Switching up the average weeknight dinner with this Oven Fried Cajun Popcorn Chicken with a sweet and creamy honey mustard sauce…bar food, but healthier! Cajun breaded “popcorn” chicken bites, oven-baked, and served with an addicting creamy, sweet, and tangy honey mustard sauce. Enjoy as a healthier game day appetizer or turn into a family dinner with oven-roasted french fries and veggies. It’s fun, different, delicious, peppery, and full of flavor. This popcorn chicken is sure to be loved by all.
How much of a Super Bowl fan are you? My hope is that you’ll at least be watching the game. Because today’s recipe, as well as tomorrow’s, is very much inspired by Sunday’s game. You’d think growing up with five brothers that I’d be more into football, but the truth is that I just never got into it. I love Sunday night football because I find it comforting to hear playing in the background, it always takes me back to being a kid. Other than that it’s just not really my thing…that said I also never watch TV. Maybe I just need to give it another try?
Either way, my brothers, of course, love all things football. Same with my dad. They’re all in fantasy leagues and watch every Sunday (Monday and Thursday too). But most importantly…they live for game day food. But then…don’t we all?
And that’s where today’s recipe comes into play. I knew I needed to create a few good recipes for everyone to enjoy this Sunday. But I also wanted them to be recipes that can be enjoyed throughout the week, on any given day. Enter in this popcorn chicken. Baked, not fried, and seasoned heavily with homemade cajun seasoning.
Nothing is better than this oven fried cajun popcorn chicken. Ok, that’s too dramatic, but this recipe really is delicious. And if you love a healthier take on “bar” food you have to give this popcorn chicken a try.
Here is how you make this chicken…
I’ve made popcorn chicken before, so I had my basic breading formula down. Therefore throwing this recipe together was easy.
To start, I made my homemade cajun seasoning blend from the HBH Super Simple cookbook but added additional chili powder for a touch more spice. You can use this homemade blend or you can use your favorite store-bought cajun seasoning blend (I love this one from McCormick).
Next, bread the chicken. Toss the chicken in a little buttermilk, then coat it in finely crushed corn flakes seasoned with a good amount of cajun seasoning. The finely crushed corn flakes are KEY. They really give the chicken an authentic “fried” taste and texture, without actually frying the chicken. I’ve used this method for years and it never fails.
Tip? Pulse the corn flakes in the food processor to really break them down into a fine crumb.
Next, bake the chicken in the oven until it crisps all over. My secret is to gently dab/brush the chicken with olive oil before it bakes. This helps the coating to really crisp up nicely in the oven. You can’t skip this step, it’s crucial.
Now, on to the sauce.
You can’t have oven fried chicken without sauce. Always need the sauce. Always.
I went back and forth on three variations of this sauce. But after multiple text messages with my eldest brother, Creighton, who LOVES popcorn chicken more than anyone AND loves spicy cajun more than anyone, I landed on a creamier honey mustard sauce. He said it was a no brainer, creamy always wins.
While the chicken is baking, make the sauce. This sauce is hands down a new favorite. For one, it’s EASY. Just mix, stir, and done. It’s made using creamy sour cream, honey, mustard, more of that cajun seasoning, and just a touch of lemon. It’s extra creamy, a touch sweet, and a touch spicy. So perfect as a side with this chicken. The creaminess in the sauce makes everything heartier, but the sweetness balances out the spice.
Here is what I will note, I used sour cream, which I only recently started to use. Typically, I always use Greek yogurt in sauces. But when I was making this dish I decided I wanted to try something different. Once I used real sour cream I was hooked. It makes a really GOOD sauce. However, I did make the same sauce with Greek yogurt and found it to be creamy and delicious as well.
Another note, the sour cream (or yogurt) adds a slight tanginess, if you want something more mellow, I would suggest using mayo. I’m personally not big on mayo, but I’m sure it would be great in this sauce.
Since Creighton helped me so much with putting this recipe together, I had to send him a few pics for his seal of approval. Sadly, he’s not in town right now to actually try the chicken, but he’ll be home soon, so I will be remaking.
His response…well it made my Monday…
“That looks fire! I like how u sprinkled some sauce over top of the chicken already. To wet the appetite. Nice move.”
Got to love him. He’s always got something funny to say.
Point? This popcorn chicken is so very good. The seasoning is KEY. The sauce is KEY. I’d recommend serving with home-baked french fries and plenty of veggies on the side. Great for a weeknight, fun for game day, either way, these will be a hit!
If you make this oven fried cajun popcorn chicken, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!
Oven Fried Cajun Popcorn Chicken with Creamy Honey Mustard
Calories Per Serving: 370 kcal
Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
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- 1. Add the chicken to a gallon size zip top bag. Pour the buttermilk over the chicken. Toss well to coat. 2. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.3. Add the corn flake crumbs, flour, cajun seasoning, cheddar, and a pinch of pepper to a medium-sized bowl. Stir to combine.4. Remove each piece of chicken from the buttermilk, and dredge through the crumbs, pressing gently to adhere. Place on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat until all the chicken has been used. Make sure not to crowd your pan, if necessary use two baking sheets. Lightly brush the chicken with olive oil. Transfer to the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.5. Meanwhile, make the honey mustard sauce. Combine all ingredients in a glass jar and shake or whisk until smooth and creamy. 6. Serve the chicken topped with flaky salt, fresh chives, and honey mustard for dipping. Add ranch for a little double-dip. Enjoy!
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Honey Mustard: I use sour cream or yogurt, but for a more classic, less tangy, taste use mayo. Homemade Cajun Seasoning: mix 2 1/2 tablespoons smoked paprika, 2 tablespoons garlic powder, 1 tablespoon onion powder, 1 tablespoon dried oregano, 1 tablespoon dried thyme, 1 tablespoon chili powder, 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper, 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt, and 1 tablespoon black pepper. Makes 3/4 cup.