These Popcorn Sandwiches are fun to make and even more delicious to eat. Perfect for potluck or game day!
Crispy, spicy and tender pieces of popcorn chicken stuffed inside mini finger rolls. Sound good? Follow me…
Popcorn Chicken Marinade
For the popcorn chicken you’ll want to use boneless skinless chicken breasts and dice them up into mini bite size pieces.
We’ll get to the crispy batter in just a sec, but we also want to ensure the chicken itself is not only nice and soft, but also nicely seasoned. Because of its slight acidity, buttermilk will help tenderize the chicken. By adding in a good amount of salt and pepper the buttermilk also helps penetrate that into the chicken.
Can I sub Buttermilk?
Buttermilk should be readily available in most stores, but if for whatever reason you don’t have it you can sub with either milk & acidity (i.e. lemon juice) or milk and unsweetend yogurt. I’ve popped a note on this in the recipe card.
How long should I marinate for?
You’re looking for a min of 1 hour, but the longer the better (up to overnight). Even just 30mins works though!
Process shots: dice chicken into small pieces (photo 1), mix with buttermilk (photo 2), mix in seasoning and marinate (photo 3).
Popcorn Chicken Batter
The batter itself is simply flour mixed with a simple spice blend. When it comes to coating the chicken there’s just a few tips to keep in mind:
- Few at a time – Ideally you want to coat the pieces one by one, but I recommend no more than 2-3 at a time. Although tedious, this will ensure the flour doesn’t clump up too much. You’ll get more of an even coverage on the chicken pieces just doing a few at a time.
- Be thorough – You’re looking to create lots of tiny flaky parts on the chicken pieces. This is what causes it to go extra crispy when fried. Really take the time to work the flour right into the chicken pieces.
- Wet hand dry hand – To avoid mess and also to avoid the flour becoming too wet with excess buttermilk, I recommend assigning a ‘wet’ hand and a ‘dry’ hand to avoid ending up with battered fingers!
Process shots: combine spices with flour (photo 1), add chicken (photo 2), work the flour in to coat and create flaky parts (photo 3).
Deep Fried Popcorn Chicken
Yep, these beauties have gotta be fried in order to get that gorgeous crispy batter.
Work in batches
Really important to fry the chicken in batches. This will not only ensure that the chicken doesn’t stick together, but it’ll also ensure the oil temperature doesn’t drop too much.
What temp to fry popcorn chicken?
You want the oil to get to around 180C/356F. It’s important to get the oil to the right temp – too low and the batter will become soggy and fall off, too high and the batter will burn before the chicken is cooked.
How long to fry popcorn chicken?
Depending on how big the chunks are they’ll only need around 3-5mins.
Popcorn Chicken Sandwich
I LOVE using brioche buns here – the sweetness creates a delicious contrast with the spicy chicken. I also recommend using finger rolls as they keep the chicken in more efficiently. In reality though, you can use any type of bread you fancy!
Popcorn chicken sandwich fillings
The usual suspects for me are: coleslaw, pickles and BBQ sauce. Nice and simple to let the popcorn chicken do the talking. In the past I’ve also used jalapeños instead of pickles, and shredded iceberg lettuce and mayo instead of coleslaw and BBQ sauce.
Process shots: add coleslaw and pickles to opened finger roll (photo 1), top with popcorn chicken (photo 2), drizzle over BBQ sauce (photo 3).
And there we have it! All my top tips for the best popcorn chicken sandwich. If you’re looking for a little something on the side too:
- Crisp/Chip Recommendation: I love Kettle Chips with these, they’re nice and sturdy and hold there own against these hearty sandwiches. I recommend Salt & Vinegar to add a little acidity along with the sweetness and spice.
- Side Recommendation: I love garlic parmesan fries!
Alrighty, let’s tuck into the full recipe for this popcorn chicken sandwich shall we?!
How to make Popcorn Chicken Sandwiches (Full Recipe & Video)
Popcorn Chicken Sandwiches
- Pot & Slotted Spoon (suitable for deep frying)
- Medium Sized Bowl & Cling Film (for marinating)
- Shallow Medium Dish (for batter)
- Wire Rack & Paper Towels
- Bread Knife
- Kitchen Thermometer
- 2x 7oz/200g Chicken Breasts, diced into mini bite sized pieces
- 3-4cups / 750ml-1litre Vegetable Oil (or other other suitable for deep frying)
- 1 packed cup / 200g Plain/All Purpose Flour (scoop & level method)
- 1 cup / 250ml Buttermilk (see notes for subs)
- 2 tsp Salt
- 1.5 tsp Smoked Paprika
- 1 tsp EACH: Baking Powder, Cayenne Pepper
- 3/4 tsp EACH: Onion Powder, Garlic Powder, Black Pepper
- 1/2 tsp Oregano
- Marinate: In a medium sized mixing bowl combine your chicken pieces with 1 cup/250ml buttermilk, 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper. Cover and marinate in the fridge for at least 1 hour, best results being 2-4 hours or over night. This step is to tenderize the chicken and allow the seasoning to works its way into the meat.
- Coat Chicken: In a shallow dish combine 1 packed cup/200g plain flour with 1.5 tsp smoked paprika, 1 tsp salt, baking powder & cayenne pepper, 3/4 tsp garlic & onion powder, 1/2 tsp oregano and 1/4 tsp black pepper. Take a piece of chicken and dredge in the flour. Really make sure you work the flour into the chicken and create lots of flaky bits. This is what makes the chicken crispy. Don't dredge more than 2-3 pieces at a time or the flour will turn sludgy.
- Deep Fry: Heat up oil to 180C/356F. When you drop a tiny pieces of batter in it should sizzle and slowly rise to the top. In batches, gently lower in your chicken and immediately separate if they stick together. Fry for 3-5mins or until deep golden & crispy and white through the centre. Place on wire rack with paper towels underneath and repeat next batch. Bring oil back up to temp before each batch.
- Serve: Slice open your rolls and add coleslaw. Top with pickles, then add popcorn chicken (5-6 pieces per roll, depending on size) then drizzle over BBQ sauce. Enjoy!
- 3/4 cup plain unsweetened yogurt mixed with 1/4 cup of milk (to thin it out).
- 1 cup milk with 1 tbsp vinegar or lemon juice, let it sit for 10mins then stir in the chicken
If you loved this Popcorn Chicken Sandwich Recipe be sure to Pin it for later! Already made it or got a burning question? Give me a shout in the comments below!