breaded chicken bites on white plate on top wooden server; small white bowl ketchup on plate; white condiment bowl and glass measuring cup to back right, and white cloth with black stripe to back left; bottom of air fryer in top corner

Air Fryer Popcorn Chicken

Contributor: Sam Ellis

Air Fryer Popcorn Chicken are bite-sized and perfectly crispy making them the perfect dinner entrée or party appetizer. Best of all, this copycat recipe isn’t deep-fried, which means less oil than their fast food counterparts.

  • Author: Sam Ellis
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Appetizer
  • Method: Air Fryer
  • Cuisine: American


  • 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ cup cornstarch
  • 2 Tbsp. powdered sugar
  • ½ Tbsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 2 cups panko breadcrumbs
  • Cooking spray


  1. Preheat air fryer to 400°F.
  2. Place the chicken on a plate and season with salt. Set aside.
  3. Mix together cornstarch, powdered sugar, paprika, garlic powder, and pepper into a shallow plate or bowl. Pour both buttermilk and breadcrumbs into individual shallow bowls.
  4. Dredge chicken pieces into the cornstarch mixture and pat off any extra.
  5. Dip into the buttermilk ensuring to cover the entire piece, then the breadcrumbs. Repeat until all chicken pieces have been coated.
  6. Spray air fryer basket with cooking spray. Place chicken pieces into the basket ensuring you leave room for air to circulate around each piece.
  7. Cook for 8-10 minutes, flipping halfway through. Repeat with the rest of the chicken pieces.