer, cook dinner, flip, and serve.
The ingredients for homemade air fryer popcorn chicken.

What You’ll Want

Under is a fast abstract of the substances wanted to make crispy popcorn hen within the air fryer. Be certain to take a look at the complete recipe particulars within the recipe card additional on.

  • Hen: Boneless skinless hen breast is finest for this recipe. Boneless hen thighs may also work.
  • Flour and Bread Crumbs: You’ll want each for the breadcrumb coating. For popcorn hen, I really like Panko because the crumbs are bigger and crunchier once they come out of the air fryer.
  • Seasonings: You’ll season your breadcrumbs with a mixture of salt, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and black pepper.
  • Eggs and Milk: An egg wash helps the Panko adhere to the hen. You should utilize any type of milk you like, entire milk, 2%, or skim. For a tangier taste, you possibly can even use buttermilk (store-bought, or homemade).
  • Dijon Mustard: I really like the creamy, zesty taste that comes from including Dijon mustard to the egg wash. Should you don’t have Dijon, you should utilize common yellow mustard as an alternative. Chances are you’ll wish to use barely much less, as the flavour will probably be stronger.
  • Olive Oil Spray: Air frying recipes name for considerably much less oil than conventional frying strategies. You should purchase olive oil spray from the shop, or add your personal olive oil to a twig bottle. Just some spritzes is all it takes to crisp up the surface of the hen because it cooks.

How one can Make Popcorn Hen in Your Air Fryer

Able to “fry” some hen? Earlier than you begin, you’ll wish to cube up your hen breasts into nugget-sized chunks. This recipe makes about 60 hen nuggets, so there needs to be greater than sufficient to feed a hungry crowd. Now, let’s get this recipe poppin’.

  • Put together the Seasoned Breadcrumbs: First, in a shallow dish, mix Panko with flour and a teaspoon of salt, together with the remainder of the seasonings.
  • Put together the Egg Wash: Subsequent up, in a separate dish, whisk collectively the eggs with some milk, Dijon, and a half-teaspoon of salt.
  • Coat the Hen: Coat your hen items first within the egg wash, then within the Panko combination. Use your fingers to actually press the Panko over all sides of the hen nuggets, and switch the coated nuggets to a baking sheet.
  • Air Fry: As soon as all of the hen is coated and your air fryer is preheated to 390ºF, add a batch of hen to the air frying basket and spritz them with olive oil spray (not non-stick cooking spray, see the ideas under). Cook dinner every batch for 8 minutes, turning midway via.
  • Serve: As soon as all of the hen has cooked via, it’s time to serve! This crispy popcorn hen makes an incredible appetizer or important, good for household dinners or events.

Can I Make Baked Popcorn Hen As a substitute?

Undoubtedly. Should you don’t have an air fryer, this recipe is simple sufficient to translate to the oven! Right here’s do it:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF and get a baking sheet prepared and lined with parchment paper.
  2. Organize the coated hen on the baking sheet.
  3. Bake for about 20 minutes (or till the interior temperature of the hen is 165ºF), flipping the nuggets midway via. 
Crispy air fryer popcorn chicken on a white place next to a ramekin of BBQ sauce for dipping.

Suggestions and Variation Concepts

What’s the key to completely crispy air fryer popcorn hen? I’ve included some notes and variation concepts under. Take a look at my tutorial for extra useful air frying ideas and tips.

  • Keep away from aerosol cooking sprays. Now, for somewhat Air Fryer 101: Aerosol non-stick sprays, like PAM, can injury the non-stick coating that’s already in your air fryer basket. Keep away from utilizing cooking sprays, and as an alternative use an olive oil spray when air frying, or add olive oil to a spritzer bottle.
  • Don’t overcrowd the air fryer basket. Be certain to depart sufficient area for the new air to flow into between the hen items for the crispest outcomes. Work in batches and let these items breathe!
  • How one can inform when the hen is completed cooking: Your popcorn hen is completed when the interior temperature is at a totally cooked 165ºF. Use a kitchen thermometer to examine.
  • Scale the recipe. This popcorn hen recipe makes numerous nuggets! Be at liberty to scale down or double up the substances to fit your wants.
  • Make spicy crispy popcorn hen. For some additional warmth, combine some cayenne pepper or crushed crimson pepper flakes into the breadcrumb coating.
  • Add dried herbs. Along with the spices already within the coating, you possibly can add dry herbs like thyme, basil, oregano, or a spoonful of Italian seasoning mix.
  • Use cornflakes for additional crunch. Crush up cornflake cereal to combine in with the Panko for a fair crunchier texture. That is straightforward to do by inserting the cereal inside a big zip-top bag and rolling over it just a few occasions with a rolling pin.
A hand holding a piece of popcorn chicken partially dipped into a ramekin of BBQ sauce, on a plate with more popcorn chicken pieces.

