Baked Honey BBQ Popcorn Chicken

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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. Some of the links above are affiliate links, which pay me a small commission for my referral at no extra cost to you! Thank you for supporting Sally’s Baking Addiction.

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

119 Comments

All Comments

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

    Thanks!

  2. Two thumbs up for this delish dish! I have 3 girls and it is RARE to get all 3 to agree and like the same meal. When we go out to eat at a restaurant, they do like honey barbecue wings so I tried this tonight and BAM-I got 3 thumbs up or 6 thumbs up from them :). Love your website b/c its a nice one stop to get both savory and sweet recipes. Thanks for sharing!!!

    From a happy/satisfied Mom

  3. Absolutely phenomenal without the downsides of frying.  Made these for the little brothers, they loved them!  Thanks so much!

  4. In the past year yours has become one of my never failing go-to food blogs. I saved this recipe when it was first published but just now got around to making them for dinner tonight – why on earth did I wait? Sooo good. With no weird and unpronounceable ingredients. I already want to make them again!

  5. Recipe was delicious and easy! I had to substitute the cornflakes with frosted flakes because that’s what I had on hand. Was still great! Thanks

  6. Made this for dinner was amazing wish I had it plan instead I substituted the paprika with Tony’s seasoning so made bit to spicy but deff happy to have found a easy healthier way to make chicken! 
    Thanks!! 

  7. I just made these, GREAT RECIPE and even greater outcome. I used honey corn flakes, and I didn’t have honey but it tastes perfect!!!! LOVE

  8. What alternatives can we use instead of the corn flakes? Only asking since I’m wanting to whip this up at home and I don’t have any corn flakes!

  9. This looks fantastic! I’ve been craving honey BBQ wings lately, and then I saw this! I will totally give this a try as is, but also wondering if you have ever tried egg beaters (fat free) for the coating or if it doesn’t cook up right? I’m always looking at ways to cut fat! Thanks for sharing!

  10. Made these for supper and had salads and mashed potatoes and that popcorn chicken was a hit! Thanks for a great savory recipe.

  11. These are fantastic. I have made them almost weekly for the last 3-4 months. Definitely a staple in the meal rotation now. I serve with French fries and we like it better (and it is cheaper) than going out to eat at Buffalo Wild Wings. Thanks for the awesome recipe.

  12. Hi these look delicious and I can’t wait to try them but there’s a problem. My oven hasn’t been working for a while so I wanted to know if I could deep fry them instead/ Would that produce the same result?

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