Popcorn Chicken

Sports and finger foods? Now, that’s a team we can root for! Crunchy, flavorful Popcorn Chicken is one of our all-time favorite stadium snacks. These delicious little morsels are perfect for sharing with friends — you can dip them in all kinds of tasty sauces, and the protein will keep you energized for a long afternoon cheering in the stands (or on the couch!). For this healthier homemade Popcorn Chicken recipe, we’ve swapped out traditional deep frying for roasting. A wire rack will up the air flow as you roast, giving your chicken a crisp coating without all the added oil. That’s a win-win!


4-6 servings

Hands-on time:

25 minutes

Start-to-eat time:

1 hour 45 minutes


  • Chicken & Marinade:
  • 2 pounds chicken breasts or thighs, cut in 1-inch pieces
  •  1 ½ cups buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt & 1 teaspoon pepper (or to taste)
  • Buttermilk Mix:
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • Flour Mix:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon salt & 1 teaspoon pepper (or to taste)

Kids kitchen skills:

  • cutting chicken
  • dredging
  • roasting


  • knife & cutting board
  • measuring cups & spoons
  • large bowl & mixing spoon
  • plastic wrap
  • 2 medium bowls
  • baking sheet & foil
  • wire rack (optional)


Grown-up steps
  1. Cut chicken into bite-size pieces (about 1-inch cubes), and transfer them to a large bowl.
  2. Add 1 ½ cups of buttermilk, garlic powder, salt, and pepper mix to combine. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour or overnight.
  3. Heat the oven to 400 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place a wire rack on top if you have one.
  4. In a medium bowl or dish combine the flour, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper. Mix to combine, and set aside.
  5. In another medium bowl, combine the 2 cups of buttermilk and the eggs. Place this bowl next to the flour mixture and chicken, in an assembly line style.
  6. Dredge, or dunk, half of the chicken in the flour mixture, coating it evenly. Then dredge the chicken in the buttermilk, and back into the flour, shaking off any excess.
  7. Place the chicken onto the baking sheet, making sure not to overlap any pieces. Spray the chicken with cooking spray.
  8. Roast for 15-20 minutes, or until the chicken is golden brown and crispy. Be sure to turn the chicken halfway through and spray the top with cooking spray, if you’re not using a wire rack.
  9. Take the tray out of the oven and season the chicken with a little more salt and pepper if you like. Serve warm with your favorite dipping sauce. Enjoy!

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