Air Fryer Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken

5 from 145 votes
Jump to Recipe

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

You loved my Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken recipe, so I had to develop an Air Fryer Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken that came out JUST as crispy as the regular version! The chicken is juicy and delicious, with my tips for making the Air Fryer Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken below! You’ll love the crispy texture – I guarantee it!

Air Fryer Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken in a bowl

Watch the Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken Recipe Video Below!

Ingredients for Air Fryer Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken

You only need a few ingredients to make this Air Fryer Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken. Here is what you’ll need to make it!

  • Chicken
    • 1 lb chicken thigh cut into 2″ pieces
    • 2 tbsp soy sauce
    • 1 tbsp ginger grated
    • 1 tbsp garlic grated
    • 1/2 tsp white pepper
    • 1/2 tbsp shaoxing wine
    • 1 egg white
    • 2 cups coarse sweet potato flour
  • Seasoning
    • 1/2 tsp five spice powder
    • 1/2 tsp white pepper
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • Misc Ingredients
    • 1 cup fresh basil (Thai or regular basil)

What is Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken?

Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken is a super popular street food snack! If you’ve never had these crispy, juicy pieces of chicken, here are its key characteristics:

  1. Bite-Sized Delight: Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken features small, bite-sized pieces of tender chicken, making it a convenient and satisfying snack.
  2. Irresistible Crispiness: The chicken is deep-fried to perfection, resulting in a crispy and crunchy exterior that contrasts beautifully with the juicy meat inside. This is the result of using coarse (thick) coarse sweet potato flour as the dredge which gives it its unique exterior!
  3. Flavorful Marinade: The chicken is marinated with a mix of spices and seasonings, which imparts a savory and aromatic flavor profile, often with hints of garlic, five-spice powder, and more.
  4. Seasoned to Perfection: It is traditionally seasoned with a combination of salt and pepper, delivering a harmonious balance of savory and spicy notes that tickle the taste buds.
  5. Street Food Sensation: Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken is a popular street food in Taiwan and has gained a global following for its addictive taste, making it an iconic snack in Taiwanese cuisine.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long should I marinate the Air Fryer Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken?

  • After seasoning the chicken, you will ideally want to marinate the chicken pieces for at least 30 minutes covered in the fridge. You can marinate the chicken for up to overnight, and I would not marinate for more than 24 hours. Doing so will result in juicy, flavorful chicken that is perfect for frying!

Can I substitute the coarse sweet potato flour?

If you can’t find coarse sweet potato flour, I recommend the following substitutions:

  • Cornstarch
  • Potato Starch
  • Rice Flour

What type of oil spray should you use to air fry?

When making Air Fryer Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken, you will want to use a neutral tasting oil that has a high smoke point. Here are a few different types of oil that fit that profile and are perfect for frying:

  • Avocado Oil
  • Peanut Oil
  • Canola Oil
  • Vegetable Oil

Top Tips for Making the Best Air Fryer Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken

Here are a few of my top tips for making sure your Air Fryer Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken comes out delicious every time!

  1. Marinate for Flavor: Allow the chicken pieces to marinate in a well-seasoned mixture for at least 30 minutes or longer. This step is essential for infusing the chicken with a rich, savory flavor.
  2. Use High-Quality Chicken: Opt for boneless, skinless chicken thighs, as they are juicier and more flavorful than breast meat. Cut them into uniform, 2 inch bite-sized pieces for even cooking.
  3. Crispy Coating: Achieve an extra crispy and crunchy exterior by using coarse sweet potato flour. The combination of these starches creates the signature texture of Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken.
  4. Double (Air) Fry: First air fry once at a lower temperature (350F), then flip and spray the other side. For the 2nd fry, crank the heat to 400F to finish off the chicken.
  5. Seasoning Balance: After frying, season the chicken with a generous sprinkle of the seasoning mix. Achieve the right balance of flavors to suit your taste preferences, and serve the popcorn chicken hot for the best experience.

If you liked this Air Fryer Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken recipe, check out some of my other popular meat and side dish recipes!

If you tried this Air Fryer Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken or any other recipe on my website, please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how it went in the comments below!

Want to save this recipe?
Just enter your email and get it sent to your inbox! Plus you’ll get new recipes from us every week!
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.
5 from 145 votes

Air Fryer Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken

Servings: 4
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Air Fryer Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken in a bowl
You loved my Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken recipe, so I had to develop an Air Fryer Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken that came out JUST as crispy as the regular version! The chicken is juicy and delicious, with my tips for making the air fryer popcorn chicken below! You'll love the crispy texture – I guarantee it!

Equipment

  • Air Fryer I recommend this high capacity air fryer because it's easy to clean and completely nonstick
  • Neutral Oil Spray For cooking spray, I always use a neutral oil spray such as avocado or vegetable oil

Ingredients 

Instructions 

  • Cut 1 lb chicken thigh into similar sized 2″ pieces.
  • Marinate chicken pieces with soy sauce, grated ginger, grated garlic, white pepper, Shaoxing wine, and an egg white. Mix to combine and marinate for at least 30 minutes (up to 24 hours) in the refrigerator.
  • Mix together five spice powder, white pepper, salt, and sugar. This will be your seasoning. Set aside.
  • Dredge marinated chicken in sweet potato flour and pack well, leaving no bald spots.
  • Spray the chicken pieces with a neutral oil spray. Spray the air fryer basket then place the chicken pieces on a single layer. Air fry the chicken at 350F for 10 minutes. Give the chicken a flip, then spray the other side with more neutral oil spray.
  • Air fry again, this time at 400F for another 6-8 minutes until golden and crisp.
  • Wash and pat the basil leaves dry. Spray both sides with a neutral oil spray and air fry at 400F for 2 minutes until crispy and wilted.
  • Sprinkle seasoning on chicken immediately after air frying, serve with crispy basil and enjoy!

Notes

  1. Be sure to lay the chicken on the rack in a single layer. Try to avoid having the chicken touch each other to allow for maximum crispiness!
  2. Be generous with the neutral oil spray when spraying the chicken. This is needed to achieve a crispy exterior.

Nutrition

Calories: 18kcalCarbohydrates: 2gProtein: 2gFat: 0.2gSaturated Fat: 0.01gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.05gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.1gSodium: 806mgPotassium: 57mgFiber: 0.4gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 318IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 18mgIron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Chinese
Tried this recipe?Mention @cj.eats_ or tag #cjeatsrecipes!

About CJ

I’m a third generation Chinese-American home cook who has always loved cooking & eating! Welcome to my food blog, where you can find trusted, tested, easy & approachable recipes for the everyday home cook that taste delicious! I am so glad you're here!

You May Also Like:

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




115 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    The batter / coating is a blank canvas to use in every other popcorn recipe! loved the taiwanese popcorn seasoning on it too! mighty repeatable!