My Popcorn Crusted Chicken Nuggets with Maple Dijon Dipping Sauce Recipe

Superbowl Sunday is coming. Not that I follow sports, nor does my husband. Shameful?  I think not. We were invited to some parties where everyone cooks one thing to serve and I've also received several texts from some football wife friends requesting superbowl party appetizer recipes! So here's one. It happened completely by accident as do many of the recipes that pop into my head when I'm laying in bed at night. Regardless, they turned out great and it certainly is perfect timing!

I will admit the idea did partially come from ordering the popcorn chicken dish at Abigaels restaurant but the way they serve it is as chicken nuggets with pieces of popped popcorn as a garnish, not as a breading as I've done. The kids will love you for this as will the chicken nugget loving adults I'm pretty sure!

For those of you who would like to cut down on the calories, skip frying the pieces of chicken. Instead, spray a 9X13 pan with cooking spray and once breaded, lay the pieces of chicken out in the pan and bake on 350 for 25 minutes or so. That is the perfect way to cut down on some grease!

Popcorn Crusted Chicken Nuggets with Maple Dijon Dipping Sauce


Popcorn Chicken:

1 lb. Dark Meat Chicken Cutlets
2 Cups already popped Onion Garlic Popcorn
1 Cup Japanese Panko
3 Eggs
1/3 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil for Frying
Salt and pepper to taste

Maple Dijon Dipping Sauce:

1/3 Cup Maple Syrup
1/3 Cup Dijon Mustard
2 Teaspoons Fresh Squeezed or Bottled Lemon Juice


1. Place the popcorn into a large ziploc sealed bag. Let the air out and then seal the bag. Use a meat mallet to pound the popcorn into small bits. If you'd like, skip the whole bag and hammer idea and put the popcorn through a food processor, pulsing for 1-2 minutes or until there are small pieces of popcorn left. 

2. Mix the popcorn bits with the panko and a little salt and pepper, and create a breading station by first putting that mixture on one platter or plate and then the 3 eggs (mixed and scrambled) in another. 

3. Cut the chicken cutlets into bite sized pieces to your liking. I actually like to do this with chicken almost directly from the freezer as they are easier to cut into cubes and bread this way, when still frozen (for me). 

4. Heat 1/3 Cup or more of olive oil in a wok/frying pan over low/medium heat.

4. Dip the chicken pieces first into the egg, then into the popcorn mixture, really patting the mixture down  onto the chicken before gently dropping the chicken pieces into the simmering oil in the wok. 

5. Add 5-6 pieces of breaded chicken to the pan at a time, depending how large your pan is, being careful not to overcrowd. Fry each piece for 1-2 minutes per side, making sure they are cooked through before removing them to a paper towel lined plate. 

6. I like to put them into the oven on 350 for 15 minutes while I prepare the sauce to be sure the pieces are cooked through and stay nice and crispy until serving. Just be careful not to leave them in the oven too long, to avoid drying them out.

7. Combine the dijon mustard, maple syrup and lemon juice and use a whisk or large fork to combine and flatten out any lumps. 

8. Serve the chicken nuggets cold or warm with the sauce on the side to dip into. 

I really hope you will give my Popcorn crusted chicken nuggets recipe a try! Don't forget to leave me a comment below letting me know what it was like if you do! And feel free to tag me on Instagram or post your photo on my facebook page as well. 

Thanks so much for stopping in!

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