Honey Mustard Air Fryer Popcorn Chicken Recipe

Meals that include a hot and crunchy profile are high on our list of regular food cravings. While we could pop over to the closest KFC and pick up an order of popcorn chicken, it isn't the healthiest or most cost-effective way of satisfying that desire. Mashed recipe developer Erin Johnson brings us this mouthwatering honey mustard air fryer popcorn chicken recipe that takes the dish to the next level. 

By swapping a classic breading with crushed pretzels, this chicken is loaded with extra crunch and flavor. Additionally, using an air fryer instead of deep frying the chicken keeps the fat content low without compromising on crispiness. As Johnson shares, "This is one of my favorite ways to make popcorn chicken! It's crispy, flavorful, and all around delicious." Not to mention, it takes around 20 minutes from start to finish to whip up this recipe — who needs fast-food takeout?

Gather the ingredients for this honey mustard air fryer popcorn chicken recipe

You'll need chicken breast cut into 1-inch pieces for this dish. Kosher salt, onion and garlic powders, black pepper, mustard, and honey are used to season it. Then, crush up some pretzels for the crust. 

"I used a stone ground Dijon for this recipe, but you can use any mustard you have on hand," Johnson notes. Alternatively, she points out, "If you have honey mustard, you can also use that instead." Meanwhile, if you want to add an extra kick of heat, "use hot honey or add some crushed red pepper to your pretzels," she suggests.

Season the chicken with the marinade

Start by seasoning the chicken pieces with salt, onion and garlic powder, and pepper. Transfer the pieces to a big resealable bag or a container with an airtight seal. In a small bowl, whisk together the honey and mustard, or skip ahead if you are using honey mustard. Pour the mixture over the chicken and close the bag or container. Then shake the contents together to properly coat the chicken with the sauce.

Coat the chicken with crushed pretzels

Preheat your air fryer to 400 F. Pour the crushed pretzels into a shallow bowl. Coat the chicken pieces one by one with the pretzels, using some pressure to guarantee the crust forms well. Finish off by spraying the pieces lightly with cooking spray. 

Air fry then serve

Place the crusted chicken pieces into the air fryer basket and cook them for 12 minutes. Johnson notes that "The exact cooking time will vary based on the thickness of your chicken and the coating." To ensure the pieces are fully cooked, she recommends: "Test them with a thermometer and remove when they reach 165 degrees." 

Johnson agrees that "any dipping sauce will work," and shares, "I like to serve these with honey mustard." Store leftovers in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to three days, then "Reheat [them] in the air fryer to preserve crisp texture," as per our recipe developer.

Honey Mustard Air Fryer Popcorn Chicken Recipe
5 from 25 ratings
This honey mustard air fryer popcorn chicken features a crispy, salty pretzel crust.
Prep Time
Cook Time
popcorn chicken on fork
Total time: 22 minutes
  • 1 pound chicken breast, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ cup mustard
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 2 cups pretzels, crushed
  1. Season the chicken pieces with salt, onion and garlic powder, and pepper.
  2. Add the chicken to a large resealable bag or bowl with an airtight seal.
  3. Mix the honey and mustard in a bowl.
  4. Pour the honey mustard into the bag and shake it around to ensure the chicken is fully coated.
  5. Preheat the air fryer to 400 F.
  6. Pour the crushed-up pretzels into a shallow bowl and coat the chicken pieces, pressing down to ensure a good crust.
  7. Spray the pieces with cooking spray and air fry them for 12 minutes or until they reach 165 F.
Calories per Serving 642
Total Fat 6.8 g
Saturated Fat 1.1 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 82.8 mg
Total Carbohydrates 108.9 g
Dietary Fiber 4.6 g
Total Sugars 20.0 g
Sodium 1,612.9 mg
Protein 37.5 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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