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We love a spicy and spooky snack around here whether it’s Halloween or any day of the year, and this one is red hot...literally! Our culinary team member and resident snack master, Jeanette Donnarumma, shares her recipe for crunchy, cornflake-crusted popcorn chicken tossed in a quick Buffalo sauce.


  • Canola oil, for frying
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup cornstarch
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 cups ranch dressing, plus extra for serving (optional)
  • One 18-ounce box crunchy corn cereal, pulsed in a food processor until crushed, but not pulverized
  • 1 ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts and/or boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • One 12-ounce jar banana pepper rings, drained and dried on paper towels
  • One 12-ounce jar mild or spicy pickled jalapenos, drained and dried on paper towels
  • 4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter
  • ½ cup Frank's RedHot sauce


Serves: 6 to 8


Heat the oil in a tabletop fryer or cast-iron skillet to 350°F. Preheat the oven to 200°F. Line a sheet pan with a wire rack. 

Set out three shallow dishes on your work surface. Place the flour and cornstarch in the first dish, season with salt and pepper and use a fork or whisk to combine. Place the ranch dressing in the second dish. Place the crushed corn cereal in the third dish.  

To bread the chicken, toss the pieces in the flour mixture, dredge them in the ranch dressing, then coat them in the cereal. Place on a plate. 

To bread the pepper rings and jalapenos, repeat the process used for the chicken. Place on a plate.

When the oil is ready, working in batches, fry the chicken until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to the wire rack on the sheet pan and place in the oven to keep warm while you continue with the frying. Next, working in batches, fry the pepper rings and jalapenos until golden brown, about 1 minute. Add them to the rack with the chicken as you proceed. 

In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the Frank’s RedHot sauce and whisk to combine.  

Transfer the fried chicken, pepper rings and jalapenos to a large mixing bowl, pour the hot sauce mixture over the top and toss to combine. Serve on a platter or in a large shallow bowl (or for a Halloween touch, a parchment- or wax paper-lined plastic jack-o'-lantern or cauldron) with extra ranch dressing on the side, if you like.