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"A while ago, I made popcorn shrimp with popcorn. Everyone loved it, except for my friends who don't like seafood. This chicken version is for them." – Rach

Rach's Tip: Make your own White Cheddar Popcorn! Simply pop a cup of kernels in a covered pot according to package directions then toss with ½ cup white cheddar cheese powder.

From Rachael Ray In Season, Summer 2020.


For the Popcorn Fried Chicken:
  • 2 pounds chicken tenders
  • 2 quarts canola oil, for frying
  • 1 cup flour
  • ½ cup cornmeal
  • 3 tablespoons Old Bay Seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons dried lemon peel or finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper or other ground hot chile powder
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce (Rach's go-to is Frank's RedHot)
  • ½ cup finely chopped fresh dill and chives, for garnish
For the White Cheddar Dill Popcorn (or use store-bought as a shortcut):
  • One 8 ½-ounce bag white cheddar popcorn
  • 1 tablespoon dried dill
  • 1 tablespoon granulated garlic
  • 1 tablespoon granulated onion
  • 1 teaspoon celery seed
For the Buffalo Ranch Dipping Sauce:
  • 1 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt
  • ½ cup finely chopped fresh leafy herbs (Rach used dill, flat-leaf parsley, and chives)
  • ¼ cup hot sauce (Rach's go-to is Frank's RedHot)
  • About 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • Salt and pepper


Serves: 4 to 6


For the Popcorn Fried Chicken, cut each chicken tender crosswise into three pieces. 

Fill a deep pot with 3 ½ to 4 inches of oil and heat to 350°F (medium to medium-high heat). 

In a medium bowl, whisk flour, cornmeal, Old Bay, sugar, lemon peel, cayenne, and salt. Pour half of the flour mixture into a large resealable plastic bag; add chicken and shake to coat. 

In another medium bowl, whisk eggs, milk, and hot sauce. Shake excess flour off the chicken. Dip chicken in the egg mixture, then coat in the flour mixture left in the bowl. Working in batches, fry chicken until outside is deep golden brown and meat is cooked through, about 5 minutes. 

For the White Cheddar Dill Popcorn, in a large bowl, toss popcorn with dill and spices. 

For the Buffalo Ranch Dipping Sauce, in a small bowl, mix sauce ingredients until combined. 

Add chicken nuggets to the bowl with popcorn; toss. Top with ½ cup dill and chives. Serve with the sauce.