Baked Popcorn Chicken — Damn Delicious

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Baked Popcorn Chicken

A healthier alternative to the deep-fried version with the best crispy potato chip crust!! No one will believe that this is baked!

Nope. The title is correct. This is baked.

Yes, completely baked from 0 to 100.

The epic potato chip crust – DUH!

And the beauty of the crust is how many variations you can use since Kettle Brand has so many bold flavors – pepperoncini, sriracha, maple bacon, etc. – you name it.

I used sour cream and onion here but you know Sriracha is next on my list.

Then the pepperoncini….then the roasted garlic……well, let’s just say I’m making my way down the list to hit them all.

Baked Popcorn Chicken

Yield: 8 servings

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

A healthier alternative to the deep-fried version with the best crispy potato chip crust!! No one will believe that this is baked!


  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 2 cups low-fat buttermilk
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 3 cups crushed Sour Cream and Onion Kettle Brand® Potato Chips
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Coat a cooling rack with nonstick spray and place on a baking sheet; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine chicken, buttermilk, garlic, basil, oregano, thyme, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper, to taste; marinate for at least 30 minutes. Drain well.
  3. Working in batches, dredge chicken in crushed potato chips, pressing to coat. Place onto the prepared baking sheet; drizzle with butter.
  4. Place into oven and bake, turning pieces halfway through, until crisp and cooked through, about 20-25 minutes.
  5. Serve immediately, garnished with parsley, if desired.

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Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Kettle Brand. As always, I only partner with brands that I love and truly believe in, allowing me to create more quick and easy recipes to get us through the week without breaking the bank. All opinions expressed are my own.

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This looks fantastic! The pictures show some sort of dip. What do you recommend?

Looks great, have to try this. Unless I missed it you neglected to tell us what the dipping sauce is.

Love all your recipes! Really delicious and easy to follow!

Is that honey mustard for the dipping sauce? Do you have a recipe for your own?

Have you tried this recipe with whole chicken thighs and if so how long would you cook them for?

I actually haven’t – sorry!

What are you dipping this chicken in??

KFC just got owned (;

Love all your receipes..delish and easy to make…Question:What sauce are you dipping these Baked Popcorn chicken?

What is the dipping sauce? These look delicious.

Aren’t the potato chip fried?

Damn Delicious .. i really love your recipy

What type of dipping sauce?

Is that a type of mustard?

Why do you use chicken thighs vs boneless/skinless chicken breast? Looks good. Thanks

I sometimes switch from white (breast) to dark meat (thigh) because of a taste preference but it comes at a price – higher calories, fat and saturated fat. But at the end of the day, you can use either/or – it’s up to personal preference.

Kettle has some fantastic flavors to choose from! I can think of a few I’d like to try with this!

I never remember to leave comments for recipes from websites, blogs, etc. but these little chicken nuggets were seriously delicious and very easy to make. I just so happened to have time to marinate them for almost 3 hours (I didn’t have buttermilk so substituted almond milk) then followed the rest of the recipe and they were amazing. I don’t think I’ve ever cooked chicken thighs and was a little hesitant but they are so much more juicy and delicious than chicken breasts! The Kettle Brand chips (which I love anyway) add such a great crunch and flavor. My husband and I LOVED these and I’ll definitely be making them again. Thank you, Chungah, all of your recipes I’ve tried have been awesome! 🙂

I agree, these recipes are fantastic. Thanks Molly for advice re Almond Milk – I’m dairy free, it’s good to know that worked also. Cheers 🙂

You can add white vinegar to non dairy milk to create a similar effect that buttermilk has

Your recipes always filled my mouth with water …. damn awesome .. thanks for sharing

OMG! This looks absolutely delicious and I’m so glad it’s baked. I’m going to make the dip with it as well 😛

Family Loved this. Thanks. 🙂

I made this last night…the 4 kids and the hubby loved it! I cheated though and marinated in spices and buttermilk ranch overnight. The chips were fun for the kids to crunch up 🙂 Will def make this again!

I liked the overall flavor of these, but had a big problem with getting the chips to stick to the chicken bites. Those that did stick mostly fell off when I turned the chicken. Any tips?

