//Baked Popcorn Chicken with Honey-Garlic Glaze

Baked Popcorn Chicken with Honey-Garlic Glaze

Ditch the deep-fryer and preheat your oven for a finger-friendly recipe for Baked Popcorn Chicken with Honey-Garlic Glaze.

Baked Popcorn Chicken with Honey-Garlic Glaze topped with crushed red pepper flakesBaked Popcorn Chicken with Honey-Garlic Glaze topped with crushed red pepper flakes

When it comes to quick and easy DIY dinners, few foods beat chicken nuggets around our house. Between my three boys, my husband and myself, we can all get in on the dipping and dunking action.

Consider this recipe for Baked Popcorn Chicken with Honey-Garlic Glaze a slightly elevated spin in the good ol’ nuggets.

Unbaked chicken bites atop a baking sheet lined with foilUnbaked chicken bites atop a baking sheet lined with foil

The secret to achieving the essential crunch without submerging these bad boys into a vat of boiling oil is two-fold:

  • Panko breadcrumbs (a Japanese breadcrumb known for its ability to crisp up quickly)
  • Cooking spray (everyone’s low-cal BFF in the baked goods and browning departments)

Crispy baked popcorn chicken Crispy baked popcorn chicken

Also essential on the texture front is the use of chicken thighs rather than chicken breasts. Chicken thighs are much more tender and will never dry out compared to their poultry cohort, chicken breasts.

Could you dice up chicken breasts for this recipe? Abso-cluckin-lutely! Just make sure not to overbake the nuggets or they’ll run the risk of being dry.

Spatula over pan with honey-garlic glazeSpatula over pan with honey-garlic glaze

Then it’s time for the real star of the show here: this finger-lickin’, sweet, sour, spicy and oh-so-sticky honey-garlic glaze. One taste and you’ll be drizzling, dunking and dipping everything you can get your hands on into this saucy concoction, so don’t hesitate to pair it up with other proteins or veggies to maximize on its versatility.

Easy baked popcorn chicken next to small ramekin with honey-garlic glazeEasy baked popcorn chicken next to small ramekin with honey-garlic glaze

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Baked Popcorn Chicken with Honey-Garlic Glaze topped with crushed red pepper flakesBaked Popcorn Chicken with Honey-Garlic Glaze topped with crushed red pepper flakes

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Baked Popcorn Chicken with Honey-Garlic Glaze

For the chicken:

  • Cooking spray
  • 1
    pound
    boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1
    teaspoon
    kosher salt
  • 3/4
    cups
    all-purpose flour
  • 3
    large eggs
  • 2 1/2
    cups
    Panko breadcrumbs

For the sauce:

  • 1
    Tablespoon
    olive oil
  • 1
    Tablespoon
    minced garlic
  • 1/4
    teaspoon
    crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1/3
    cup
    honey
  • 2
    Tablespoons
    apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3
    cup
    chicken broth
  • 2
    teaspoons
    cornstarch

Make the chicken:

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Line a baking sheet with foil and grease it generously with cooking spray.

Trim any fat from the chicken thighs and cut them into 1/2-inch pieces.

Add the flour and salt to a sealable plastic bag. Add the chicken to the bag, press out any air then seal the bag shut. Shake the bag until the chicken pieces are coated on all sides.

In a shallow dish, whisk together the eggs.

Add the breadcrumbs to a second shallow dish.

Remove each piece of chicken from the bag and shake off any excess flour. Dip the chicken in the eggs, shake off any excess, then dip it in the breadcrumbs, pressing to coat the chicken on all sides. Repeat the coating process with all of the chicken pieces, arranging them in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet.

Spray the chicken pieces with cooking spray then bake them for 8 minutes. Flip each chicken piece once then continue baking until cooked through and crispy, an additional 5 to 10 minutes. While the chicken is baking, make the sauce.

Make the sauce:

Add the olive oil to a small saucepan set over medium-low heat.

Add the minced garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until golden brown and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the crushed red pepper flakes (optional) and cook and additional 30 seconds.

Add the honey and apple cider vinegar, whisking to combine. 

In a small bowl, whisk together the chicken broth and cornstarch.

Increase the heat to medium-high and whisk in the brother mixture. Bring the mixture to a boil until it thickens slightly, about 3 minutes. Transfer it to a serving bowl.

Remove the popcorn chicken from the oven and serve it with the sauce for dipping.

Kelly’s Note:

If you prefer to toss the popcorn chicken with the sauce, rather than use the sauce as a dip, you can double the sauce recipe but use only 1 tablespoon cornstarch.

★ Did you make this recipe? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below!

Nutrition Facts

Baked Popcorn Chicken with Honey-Garlic Glaze

Amount Per Serving

Calories 361
Calories from Fat 81

% Daily Value*

Fat 9g14%

Saturated Fat 2g13%

Cholesterol 154mg51%

Sodium 720mg31%

Potassium 302mg9%

Carbohydrates 47g16%

Fiber 2g8%

Sugar 17g19%

Protein 22g44%

Vitamin A 162IU3%

Vitamin C 1mg1%

Calcium 70mg7%

Iron 3mg17%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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