This KFC popcorn chicken recipe has everything to satisfy that southern fried chicken craving. If you’re loyal to KFC and think that you couldn’t possibly make your favourite fast-food chicken dish at home, then think again.
It’s crispy, salty, spicy and comforting, whilst also being surprisingly healthy and easy to make. The tenderized chicken is pan-fried in seasoned flour, which results in a delicious batter that, in my opinion, is superior to KFC’s recipe.
As we’re making it at home, the recipe is even more affordable. One portion is £0.93 making it a quarter of the price of KFC!
Plus as we’re pan-frying instead of deep-frying, as well as adding a reduced level of salt, it’s a healthier take on the southern fried chicken we get from KFC.
Hopefully I’ve convinced you now! After you’ve devoured this recipe, you should try out my other fakeaway recipes:
Chicken breast is the best cut of chicken to use for this popcorn chicken recipe. It’s what KFC use and if you’re worried about it drying out – have no fear, we tenderize it which ensures the juiciest, most flavourful chicken.
Typically popcorn chicken recipes use buttermilk, which you can most certainly use. I thought that it was more accessible though to use Greek yogurt and the end result is the same.
All purpose/plain flour is the batter/coating to our KTC popcorn chicken. I combine a small amount of cornflour too, as I love incorporating it in any sort of fried chicken recipe.
You can get creative here with your seasonings, but I stuck to typical fried chicken flavours. If you want more of a spicy popcorn chicken vibe, add cayenne pepper or chilli powder into your flour mix.
Opt for fine salt/table salt when salting your chicken after frying. I find it binds to the chicken better than using flakey salt or sea salt.
Marinating your chicken in a dairy product such as yogurt, buttermilk, milk (with lemon juice) tenderizes the meat.
This results in the best texture, most juicy, tender meat that you can get, perfect for your KFC popcorn chicken. It’s especially important with chicken breast, as it’s a leaner meat as with the reduced level of fat, it can easily dry out.
To make the KFC popcorn chicken, start by combining the Greek yogurt with half of the paprika (1 tsp) until incorporated. Stir the diced chicken into the bowl and cover with cling film. Pop in the fridge for a minimum of 1 hour, preferably 2-3.
Preheat your oil
You want to make sure that the oil is hot enough, before adding a whole batch of the chicken into the pan. If it’s not, the batter won’t cling to the KFC popcorn chicken in the same way. It will also cook quicker which prevents the chicken from drying out.
To preheat, leave the oil on a high heat, until it starts to shimmer. Add one piece of chicken into the pan and you should hear a nice sizzle, if it’s not hot enough, there will be practically no sizzle.
Salt immediately after frying
Salt binds to hot foods the best, so we want to season immediately after coming out of the pan.
Have a warming plate whilst you fry other batches
Preheat your oven to 210°F (100°C) and add the popcorn chicken onto a tray whilst you fry the remaining batches.
Use multiple pans to fry with
Alternatively, if you want to be able to try two batches at a time, use two frying pans to speed up the process.
Don’t crowd the pan!
Adding two many pieces into the pan at once will prevent crispiness, as the pieces will steam together in the pan.
To air-fry: To make Air fryer popcorn chicken, preheat the Air fryer to 390°F (200°C). Spray batches with oil and cook for 5 minutes (check golden brown and fully cooked.
To bake in the oven: To make in the oven, preheat your oven to 425°F (220°C). Evenly distribute the popcorn chicken across a parchment lined baking tray. Spray with oil and pop in the oven for 3 minutes. After 3 minutes, rotate and spray the other side. Pop in the oven again for another 3 minutes or until fully cooked.
This recipe is best served fresh, as you get the most desirable/ KFC-like texture when doing so. However, if you make a full batch and want to divide it into portions to spread across the week, here’s how I’ve done it before.
Preheat a non-stick frying pan on a high heat, add the popcorn chicken into the pan with a spray or two of neutral oil (I used rapeseed). Fry for around 2 minutes and serve once crispy and hot. We don’t want to overcook the chicken and dry it out!
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