The chicken should still be a little bit wet from the buttermilk mixture – that should help with the coating. Hope that helps!

Making this tonight, and also need to try out your homemade honey mustard. Thanks!

Just an FYI, kettle cook chips are still fried in oil, so the claim of “Yes, completely baked from 0 to 100” is a bit mis-leading. My daughter cannot have ANY fried foods, so we’re very careful and have to look for baked chicken recipes.

Anyway, LOVE your recipes, but I will modify to use baked chips. Just thought you might want to update for other people in our situation.

This looks utterly delicious, but also potentially dangerous as I would gobble this up so quickly!

I made this last night with chicken breast chunks. Marinated in homemade buttermilk for about 3 hours. This was very very good. Chicken was crunch and tender and juicy inside. Only thing I would do different (and this is my fault) I would crunch up the chips a little bit more so they would be finer and would coat the chicken a bit more. Thanks for a great dish!!

Can you freeze these?

Unfortunately, I cannot answer this with certainty as I have never tried freezing this myself – there were no leftovers left to freeze! Please use your best judgment for freezing and reheating.

These look incredible Chungah! I can’t wait to try them.

Do you have to put a cooling rack on it?

A cooling rack will help suspend the chicken as they bake, significantly uping the crunch factor! 🙂

Looking forward to making these! Do you think halving the recipe would be okay?

Stupid question….so I bake them on the cooling rack? Or on parchment paper?

You can bake these directly on a cooling rack that is placed on a baking sheet.

FYI- the reason these are so good is because the breading IS FRIED, NOT BAKED. Potato chips are already fried, which is why the breading tastes so good and crispy.

That’s totally fine- I’m all for a good fried coating. But don’t be fooled by the “healthy” claims in this post.

These are amazing! Normally when I bake breaded chicken it comes out dry, but these were perfect! Thank you!

wish these actually turned out like the picture. coating just falls off when you flip them, so you end up with steamed little nubbins of chicken. boo.

These were so yummy and moist. Mine didn’t look as golden brown as yours but that might be because I didn’t have a cooling tray to cook them on. I used a broiler pan instead but they still turned out so tasty! I matched them with a copycat Chick Fil A Sauce and some french fries made out of daikon.

Love this recipe!! I tried them tonight but I had the same issue as another commenter– the potato chip breading fell off. :(. Any suggestions on how to avoid this. I was thinking if I blended the chips in a blender or food processor maybe? Thank you for posting such a delicious recipe!

Hi, it’s delicious but it’s not baked if you’re using fried potato chips…sorry…

Yes, but the chicken is baked, right? 🙂

Here in Canada we have Miss Vickie’s chips which come in many delicious flavours including, for those of us who need to control salt intake, Unsalted. They should work beautifully with this recipe.

Oh my goodness! These look so good. I especially love that they are baked instead of fried. We don’t generally fry anything at my house so this is perfect. Can’t wait to try this recipe!

You could use corn flakes (crushed) and just add some onion powder in them for flavor.

I’m always looking for good chicken recipes that are not fried.

OMG yum. I could snak on that allll day. amazing (:

You always knocking it out of the park, and you nailed it again. I cannot wait to make these. They look so yummy and very tasty.

As a vegetarian, I wonder if I could use tofu instead of chicken ?

Yes, what a great idea!

These look amazing! I am dairy free. Does coconut or almond milk work as a buttermilk replacement? In other chicken finger recipes, I have used an egg to dip the chicken in before dipping the chicken in the flour. It’s a mess, but I think it works decently well. Which is the best option, do you think?

Unfortunately, without further recipe testing, I cannot answer with certainty. As always, please use your best judgment regarding substitutions and modifications.

My grandchildren & I made these last week. We marinated them several hours since we were busy doing other things, other than that we followed your directions exactly. They turned out wonderful. We didn’t have any problems with the chips sticking to the chicken. They looked exactly like your picture. Even though the chips are fried, they are certified gluten free, non gmo & 0 grams trans fat, all of the things are important to our family. Everyone loved them & we now have a new family favorite- thank you

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