Baked Popcorn Chicken

We’re making popcorn chicken IN THE OVEN.

Popcorn chicken is one of my favorite forms of chicken. Not only are the tiny, crispy chunks of chicken super cute and fun to eat, they also are a good addition to so many dishes – salads, pastas, rice bowls: Pretty much everything benefits from the addition of popcorn chicken.

Baked Popcorn Chicken

ALSO it’s good on its own.

More good news: popcorn chicken is super easy to make at home(!) in your oven(!!!).

For this baked popcorn chicken, chicken breasts get chopped up into little popcorn pieces, marinated in a garlicky, paprika-y marinade, then coated in panko breadcrumbs and drizzled with BUTTER.

Baked Popcorn Chicken

Then they get baked until they’re browned and crispy and the buttery breadcrumbs are calling your name.

Baked Popcorn Chicken

Sometimes we like to do heavy apps/finger foods for a casual dinner. Finger food is FUN and makes us feel like we’re having a party even if we’re just watching Parks&Rec and aiming to get to bed by 9.

If we’re going the finger food route, we are DEFINITELY making this dipping sauce. It’s like a homemade Chick-Fil-A sauce. And since it’s homemade, it is totally adjustable to your desired level of sweetness/tanginess.

Baked Popcorn Chicken

SO GOOD.

Copycat Chick-Fil-A Sauce

Using popcorn chicken as a vessel for sauce is how I live my life.

If you’re wanting more of a rounded popcorn chicken meal, you can forego the sauce (tragic!) and jazz things up in a different way.

Here are some things to do with baked popcorn chicken:

  • Put it on a salad!
  • Top your pasta with it (chicken parm, anyone?)
  • HOMEMADE CHICKEN AND WAFFLES
  • Throw it in tacos with your favorite salsa
  • Popcorn chicken bowls with mashed potatoes and corn
  • Toss with your favorite Asian sauce and eat with rice
  • Make mini sliders

Told you it was versatile!

Really, there’s no way to go wrong here. Popcorn chicken makes everything better.

Baked Popcorn Chicken

Chicken pieces get coated in panko and baked for an easy homemade popcorn chicken. This is a great gameday snack or fun dinner!
Total Time1 hr
Course: Appetizer, Main Course, Snack
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4
Author: Mandy Jackson

Ingredients

FOR THE POPCORN CHICKEN

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 2 cups half and half
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 8 ounces panko breadcrumbs (or about 3 cups)
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted

FOR THE DIPPING SAUCE

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons barbecue sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Directions

FOR THE POPCORN CHICKEN

  • Combine half and half, salt, paprika, garlic powder, and pepper in a medium bowl. Add chicken cubes and stir to coat. Marinate in the fridge at least 30 minutes, up to overnight.
    Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. 
    Pour marinated chicken into a colander and allow to drain for 5 minutes. Place two cups of the panko on a second sheet pan and spread into an even layer. Place chicken pieces on top, and sprinkle with the remaining panko. Press panko into chicken to coat well. Place coated chicken pieces on lined sheet pan, shaking off excess panko. Drizzle with melted butter. Bake for 15 minutes, then broil for an additional 2, until browned and crisp. Season with additional salt if desired. Serve immediately with dipping sauce.

FOR THE DIPPING SAUCE

  • Whisk together mayonnaise, barbecue sauce, and Dijon.
Baked Popcorn Chicken
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