Baked Honey BBQ Popcorn Chicken

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

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

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 bacon wrapped 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.

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!

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!

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

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Baked Honey BBQ Popcorn Chicken

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: serves 8
  • Category: Appetizer
  • Method: Cooking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This crunchy, saucy, and crowd pleasing baked honey BBQ popcorn chicken is the easiest appetizer or bite-sized dinner you can make!


Ingredients

  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 cup (125g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 5 cups (140g) corn flakes cereal, crushed lightly
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 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

Instructions

  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.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: 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.
  2. Plain Popcorn Chicken: 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.

Keywords: baked popcorn chicken

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

134 Comments

  1. Jessica @ Citrus Blossom Bliss says:

    Popcorn chicken bites are so magical. I love the crispy crunchiness paired with a good sauce. I’m torn on whether I want to make the buffalo or barbeque more. I guess I’ll just have to try both! I also don’t care much for football, but I do love the Puppy Bowl that Animal Planet airs every year on the same day as the Super Bowl (it’s on at 3-5 P.M. and is always a cuteness overload.) Have a great kickoff to the 2016 book tour!!

    1. The Puppy Bowl is much more my style too. 🙂

  2. Andrea @ Cooking with a Wallflower says:

    I’m addicted to popcorn chicken. They’re like the best snacks/appetizers ever. I love the crunchiness on the outside, but I always feel guilty eating them because it’s fried and oily. But these are absolutely perfect. I love that they’re baked and loaded with flavor. I mean, who can resist honey BBQ? I sure can’t. 

    1. Laura @ Raise Your Garden says:

      AGREED! And you won my heart when you said cleanup was a breeze! Popcorn chix is so expensive to buy out too and it’s deep fried not baked. So my waist, butt and thighs thank you Sally for coming through for the Superbowl. (or the Puppy Bowl like the previous writer said cause that’s where I’m at too!

  3. Sally, this looks great. But in your people recipe where do you use the blue cheese crumbles? It doesn’t say in the instructions.

    1. Oops! They’re just mixed in with the rest of the dipping sauce ingredients.

  4. Heather (Delicious Not Gorgeous) says:

    i love that these look so crispy, even though they’re baked! and that bbq sauce sounds so easy- who has time to simmer their own anyways?!?

    1. I’m all for taking shortcuts where you can!

  5. THIS LOOKS AMAZEBALLS SALLY!!!!! #dinnermadeeasy

  6. I tried it just now and I liked it! Thanks for the recipe, Sally! 🙂

    1. That was fast! Happy you like the popcorn chicken.

  7. I like the sticky crunch part of these delicious looking chicken popcorn 🙂

  8. Bring on the slow clap Sally! These sticky bites deserve it. Wear your football snack MVP award with pride!

  9. Christy Owens says:

    These sound perfect! I’ll be adding them to my game day menu. My kids LOVE popcorn chicken. 

    1. Christy Owens says:

      The buffalo sauce sounds delicious, too.
      If you ever create a garlic, parmesan and herb sauce for your popcorn chicken, I’d love if you would share it. My kids love that sauce at the restaurant, but I’ve yet to find a copycat recipe that we like. You always have the best recipes. Thanks!

      1. I’m intrigued by your suggestion of a garlic/parm/herb sauce! Sounds incredible!

  10. Jennifer @NourishedSimply says:

    I love that you use corn flakes!  I used to buy bread crumbs made out of corn flakes, but I can’t find them anymore.  My hubby loved them.  Would the popcorn chicken be as crunchy with Panko? I also have a supply of Panko in the pantry.  Sweet Baby Rays is my favorite BBQ sauce!

    1. Not as crunchy using Panko– but definitely still tasty.

      SBR’s bbq is the best, hands down. I’m obsessed.

  11. Catherine Smit says:

    YUM!!! I hope there is a big section of savory bites in your 3rd cookbook!! 🙂

  12. Leah @ Grain Changer says:

    DANG GIRL. You really are the Super Bowl snack master. These look incredible! I’m with you on being all about the snacks and not so much about the game, but with these popcorn chicken bites in front of me, I’ll watch just about ANYTHING 😉 

  13. What does the added ketchup in go is recipe do?

    1. Just adds flavor to the honey bbq sauce. It all works wonderfully together.

  14. These looks great! I never watch the super bowl but I have a deep love for popcorn chicken. They go well with a side of hockey playoffs right?? 

