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Sweet and Spicy Baked Popcorn Chicken on gray plate and dark wood with sliced chives and green onions

Sweet and Spicy Baked Popcorn Chicken

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  • Author: Aberdeen
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4-6 1x


A golden, crispy, and healthier bite sized game day appetizer tossed in a sweet & spicy orange glaze.


Units Scale

For the Popcorn Chicken

  • 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 cups panko
  • 1/4 cup unbleached, all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • Optional garnishes: sesame seeds, sliced chives, sliced green onion

For the Sweet and Spicy Orange Glaze

  • 2/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chili garlic sauce (add more to give the chicken more heat!)
  • 1/4 cup orange zest (about 2 medium oranges)
  • 1/4 cup sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 2/3 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1 teaspoon ginger paste or ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 1 tablespoon water


  1. Add cubed chicken to a large Ziploc bag or large mixing bowl. Pour the buttermilk over the chicken and toss until evenly coated. Seal the bag/cover bowl with Saran Wrap and place in the fridge to marinate for  30 minutes.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together Panko, flour, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika until thoroughly combined.
  3. Preheat the oven to 425˚F. Prepare two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  4. Remove the chicken from the fridge. Dredge all sides of each cube of chicken in the Panko mixture and place on the prepared baking sheets. When taking the chicken out of the bag/bowl, give it a little shake to remove any excess buttermilk.
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until cooked through (temps at 165˚F) and Panko is somewhat golden. Flip chicken over half way through baking time for optimal crispiness.
  6. While chicken is baking, make the glaze. Over medium high heat, whisk all the ingredients for the glaze together in a large sauce pan. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer for 3-4 minutes, until thickened into a glaze, whisking frequently. Remove from heat.
  7. Generously brush cooked chicken with the glaze. Garnish with sesame seeds, chives, and green onion as desired. Serve immediately.
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes