Baked Honey BBQ Popcorn Chicken

Easy, crunchy, sticky, saucy chicken poppers that are coated and baked, not fried.

I like to think I’m a PRO at football snacks. I would be play in the snack Super Bowl every year if there was a snack Super Bowl. This is not meant to brag; I’m just a very good football snack maker! And one of my all-time, kick you in the pants (?) football snack to make is popcorn chicken. Actually, it’s these cheesy bacon jalapeños, but you already knew that. Second place is popcorn chicken aka little breaded chicken bites that are super juicy on the inside, crunchtastic on the outside, and served with an array of dipping sauces including but not limited to ketchup, honey mustard, and BBQ sauce.

Sorry ranch dressing.

Baked Honey BBQ Poppers!! Easy, crunchy, sticky, saucy chicken poppers that are coated and baked, not fried. Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Baked Honey BBQ Poppers!! Easy, crunchy, sticky, saucy chicken poppers that are coated and baked, not fried. Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

And guess what?

I bake my popcorn chicken! No frying here, sista.

I love homemade popcorn chicken and one of my favorite varieties to make is this honey BBQ version. Basically plain popcorn chicken bites submerged in a tangy and sweet honey BBQ sauce while they’re still warm. The sauce is sticky and its flavor sinks into that crispy popcorn chicken breading. It’s all absolutely incredible and you don’t even need a dipping sauce! Which says a lot considering condiments make up 95% of my refrigerator. And cookie dough chilling would be the other 5%.

#myfridgeisweird

The breading! It’s easy peasy stuff. There are 3 layers of breading. But don’t get scared, it’s all super simple. First you’ll need flour. The chicken pieces will get a coating of flour prior to taking a dunk in egg. The flour helps the egg stick, the egg helps the crunchy coating stick. So, you’ll have a few bowls happening on your counter but I promise the clean up is a cinch.

How to make honey BBQ popcorn chicken

For a super crunchy and thick coating– we’re going to use crushed corn flakes cereal. The cornflake crumbs will be mixed with some seasonings for added flavor like salt, pepper, smoked paprika (YES!!), and garlic powder. It’s all very yum.

Then you’ll bake the popcorn chicken until super crisp. Usually just under 20 minutes or so, but keep your eye on them. If your bites are cut very small, it might only be about 15 minutes. Use your best judgment. These are hard to mess up.

Look how golden and crisp. ↓ ↓

How to make honey BBQ popcorn chicken

The honey BBQ sauce is nothing more than these 3 ingredients: your favorite BBQ sauce, honey, and a little ketchup. It’s all warmed together over the stove to sort of thin it out, then poured over the warm chicken. Give it a toss, taste test, and GASP you’ve met your new favorite game day snack. Also works perfectly as an easy dinner option served with sweet potato fries. And, I’m being super serious here, is really good on salad. Chopped up on top of a lettuce/tomato/cucumber/bacon crumble/shredded cheddar cheese action. Good glory! It’s fantastic.

Baked Honey BBQ Poppers!! Easy, crunchy, sticky, saucy chicken poppers that are coated and baked, not fried. Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Baked Honey BBQ Popcorn Chicken

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 cup (125g) all-purpose flour
  • 5 cups (140g) corn flakes cereal, crushed lightly
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ cup (60ml) milk

Easy Honey BBQ Sauce

  • 3/4 cup (222g) your favorite BBQ sauce (I like Sweet Baby Rays Original)
  • 1/4 cup (80g) honey
  • 1/4 cup (68g) ketchup

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F (204°C). Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Set aside.
  2. Place the bite-sized pieces of chicken in a large bowl. Add flour and stir to coat each piece. Set aside.
  3. Place the corn flakes, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and smoked paprika into a large bowl. Set aside. Whisk the eggs and milk together in a small bowl.
  4. This next step gets your hands a little messy so have paper towels nearby. Dip each piece of chicken in the egg mixture, letting any excess drip off. Then generously roll in the cornflake mixture, shaking off any excess. Place onto the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with all chicken bites.
  5. Bake for 18 minutes, flipping once at the 9-10 minute mark. (During this time, I make the sauce in step 6.) Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
  6. Heat the sauce ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat for 6-7 minutes, whisking occasionally.
  7. Carefully place the chicken bites into a large bowl. Pour the warm honey BBQ sauce on top and gently stir to coat. Serve warm. Leftovers keep well in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Reheat in the microwave until warmed through.

Make ahead tip: Prepare the popcorn chicken through step 4. Refrigerate for up to 1 day before continuing with step 5. You can also freeze the baked popcorn chicken before tossing in the honey BBQ sauce. Bake frozen popcorn chicken in a 350°F (177°C) oven for 20 minutes or until warmed through.

Recipe Notes:

You can leave the popcorn chicken plain. Simply add a little more seasoning (salt, pepper, smoked paprika, and garlic powder) to the cornflake mixture and leave off the honey BBQ sauce.

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© Sally’s Baking Addiction. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.

Three things for you!