    1. RIGHT 😉

  15. Hubba – these look delish! You definitely get snack MVP.

  16. I want some of these crispy popcorn chicken bites right now! They look amazingly crunchy and are covered n sticky goodness. The fact that they are baked makes them a real game day winner for me. I will definitely try these soon. Whether you like football or not, you gotta love Super Bowl Sunday just for the food!

  17. I was just about to grab my salad and eat lunch…and now all I want are these bbq popcorn chicken!  Those look absolutely delish!!!  Side note, the salad dressing I brought for lunch is your Italian salad dressing, which is so yummy that’s it’s taken up permanent residence in my fridge.

    1. How amazing is that dressing? My obsession these days.

  18. Hi Sally! These look delicious!! Do you know about how many pieces yours made? Trying to decide how many batches to make along with other items!

    1. Oh gosh, it made a bunch! I didn’t count! But serves 8 as an appetizer (just a few each) but can be more of a meal for 4 people. I’d say 30-ish pieces total?

  19. If I wanted to make these dairy-free (we keep kosher) can I just leave out the milk in the egg mixture or do I need to replace it with something?
    Thanks!!

    1. You can leave out the milk if needed, Tracy. Enjoy.

  20. Michelle @ Modern Acupuncture says:

    Holy smokes these look so darn good! I’ve never used cornflakes in my breading before, excited to give it a try… and that sauce! Heaven. 

  21. These were awesome! Made them last night for dinner and the entire family enjoyed it. We liked it better with less sauce. Very crispy. It makes a ton so we can have it again for lunch. Definite keeper.

    1. Thanks for reporting back, Kathy! Appreciate it!

  22. Hi Sally! making this today for Super Bowl. I plan to cook ahead of time but am curious what you would recommend for reheating/keeping warm without the chicken getting soggy. thanks! ps: your baking recipes are the only ones ill ever follow again. made your cupcakes and frosting this weekend too, to die for! 

  23. I suddenly got a bad case of the munchies!

  24. Hiya! I am so thankful for this recipe! I can’t eat packaged wings or most restaurant wings due to a soy allergy, and I wasn’t sure how to make them with a breading and not be soggy. You so nailed this recipe! I have not found a recipe on your site that my family doesn’t love! I made these Sunday during the super bowl for hubby and I and he loved them. I made a double batch so we had honey bbq and buffalo style. Amazing. Thanks for sharing this one. 

    1. I’m so glad you can depend on my recipes, Dawn! And that you guys loved these BBQ chicken bites!

  25. I Made these last night and my goodness these were really tasty couldn’t stop myself from eating them all thank you sally for sharing your delicious as always recipe long time fan here 

  26. These are the real deal!! I made them about an hour before serving and threw them in a baking dish uncovered into the toaster oven to keep warm, then poured over the DELICIOUS honey bbq sauce before eating. I have tried other recipes that claim to make crispy chicken bites but this absolutely blew me away. I love that I can always count on your recipes, whether sweet or savory, to be spot on. Thanks, Sally!!!

    1. Thanks Lauren! I have no doubt these were a hit with you. I’ve made them a dozen times because I can’t get enough. Thanks for reporting back!

  27. These were delicious! It was easy enough and I had all the ingredients on hand, so this one gets an 10 out of 10 from me! So refreshing to see recipes using chicken, eggs and milk in the ingredients! Wholesome, healthy and very satisfying. Thanks for the recipe! – from a very appreciative (newly married and new to cooking!) dairy farmer 

    1. SO happy you love the baked honey BBQ popcorn chicken Danielle!

  28. Just made these tonight! I can’t begin to tell you how delicious they are. My little boy is a very picky eater unlike his little sister. He asked for thirds, yes thirds. Then he asked me if I would make them again some time for him. It made my day to find something that my little guy likes. Thank you so much Sally!!

  29. Hey I just made this using one chicken breast and it was amazing ! I added some chilli sauce to it as well to make it spicy and it was delicious, everyone ate it up within seconds , I served it with some rice and it went so well 🙂

  30. Hi Sally! These look absolutely delicious and I can’t wait to try them! Would panko crumbs work as a substitute for cornflakes?

    Thanks!

    1. Absolutely! Won’t be just as crunchy though.

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