I have to say I have made many versions of keto popcorn chicken but this is far and away my favourite version. A simple spice mix coating and into the oven or the air fryer. So easy and so delicious!
Lightly crumbed chicken in fry basket.

Low Carb Chicken Popcorn Tenders

I have made more than a few varieties of keto popcorn chicken in my time. A little bit of a grown-up version of keto chicken nuggets, keto popcorn chicken is always pretty simple and pretty damn tasty too.

Keto popcorn chicken is a low-carb twist on a beloved classic. Tender chunks of chicken are coated in a flavorful blend of whey protein isolate and spices, and fried to golden perfection.

This crunchy and satisfying snack or meal is not only keto-friendly but also a crowd-pleaser for anyone looking to enjoy the taste of fried chicken without the carbs. It’s perfect for satisfying those cravings while staying on track with your low-carb lifestyle.

Related Recipes: Chicken Piccata Milanese / Easy Keto Chicken Wings

What You Will Love about this Recipe


  • KID FRIENDLY – kids will love this KFC – keto fried chicken recipe. It is tasty and a lot like the usual chicken nuggets or fried chicken tenders they love.
  • HEALTHY – being gluten-free and grain-free these tenders a tasty, easy and healthy dinner.
  • INEXPENSIVE – budget friendly and easy to make ahead. Save on cooking extra meals for the lunchbox and use up seasonings that might otherwise expire in the pantry.
Mad Creations Keto Popcorn Chicken rin a cone in mans hands

Dave doesn’t mind a little popcorn chicken from time to time. hehe!

The Ingredients

  • Chicken Breast Fillets – use boneless skinless breast fillets or boneless skinless chicken thigh fillets for this recipe. You can use chicken tenders instead.
  • Whey Protein Isolate – helps give a fine crispy coating to fried or baked chicken. Pea Protein Isolate or Egg White Protein Powder can be used for a dairy-free option. Almond flour or Pork Rinds can be used as a possible substitute, however, it does make the chicken pieces more crumbly and higher in carbs.
  • Spices – use any of your favorite spices to flavour the chicken tenders. Try our Cajun Spices, Southwest Spices, Chermoula Spice Blend, or Ranch Seasoning for some very tasty alternatives.
Mad Creations Keto Popcorn Chicken in a small fryer basket

How To Make It

Step 1. Mix all seasonings together with whey protein isolate in a large bowl.

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Step 2. In a large bowl, lightly whisk eggs with Dijon mustard and add chicken pieces. Toss to coat.

Step 3. Heat oil in a saucepan over high heat. Dredge chicken pieces in spice mix and fry in batches. Chicken should only take 3-4 minutes to go lightly golden and cook through. Drain on paper towels. Season with extra salt flakes and serve with favorite dipping sauce.

Tips & Tricks

  • Dredge as you go and place immediately into the hot oil. It is best to coat in the WPI shortly before frying.
  • Do not overcrowd your pan.
  • Depending on oil and temperature the chicken cooking times can vary. Check a piece after it has gone a nice golden colour to see if it is cooked through. If you have cut all the chicken at the same size then cooking times will be consistent.
Crumbed chicken in frying basket

FAQs

What oil do I use to fry the popcorn chicken?

For frying, I use light taste olive oil. Although it is not a high smoke point oil it leaves the chicken tasty without an oil taste. Plus the colour of the chicken is perfect.

Can I bake or air fry?

You can, for sure. To air fry or bake, I would recommend adding half a cup of crushed pork rinds. It bakes better. WPI is best used for frying as it does go a bit foamy if left to rest. To air fry make sure not to overcrowd the air fryer basket. Bake until crispy on top and turn over for the last 5 minutes of air frying time.

What To Serve With It

Enjoy your keto popcorn chicken with any of our favourite side choices. Apart from a good dollop of keto mayonnaise and some Franks Hot Sauce here are a few of my favourite sauces to pair with it.

  1. Keto Sweet Chilli Sauce
  2. Sugar Free Sweet and Sour Sauce
  3. Addictive Buffalo Blue Cheese Sauce
  4. Smokey Keto Barbecue Sauce
  5. Garlic Sauce
Piece of coated chicken with mayonnaise

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Lightly crumbed chicken in fry basket.

Keto Popcorn Chicken

I have to say I have made many versions of keto popcorn chicken but this is far and away my favourite version. A simple spice mix coating and into the oven or the air fryer. So easy and so delicious!
5 from 41 votes!
Prep Time: 8 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Course: Lunch or Dinner
Cuisine: Australian Keto
Diet: Diabetic, Gluten Free
Recipe Category: Low Carb
Calories: 331kcal
Author: Megan Ellam
Servings: 4 Serves
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Equipment

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Ingredients 

  • 1/4 tsp (¼ tsp) onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp (¼ tsp) celery salt
  • 1/4 tsp (¼ tsp) dried sage
  • 1/4 tsp (¼ tsp) garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp (¼ tsp) chilli powder or cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp (¼ tsp) black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp (¼ tsp) white pepper
  • 1/4 tsp (¼ tsp) ground mustard
  • 1/4 cup (¼ cup) whey protein isolate you can substitute with almond or seed meal
  • 500 g (2 cups) chicken thigh fillets cubed
  • 2 (2) eggs
  • 2 tsp (2 tsp) Dijon mustard
  • light tasting olive oil for frying

Instructions

CONVENTIONAL METHOD

  • Mix all seasonings together with whey protein isolate in a large bowl.
  • In a large bowl, lightly whisk eggs with Dijon mustard and add chicken pieces. Toss to coat.
  • Heat oil in medium saucepan over high heat. Dredge chicken pieces in spice mix and fry in batches. Chicken should only take 3-4 minutes to go lightly golden and cook through. Drain on paper towels. Season with extra salt flakes and serve with favorite dipping sauce.

