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Brined Popcorn Chicken Recipe

Brined Popcorn Chicken

This Brined Popcorn Chicken recipe by our September Featured Chef, Michelle Daniels, is an easy, delish take on traditional Chicken Nuggets…and just as fast to make as a trip to the drive-thru. Michelle says, “Do we really need another Paleo Chicken Nuggets recipe? You may be saying in your mind or even out loud?! We hear you out there! Here’s the deal: We wanted one on our blog with our spin on one of the most beloved finger foods. Brining the chicken ahead of time adds flavor and also tenderizes the chicken. Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner! Maybe lunch or breakfast, too; we don’t mind what meal you enjoy them with; those just don’t rhyme nearly as well with “winner.” Our suggestion is DON’T SKIP the brining step! “

Brined Popcorn Chicken

By: Michelle Daniels | Back Porch Paleo | @backporchpaleo

USWM Shopping List: Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs

Prep: 20 min
Cook: 10 min
Difficulty: Relatively Easy
Servings: 4


  • 1 lb Boneless Skinless Chicken Thigh, cut up into 1 1/2” pieces (and/or chicken breasts)
  • 3/4 cup Organic Garlic Dill Pickle Gut Shots (Farmhouse Culture), Farmhouse Culture Dill gut shots
  • 1/3 cup Cassava Flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp Redmond Real Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Sumac, ground
  • 1/2 tsp Paprika
  • 1/2 tsp Dried Dill
  • 1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 Egg Yolk
  • Avocado Oil Spray

Date Ranch Dipping Sauce

  1. 4 Medjool Dates, pitted and soaked in hot water for 5 mins
  2. 1 Egg Yolk
  3. 3/4 cup Avocado Oil
  4. 2 Tbsp Yellow Mustard
  5. 1/2 cup Coconut Milk, full-fat
  6. 1 1/4 tsp Redmond Real Salt, Redmond Real
  7. 1 tsp dried Dill
  8. 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
Brined Popcorn Chicken


Place chicken in a glass container (that has a lid) and pour gut shots over to cover. Stir to make sure all pieces are in contact with the liquid. Place the lid on the container and brine overnight in the fridge for optimal flavor and tenderness.

When ready to prepare, remove the container from the fridge and allow the chicken to come to room temperature. Drain the chicken and dry it completely by laying it on a paper towel.

While the chicken comes to room temperature, prepare the coating by placing the cassava flour, salt, pepper, sumac, paprika, dill, and garlic powder in a small bowl. Toss together with a fork and set aside.

Place dried chicken pieces in a medium-sized bowl and add egg yolk, tossing with a small rubber spatula to coat. Sprinkle about half of the coating mix onto the chicken and toss again to ensure all pieces are coated. Add the remaining coating mix and toss if you like a thicker coating.

Prepare your air fryer according to the manufacturer’s directions. We spray our air fryer basket with a little avocado oil since it is stainless steel. Arrange chicken pieces so they’re not touching each other, and give them a little spritz of avocado oil.

Air fry at 350° for 5 minutes. Remove, flip, and give them another quick spritz of avocado spray. Continue baking for another 5-7 minutes or until crispy and chicken is done. If baking in the oven, bake at 400° for 20-24 minutes on a baking tray. Serve family style with Date Ranch Dipping Sauce. Sprinkle with additional paprika and fresh chives. (opt) Store any leftovers in the fridge for up to 5 days. Reheat in your air fryer for optimal enjoyment.

Dipping sauce: Place all ingredients in a tall mason jar and, using an immersion blender, begin with the tip in the bottom, blend, working your way up until the dates are fully pureed and all ingredients are well combined. Store leftovers in the fridge for up to a week.


Discover a vast array of mouth-watering recipes and expert cooking tips and recipes curated by Michelle and our other talented Featured Chefs on the US Wellness Meats Discover Blog!

Meet Michelle Daniels of Back Porch Paleo and this Month’s Featured Chef! Michelle’s journey with food began in 2013 after her youngest daughter’s health scare sparked a passion for all things culinary. Michelle is a devoted mother, wife, author, blogger, and food enthusiast. She loves spending time in the kitchen and outdoors, experimenting with new recipes and trying out various kitchen gadgets, spices, and flavors. When she’s not cooking, she enjoys spending time with her loved ones or cheering on the Red Sox. Michelle also likes to involve everyone in the kitchen while exploring different diets that promote overall health and easy digestion!