Serving Ideas

We love dunking our crispy hen in The Best Chicken Dipping Sauce (significantly, it’s the BEST!) or my straightforward Homemade BBQ Sauce. However the serving potentialities are infinite. Get pleasure from your air fryer popcorn hen with a number of of those straightforward do-it-yourself dipping sauces:

This straightforward popcorn hen recipe is ideal to make as a celebration snack alongside extra appetizer concepts like Mini Corn Dogs, Pigs In A Blanket, and Philly Cheesesteak Sliders

For dinner, I’ll serve popcorn hen with a facet of Beach Bread and veggies, like a inexperienced salad, steamed broccoli, Air Fryer Asparagus, or Instant Pot Corn on the Cob

A piece of popcorn chicken partially dipped into a ramekin of BBQ sauce, on a plate with more popcorn chicken pieces.

How one can Retailer and Reheat Air Fryer Hen

This popcorn hen could be saved hermetic within the fridge for as much as 3 days. Reheating leftovers is as straightforward as popping them again into the air fryer at 280ºF, for about 7 minutes or till warmed via.

Leftover popcorn hen can be nice to take pleasure in chilly over a Couscous Salad, in hen wraps, or as a snack dipped in Ranch Dressing.

Can I Freeze Popcorn Hen?

Sure! Cooked air fryer popcorn hen is freezer-friendly and splendid for defrosting and reheating. As soon as the hen bites have cooled utterly, retailer them hermetic in a freezer bag or freezer-safe container. Defrost the popcorn hen within the fridge earlier than reheating.


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Crispy Air Fryer Popcorn Hen is irresistibly crunchy on the surface and juicy on the within, prepared in 20 minutes from begin to end! That is a straightforward air fryer hen recipe to make for dinner or as an appetizer.

  • 1 1/2 kilos Boneless Skinless Hen Breast
  • 1/4 Cup All Goal Flour
  • 1 1/2 Cups Panko Bread Crumbs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Salt, divided
  • 1 teaspoon Paprika
  • 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Onion Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/4 Cup Milk
  • 2 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
  • Olive Oil Spray

  1. Reduce the hen breasts into 1?2” broad strips. Then reduce every strip into 2-3 nugget-sized items.
  2. Mix the flour, panko, 1 teaspoon of salt, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and black pepper in a shallow dish. Whisk collectively till properly blended.
  3. In a second shallow dish, mix the eggs, milk, dijon mustard, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Whisk collectively till clean.
  4. Add the hen items to the egg combination. Stir to coat them properly.
  5. Working just a few at a time, transfer the nuggets to the panko combination. Coat all sides of the nuggets with panko, urgent it in to make a pleasant thick coating.
  6. Transfer coated nuggets to a baking sheet. Repeat till all of the nuggets are coated.
  7. Preheat the air fryer to 390 levels F.
  8. As soon as the air fryer is to temperature, place a batch of nuggets into the air fryer, leaving area between them for airflow.
  9. Calmly spray the nuggets with olive oil spray.
  10. Cook dinner for 8 minutes, turning midway via and spraying the second facet after you flip.
  11. Repeat with the remaining nuggets till all are cooked.
  12. Make sure the hen has reached an inside temperature of 165 levels earlier than serving.


Retailer the leftover nuggets in an hermetic container within the fridge for as much as 3 days. Reheat within the air fryer at 280 levels F for 7 minutes.

Key phrases: air fryer hen nuggets, air fryer hen recipes, crispy hen

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