AIR FRYER METHOD

  • Mix all seasonings together with whey protein isolate in a large bowl.
  • In a large bowl, lightly whisk eggs with Dijon mustard and add chicken pieces. Toss to coat.
  • Spray with oil spray or line the air fryer with baking paper.
  • Dredge chicken pieces in spice mix and place in a single layer in air fryer. Cook at 200℃ for 8-10 minutes; turning half way. Depending on size of air fryer work in batches until all chicken is baked. Season with extra salt flakes and serve with favorite dipping sauce.

Notes

Variations:
  • Sauces: Serve with keto-friendly dipping sauces like ranch, buffalo, or sugar-free barbecue.
  • Spice Level: Adjust the level of spice by increasing or decreasing cayenne pepper.
  • Cheese Crust: Add grated Parmesan cheese to the coating for a cheesy twist.
Tips for Success:
  • Temperature Control: Maintain a consistent oil temperature to ensure crispy chicken. Use a thermometer if necessary.
  • Batch Cooking: Fry in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan, which can make the chicken soggy.
  • Draining: Place cooked chicken on a wire rack to prevent sogginess on one side.
How to Store It:
  • Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the oven for maximum crispiness.
How to Serve It:
  • Serve as an appetizer with your favorite keto-friendly dips or on top of a bed of mixed greens for a delicious salad. Try it with our Arabic Salad or Taboule Salad.
More Recipes to Try:
 
 
 

Your Own Notes

Nutrition

Serving: 1serve | Calories: 331kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 32g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 204mg | Sodium: 303mg | Potassium: 299mg | Fiber: 0.3g | Sugar: 0.1g | Vitamin A: 256IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 26mg | Iron: 1mg | Magnesium: 29mg | Net Carbs: 1g
Tried this recipe?Mention @meganellam or tag #madcreations!

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25 responses to “Low Carb Keto Popcorn Chicken”

  1. Julie

    5 stars
    Love the spices and goes really well with hot sauce.

    1. Megan Mad Creations Hub

      It sure does.

  2. Nora

    5 stars
    I tried your variation for the Air Fryer. Simply ingenious! So deliciously tasty and super easy to make! Thank you!

    1. Megan Mad Creations Hub

      Woohoo! Awesome to hear!

  3. Rob

    5 stars
    This chicken is a weekly family favorite. We make it the traditional way and look forward to it each week!

    1. Megan Mad Creations Hub

      So good to hear!

  4. The Sudden Cook

    5 stars
    Delicious! Loved the light coating:)

    1. Megan Mad Creations Hub

      Yay!

  5. Clara

    5 stars
    Delicious! I used chicken thighs. I took Megan’s advice to dredge and cook immediately in small batches so as not to be left with a slurry mess. Worked perfect. Crisp and delicious. Hubby said he loved the spice coating and very happy to have it again.

    1. Megan Mad Creations Hub

      Yay! Always a win when you get the votes in.

  6. Loz

    This looks amazing and I want to make it tonight but I’m missing the celery and sage spices do you think it will make a huge difference?
    So glad i stumbled across your site there are so many exciting things to make.

    1. Megan Mad Creations Hub

      Hi Loz, you can add whatever seasoning you love and it will still turn out great.

  7. Fiona

    5 stars
    Oh my goodness – this recipe is so simple AND delicious. I used whatever oil I had handy, and used a commercial mix of herbs and spices. Was delighted. This recipe is a keeper.

    1. Megan Mad Creations Hub

      Woohoo!

  8. Joe

    Did anyone else find there wasn’t enough breading to coat it all – or how do I get it evenly spread over the chicken? Thanks

    1. Megan Mad Creations Hub

      Hi Joe, it is meant to be a light coating but I will check when I make them again later in the week.

  9. Kim Williams

    5 stars
    This was the best!!! Great tasting popcorn chicken! Thank you!

  10. Lucy

    5 stars
    A five star dish. So quick and easy and so tasty and crinchy. And no horrible nasties like takeaway.

  11. Amanda

    5 stars
    Tried this and it was a hit with all of the family. This recipe is a definite keeper.

  12. Jenny

    Could I use egg white protein powder instead of the whey protein? Need to keep it non dairy.

    1. Megan Mad Creations Hub

      Egg white protein may work but you would have to be quick to fry (and fry only) egg white rehydrate to actual egg white when they come in contact with liquids.

  13. Lyn

    5 stars
    I have made this recipe several times and love the crispy, tasty chicken but……I find a thick sludge of WPI in the bottom of the pan!
    Is this unavoidable or am I doing something wrong?

    1. Megan Mad Creations Hub

      Just crumb as you fry and that way you should have no sludgey bits

  14. Natusha

    5 stars
    This was delicious. Loved the spice mix! Amazing chicken

  15. 5 stars
    I’m pinning and making!Love this recipe.easy and simple .i will definitely try it. One of our families favorite dinners! So easy and it tastes delicious! Thanks for a great recipe!

5 from 41 votes (29 ratings without comment)

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