Air Fryer Frozen Popcorn Chicken: Perfectly Crispy

KFC may have been the ones to popularize these tiny fried nuggets of chicken, but now they’re everywhere. Ditch the drive thru and reach into the freezer instead! This air fryer frozen popcorn chicken is the perfect preparation method for a crispy bite with juicy chicken inside.

air fryer frozen popcorn chicken dinners done quick

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Popcorn chicken is a great appetizer, snack, or even part of a larger meal, like those famous mashed potato bowls. Plus, it’s almost as much a kid favorite as chicken nuggets!

Whether you dress them up with sides or just add some dipping sauces, these chicken bites are great for a variety of occasions. I like them as an easy poppable snack for game day!

Your air fryer does all the work, cooking the popcorn chicken right from frozen, with no defrosting required. Best of all, it only takes about 10 minutes to cook! That’s perfect for a snack or a meal, even on busy weeknights.

holding a piece of air fryer popcorn chicken

Of course, you can also easily cook Frozen Chicken Tenders in the Air Fryer if that’s what your family prefers.

What You’ll Need

frozen popcorn chicken next to packaging
  • Frozen popcorn chicken, any brand
  • Dipping sauces if desired (optional)

Ingredient Tips and Notes

  • You can use any brand of frozen popcorn chicken. I have Kirkwood (Aldi) brand today, but have also used Tyson, Perdue, Good and Gather (Target), Great Value (Walmart), Banquet, and Foster Farms frozen popcorn chicken with success
  • Dipping sauce is optional, but my favorites are honey mustard, honey, and barbecue sauce!

How to Cook Frozen Popcorn Chicken in the Air Fryer: Step By Step

  1. Preheat your air fryer to 400°F
  2. Remove frozen popcorn chicken from all packaging and place into the preheated air fryer basket in a single layer. Leave a little space between them to make flipping them easier later
frozen popcorn chicken in air fryer basket
  1. Cook on the air fry setting for 10 minutes at 400°F, pausing halfway to shake the basket to flip the chicken bites
  2. Chicken is done when the exterior is lightly browned and the interior reaches 165°F. Add additional cooking time in small increments (1-2 minutes) if needed
  3. Serve with your favorite sauces or sides!
overhead view of crispy air fryer popcorn chicken with dipping sauces

What to Serve With Popcorn Chicken

  • Mashed potatoes
  • Corn
  • Mac and cheese
  • Coleslaw
  • Potato salad
  • Fried green tomatoes
  • French fries
  • Texas toast
  • Cornbread
  • Biscuits
  • Gravy
  • Barbecue sauce
  • Honey mustard
  • Honey
  • Sweet and sour sauce
  • Fried apples

There are many great sauces and sides to serve with popcorn chicken!

Try your air fryer frozen popcorn chicken with my simple Air Fryer Frozen Texas Toast, creamy Air Fryer Corn Casserole, crispy Air Fryer Ore Ida Fries, or with a side of Air Fryer Frozen Mac and Cheese Bites.  

Recipe FAQs

Can I Cook Frozen Popcorn Chicken in an Air Fryer?

Yes, you can cook frozen popcorn chicken in an air fryer. It cooks directly from frozen with no defrosting required.

The air fryer delivers crispy breading outside and juicy chicken on the inside.

How Long to Cook Frozen Popcorn Chicken in an Air Fryer?

On average, it takes about 10-12 minutes to cook frozen popcorn chicken in an air fryer, assuming a temperature of 400°F.

The time will vary slightly based on the brand and subsequent size of your popcorn chicken, as well as your specific air fryer.

What Temperature Should I Set My Air Fryer to For Frozen Popcorn Chicken?

Your air fryer should be set at a temperature of 400°F for frozen popcorn chicken.

This will give you the crispy texture while also making sure they are heated through.

Is Frozen Popcorn Chicken Fully Cooked?

Yes, most frozen popcorn chicken is already fully cooked. However, you should always double check the label of your package to be sure.

You should still plan to heat the chicken to 165°F internally for food safety.

