Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken

I always look forward to weekend. Not only my chance to sleep 1 hour longer, but also to our ‘almost weekly’ ritual. For the past three months, we’ve been snacking on this every Sunday. We used to have this once in a while before; however looks like we’re addicted to it now and I have to stop this. Couple reasons – well, this is a simple snack that we all can make and it’s, of course, less expensive if we make it our own.

So, like the title said, popcorn chicken is deep-fried popcorn chicken nuggets with a thin, non-existent crispy skin tossed in white pepper and Chinese five-spice powder. I like adding basil and garlic for extra crunchiness and really brings out the flavors. They’re super delicious and very addictive.

Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken


  • 1 boneless chicken thigh/ breast, but into 1-inch pieces
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tbs soy sauce
  • ½ tbd rice wine
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼-½ cup corn starch
  • 1 tbs sesame oil
  • 1 cup sweet potato starch
  • ¼ tsp grated ginger
  • Black pepper
  • Pinch of granulated white sugar
  • Thai basil leaves
  • Thinly sliced garlic

Original Sprinkling:

  • ½ tsp chinese 5-spice powder
  • ½ tsp paprika


  1. In a large bowl, combine salt, soy sauce, rice wine, garlic, sesame oil, and ginger. Marinate the chicken over night.
  2. The next day, marinate the corn starch with chicken.
  3. In a bowl, add the sweet potato cornstarch and coat the chicken. Let it sit for about 5 mins before frying so the starch has time to stick onto the chicken.
  4. Heat oil in a frying pot over medium high heat, then deep fry the chicken in batches until golden brown.
  5. Remove from the oil and drain on a cooling rack. Turn the heat to high, and deep fry the chicken for a second time for about 10 seconds to make it extra crispy.
  6. Add basil and garlic for less than 10 seconds and let them rest on a cooling rack.
  7. Sprinkling: Combine the ingredients and coat the popcorn chicken.
  8. For Sriracha aoli: combine 1 tsp mayonnaise with 1 tbs sriracha and serve with popcorn chicken.



  1. Nami | Just One Cookbook says:

    I love Taiwanese popcorn chicken! I never made it at home, but I’d definitely give it a try. Going to Taiwan this week and I’m excited to try good Taiwanese food. 😀 Thank you for the recipe – I’ll try when I come back!

  2. This looks like a great snack! I love the use of 5 spice powder 😀

  3. Woaah these look mouthwatering.. I just read your Feasting not Fattening post but now I am craving friiied chicken hahaha.

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