- 3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite sized pieces
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
- 1/8 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour, set aside
- Canola oil, for frying (use enough so the chicken pieces will be swimming!)
- Large heavy bottom fry pan with high sides (at least 3 inches)
- Deep fry thermometer, attached to the side of your pan
- Deep fry slotted spoon or wire basket for turning/removing the chicken
- Wire cooling rack placed on top of a large cookie sheet lined with paper towel
- In a mixing bowl, soak the chicken pieces in the buttermilk for at least 30 minutes. For best results, I like to soak the chicken overnight in the fridge.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups of flour with cornstarch, paprika, pepper, salt, garlic powder and cayenne pepper. Make sure everything is combined well – I like to use a whisk for this.
- Take the chicken, a couple pieces at a time and drop them into the flour mixture. Make sure that you give each piece a little squeeze to pack the flour mixture onto the chicken. Do this with each piece of chicken until they are coated.
- Place the chicken back into the fridge to chill while heating up your oil for frying.
- On the stove, in a heavy bottomed, high sided frying pan, heat canola oil to 350°F.
- Take the chicken out of the fridge. You’ll notice that a lot of the flour mixture has been absorbed by the buttermilk on the chicken – this is exactly what you want to happen. Take each piece of chicken and dredge them in the reserved flour for a final coat before frying.
- Drop about 10 – 15 little chicken pieces in the frying pan to cook. Try not to overcrowd the pan or it will take longer to cook.
- Allow the popcorn chicken to cook for about 7 minutes, turning a few times with a pair of tongs or other similar tool. The pieces should be golden when ready.
- Once the popcorn chicken has cooked, place each onto a metal cooling rack over a cookie sheet lined with paper towel to drain. Season with a bit of salt if desired.
- Repeat steps 7-9 until all chicken has been cooked.
If you’re frying your popcorn chicken on the stove like I do, don’t forget to keep an eye on the temperature of your oil and adjust the heat as you go. Try to keep the temperature at 350°F.
If you’d prefer, you can also use a deep fryer to make this recipe. Just follow the instructions above as a guideline. If your fryer has a temperature setting be sure to heat it to 350°F and make sure not to overcrowd the fry basket (or they might all stick together or take longer to finish).