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Spicy Popcorn Chicken Bites

15 reviews / 4.8 average

Today’s post is sponsored by Kettle Brand Chips! Crunchy-fun times ahead.


 Game day! …er, uh, more like food day!

Game day food day is my favorite kind of day. You know what I mean – those Sunday afternoons, sitting around in comfies, snacking on everything under the sun because “we’re watching the game.” For 12 hundred hours. I don’t know about the rest of the football-loving world, but this epic snacking-while-watching behavior is a core part of Midwestern culture. And being a Minnesota born and raised girl with a love of SNACKZ I guess can embrace that. 👅 I’m just so cultured, you know?

As is usually the case when I rebound back to everyone’s fave white meat, I feel the need to let you all know that there are only a few ways that I like to handle a chicken situation.

Number 1: coated in tomato butter sauce and nestled into a pile of pasta.

Number 2: shredded in a creamy chicken wild rice soup – which is conveniently also great for game day.

Number 3: swimming in a lemon butter sauce with capers.

Number 4: rolled up and stuffed with a creamy spinach ricotta mixture.

But today I introduce to you Number 5 on the list of Ways That I Eat Chicken:

Spicy Popcorn Chicken Bites. 👇

Everyone LOVES these! Baked popcorn chicken that tastes fried! Easy recipe, ready in 30 minutes. SO yummy and fun to share! | pinchofyum.com

What does this even mean? Popcorn? Bites? Chicken huh? Say what?

Lezz break it down. This is cross between a chicken strip 👏 and a piece of popcorn chicken 👏. And it’s a little spicy, if you want it to be.

How to choose, really? I mean, chicken strips have that awesome chicken that just pulls apart so perfectly for you, but the popcorn chicken has the adorably clever tiny-popper size, the great coating that is a little more substantial that the chicken strip, and most importantly: the ability to dip more frequently.

These Spicy Popcorn Chicken Bites have the best of both – you still have the pull-apart texture of regular chicken strips, but you also get the one-and-done pop-in-mouth functionality of the popcorn chicken.

Better yet: we’re baking these little guys. Normally I’m not a big fan of baked chicken things that are supposed to resemble FRIED chicken things. It’s just… no. That generally does not lead anywhere fast.

But today I’m doing just that because 1) I like to break my own rules, and 2) with the introduction of some Kettle Brand Chips, we get just enough natural oil and crispiness to make the chicken feel and taste borderline fried. Friends, one thing I LOVE about Kettle Brand: their chips are made without MSG or preservatives. Hallelujah. Do you know how hard it is to find flavored chips without MSG? Thank you, Kettle Brand! So with the addition of these fabulously textured chips, the breading stays on the chicken really nicely and it truly resembles the texture and of the best fried popcorn chicken.

Everyone LOVES these! Baked popcorn chicken that tastes fried! Easy recipe, ready in 30 minutes. SO yummy and fun to share! | pinchofyum.com

Hi, Kettle Chips! 👋

Everyone LOVES these! Baked popcorn chicken that tastes fried! Easy recipe, ready in 30 minutes. SO yummy and fun to share! | pinchofyum.com

The flour and chips make something of a crust that the chicken gets breaded in, and then suddenly you find yourself staring at a pan full of these glorious little things and wondering if you will actually have any left to share with your football friends when this is all said and done.

Everyone LOVES these! Baked popcorn chicken that tastes fried! Easy recipe, ready in 30 minutes. SO yummy and fun to share! | pinchofyum.com

Of course, for me, there’s always the sauce.

This sauce that you see pictured here is going to sound really weird when I describe it, but here goes: it’s this honey mustard sauce (made in 5 minutes YAAAS) and a little bit of ketchup. Combined. Oh my gosh, I’m definitely four years old. But it’s so weirdly good and you should try it if you might have an inner four year old that needs to be dealt with sometimes.

Popcorn chicken bites!

Football!

We are living in exciting times. 😍

Everyone LOVES these! Baked popcorn chicken that tastes fried! Easy recipe, ready in 30 minutes. SO yummy and fun to share! | pinchofyum.com
Everyone LOVES these! Baked popcorn chicken that tastes fried! Easy recipe, ready in 30 minutes. SO yummy and fun to share! | pinchofyum.com
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Baked Popcorn Chicken dipped in a sauce.

