In a medium bowl, add the optional salt & pepper to the flour. Next place the panko crumbs on a plate and drizzle with olive oil and lightly combine with your hands.
It's time to coat the chicken! Layout the chicken pieces, seasoned flour, bowl of whisked egg and the plate of oiled panko crumbs. Take a chicken piece and dip it in the following order:1. Flour2. Egg3. Panko crumbs
Place the coated chicken pieces in the air fryer basket in one layer. Tip: Don't overcrowd here, if there's too much, cook them in two batches. Air fry them for 12 minutes at 200°C / 400°F, flipping them over at the 6 minute mark.
Chicken - Boneless skinless chicken breasts work best here, or you use chicken thighs with the skin removed or tenderloins. You can also use other proteins such as tofu, fish or pork.
Egg - Sub with milk or butter. In a real pinch, you can also use yoghurt or tomato paste but this will alter the flavour and final result.
Flour - Regular plain, all purpose flour is what you need here! Sub with cornstarch if you're out or any other flour. This helps the egg stick to the chicken.
Panko Crumbs - These Japanese style breadcrumbs are what give the popcorn chicken that extra crispy, crunchy finish. You can get them at most supermarkets these days, or sub with regular breadcrumbs, crushed cornflakes or even polenta.
Running out of egg? Add a splash of milk to make it go further.
Storage - Popcorn chicken is best eaten straight out the air fryer. You can store them in the fridge or freezer in an airtight container. To reheat, pop back in your air fryer on a lower heat setting (around 150°C / 300°F to warm them up and avoid burning them).
To Serve - Serve with your favourite dipping sauces - we love gochujang mayonnaise, but you can also have the regulars - tomato, BBQ or aioli.
Amp up the Flour - If you want extra flavour, add it into your flour with the optional salt and pepper. Onion powder and garlic powder work really well, or you can also get creative and try celery salt, paprika, shichimi togarashi or baharat!
Flavoured Oil - Swap out the olive oil in the panko for a flavoured oil. Chilli oil, thyme oil or garlic and herb oil are all sure to give it a big flavour kick.