Appetizers, Dinner, Lunch

Popcorn Chicken

Cooking method:

Ninja® Foodi™ 8-qt. 9-in-1 Deluxe XL Pressure Cooker & Air Fryer
  • Prep time: 10 mins
  • Total time: 45 mins
  • Skill easy
  • Serves 8 people

Popcorn Chicken

Healthier than fast-food versions, thanks to the Foodi™’s AIR CRISP function, this popcorn chicken is on regular rotation in my house. We like to serve it with fries and salad, but it’s also a fun topping for Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese(page 205). Or, scoop the chicken into hoagie rolls for popcorn chicken sandwiches. This is a great meal plan recipe, since it’s easy to portion out. It’s also fun to serve for a game day get-together.

STORAGE: Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.


Tip: Allergy Advice

This dish contains the following allergens: Wheat, Dairy


  • 2 pounds chicken breast tenders, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 1/2 teaspoon paprika, divided
  • 3 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • Dipping sauces for serving, such as ranch, honey mustard, or ketchup
  • Salad greens, for serving
  • 1 large hoagie roll, for serving

Cooking mode

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  • Step 1

    In a large bowl, combine the chicken, milk, 1/2 teaspoon of paprika, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Cover and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes or up to 6 hours.

  • Step 2

    In a large shallow bowl, whisk together the flour and remaining 2 teaspoons of paprika, 2 teaspoons of salt, and 2 teaspoons of black pepper.

  • Step 3

    Remove the chicken from the marinade, but keep the bowl with the marinade. Working in small batches, dredge the chicken in the flour mixture. Shake off the excess flour, then dunk the chicken briefly in the marinade. Dredge the chicken for a second time in the dry ingredients, fully coating each piece of chicken. Gently shake off the excess flour. Place the coated chicken pieces on a plate while you repeat this step with the remaining chicken.

  • Step 4

    Spray the bottom and sides of the Cook & Crisp™ basket with the cooking spray. Working in batches, place an even layer of coated chicken pieces in the bottom of the basket. Set aside the rest of the chicken. Spray the top of the chicken pieces with cooking spray, then lower the basket into the inner pot of your Ninja® Foodi™.

  • Step 5

    Select AIR CRISP, set the temperature to 370°F, and set the time to 10 minutes. Select START/STOP to begin. After5 minutes, remove the basket and gently shake it to toss the chicken. Return the basket to the pot, close the lid, and cook for 5 more minutes.

  • Step 6

    Cooking is complete when the internal temperature of the chicken reads at least 165°F on a food thermometer and the chicken reaches your desired level of crispiness. When cooking is complete, lift out the basket and transfer the chicken to a plate. Repeat steps 4 and 5 until all the chicken pieces are cooked.

  • Step 7

    Let the chicken pieces cool at room temperature, then portion them into individual containers for the week, along with small containers of dipping sauces. Place salad greens in one of those containers for lunch on day 2, and place a hoagie roll in another for dinner on day 5.