Spicy Popcorn Chicken Bites


Description

Everyone LOVES these! Baked popcorn chicken that tastes fried! Easy recipe, ready in 30 minutes. SO yummy and fun to share!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 3 cups Kettle Brand Chips – I used Buffalo Bleu flavor
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • a pinch of cayenne – about 1/4 teaspoon to start, more for additional spiciness (or omit if you don’t want them to be spicy)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup half and half (milk works, too)
  • 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • olive oil, salt, and pepper
  • honey mustard dipping sauce

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Crush the chips in a food processor until fine crumbs form. Add 1 cup flour and cayenne and pulse again until incorporated into an even crumb-like mixture.
  3. Place remaining 1/2 cup flour in a shallow dish.
  4. Whisk eggs and half and half together in a shallow dish.
  5. Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces.
  6. Rub a baking sheet with olive oil to coat or place a wire rack on the baking sheet if you have one.
  7. Set up an assembly line of sorts: flour, egg mixture, kettle chip mixture. Dip each chicken piece in each bowl, moving through the assembly line and making sure it gets coated at each step – starting with flour, then egg, then crumbs. Place on the baking sheet.
  8. Bake chicken for 5 minutes, flip if needed, and bake another 5 minutes. I found my total time varied but generally ended up between 12-18 minutes to get the right amount of crisping and browning. These go perfectly with the honey mustard dipping sauce!

Notes

Nutrition does not include sauce and accounts for a little bit of extra breading that will likely get discarded.

  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 18 mins
  • Category: Dinner
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: baked popcorn chicken, popcorn chicken, spicy popcorn chicken

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Thank you to Kettle Brand Chips for sponsoring this post!


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86 Comments

  1. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Yes, yes, yes! I was getting a little tired of the typical cast of game day characters—I can’t wait to try these!!

    thepastiche.squarespace.com

  2. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Yum! This looks so good! I grew up with baked potato chip chicken tenders they are so wildly addictive! I’m excited to try your version with your gorgeous honey mustard sauce. Yes, please!
    xx Sydney

  3. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Susan

    OMG. These are one of my favorite potato chips of all time. Now a great new way for me to use them for dinner. Thanks for the great idea!

  4. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Wendi

    Hey Lindsay,

    Recipe looks great, my kids will love this. Quick question though, do I attempt to measure 3 cups of chips and then pulse or do I pulse until I have amassed 3 cups of crumbled chips?

    Thanks!
    Wendi

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      Good question – measure three cups of chips in the beginning. It will vary because chips aren’t exactly easy to measure, but just generally about three cups.

  5. Pinch of Yum Logo

    This is the first time I’ve visited your blog and you had me at these chicken bites. OMG I NEED TO TRY THEM!

    I’ll be back at your blog so much now that I live in my own Paris apartment 😀

  6. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Those chips are my FAVORITE!!! And that flavor is the ONLY way to go! I just made some baked chicken nuggets and I’ve been craving more. This amazingness is totally happening this weekend, thanks Lindsay!

  7. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Noa

    Can’t wait to try these! Adding them to the next game day menu along with your awesome chili queso dip.
    Random question – is there a difference between achicken strip and a chicken tender? My husband thinks it’s regional speak. I’m not sure. Here in NC it seems like we say tenders a lot.

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      No, I feel like chicken strips and chicken tenders are the same (although maybe a chicken strip is flatter, now that I say that) but for sure both are different from a chicken nugget and from popcorn chicken. But it’s all just semantics, right? Gimme a piece of chicken with breading that I can dunk in sauce and I’m good to go.

  8. Pinch of Yum Logo

    YUM! This looks so good. Of course, I am a sucker for anything with Kettle chips, and I’ve been dying for some recently! You are speaking straight to my heart with this recipe because I’ve also been dying for popcorn chicken. Oh and the honey mustard, too! Seriously need to make this sometime… 😀 Thank you so so so much, Lindsay! <3

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      I really grind it up finely, so it’s like a sandy powder (not that it tastes sandy, just that the mixture is a little bit oily) and then I really roll in around in there good and press it on good. I found that using an egg vs. an egg white in the second dipping step of the recipe will help to bind the coating as it bakes.

  9. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Lynn

    Yippee!!!
    I have been waiting for more football friendly recipies!!! We just moved back home (where there is not an NFL team) but we fell in LOVE with the Texans when we were living in Houston, so every Sunday the family comes over to our place to watch the game (some days there are 9 of us). I have made your egg bake, your French toast muffin tin things (and the Sally’s baking addiction recipie that inspired them), and am sooo looking for more suitable recipies… This should help!!! Yay!!

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      Oh how fun! I’m not sure I know which SBA recipe you are talking about but she has tons of great recipes, doesn’t she? Love Sally. 🙂