This Post Contains Affiliate Links. Click Here To Read Our Full Disclosure.

Air Fryer KFC Popcorn Chicken. Follow our homemade KFC popcorn chicken recipe and learn how easy it is to make air fryer popcorn chicken at home.

These copycat KFC popcorn chicken balls of deliciousness are fast to prep, taste amazing, are crispy thanks to the air fryer and include a quick hack to make them fast, yet without compromising on flavour.  

We originally shared with you how to make KFC popcorn chicken back in the summer of 2016 and wanted to update it today for you with new photos and extra ideas.

air fryer KFC popcorn chicken recipe
Air Fryer KFC Popcorn Chicken Recipe
Join The Recipe This Newsletter – its Free!
Recipes | Videos | Stories | Inspiration | Printables | Cheatsheets
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

Air Fryer Popcorn Chicken

I read recently that KFC does a bucket of popcorn chicken and that it includes 80 pieces. OMG there is no way I would be able to eat all that and I am sure many of the pieces would come home and be reheated in the air fryer.

Instead, a portion of 8 is more my thing and love that I can use the air fryer to make them in and then if we are still hungry put a few more extra rounds on.

I can create a production line, make the popcorn chicken ahead and then the air fryer will work its magic and produce perfectly cooked popcorn chicken.

If you have not got one already, I recommend that you get an air fryer and use it to make the best popcorn chicken that is crispy, yet better for you than deep fried. This is the air fryer we personally recommend.


Plus, as well as our free newsletter, we also have a free air fryer mini course. It is ideal for air fryer beginners or those that want to get more confident with their air fryer. The free course runs for 5 days with a new lesson delivered each day to your inbox.

Does KFC Have Popcorn Chicken?

Yes, it does and depending on where you live you can get popcorn chicken in different quantities. I always remember getting popcorn chicken as a quantity of 8 but now you can get a big bucket of 80!

Also, you might know KFC popcorn chicken as different things such as KFC chicken bites or KFC chicken nuggets.

My Popcorn Chicken Air Fryer Secret Ingredient

As popcorn chicken at KFC is often compared to chicken nuggets you will be surprised by what chicken I am using in this recipe. It is NOT chicken breast.

Instead, this KFC popcorn chicken recipe is using minced chicken or ground chicken as you might call it.

That is because it can be rolled into a ball and made into the perfect shape, like you would expect at KFC. Plus, it is so much faster and easier to make compared to using chicken breast.

But I originally would mince the chicken breast in the food processor or in the blender because I couldn’t source chicken breast.

Then I swapped this for Lidl chicken burgers, chopped them into quarters and rolled it into a ball.

Popcorn Chicken Air Fryer Secret Ingredient

The reason I am telling you this, is so that you can decide how you want to make popcorn chicken in the air fryer. You can use chicken breast, chicken thighs, a leftover chicken breast you forgot about in the fridge, chicken mince, or chicken burgers.

101 air fryer recipes bundle

KFC Popcorn Chicken Ingredients

Chicken – To make air fryer popcorn chicken, you will need either some chicken breasts or some chicken mince. We used a pack of chicken burgers from Lidl and then cut each of the burgers into quarters and then made them into chicken balls.

Egg – I recommend cracking a few eggs into a bowl and mixing them with some extra seasoning. This helps keep your chicken more flavoursome and helps the breading stick to the chicken better.

Flour – The flour is what goes on the KFC popcorn chicken first and helps the egg then stick to the flour. You can use any flour that you have in your pantry. I usually use this as an excuse to have a kitchen pantry clear out.

Seasoning – Its all about the delicious seasoning mix that you associate with KFC chicken. You can also mix and match if you have a food allergy which is what us Milner’s do. Though you may prefer a different popcorn chicken seasoning.

Then for the kitchen gadgets that we have used in this air fryer KFC recipe, it has just been our Philips Air Fryer. We have this one and its wonderful for many types of air fryer chicken recipes and perfectly fits a big batch of KFC popcorn chicken in it.

How Do You Make KFC Popcorn Chicken?

air fryer kfc popcorn chicken step by step
  • Seasonings. Start by mixing your KFC spice blend in a container. I always use a container because I can then save the leftovers for next time, I want homemade Kentucky fried chicken.
  • Production. Its all about the production line. Create a bowl with your egg mixture, one bowl with your seasoned flour and a third with your seasoned breadcrumbs. A fourth bowl will then have your popcorn chicken balls that are waiting to be breaded. Though see below for a full explanation of how this works.
  • Coat. Load your chicken balls into the flour first, then the egg, then the breadcrumbs. Making sure each of your KFC popcorn chicken pieces are well coated.
  • Load. Add to the air fryer and air fry for 12 minutes. If you are cooking a lot of popcorn chicken or want to recreate the KFC 80 piece popcorn chicken box then do a single layer bit with more batches.

How Long To Cook Popcorn Chicken In Air Fryer?

