Buffalo Ranch Chicken Pull Apart Bread.
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.
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.
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!
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does this recipe freeze well? I love these lil chicken bites & I would like to make a bunch at once, so I could freeze them for future use.. but only if they freeze well
So glad you have been enjoying this recipe! I’ve never frozen these, but I don’t see why that wouldn’t work well for you! xx
I can not believe how amazing this recipe is!! I put together my own version of Cajun seasoning because I can’t handle anything spicy. It was still soo yummy! The texture & flavor is honestly perfect; I just had to come back & leave a comment lol. Will definitely be adding this recipe to use for our regular meals! (:
Happy Monday!!🌞 Thanks so much for making this recipe and sharing your review, I love to hear that it turned out well for you! xx
Another great weeknight meal! We loved this
Happy Friday!! I am thrilled to hear that this recipe was a hit, thanks a bunch for giving it a go!? xT
Is it okay to omit the cheddar cheese or will that mess up the oven fries result of the chicken?
You can omit the cheese:) I hope this recipe turns out amazing for you, let me know if you give it a try! xx
These are my kids favorite! They are always requesting I make for dinner.
Awesome! Thanks a bunch for trying out the recipe, love to hear that it was enjoyed!! xTieghan
Hi! Making this tonight. Wondering what the white dip is in the pic at the back?
It’s ranch:) Let me know how the recipe turns out, I hope you love it! xx
I always end up disappointed when making breaded chicken at home because the breading comes off and it’s never as good as getting it out.. BUT this is the exception. These are REALLY good. Love the Cajun seasoning and the sauce is wow. I added these to a salad and used the honey mustard as the dressing and it was so good. Another HBH recipe I’ll be adding to the rotation. Thank you Tieghan!!
Awesome! I am so glad this recipe was enjoyed and I really appreciate you giving it a try! Have the best week:) xTieghan
I tested it two weeks ago and it was a true banger. This recipe is truly perfect !!! The seasoning is pixel : not to hot, not to blend. The chicken is soft inside and crispy outside. A true heart stroke !
So so glad this recipe was enjoyed, thanks a lot for giving it a try!! xxTieghan
Super delish! Love the cheese on the chicken and the honey mustard sauce was pure perfection! Winner winner chicken dinner!!
Happy Monday! I am so glad this recipe was enjoyed, thanks a bunch for making it! xTieghan
Made these for dinner tonight. Sad to say I didn’t do the sauce because I was in a rush. I also had to sub the flakes for Panko bread crumbs. Turned out fantastic!! My husband kept raving how good they were. I may never go to chick fil a ever again. Thanks for the wonderful recipe!!
Fantastic!! I am thrilled that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks so much for making it! Happy Friday:) xTieghan