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Air Fryer Popcorn Chicken (Homemade)

This recipe for homemade air fryer popcorn chicken is a family favourite. These crispy, juicy, bite-sized nuggets are a guaranteed hit with the kids, and as a busy parent, I love how incredibly quick and easy they are to make.

Homemade air fryer popron chicken on a white plate.

Everyone loves air fryer popcorn chicken!

As a busy parent, I’m always looking for ways to make mealtime easier, by creating quick, simple, and kid-friendly recipes. And this homemade version of popcorn chicken, or as we like to call them, chicken poppers, ticks all the boxes.

The kids absolutely love them because they are bite-sized and delicious. And I absolutely love them because of how simple they are to make: 4 ingredients, 2 prep steps, and they cook in around 10 minutes! It’s a go-to recipe in our house for after-school snacks, movie nights, or even a quick weeknight dinner. Plus, I feel good knowing I’m serving my kids a more wholesome option than deep-fried fast food.

What do you need?

  • Chicken –  I used boneless skinless chicken breast to make this recipe, but boneless chicken thighs also work. 
  • Seasoning – I use a store-bought chicken seasoning rub for this recipe. You can use any chicken seasoning rub, or make a simple homemade mix (see recipe card notes for one option).
  • Mayonnaise – I use mayonnaise to stick the crumb to the chicken, as it is easier to use than raw egg, but you can use raw egg (lightly beaten) if you prefer.  
  • Breadcrumbs – I usually use panko breadcrumbs, as they tend to come out crisper with a more satisfying crunch, but you can substitute regular breadcrumbs if you prefer.  

Let’s make popcorn chicken in the air fryer!



Preheat the air fryer to 200°C/ 400°F. If your air fryer doesn’t have a preheat mode, just set it to air fry for 3-4 minutes.



Pat chicken breast dry and cut into bite-sized chunks (approx. 2cm/ 1-inch pieces). Place in a bowl, add the seasoning and mayonnaise, then toss until the chicken is well coated.

Place breadcrumbs in another large bowl. Working in batches, transfer chicken to the breadcrumbs and pressing each piece in to coat it thoroughly. Set aside on a plate while you crumb the remaining chicken.  


Pop the in the air fryer.

Place popcorn chicken in air fryer basket, leaving a small gap between each piece. You may need to cook the chicken in batches depending on the size of your air fryer. 

If your air fryer is prone to food sticking, you can spritz the basket with olive oil or place a small piece of cooking parchment in the basket before adding the chicken pieces.

Uncooked popcorn chicken in the airfyer basket.


Air fry.

Air fry the popcorn chicken until it is golden brown and cooked through, carefully flipping them over halfway through cooking. This will take approximately 8-10 minutes.

Air fried popcorn chicken in the air fryer basket.

Check the temperature in the center of a few of the largest pieces to ensure it has reached at least 74°C/ 165°F.

Note: If you don’t have an air fryer you can also cook this recipe in a regular oven. Place chicken popcorn on a lined baking tray, and bake for 10-12 minutes at 430°F/220°C. 

Serving ideas

  • Pair with a side of slaw and fries for a tasty family dinner
  • Serve alongside a fresh green salad and ranch dressing for a lighter meal.
  • Fill warm tortillas with popcorn chicken, shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, and grated cheese for classic crispy chicken tacos.
  • Serve with an assortment of dipping sauces like honey mustard, BBQ, and sweet chili sauce for a crowd-pleasing party snack.
Homemade air fryer popron chicken on a white plate.

Air Fryer Popcorn Chicken (Homemade)

5 from 3 votes
How to make homemade popcorn chicken in an air fryer.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time20 minutes
Serves3 Servings


  • 1 lb / 450 g chicken breast
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons chicken seasoning rub (see notes for a homemade option)


  • Preheat air fryer to 200°C/ 400°F
  • Pat chicken breast dry, and dice into bite sized pieces (approx. 2cm/ 1-inch pieces).
  • Place chicken pieces in a bowl, add the seasoning and mayonnaise, toss to coat.
  • Place breadcrumbs in a separate large shallow bowl. Transfer the chicken pieces to the breadcrumbs in batches, coating each piece thoroughly in breadcrumbs. Transfer to a plate.
  • Place crumbed chicken pieces in the air fryer basket, ensure they are not touching [Note 2]. You may need to cook the chicken in batches depending on the size of your air fryer.
  • Air fry the popcorn chicken for around 8-12 minutes, flipping over halfway through cooking, until golden brown and cooked through [Note 3].


  1. Homemade seasoning rub recipe: 2 teaspoons paprika, 2 teaspoons brown sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon garlic powder.
  2. If food tends to stick to your air fryer, spritz the basket with oil or use an air fryer liner before placing the chicken in.
  3. Use an instant-read thermometer to test the internal temperature in the thickest part to ensure it has reached at least 74°C/ 165°F.


Serving: 1  Calories: 283.1kcal  Carbohydrates: 14.4g  Protein: 34.8g  Fat: 8.5g  Saturated Fat: 1.6g  Polyunsaturated Fat: 3.1g  Monounsaturated Fat: 2.1g  Trans Fat: 0.03g  Cholesterol: 98.7mg  Sodium: 351.4mg  Potassium: 599.6mg  Fiber: 0.9g  Sugar: 1.3g  Vitamin A: 48.4IU  Vitamin C: 1.8mg  Calcium: 44.5mg  Iron: 1.5mg

Nutrition information is an estimate and provided for informational purposes only.

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