How To Make Homemade Popcorn Chicken KFC Style
Crispy KFC style popcorn chicken that’s tender, delicious and just so easy to make. These small bite-sized pieces of chicken are full of flavour and can be baked in the oven or fried.
Making KFC style popcorn chicken is so simple! Diced chicken is marinated in buttermilk and coated in seasoned flour before being fried to perfection.
They’re perfectly juicy and tender on the inside whilst being super crispy on the outside. These small popcorn chicken pieces taste so good, especially when dipped into ketchup or any sort of dipping sauce.
I love to have them as a snack when I’m feeling peckish or feeling for some KFC (without wanting to leave the house). It makes a great appetiser, party food idea and even a chicken filling for wraps.
You’re going to love every part of this recipe, find out how to make homemade popcorn chicken below.
How To Prep The Chicken
You’ll need to cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces to give you the small popcorn chicken shape.
I brought chicken breast that was already diced into small chunks. I did have to cut a couple pieces as they were on the larger side. It’s best to get each piece of chicken roughly the same size, so that they’ll cook for the same amount of time.
Buttermilk Popcorn Chicken (The Marinade)
Once the chicken has been diced, it’s left to marinade in a mixture made from salt, black pepper and buttermilk.
This makes the popcorn chicken tender, juicy and so flavoursome; it really makes a big difference! You don’t have to marinate the chicken if you’re short for time but I highly recommend you do!
Why Marinate Popcorn Chicken In Buttermilk?
Buttermilk is a good ingredient for marinating chicken, as it’s slightly acidic it tenderises the chicken.
This makes the chicken soft, less chewy, moist and so succulent. Buttermilk is often the secret ingredient to many southern fried chicken recipes; it adds a slight sour taste to the chicken.
How Long To Marinate Popcorn Chicken
I marinated the chicken for at least 2 hours for best results. During this time the flavours are absorbed from the buttermilk and the chicken is tenderised.
If you haven’t got too much time, you can marinate the chicken for at least 30 minutes to an hour in the fridge.
Buttermilk Substitutes For Chicken
If you don’t have buttermilk, you can easily make your own homemade version. Simply mix together 230ml of milk with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice.
Mix together and leave to sit for 5 to 10 minutes, then proceed to marinate the chicken.
You could also mix 200ml of yoghurt with 5 tbsp of milk, this is also a great buttermilk substitute.
Watch How To Make It
What Ingredients Are In KFC Popcorn Chicken?
To make this KFC style popcorn chicken also known as chicken pops or popping chicken, you’ll need the few ingredients below:
- Chicken Breast: I used diced chicken breast from my local supermarket. You can use other cuts of chicken like boneless chicken thighs, just make sure they’re cut into small bite-sized pieces.
- Buttermilk Marinate: A mixture of buttermilk, salt and black pepper is used to marinate the diced chicken for at least 1 to 2 hours.
- Seasoning: Salt, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, dried oregano and cayenne pepper are added to season the dry mix.
- Dry Mix: A mixture of cornflour, plain flour and seasonings are mixed together to make the dry mix.
Cornflour: When mixing cornflour with plain flour it helps to prevent the development of gluten. This makes the flour coating crisper when fried.
Spicy Popcorn Chicken
This spicy popcorn chicken recipe is made with KFC style seasonings. Cayenne pepper is a little bit spicy and adds a bit of heat to this dish.
To make this recipe even more spicy, you can increase the amount of cayenne pepper used. If you want it really hot, use a chilli powder with a higher heat level.
How To Make Easy KFC Style Popcorn Chicken
Below is a step-by-step guide on how to make KFC style popcorn chicken with this easy and simple recipe. Full recipe instructions are on the recipe card at the bottom.
Dice the chicken into small even bite-sized pieces. Then pour buttermilk into the bowl followed by salt and pepper and mix together.
Cover with cling film and leave in the fridge for 1 to 2 hours.
In a bowl add plain flour, cornflour, salt, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, dried oregano and cayenne pepper. Mix together until evenly distributed.
Take a piece of chicken and generously coat it in the flour mixture, make sure all areas of the chicken are coated in the flour. Do this to all the chicken pieces.
Add 2 inches of oil to your pan (depending on pan size) and heat on a medium to high heat. Fry the chicken in small batches of 3 to 4 pieces at a time for around 3 to 5 minutes or until golden brown.
Stir the chicken around occasionally, so that they don’t stick together.
TIP: To see if the oil is hot enough for frying, add a little bit of batter into the oil. If it starts to sizzle instantly then the oil is ready.
Place the cooked chicken over paper towels to drain excess oil. Continue to cook all the chicken pieces, then enjoy!
How To Bake Popcorn Chicken In The Oven
You can also bake this popcorn chicken recipe in the oven, it’s quite easy to do! It won’t be as crispy as fried popcorn chicken but it will still taste good.
Preheat the oven to 200°C (gas mark 6, 400°F). Once the chicken has been coated in the flour mix, place the chicken on a lined baking tray leaving a gap between each piece. Spray the chicken with cooking oil and bake in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes on each side.
Make Ahead And Freezing Instructions
If you want to make the chicken ahead of time, marinate the chicken the night before then cook the chicken the next day.
If you want to freeze the cooked popcorn chicken, leave to cool down before placing it in an airtight container and place in the freezer. To reheat, place in the oven until piping hot throughout.
My Top Tips
Before you start to fry the chicken, you really want to make sure that the oil temperature is hot enough! If the temperature is too low, the batter coating the chicken will become really soggy. If the oil temperature is too high, the batter will brown to quickly and the chicken will be raw inside.
Don’t overstuff your pan with chicken pieces as this will lower the oil temperature and will give you a soggy batter. Aim for around 3 to 4 pieces but you might be able to add more or less depending on your pan size.
Add a few tablespoons of Panko breadcrumbs to the flour mix, it will give you a really crispy popcorn chicken.
What To Serve With Popcorn Chicken
As good as they are by themselves, you can have it with dirty fries or salt and pepper chips to make a filling meal. You can also have it with these dips below:
- Red Chilli Sauce
- BBQ Sauce
More KFC Style & Fried Chicken Recipe
- KFC Style Chicken Burger
- Southern Fried Chicken Wrap
- Crispy Chicken Goujons
- Crispy Salt And Chilli Chicken
- Crispy Panko Chicken
KFC Style Popcorn Chicken Recipe
- 250 g Diced Chicken
- 250 ml Buttermilk
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1 tsp Black Pepper
- 200 g Plain Flour
- 2 tbsp Cornflour
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1 tbsp Paprika
- 1 tbsp Garlic Powder
- 1 tbsp Onion Powder
- 1 tsp Dried Oregano
- 1 tsp Cayenne Pepper
- Dice the chicken into small even bite-sized pieces.
- Then pour buttermilk into the bowl followed by salt and pepper and mix together. Cover with cling film and leave in the fridge for 1 to 2 hours.
- In a bowl add plain flour, cornflour, salt, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, dried oregano and cayenne pepper. Mix together until evenly distributed.
- Take a piece of chicken and generously coat it in the flour mixture, make sure all areas of the chicken are coated in the flour. Do this to all the chicken pieces.
- Add 2 inches of oil to your pan (depending on pan size) and heat on a medium to high heat. Fry the chicken in small batches of 3 to 4 pieces at a time for around 3 to 5 minutes or until golden brown. Stir the chicken around occasionally, so that they don’t stick together.
- Place the cooked chicken over paper towels to drain excess oil. Continue to cook all the chicken pieces, then enjoy!
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