This crispy keto popcorn chicken is battered in a seasoned pork rind mixture then fried for a classic, homemade meal in under 30 minutes.
Who doesn’t love fried chicken? Even better when they’re poppable finger foods like these keto popcorn chicken bites. Pair them with a favorite dipping sauce like a creamy ranch dressing or a tangy BBQ sauce and you’ve got the perfect simple low-carb meal with tons of flavor.
A note about the right ingredients
There are few ingredients that make this low carb batter come together. It starts with coating your cut chicken pieces with whey powder. Traditionally you would use white flour, but by using whey protein powder, you get a zero carb alternative. I exclusively use Isopure’s whey protein Isolate unflavored, since the unflavored powder doesn’t impart any flavors to your food. I’ve used this protein powder since starting keto back in 2017 and continue to use it today. It’s also great in smoothies and I highly recommended it.
The second ingredient to get a really great crispy coating is the use of pork rind crumbs. They already have a great crunch just by themselves, so frying them up takes it up to a whole other level. I used these Pork King Good Pork Rind Bread Crumbs since they are already ground for you. They are a great ingredient to keep in your pantry and I use them in place of bread crumbs in all sorts of dishes. Plus they have different flavors that you could use to season the dish without additional ingredients! I also mixed it “bread coasting” with a little almond flour to get the right kind of consistency. If you’re looking for a nut free alternative, simply replace the almond flour with more pork rind crumbs.
Finally, to pull it all together, you’ll want to fry the nuggets in oil that won’t burn at higher temperatures. Avocado oil is great for this purpose and I use Chosen Foods Pure Avocado Oil. I find it at my local grocer and can also conveniently be found on Amazon as well. It has a neutral flavor profile and high smoke point (which is not the case with coconut or olive oil). It’s definitely my favorite cook oil of the bunch.
With the three main ingredients above, you’ll be able to pull together chicken nuggets that have a great texture and completely keto too! I know you’ll enjoy them so let me know what you think down in the comments below.
Keto Popcorn Chicken
- 1½ lbs chicken tenders cut into 1" cubes
- 29 g unflavored whey protein powder or 1 scoop
- 3 oz pork rind bread crumbs
- 2 oz almond flour
- 1½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 3 large eggs
- 1 tbsp heavy whipping cream
- 1 cup avocado oil
- Cut chicken into bite size, 1" cubes. In a medium bowl or zip bag, place chicken pieces and 1 scoop of unflavored whey powder to coat the chicken.
- In a separate bowl, combine pork rind bread crumbs, almond flour, salt, paprika, garlic powder and onion powder and mix to fully incorporate.
- In a third bowl, crack three eggs and add the 1 tbsp of heavy whipping cream. Whisk together to create an egg wash.
- Begin battering the chicken by first placing the whey coated chicken pieces into your egg wash, and then placing them into the pork rind mixture. Fully coat your chicken nuggets in the breading mixture to prep them for frying.
- In a small frying pan, heat avocado oil to a medium-high heat. Place chicken into hot oil. The oil should reach halfway up the sides of the chicken pieces. Fry the chicken in batches (3-4 batches) turning the pieces occasionally to prevent burning. Cooking time should be 4-5 minutes per batch.
- Set fried chicken nuggets on a roasted pan or cooling rack while cooking your batches. You can also keep them in a warm oven to prevent them from getting cold.
- Serve with your favorite dipping sauce.