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Air Fryer Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken: A 20-Minute Healthy Snack

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Air Fryer Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken

Who says you can’t enjoy street food at home? Try air fryer Taiwanese popcorn chicken, a quick, delicious food. Just marinate the chicken, coat it in starch, and air fry at 180°C (350°F) for 20 minutes. You’ll get crispy, flavorful bites every time. It’s very easy and tasty!

Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken Air Fryer

This dish, known for its irresistible crunch and flavorful bite, originates from the bustling night markets of Taiwan. It has become a globally loved snack, and adapting it to the air fryer not only makes it a healthier option but preserves that signature texture. In this guide, I’ll walk you through a simple yet delicious crispy air fryer chicken recipe that’s perfect for anyone looking to indulge in healthy Taiwanese snacks without the guilt.

What You Need (Ingredients)

To make this air fryer Taiwanese popcorn chicken, you will need the following ingredients:

  • 500 grams chicken thigh, boneless and skinless, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup sweet potato starch (substitution: cornstarch or potato starch)
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Cooking oil spray

Necessary Equipment

To prepare this recipe, the right equipment will make the process smoother and the results more consistent. Here’s what you’ll need:

Once you’ve gathered your ingredients and equipment, you’re all set to move on to the next steps of marinating, coating, and air frying the chicken to golden perfection.

Preparation Steps

Marinate the Chicken: In a large mixing bowl, combine soy sauce, sesame oil, white pepper, sugar, and minced garlic. Add the chicken pieces and mix well to ensure each piece is thoroughly coated. Let it marinate for at least 30 minutes to infuse the flavors deeply.

Marinating chicken for air fryer Taiwanese popcorn chicken recipe

Prepare the Coating: In another bowl, mix sweet potato starch, Chinese five-spice powder, and salt. After marination, dip each piece of chicken into the beaten egg, then dredge in the starch mixture until well coated. This double coating is key to achieving that signature crispiness.

Coating marinated chicken in starch and spices for air frying

How to Make Popcorn Chicken in Air Fryer

Preheat Your Air Fryer: Set your air fryer to 180°C (350°F) and allow it to preheat for about 3 minutes. This step ensures a stable cooking temperature from the start.

Cook in Batches: Arrange chicken pieces in a single layer in the air fryer basket. Spray lightly with cooking oil to help achieve a golden color. Avoid overcrowding the basket; cook in batches if necessary.

Arranging chicken pieces in air fryer basket for even cooking

Frying Time: Cook for 12 minutes, then use tongs to flip the chicken pieces. Spray lightly again with oil and cook for another 8 minutes or until the exterior is crispy and golden brown.

Check Doneness: Ensure each piece is cooked through. The chicken should reach an internal temperature of 74°C (165°F) when tested with a meat thermometer.

Using a meat thermometer to check doneness of air fried chicken

Essential Note: For the best results, do not skip preheating, and always give your chicken space in the basket. This avoids steam from building up, which can affect the crispiness. Batch cooking ensures each piece cooks evenly and remains as crispy as possible.

Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken Nutritional Information

Taiwanese popcorn chicken made in the air fryer is a healthier alternative to its traditionally deep-fried counterpart. This method significantly reduces the amount of oil used, thereby lowering the overall fat content while still preserving the dish’s delicious texture and flavor.

Nutrition Facts

Servings Per Recipe: 4

Calories: 280 kcal

Nutrition FactsPer Serving% Daily Value*
Total Fat9 g
Saturated Fat2 g
Trans Fat0 g
Cholesterol110 mg
Sodium480 mg
Total Carbohydrate18 g
Dietary Fiber1 g
Sugars1 g
Protein26 g
Vitamin D0.1 µg1%
Calcium30 mg2%
Iron1.8 mg10%
Potassium330 mg7%

*% Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

How to Serve Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken

When it comes to enjoying air fryer Taiwanese popcorn chicken, the presentation and sides can enhance the overall experience. Here are some of my favorite ways to serve this dish:

  • Fluffy White Rice: A simple side of steamed white rice makes a perfect base that lets the flavors of the chicken stand out.
  • Noodle Dishes: Pair with light, refreshing noodle dishes like cold sesame noodles or a quick stir-fried soba for a satisfying meal.
  • Salads: Serve alongside a crisp green salad or a tangy Asian slaw to add a fresh contrast to the rich, spicy chicken.
  • Dipping Sauces: Offer a variety of sauces such as sweet chili sauce, soy sauce, or a homemade garlic aioli for dipping to add extra flavor.