Recipe Pro Tips

  • You do not need to add any oil for cooking. The frozen popcorn chicken already has enough in the breading
  • I can fit about 40 frozen popcorn chicken bites in my air fryer at a time. I have an 8-qt Ninja Dual Zone air fryer, so other air fryers will vary
  • My popcorn chicken was perfectly cooked after 10 minutes in the Ninja air fryer. However, times will vary slightly based on your air fryer and the brand of chicken you’re using
air fryer popcorn chicken sitting on a plate and countertop

Storage and Reheating

  • Store leftover popcorn chicken in an airtight container or bag in the refrigerator. Do not refreeze once it’s been cooked once. Consume within 5 days
  • While safely stored popcorn chicken may be eaten cold, I definitely recommend reheating. To reheat, cook cold popcorn chicken in the air fryer for 3-5 minutes at 350°F or until warmed through

Other Air Fryer Frozen Chicken Recipes to Try

Final Thoughts

Air fryer frozen popcorn chicken is a quick and easy way to make a crispy, tasty snack or appetizer anytime. You’ll get that perfect crunch on the breading with juicy, tender chicken inside.

Pair with your favorite dipping sauces for a crowd-pleasing presentation, or use the cooked chicken to top a homemade mashed potato bowl with corn, cheese, and gravy. Yum!

At only about 10 minutes of cooking and little tending, this recipe is easy enough for your teens to feed themselves, and convenient enough for a weeknight dinner too.

If you love these poppable chicken bites, make sure to check out their seafood equivalent with these easy Frozen Popcorn Shrimp in the Air Fryer!

air fryer frozen popcorn chicken dinners done quick featured image

Perfect Air Fryer Frozen Popcorn Chicken

This air fryer frozen popcorn chicken cooks up perfectly crispy and moist in just about 10 minutes. It’s perfect as a snack, appetizer, or light meal paired with sides.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 3 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 13 minutes
Course Appetizer, Lunch, Snack
Cuisine American
Servings 5
Calories 210 kcal

Equipment

Ingredients
  

  • Frozen popcorn chicken, any brand (approximately 40 pieces)

Instructions
 

  • Preheat your air fryer to 400°F
  • Remove frozen popcorn chicken from all packaging and place into the preheated air fryer basket in a single layer. Leave a little space between them to make flipping them easier later
    Frozen popcorn chicken, any brand
  • Cook on the air fry setting for 10 minutes at 400°F, pausing halfway to shake the basket to flip the chicken bites
  • Chicken is done when the exterior is lightly browned and the interior reaches 165°F. Add additional cooking time in small increments (1-2 minutes) if needed
  • Serve with your favorite sauces or sides!

Notes

  • You can use any brand of frozen popcorn chicken. I have Kirkwood (Aldi) brand here, but have also used Tyson, Perdue, Foster Farms, and other frozen popcorn chicken with equal success
  • If you’d like to serve with a dipping sauce, my favorites are honey mustard, honey, and barbecue sauce!
  • You do not need to add any oil for cooking. The frozen popcorn chicken already has enough in the breading
  • The 40 frozen popcorn chicken bites quantity is based on the capacity of my 8-qt Ninja Dual Zone air fryer, so other air fryers may vary
  • My popcorn chicken was perfectly cooked after 10 minutes in the Ninja air fryer. However, times will vary slightly based on your air fryer and the brand of chicken (size) you’re using
  • Store leftover popcorn chicken in an airtight container or bag in the refrigerator. Do not refreeze once it’s been cooked once. Consume within 5 days
  • To reheat, cook cold popcorn chicken in the air fryer for 3-5 minutes at 350°F or until warmed through
  • Exact nutritional values will vary based on brand and flavor of ingredients, any sauces or sides added, and quantity consumed, so please consider this a guideline only

Nutrition

Serving: 89gCalories: 210kcalCarbohydrates: 16gProtein: 14gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4.5gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 30mgSodium: 480mgPotassium: 200mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gCalcium: 28mgIron: 1mg
Keyword air fryer frozen popcorn chicken, frozen popcorn chicken in air fryer, how to cook frozen popcorn chicken in air fryer, kirkwood popcorn chicken air fryer, ninja air fryer frozen popcorn chicken, popcorn chicken, popcorn chicken air fryer
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Katie Vine