Crispy on the outside and soft and tender on the inside, these kickin’ spicy buffalo popcorn chicken bites are fun to eat and will be a hit wherever they’re served!
I don’t deep-fry very often, but there are occasions when I make exceptions, like some Chinese dishes, homemade French fries, etc. And this Buffalo Popcorn Chicken is definitely worth the exception as well. The good news is you don’t need a deep fryer or a gallon of oil to make them. Simply use a small frying pan you you can get a good amount of depth from the least amount of oil, just fill it at least a half inch full and you’re all set. The second piece of good news is that as long as the oil is hot enough, it will quickly sear and seal the outside of the crust so that you don’t end up with much oil in the chicken bites. It’s when the oil isn’t hot enough that you end up with oil-logged food products (yech!). Make sure the oil is good and hot and you’ll end up with perfectly crispy popcorn chicken bites that have a fluffy and tender center.
Adjust the amount of hot sauce you use according to your heat tolerance. Keep in mind, you can always shake some extra hot sauce over the popcorn bites afterwards to increase the heat, but you can’t reduce the heat once it’s all done. I will say though, while I’m not a huge fan of really hot foods, the blue cheese dressing for dipping goes a long way to offset the heat. Whether you prefer these screamin’ hot or mildly spicy, you’re going to love them either way!
Let’s get started! Add the chicken pieces to a bowl and stir in the hot sauce. Set aside while preparing the batter.
Combine all the batter ingredients in a large mixing bowl, whisking until no lumps remain.
Get your “station” set up. Place the 1/2 cup of flour and cornstarch in a separate bowl and place the chicken pieces and batter next to it. Dip the chicken pieces in the flour/cornstarch mixture, shake off the excess, and dredge completely in the batter.
Use a candy thermometer to make sure the oil is at 365 degrees F and immediately place the battered chicken pieces in the frying pan. The oil needs to be at least 1/2 inch deep for best results.
Fry the chicken for about 2 minutes on each side until a rich golden brown and cooked through. Work in batches, being careful not to overcrowd the frying pan.
Use a slotted spoon to transfer the chicken pieces to a paper towel-lined plate.
Let the chicken pieces drain on the paper towels for one minute.
Serve immediately with celery sticks and blue cheese dressing for dipping.
- 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 2 tablespoons Frank's Louisiana Hot Sauce (or hot sauce of choice), use more or less depending on heat preference
- ½ cup flour mixed with 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoons salt
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- ¾ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ cup buttermilk
- ½ cup water
- 4 tablespoons Frank's Louisiana Hot Sauce (or hot sauce of choice), use more or less depending on heat preference
- 2 teaspoons white vinegar
- Blue cheese dressing
- Celery sticks
- Place the chicken pieces and 2 tablespoons hot sauce in a bowl and stir to thoroughly combine. Set aside.
- Place the ½ cup flour/cornstarch mixture in a shallow bowl and set aside.
- Combine the 2 cups of flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, garlic powder and onion powder in a large mixing bowl and whisk in the buttermilk and water until no lumps remain. Add the 4 tablespoons of hot sauce and stir to combine.
- Pour some oil into a small skillet to at least ½ inch depth. Using a candy thermometer, heat the oil to 365ºF.
- Dredge the chicken pieces into the ½ cup of flour/cornstarch, shake off the excess, then dip the pieces into the wet batter. Immediately place the chicken pieces carefully into the hot oil and fry on all sides until golden brown and cooked through, about 2 minutes on each side. Work in batches and be careful not to overcrowd the pan. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the chicken pieces to a plate lined with paper towels to drain for 1 minute.
- Serve immediately with blue cheese dressing and celery sticks.