Presentation Tip: Arrange the chicken on a platter garnished with sliced green onions and a sprinkle of sesame seeds to make the dish visually appealing and ready for sharing.

Storage and Reheating Tips

Storing and reheating Taiwanese popcorn chicken properly ensures it remains as delicious as when it was first cooked:

  • Storing Leftovers: Cool the chicken completely before storing it in an airtight container. It can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • Reheating to Maintain Crispiness: Reheat the chicken in the air fryer at 180°C (350°F) for about 4-5 minutes, or until heated through and crispy. This method helps restore the texture much better than the microwave.

For longer storage, freeze the popcorn chicken in a single layer on a baking sheet before transferring to a freezer-safe bag or container. It can be stored frozen for up to a month. To reheat from frozen, cook in the air fryer for about 10 minutes at 180°C (350°F), checking for crispiness and warmth throughout.

FAQs about Air Fryer Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken

Last Words

If you’re looking for a delightful twist on a classic snack, this Taiwanese popcorn chicken air fryer recipe is a must-try. Not only does it offer a healthier alternative to traditional frying, but it’s also a standout among healthy air fryer meals.

The versatility of this air fryer chicken recipe allows you to tweak the spices and coatings to match your personal taste. Experiment with different starches or marinade durations to perfect your version of Taiwanese popcorn chicken.

I would like you to give this recipe a try and share your unique variations and experiences on social media or in the comments below!

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Air Fryer Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken

Air Fryer Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken

Who says you can’t enjoy street food at home? Try air fryer Taiwanese popcorn chicken, a quick, delicious food. Just marinate the chicken, coat it in starch, and air fry at 180°C (350°F) for 20 minutes. You’ll get crispy, flavorful bites every time. It’s very easy and tasty!

  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x

Ingredients

Scale
  • 500 grams chicken thigh, boneless and skinless, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup sweet potato starch (substitution: cornstarch or potato starch)
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Cooking oil spray

Instructions

1. Marinate the Chicken: In a large mixing bowl, combine soy sauce, sesame oil, white pepper, sugar, and minced garlic. Add the chicken pieces and mix well to ensure each piece is thoroughly coated. Let it marinate for at least 30 minutes to infuse the flavors deeply.

Marinating chicken for air fryer Taiwanese popcorn chicken recipe

2. Prepare the Coating: In another bowl, mix sweet potato starch, Chinese five-spice powder, and salt. After marination, dip each piece of chicken into the beaten egg, then dredge in the starch mixture until well coated. This double coating is key to achieving that signature crispiness.

Coating marinated chicken in starch and spices for air frying

3. Preheat Your Air Fryer: Set your air fryer to 180°C (350°F) and allow it to preheat for about 3 minutes. This step ensures a stable cooking temperature from the start.

4. Cook in Batches: Arrange chicken pieces in a single layer in the air fryer basket. Spray lightly with cooking oil to help achieve a golden color. Avoid overcrowding the basket; cook in batches if necessary.

Arranging chicken pieces in air fryer basket for even cooking

5. Frying Time: Cook for 12 minutes, then use tongs to flip the chicken pieces. Spray lightly again with oil and cook for another 8 minutes or until the exterior is crispy and golden brown.

6. Check Doneness: Ensure each piece is cooked through. The chicken should reach an internal temperature of 74°C (165°F) when tested with a meat thermometer.

Using a meat thermometer to check doneness of air fried chicken

Notes

For the best results, do not skip preheating, and always give your chicken space in the basket. This avoids steam from building up, which can affect the crispiness. Batch cooking ensures each piece cooks evenly and remains as crispy as possible.

  • Author: Suborna Tanchangya
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Category: Appetizer
  • Method: Air Frying
  • Cuisine: Taiwanese
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 6 pieces
  • Calories: 280 per serving
  • Sugar: 1 g
  • Sodium: 480 mg
  • Fat: 9 g
  • Saturated Fat: 2 g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 6 g
  • Trans Fat: 0 g
  • Carbohydrates: 18 g
  • Fiber: 1 g
  • Protein: 26 g
  • Cholesterol: 110 mg

Keywords: air fryer taiwanese popcorn chicken

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