1) Did you see that I’m currently expanding Sally’s Baking Addiction? Click here for more information and how to apply. I can’t wait for you to be part of this team!

2)  See you tonight, Philly! The 2016 book tour officially begins tonight. I’ll be all over the place the next two weeks: Boston, NYC, San Fran, San Diego, and the LA area. See you soon!

3)  Guess what? I recently made buffalo popcorn chicken too! I shared the recipe on People last week. You have to try these.

Buffalo Poppers!! Easy, crunchy, sticky, saucy buffalo chicken poppers that are coated and baked, not fried. Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Baked Honey BBQ Poppers!! Easy, crunchy, sticky, saucy chicken poppers that are coated and baked, not fried. Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com
Baked Honey BBQ Poppers!! Easy, crunchy, sticky, saucy chicken poppers that are coated and baked, not fried. Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

113 Comments

Comments

  1. Anna on March 17, 2017 at 7:09 am

    Hi! This looks delish! <3 However, I don't have an oven… any alternatives on how to cook?

    • Sally on March 17, 2017 at 9:10 am

      You could fry up in a skillet with some oil instead.

  2. Tova on May 25, 2017 at 3:13 pm

    Can you use bread crumbs instead of cornflake crumbs?

    • Sally on May 26, 2017 at 8:06 am

      They won’t be as crunchy/crisp, but yes!

  3. Savannah on June 19, 2017 at 3:15 pm

    Hi! I just made this and it was a HUGE success. One question: If I coat the chicken with the sauce and have it for leftovers, will the born flakes be soggy the next day?

    • Savannah on June 19, 2017 at 3:28 pm

      *corn

    • Sally on June 20, 2017 at 12:04 pm

      Not quite as crisp as day one, but not soggy either.

  4. Felicia on June 30, 2017 at 6:18 am

    This chicken is very good. I was surprised how crispy it came out. My kids loved it. Plain or with sauce its very good. 

  5. Boyan Minchev on July 4, 2017 at 2:49 am

    This is one of the best Chicken recipes I’ve seen in a while, amazing dish. Thank you for sharing this delicious recipe with us.

  6. Tamira on July 7, 2017 at 10:20 am

    That looks delicious! Many thanks for site. Awesome idea. Have a great day!

  7. Christina on September 9, 2017 at 9:20 pm

    Fantastic chicken recipe but not sure what to serve with it?

    • Sally on September 10, 2017 at 9:28 am

      Baked French fries, corn on the cob, oven-baked potato wedges, salad, rice, veggies? 🙂

  8. Alia B on September 11, 2017 at 7:07 pm

    I had to double the recipe but these were delicious! I actually poured the sauce over them and baked them with the sauce at 400 for 5 minutes! It thickened the sauce and gave the top an extra crispy coat! Yummy!

  9. Sabrina on September 12, 2017 at 12:54 pm

    Do you use a bbq sauce plus the honey and ketchup or do you use one or the other?

    • Sally on September 12, 2017 at 12:57 pm

      the 3 ingredients– so the honey, BBQ sauce, and the ketchup

  10. Kristina Juarez on October 6, 2017 at 7:39 pm

    Just made this tonight and it was a huge success. One of my daughters said this needed to be a weekly recipe!
    I was wondering if you have the calorie count?

  11. Emilie on December 5, 2017 at 11:58 pm

    Can’t wait to try!

  12. Tatjana Kriger on April 30, 2018 at 11:49 am

    Can you use almond milk instead of cow milk?

    • lindsie on May 29, 2018 at 3:55 pm

      yes you can I use rice milk and it is so good

  13. Dayana G on May 9, 2018 at 12:22 pm

    Do you think this would work with Panko bread crumbs?

    • Sally on May 9, 2018 at 9:34 pm

      Hi Dayana! The crunchy texture comes from the cornflakes cereal. You wouldn’t have the same exact result if breading with Panko.

  14. Julie on June 12, 2018 at 10:56 pm

    Sally,
    Thank you for another delicious recipe! My family of six, including some very picky, I mean selective, eaters, ALL ate this for dinner tonight. That’s a huge win for this mama. We’ve always loved your desserts. I can’t wait to try more of your dinner recipes.

    Thank you so much!! God bless you!

  15. Danielle on July 14, 2018 at 2:45 am

    Would this do well frozen for a month? I’m making freezer meals and wondering if I should add this to the freezer meal rotation! I really loved the recipe fresh. Let me know ASAP and thank you for a delicious recipe!

    • Sally on July 16, 2018 at 10:45 am

      I freeze them all the time, yes!

Reviews

Questions

  1. Tatjana Kriger on April 30, 2018 at 11:49 am

    Can you use almond milk instead of cow milk?

    • lindsie on May 29, 2018 at 3:55 pm

      yes you can I use rice milk and it is so good

  2. Dayana G on May 9, 2018 at 12:22 pm

    Do you think this would work with Panko bread crumbs?

    • Sally on May 9, 2018 at 9:34 pm

      Hi Dayana! The crunchy texture comes from the cornflakes cereal. You wouldn’t have the same exact result if breading with Panko.

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