Air Fryer Popcorn Chicken

Dredging the chicken bits in finely-crushed cornflakes add a nice crunch, plus they brown better in the air fryer than if you were to use flour. Don't skip the powdered sugar, as it also helps brown the popcorn chicken pieces (and also balance the dried spices)

Air Fryer Popcorn Chicken on a white serving plate
Photo: Aaron Kirk
Active Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
35 mins
Nutrition Profile:


  • ½ cup cornstarch

  • 3 tablespoons powdered sugar

  • 1 tablespoon paprika

  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces

  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt, divided

  • ½ cup whole buttermilk

  • 4 ounces cornflakes, finely crushed

  • Cooking spray


  1. Stir together cornstarch, powdered sugar, paprika, pepper and garlic powder in a shallow baking dish. Sprinkle chicken with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Dredge in cornstarch mixture, shaking off excess. Dip chicken in buttermilk, allowing excess to drip off. Toss chicken in cornflakes to coat.

  2. Lightly spray air fryer basket with cooking spray. Place half of the chicken in single layer in the basket and spray with cooking spray. Cook at 400°F until golden brown and cooked through, about 8 minutes, turning chicken halfway through cook time. Remove chicken from fryer basket and sprinkle with 1/8 teaspoon salt. Repeat with remaining chicken pieces and salt.


Sprinkling the chicken with salt after cooking is a great healthy cooking tip to amplify the flavor of salt while dialing back the total sodium count. Plus, it's common to salt food after frying it. Don't forget your dipping sauce—ketchup, BBQ sauce, even Chick-fil-A sauce.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

358 Calories
5g Fat
50g Carbs
29g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 4
Serving Size about 5 pieces
Calories 358
% Daily Value *
Total Carbohydrate 50g 18%
Dietary Fiber 2g 7%
Protein 29g 58%
Total Fat 5g 6%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Sodium 574mg 25%

Nutrition information is calculated by a registered dietitian using an ingredient database but should be considered an estimate.

* Daily Values (DVs) are the recommended amounts of nutrients to consume each day. Percent Daily Value (%DV) found on nutrition labels tells you how much a serving of a particular food or recipe contributes to each of those total recommended amounts. Per the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the daily value is based on a standard 2,000 calorie diet. Depending on your calorie needs or if you have a health condition, you may need more or less of particular nutrients. (For example, it’s recommended that people following a heart-healthy diet eat less sodium on a daily basis compared to those following a standard diet.)

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a special diet for medical reasons, be sure to consult with your primary care provider or a registered dietitian to better understand your personal nutrition needs.

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