Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken

5 from 52 votes
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Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken is a delicious street food snack and one of my favorite ways to make fried chicken! I love the unique crispy texture and so will you!

Watch the Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken Recipe Video Below!

Ingredients for Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken

You only need a few ingredients to make this 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)
Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken close up on a stick

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.
Taiwanese popcorn chicken marinating in a bowl with seasonings and spices

How long should I marinate the 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!

What type of oil should you use to fry?

When frying 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

Can I make this in the air fryer?

Yes, you can make this recipe in the air fryer! I developed a version specifically for the air fryer – check out my air fryer version here!

Top Tips for Making the Best Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken

Here are a few of my top tips for making sure your 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. Proper Frying Technique: Heat the oil to the right temperature (around 350°F or 175°C) and fry the chicken in batches, ensuring that the oil is hot enough for a quick, golden-brown finish.
  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.
Taiwanese popcorn chicken with fried basil leaves in a bowl

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

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5 from 52 votes

Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken

Servings: 4
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 5 minutes
Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken close up on a stick
Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken is my all-time favorite street food snack and one of my favorite ways to make fried chicken! I love the unique crispy texture that's tossed with the sweet & savory seasoning mix – it's so addictive! You can find these delicious pieces of chicken all over the night markets in Taiwan, and here's an easy version you can make at home!

Ingredients 

Chicken

Seasoning

Misc Ingredients

  • 1 cup fresh basil

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.
  • Fry chicken at 350°F for 3-4 minutes; add in fresh basil at the end of cooking and fry for another 30 seconds.
  • Sprinkle seasoning on chicken immediately after frying and enjoy!
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!

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