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

Crispy Air Fryer Popcorn Chicken

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  • Author: Shelly
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 8 minutes
  • Total Time: 18 minutes
  • Yield: 60 nuggets 1x
  • Category: Dinner, Appetizer
  • Method: Air Fryer
  • Cuisine: American


Crispy Air Fryer Popcorn Chicken is irresistibly crunchy on the outside and juicy on the inside, ready in 20 minutes from start to finish! This is an easy air fryer chicken recipe to make for dinner or as an appetizer.


  • 1 1/2 pounds Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast
  • 1/4 Cup All Purpose 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. Cut the chicken breasts into 1?2” wide strips. Then cut each strip into 2-3 nugget-sized pieces.
  2. Combine the flour, panko, 1 teaspoon of salt, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and black pepper in a shallow dish. Whisk together until well mixed.
  3. In a second shallow dish, combine the eggs, milk, dijon mustard, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Whisk together until smooth.
  4. Add the chicken pieces to the egg mixture. Stir to coat them well.
  5. Working a few at a time, move the nuggets to the panko mixture. Coat all sides of the nuggets with panko, pressing it in to make a nice thick coating.
  6. Move coated nuggets to a baking sheet. Repeat until all the nuggets are coated.
  7. Preheat the air fryer to 390 degrees F.
  8. Once the air fryer is to temperature, place a batch of nuggets into the air fryer, leaving space between them for airflow.
  9. Lightly spray the nuggets with olive oil spray.
  10. Cook for 8 minutes, turning halfway through and spraying the second side after you turn.
  11. Repeat with the remaining nuggets until all are cooked.
  12. Ensure the chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees before serving.


Store the leftover nuggets in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the air fryer at 280 degrees F for 7 minutes.

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