You will be pleased to read that it takes JUST 12 minutes to cook popcorn chicken in the air fryer. Note that our popcorn chicken pieces are medium to large and if you cooked smaller ones, you could reduce the cook time by a couple of minutes.

What To Serve With Your KFC Chicken Strips?

For a bit of fun, what I like to do is keep an old KFC chicken bucket and reuse it for serving our KFC air fryer chicken in.

With KFC now offering a bucket of just popcorn chicken or as you might call them KFC chicken nuggets, you can do the same with your old bucket.

Make a big batch of 80 popcorn chicken pieces and then plan your sides.

You can make our air fryer frozen corn on the cob, our air fryer frozen French fries or pair it with our air fryer potato wedges.

More KFC Chicken In Air Fryer

Would you like more KFC chicken in the air fryer? Or like me do you have leftovers that need using up and you want to make something else.

If so, follow the rest of our air fryer KFC series below:

Plus, don’t forget to follow our reheat KFC chicken in the air fryer guide, as its perfect when you have some leftovers.

KFC Popcorn Chicken
3 from 1 vote

Air Fryer KFC Popcorn Chicken

Air Fryer KFC Popcorn Chicken. Follow our homemade KFC popcorn chicken recipe and learn how easy it is to make air fryer popcorn chicken at home.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 17 minutes
Servings: 4
Join The Recipe This Newsletter – it's FREE!
Recipes | Videos | Stories | Inspiration | Printables | Cheatsheets
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.


Kitchen Gadgets:

Air Fryer KFC Popcorn Chicken Ingredients:


  • Make your chicken mince into small meatball shapes. Or use raw chicken burgers and cut into quarters and then make into meatball shapes.
    How Do You Make KFC Popcorn Chicken?
  • Crack eggs into a bowl and mix with a fork. Place flour in a bowl and season well with chicken seasoning, salt, and pepper. Place breadcrumbs into a bowl and mix with your KFC rub.
    How Do You Make KFC Popcorn Chicken?
  • Load chicken balls into the flour mixture, then into the egg, and then into the breadcrumbs bowl. Make sure each piece of chicken is well coated from each bowl.
    How Do You Make KFC Popcorn Chicken?
  • Place the popcorn chicken into the air fryer basket on a single layer.
    How Do You Make KFC Popcorn Chicken?
  • Cook for 8 minutes at 180c/360f. Then turn and cook for a further 4 minutes at the same temperature.
    How Do You Make KFC Popcorn Chicken?
  • Serve with your favourite dipping sauce.
    How Do You Make KFC Popcorn Chicken?


YouTube video


Improvising. Here in Portugal, we cannot get chicken mince outside of Christmas. What I did instead was make Lidl chicken burgers into quarters and used these instead. You can do the same and it’s a great way to use up chicken burgers.
Dipping. For my dipping sauce I added mayonnaise to a bowl with lemon juice and paprika and it was delicious.
Thanks for reading our air fryer KFC popcorn chicken recipe on Recipe This. We have many more air fryer recipes for you to check out next. Though if you would like more KFC, then I recommend you try our air fryer KFC recipes collection next.


Calories: 509kcal | Carbohydrates: 60g | Protein: 33g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 250mg | Sodium: 626mg | Potassium: 809mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 462IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 233mg | Iron: 8mg
Like this recipe? Rate and comment below!

Can’t make it now? Then pin it for later!

air fryer kfc popcorn chicken at

About Sam & Dom

Hi! I am Sam and along with my chef hubby Dom we love sharing with you easy everyday recipes using kitchen gadgets. We are also the authors of The Complete Air Fryer Cookbook, an amazing air fryer cookbook filled with 140+ everyday air fryer recipes.

Beyond the air fryer we also love the instant pot, slow cooker, soup maker, ninja foodi, pie maker and several other kitchen gadgets.

What's New At Recipe This

air fryer easy everday pre-order

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating


  1. Hi
    Thanks so much for sharing.
    When you mention ‘2ml’ KFC Spice Blend, do you mean 2grams or 2 teaspoons? Im not sure how to convert 2ml to weight?
    Same with the Bread Crumbs. Is ’60ml’ the equivalent of 60grams?
    Thank you in advance for your clarification.

    1. Hi G,

      2ml is just a pinch of the spice blend and 60ml is 4 tablespoons of the bread crumbs.

      Hopes this helps.


      Sam & Dom

  2. 3 stars
    I have never seen a recipe using minced chicken for this recipe. I am wondering if small pieces of chicken breast could be used without the mincing part? Any time we have had KFC popcorn chicken it is individual pieces of chicken breast. Seems like using pieces of chicken would eliminate the need to roll into balls and require a little less work.

    1. Hi Mary

      Using pieces of chicken breast would fine and work well. We just tried to replicate how we received our popcorn chicken and mincing the chicken and rolling it into balls seemed like the best way for us to replicate it as near as possible. It is certainly not the quickest or the cleanest way to do it but we could not think of a better way to get the chicken round 🙂


      Sam & Dom