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The Best Air Fryer Popcorn Chicken

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    Alyssa Workman

The perfect air fryer popcorn chicken recipe that’s both savory and healthy! Each bite-sized piece is juicy on the inside and crispy on the outside. Every bite is just as yummy as the last - a great recipe for the whole family.

Popcorn chicken on a white plate next to ketchup and mustard.

This recipe is somewhat of a miracle… healthy, gluten free, FRIED CHICKEN? You’d think that’s impossible yet here we are! This popcorn chicken is really all of those things while also being juicy and crispy like you would expect fried chicken to be.

Using a bit of avocado oil spray (perfect for high temp cooking) this popcorn chicken has the crispy outside we all crave. The best part - the breading is made from gluten free, whole food ingredients!

No air fryer?

No problem! You can also make this recipe in the oven. I included instructions for an oven method in the directions. The popcorn chicken won’t be as crispy as it would in an air fryer, but it will still be juicy and flavorful!

Step by step process of how to make the popcorn chicken.

Pro tips for this popcorn chicken

  1. Chicken breasts are actually a lot easier to cut when they are still slightly frozen on the inside. This allows for a cleaner cut and better knife stability. Give it a try! 
  2. When breading the chicken, I like to use one hand to dip the chicken in the whisked egg and the other hand to mix up the chicken pieces in the breading. If you have egg all over your fingers and then try to bread the chicken with the same hand, a lot of the batter will clump to your fingers. Trying to keep the “egg hand” and “batter hand” separate will be a lot less messy.
  3. Don’t be scared if the batter clumps a bit in the bowl from the egg. That will just give the popcorn chicken some texture once it’s cooked.
Popcorn chicken on a white plate.

Ingredient breakdown

Chicken breast and egg: I recommend pasture raised, if possible. Benefits include the absence of antibiotics, more anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, not subjected to cruel and unsanitary conditions, and less contaminated with harmful bacteria.

Blanched almond flour and tapioca flour: great gluten free flours that hold up well while frying! You can substitute cassava flour for the tapioca flour and/or almond flour.

Smoked paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper: a blend of spices that will give you a savory, slightly smoky taste. Smoked paprika is my absolute favorite spice! I love adding it to soups, chicken dishes, and salmon.

Cooking spray: I highly recommend using avocado oil cooking spray because of its high smoke point (520°F). You can also use coconut oil spray (smoke point of about 400°F).

Hand dipping a piece of chicken into some ketchup.

How to reheat air fryer popcorn chicken

Air fryer:

  1. Preheat air fryer to 400°F.
  2. Once preheated, spray the basket with cooking spray.
  3. Add the popcorn chicken and air fry for 4-5 minutes. 


  1. Turn on the broiler and let it warm up.
  2. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray.
  3. Broil the popcorn chicken on the baking sheet for 5 minutes. At the 5 minute mark, remove from oven, stir, and broil for 3 more minutes or until desired crispiness.


Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 4


  • 1 large chicken breast (about 0.75lbs; pasture raised, if possible)

  • 1 egg (pasture raised, if possible)

  • ¾ c blanched almond flour

  • ¼ c tapioca flour

  • ½ tsp smoked paprika

  • ½ tsp garlic powder

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 1 tsp pepper

  • Cooking spray (preferably avocado oil spray)


  1. Pat the chicken breast dry with a paper towel and slice it into bite-size pieces. Set aside.

  2. Whisk the egg in a medium size bowl. In a separate medium size bowl, prepare the breading by combining the almond flour, tapioca flour, smoked paprika, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.

  3. Place a handful of chicken pieces into the whisked egg mixture and then immediately into the breading, making sure to coat the chicken well. Transfer breaded chicken pieces onto a plate (or if baking, on a foiled baking sheet). Repeat until all chicken is coated.

  4. Preheat air fryer to 400°F.

  5. Once air fryer is preheated, spray the basket with cooking spray to ensure that the breading doesn’t stick to the bottom.

  6. Space the breaded chicken pieces out in an even layer onto the basket; set aside the rest of the chicken. Generously spray the tops of the chicken with cooking spray. You will probably need to do 2-3 batches of chicken, depending on the size of your air fryer.

  7. Air fry at 400°F for 6 minutes. At the 6 minute mark, open the air fryer and shake the basket. You may need to use a small spatula to loosen the chicken from the basket. Spray the chicken again with cooking spray and resume air frying for 4 more minutes (10 minutes total). (Note: it’s always a good idea to use a meat thermometer to ensure that the chicken is fully cooked. Chicken should be cooked to 165°F.)

  8. Remove the chicken from the air fryer and repeat steps until all chicken is cooked (probably about 2-3 batches, depending on the size of your air fryer).

  9. Serve immediately with your favorite dipping sauce. 

Directions for oven: 

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with foil. Spray the foil with cooking spray.

  2. Follow steps 1-3 above.

  3. Place the breaded chicken pieces in an even layer onto the baking sheet. Generously spray the tops of the chicken with cooking spray.

  4. Bake at 400°F for 7 minutes. At the 7 minute mark, take the popcorn chicken out of the oven, stir, and spray the chicken again with cooking spray. Resume baking for 5 more minutes (12 minutes total).