Crispy, baked popcorn chicken served with a flavorful and cheesy chipotle cheddar dip.
1 ½ pounds chicken tenders, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 ⅓ cups corn flake crumbs, may substitute with panko bread crumbs
¼ cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon filtered water
1 large egg
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1 teaspoon black pepper, divided
1 teaspoon garlic powder, divided
1 teaspoon onion powder, divided
Chipotle Cheddar Dip
1 cup whole milk
2 tablespoons Cabot Unsalted Butter
2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
4 ounces Cabot Extra Sharp Cheddar, shredded (1 cup)
1 ½ teaspoons honey
½ – ¾ teaspoon Chipotle powder, depending on heat preference
¼ teaspoon salt
Prep: 1 hr 30 mins | Cook: 26 mins | Total: 1 hr 56 mins
Chipotle Cheddar Dip
MELT butter in a medium, deep-bottom sauce pan over medium heat. When butter is completely melted, add and whisk in the flour. Cook flour mixture while whisking frequently until it starts to thicken up, about 1 minute.
WHISK the milk gradually into flour mixture ½ cup at a time until all of the milk is added. Take care to whisk flour mixture consistently as the milk is mixed in to prevent clumps from forming in sauce.
ADD and whisk shredded cheese, honey, salt and chipotle powder into sauce until all of the cheese and seasonings are incorporated. Cook cheese sauce for 1-2 minutes stirring frequently before removing from heat.
SERVE Chipotle Cheddar Dip warm or at room temperature.
COMBINE cut chicken tender pieces, buttermilk and ½ teaspoon each of the salt, black pepper, onion and garlic powder in a large mixing bowl/container. Mix ingredients together to combine, ensuring that all of the chicken tender pieces are coated in the buttermilk and seasonings.
COVER mixing bowl/container with plastic wrap and refrigerate chicken tender pieces for 1 hour or overnight.
PREHEAT oven to 400F. Line one large or two smaller baking sheet(s) with parchment paper. Set aside.
ADD the corn flake crumbs and the remaining salt, black pepper, onion and garlic powder into a large shallow bowl or pan. Mix ingredients to combine.
RETRIEVE chicken tender pieces from the refrigerator. In a small mixing bowl, add and whisk the egg and filtered water. Pour whisked egg mixture over chicken pieces and mix to combine.
COAT chicken evenly, several pieces at a time, in corn flake crumb mixture ensuring that all sides are fully covered. Transfer coated chicken pieces to prepared baking sheet(s) and repeat process with the remaining chicken until it is all coated in crumb mixture.
SPRITZ the tops of popcorn chicken with cooking spray and bake for 7-8 minutes.
REMOVE baking sheet(s) from oven. Using kitchen thongs, flip each piece of popcorn chicken over, spritz with cooking spray and continue baking for an additional 7-8 minutes. Popcorn chicken is ready when it is fully cooked through and appears crispy with a rich golden brown color. To prevent ending up with dry popcorn chicken, take care to not over bake.
SERVE with Chipotle Cheddar Dip while still hot.
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