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air fryer popcorn chicken

Air Fryer Popcorn Chicken

Summer Yule
This homemade air fryer popcorn chicken recipe cooks in under 15 minutes! Includes directions for fresh AND frozen popcorn chicken in the air fryer!
5 from 2 votes
Cook Time 12 mins
Total Time 12 mins
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 202 kcal


  • 1 lb. boneless and skinless raw chicken tenders
  • 1 cup spelt flour
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • cooking oil spray of choice
  • sauce for dipping (1-2 tablespoons per serving)


  • Use the kitchen shears to cut the chicken tenders into pieces. Aim to make each piece about 1-inch by 1-inch by ½-inch. (You don't have to be exacting about this.)
  • Stir the flour, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and sea salt together in a medium-sized bowl. In a second bowl, whisk two eggs. 
  • Spray your air fryer trays with cooking oil spray. I used two trays.
  • Dip each piece of chicken in the flour, the egg, and then the flour again. Coat all the chicken pieces. 
  • Put the coated pieces of chicken on your prepared air fryer trays. Make sure the chicken is in a non-touching single layer for air frying. Don't crowd them!
  • Mist the chicken well with cooking oil spray to completely cover the raw flour and help it crisp up well.
  • Air fry for 5 minutes at 375°F. Then switch the position of the trays in the air fryer oven (no need to flip the chicken) and air fry 5 more minutes at 375°F.
  • Flip the chicken pieces over and spray them well with the cooking oil spray. (Again, make sure the flour is completely coated with the oil.) Switch the position of the trays in the air fryer and air fry a final 2-3 minutes at 375°F. 
  • Use a meat thermometer to check that the chicken pieces reached a safe minimum internal temperature of 165°F. Air fry a little longer if needed.
  • Serve the popcorn chicken with dipping sauce. Freeze any cooked popcorn chicken that you will not be able to use within 3-4 days.

For Air Fryer Frozen Popcorn Chicken:

  • You don't need to thaw your cooked and frozen popcorn chicken to reheat it! Air fry frozen popcorn chicken on an air fryer tray set in the top rack position for 4 minutes at 350°F. Then flip the chicken pieces over, and air fry on the top rack for 4 more minutes at 350°F. 
  • Check to make sure your chicken reached a safe minimum internal temperature of 165°F. Enjoy with dipping sauce!



This is a level 3 recipe (weight maintenance and active lifestyles). Chicken breast is a healthy lean protein that makes a nice base for meals. However, breading it really bumps up the calories without providing much in the way of volume or fiber. For that reason, most of my recipes including flour get the bump to level 3. 
If you have a picky eater in your household, breading foods may be one strategy you can use to help broaden their dietary variety. Try breading various proteins (chicken, fish, tofu) in addition to vegetables (zucchini, green beans, broccoli, cauliflower).  
You may find that they’re happy to eat new proteins and veggies they won’t usually touch as long as they are breaded. Serve your breaded foods “popcorn style” as I’ve done here, or try cutting the veggies into fries. With breading and a tasty dip, a variety of healthy foods may suddenly become much more appealing. 
I served the popcorn chicken with a side of broccoli and oven roasted potatoes. For a lighter meal, try using popcorn chicken as the protein in a salad packed with non-starchy veggies. With a light mustard vinaigrette or a yogurt-based ranch dressing, you’ll have a satisfying, delicious, and nourishing meal. 
Nutrition information is for one serving without dipping sauce. Nutrition information was calculated for half of the flour mixture only (since you will probably not use it all for breading). 


Calories: 202kcalCarbohydrates: 11.4gProtein: 30.1gFat: 5.3gSaturated Fat: 1.3gSodium: 360.4mgPotassium: 72.8mgFiber: 1.6gVitamin A: 5.8% DVVitamin C: 0.1% DVCalcium: 3.3% DVIron: 13.4% DV
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