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 right 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 no less than as soon as every week. With soccer season arising, I needed a recipe that’s simply as straightforward to make, but in addition completely snackable. Hiya, recreation day.

So, in the present day we’re making a bite-sized variation of one among 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 imagine 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? For those who’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 principally 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 dangle of it, you’ll need to put the whole lot 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 are able to’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 straightforward, since there aren’t any oil splatters to wipe off the partitions afterward).
  • Prepared in underneath 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 might take within the oven.
  • Nice for novices. That is a simple 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

Beneath is a fast abstract of the elements wanted to make crispy popcorn hen within the air fryer. Be sure to take a look at the total recipe particulars within the recipe card additional on.

  • Hen: Boneless skinless hen breast is greatest 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 mix 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 favor, entire milk, 2%, or skim. For a tangier taste, you’ll be able to 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. For those who don’t have Dijon, you should use common yellow mustard as an alternative. You could need 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 individual olive oil to a twig bottle. Just some spritzes is all it takes to crisp up the surface of the hen because it cooks.

Learn how to Make Popcorn Hen in Your Air Fryer

Able to “fry” some hen? Earlier than you begin, you’ll need to cube up your hen breasts into nugget-sized chunks. This recipe makes about 60 hen nuggets, so there must 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 beneath). Prepare dinner every batch for 8 minutes, turning midway by means of.
  • Serve: As soon as all of the hen has cooked by means of, it’s time to serve! This crispy popcorn hen makes a terrific appetizer or primary, good for household dinners or events.

Can I Make Baked Popcorn Hen As a substitute?

Undoubtedly. For those who don’t have an air fryer, this recipe is straightforward sufficient to translate to the oven! Right here’s learn how to do it:

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

Ideas and Variation Concepts

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

  • Keep away from aerosol cooking sprays. Now, for a bit Air Fryer 101: Aerosol non-stick sprays, like PAM, can harm 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 sure to depart sufficient house for the recent air to flow into between the hen items for the crispest outcomes. Work in batches and let these items breathe!
  • Learn how to inform when the hen is finished cooking: Your popcorn hen is finished when the inner temperature is at a completely cooked 165ºF. Use a kitchen thermometer to test.
  • Scale the recipe. This popcorn hen recipe makes lots of nuggets! Be at liberty to scale down or double up the elements to fit your wants.
  • Make spicy crispy popcorn hen. For some additional warmth, combine some cayenne pepper or crushed purple pepper flakes into the breadcrumb coating.
  • Add dried herbs. Along with the spices already within the coating, you’ll be able to 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 good 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 Options

We love dunking our crispy hen in The Best Chicken Dipping Sauce (severely, it’s the BEST!) or my straightforward Homemade BBQ Sauce. However the serving prospects are infinite. Take pleasure in 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 aspect 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.

Learn how to 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 by means of.

Leftover popcorn hen can also 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 very best 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 simple air fryer hen recipe to make for dinner or as an appetizer.

  • 1 1/2 kilos Boneless Skinless Hen Breast
  • 1/4 Cup All Function 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” huge 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 nicely blended.
  3. In a second shallow dish, mix the eggs, milk, dijon mustard, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Whisk collectively till easy.
  4. Add the hen items to the egg combination. Stir to coat them nicely.
  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 house between them for airflow.
  9. Frivolously spray the nuggets with olive oil spray.
  10. Prepare dinner for 8 minutes, turning midway by means of and spraying the second aspect 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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