Crispy, tender, juicy morsels of Paleo Popcorn Chicken, served alongside a quick-and-easy Honey Mustard sauce. How good does that sound on a Tuesday night? Try serving it with some Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges and a side salad of choice.
Thanks to the arrowroot starch and cassava flour, this Paleo Popcorn Chicken is both grain-free and gluten-free. Though the ingredients for the chicken are Whole30-compliant, this would definitely be considered SWYPO and off-limits during your round. The Honey Mustard also has a bit of honey in it (obviously), which is off-limits as well.
Nevertheless, the Popcorn Chicken and Honey Mustard are both Paleo-friendly and great for life after Whole30. I also have a feeling they’ll be kid-approved!
Feel free to substitute chicken breast if that’s what you have on hand. I had thighs so that’s what I used. I also tend to prefer dark meat if given the choice and I was not disappointed here. The chicken turned out super juicy and delicious.
Here are a couple of tips that will help ensure the crispiest Paleo Popcorn Chicken:
Be sure to only dredge the chicken immediately before frying. Alternative flours like arrowroot starch and cassava flour tend to get gummy after they come into contact with moisture. Working in batches will help prevent the breading from turning soggy.
Use a 10-inch non-stick skillet. Sure, cast-iron retains and distributes heat better than non-stick, but it also absorbs some of the oil, resulting in some waste. As for the size of the pan, using a smaller skillet will force the oil to rise up along the sides of whatever you’re cooking, which means you can get away with using less oil altogether.
Work in batches. Overcrowding the pan with chicken will cause the temperature of the oil to drop, which will result in a soggy and greasy finished product.
Paleo Popcorn Chicken with Honey Mustard
For the Honey Mustard
- ¼ cup Whole30 or Paleo compliant mayonnaise
- ¼ cup Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons grainy mustard
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
For the Popcorn Chicken
- ½ cup arrowroot starch
- ½ cup cassava flour
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- kosher salt and freshly-cracked black pepper
- 2 eggs
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1.5 lbs chicken thighs cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1/3 cup avocado oil
- ½ lemon cut into wedges, for serving
For the Honey Mustard:
- In a bowl, combine the mayo, Dijon, grainy mustard, honey
For the Popcorn Chicken
- Place the arrowroot starch, cassava flour and eggs into three separate mixing bowls. Season the cassava flour with the paprika, onion powder, and a ¼ teaspoon each of salt and pepper and stir through to incorporate. Add 2 tablespoons of water to the eggs and whisk vigorously until frothy.
- Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Dredge the chicken in the arrowroot starch, then dip into the egg wash, and finally dredge in the seasoned cassava flour.
- Heat a 10-inch non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the avocado oil and heat for 1 to 2 minutes, or until it reaches 350F. Shake off any excess breading from the chicken and carefully add it to the hot oil. Cook the chicken until it’s golden brown, about 3 minutes. Flip and cook an additional 3 minutes or until cooked through. Transfer the popcorn chicken to a plate lined with paper towel to soak up excess oil.
- Serve immediately with lemon wedges and honey mustard.