Are you looking for an affordable and convenient way to make popcorn chicken in the air fryer? If so, be sure to check out this 15 minutes recipe.
The fourth-largest restaurant chain in the world, with more than 23,000 locations in 135 countries, is KFC. There’s a reason KFC (AKA Kentucky Fried Chicken) became so widespread — its chicken is flipping amazing!
If you’re looking to try this delicious, golden godly gift but don’t have one nearby, fear not. For a healthier option to deep-frying, air frying may be your thing.
Using an air fryer is an easy way to have popcorn KFC-style chicken at home, any time you want it.
Ready to learn how? Keep reading to find your recipe to air fryer chicken to die for!
Air Fryer KFC Chicken: What’s the Hype?
First off, KFC has a so-called secret recipe. It turns out that it’s pretty easy to approximate. Even if it isn’t perfect, your chicken recipe will be so good you won’t care.
One of the best things about this recipe is that whether you decide to use an air fryer or deep fry it’ll taste good either way.
Before anything else, you need to get your secret blend of 11 spices ready. These spices will be good for up to two chicken breasts.
Go to your spice rack and make sure you have at least two tablespoons of paprika, one tablespoon of onion salt, and one teaspoon each of:
- Celery salt
- Rubbed sage
- Garlic powder
- Ground allspice
- Ground oregano
- Chili powder
- Black pepper
- Crushed basil leaves
- Finely crushed marjoram leaves
Fortunately, these are ingredients most people have lying around. Speaking of ingredients, for this recipe you’ll also need:
- 2 chicken breasts
- 1/2 cup buttermilk (or whole milk and 3 tablespoons of white vinegar)
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 cup of wheat flour (or rice flour)
- 1 cup of cornstarch
- 2 eggs
Once you have that ready, we can move on to creating the marinade (and making the magic happen).
Spices and Chicken: A Match Marinade in Heaven
For this recipe, you’ll need two boneless skinless chicken breasts.
If you want more or fewer chicken breasts, you’ll have to reduce or add spices accordingly. For example, for one chicken breast, you’ll need half of the spices.
The easiest way to do this is to make your spices, mix them, measure out half of the mix, and store them for next time.
Follow these simple steps for KFC-style popcorn chicken goodness.
1. Cube Your Chicken Breasts and Add Your Spices
Slice your chicken breasts into approximately one-inch cubes. Place them in a bowl and pour your mixed spices on top.
2. Add a Wet Component
Add 1/2 cup buttermilk, stir it up, making sure to get the spices evenly coating every piece. If you don’t have buttermilk, you can substitute it for 1/2 cup milk and 3 tablespoons of white vinegar.
Wrap and let it chill in a fridge for 20 minutes while you preheat your fryer to 350°F or 180°C and get your dry batter ready. Also, get 1/2 cup of water ready for every serving of chicken breast you’ve made. You’ll need it later.
Now that you’ve got your marinade going and water is on standby, we can get the dry component ready. This will be the breading or batter for your KFC popcorn chicken.
3. Mix Your Flours
One cup each of wheat flour and corn starch with a teaspoon of salt is all you’ll need.
Watch out: curveball incoming! If you want to avoid gluten, you can use finely crushed gluten-free cornflakes or substitute rice flour for wheat flour altogether. Rice flour will give a nice crunch everyone will love, gluten-free or not!
If you do have gluten-free flour you’re using, make sure it’s free of xanthan gum and other “enhancers.” These aren’t suitable for air frying or deep frying.
If you don’t follow that advice, your air fryer (and your chicken) have our condolences. You’ll be using a lot of elbow grease to de-gum your air fryer and the consistency and crunch will be missing as you’ll be left with soggy chicken.
Also, sadly, if you’re going the gluten-free flour route of using rice flour, you’ll have to wait about 30 minutes for the batter to stick to the chicken instead of sliding off.
4. Applying the Batter’s First Coat
The moment of truth has arrived. Finally, 20 minutes of marinading has passed and you can pull the chicken out of the fridge.
Add two well-beaten eggs to the chicken marinade and mix well.
Add each piece of chicken individually into the dry flour mix one at a time. Completely coat, shake off the excess with a sieve or colander, then set it aside.
5. Applying the Second Coat of Batter
When all of your chicken is out of the marinade, it’s time to add that cold water to your marinade leftovers! Put each already-coated piece of chicken into the wet marinade again and let it soak.
Gently turn it and get the whole thing wet again. Now individually plop them into the dry flour mix again, shake the excess.
6. Putting the KFC Popcorn Chicken in Your Air Fryer
It’s time to put it in the air fryer when you have enough serving size for your air fryer basket.
The internal temperature of the chicken must reach 165°F or 76°C to be safe. Use a food thermometer to check it, and give each piece of the chicken adequate room.
About five to seven minutes into the cooking time, shake or turn your batch to give each piece enough airflow in your fryer.
Let it rest for about five to ten minutes before serving.
7. Deep Frying Instead of Air Frying
If you decide to deep fry your KFC popcorn chicken at this point instead, you can throw in the whole batch! It’ll be a lot quicker to the plate, but you’ll have oily cleanup and you’ll have to wait for the chicken to drain.
The upside is that you can do larger batches more quickly. You’ll still want to make sure your chicken gets to the right internal temperature.
Once the batter is golden-brown, it’s a good time to test a piece.
Best Air Fryer Recipes: KFC Popcorn Chicken
Total cooking time is quite low, at about 15 minutes. If you keep a blend of the spices on hand in advance it will really speed things up. If you know anything about fried chicken, you know most of the magic happens in the marinade.
If you want to scale up or down the ingredients with the number of chicken breasts, this recipe is quite simple to modify.
Variations on this recipe, such as adding cayenne pepper or grated parmesan to the flour, make it a family favorite with endless possibilities!
Is your mouth watering as much as ours? No doubt you want to get popping these little chicken goodies right away, so we’ll let you go for now.
Don’t forget to browse our articles for more of the best recipes and air fryer advice on the net!