Chipotle Popcorn Chicken with Honey Mayo
Chipotle Popcorn Chicken is the ultimate party food. It's crispy and a little spicy and served with a side of sweet honey mayo. It's perfect for any party, snack time, or kid-friendly dinner.
Sometimes it feels so good to be bad.
A person can't be expected to eat healthy food 100% of the time. You know my love for kale salads and yummy veggies runs deep. This ‘being bad' thing isn't anything against greens; it's about indulging (guilt free!) in something that just tastes too good not to love.
Sometimes a person just needs to pull out the panko and the oil and create something crispy and insanely delicious.
These tender bites of chipotle popcorn chicken are coated in smoky chipotle flavor then crusted in panko before being fried to crispy perfection. I like to serve them with a simple honey mayo sauce on the side for dipping.
Whether it's game night, an appetizer party or just for the hell of it, you and your guests are going to love love love these.
If you haven't tried your hand at deep-frying before don't worry, it's pretty easy once you learn a few tricks. I never use a deep-fryer, so all these tips are for doing it the old-fashioned way with a pot and some oil.
Some tips for deep-frying popcorn chicken
- Use a neutral-flavored oil as the flavor of the oil will transfer to whatever you are deep-frying. I like to use grapeseed oil.
- Make sure to use clean looking oil. You can save the oil by letting it cool then straining it, but once it looks dark, it's time to discard it.
- Keep the oil at a constant temperature by keeping a close eye on the thermometer and adjusting the heat accordingly. For this recipe, you want the oil to be right about 350 degrees. It is better to have the oil a few degrees hotter before you put in the chicken as it will cool a little once the chicken goes in.
- Never crowd the pan. Adding too many pieces at once will lower the oil temperature, and the food will absorb more of the oil and end up tasting greasy.
- Between batches, use a mesh scoop to scoop out any bits in the oil. These little bits will burn and darken the oil quicker.
Some safety tips for deep-frying
- NEVER ever ever leave a pot of oil unattended. The oil will start to burn at 400 degrees Fahrenheit and will catch fire at 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Make sure whatever you put into a deep fryer is 100% dry. Any drop of water will cause the oil to splatter. I made the mistake of doing this years ago and still have scars on my right forearm to prove it. Not fun.
- Make sure the pot you are using has high sides. When you add the chicken, the oil will bubble up, and you definitely don't want it to boil over. Be very careful.
- If you have young ones around, make sure they stay away from the stove while you are deep-frying. It's not worth any potential accidents.
- Clear the area around your stove of anything combustible before you begin deep-frying.
And after all that .. don't be scared to try your hand at deep-frying! It gives you incredibly crunchy and delicious results.
And I know that deep-fried food is not supposed to be good for you, but I'm always amazed at how little of the oil is actually absorbed. Most of the oil that I put into the pot is still there when I'm finished frying. So maybe (just maybe) these aren't such a bad treat after all.
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More Delicious Appetizers:
- Sesame Pineapple Sausage Bites
- Bacon Scallop Lollipops with Honey Sriracha
- Chimichurri Steak Bites
- Sticky Thai Peanut Chicken Wings
- Mini Chicken Satay Skewers with Thai Peanut Dipping Sauce
Chipotle Popcorn Chicken with Honey Mayo
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- Oil, for frying
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, pureed
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce, gluten-free if needed
- 1 tablespoon water
- ½ cup flour, gluten-free if needed
- 2 cups panko, gluten-free if needed
- 1 lb chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons honey
- Attach an oil/candy thermometer to the side of a medium-sized pot. Pour in 2 inches of oil and heat it to 300 degrees over medium-high heat. Once the temperature reaches 300 degrees, turn the element down to medium and continue to heat the oil until it reaches 350 degrees.Oil
- While the oil is heating, prep the breading – make sure to keep a close eye on the temperature of the oil. Set up 3 bowls. In one bowl whisk the eggs, pureed chipotle peppers, soy sauce, and water. Put the flour in the second bowl and the panko in the third.2 large eggs, 2 tablespoons chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 tablespoon water, ½ cup flour, 2 cups panko
- Working with 5-6 pieces at a time, dredge the chicken pieces first in flour, second in the egg and third in panko. Keeping one hand for the egg and the other for the flour and panko makes this process far less messy. Once the chicken pieces are coated place them on a baking tray.1 lb chicken thighs
- Once the oil reaches 350 degrees, carefully drop in 7-8 pieces and let them cook for 4-5 minutes, or until they are golden brown. Test the thickest one when you remove it for doneness by cutting it in half. No pink means it's cooked through. Place the cooked chicken bites on a clean baking sheet while you cook the rest. Make sure the oil returns to 350 degrees between batches.
- To make the sauce, mix the mayonnaise and honey in a small bowl.¼ cup mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons honey
- To serve, either drizzle a little of the sauce over the top of the chipotle popcorn chicken or serve it on the side for people to dip.