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June 16, 2012

by Alyssa

Gluten-Free Popcorn “Fried” Chicken

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Fried Chicken {gluten-free} | Queen of Quinoa

What better way to celebrate Father's Day than with an American classic? Fried chicken and beer {gluten-free in this case}. It's a fabulous combination, loved the world round, plus it's quick and easy to prepare. A perfect Dad meal.

But we're not ones to go out and buy a big ol' bucket of popcorn chicken from the Colonel, to celebrate with Dad. Oh no, it's time to whip up a batch of our very own {and super healthy}, gluten-free fried chicken.

Fried Chicken {gluten-free} | Queen of Quinoa

I wish I had a funny, heart-warming story to tell about how fried chicken and my dad go hand-in-hand, but to be honest we aren't a family that ate fried food. We never ate fast food {except for long road trips when my little brother was a super picky eater}, because my parents knew what it would do to our bodies. They made a decision to raise us on healthy food, teaching us the importance of using natural ingredients, guiding us to be conscientious and smart about our food choices.

At the time my brother and I resented this way of life. We wanted what other kids had in their lunch boxes – white bread with jiff and smuckers, not seedy whole grain bread with teddy peanut butter and organic raspberry jam. But today? I can't thank them enough. They have shaped me into the vegetable loving, health food craving, cooking obsessed, Queen of Quinoa that I am today. My parents are my rock.

To celebrate Father's Day, I've given you a little peak into my dad's world, my family and what makes him smile.

Happy Father's Day | Queen of Quinoa

My dad is an outdoors man through and through. He loves spending time in nature, surrounded by trees, animals and birds. He's an Ornithologist {he studies birds – specifically the Bicknell's Thrush} and always has binoculars around his neck. He has taught me to appreciate the environment, to be thankful for the beauty around us and that we all need to do our part to protect Mother Nature.

So now you must be wondering, how does this story, or me telling you about my dad, tie into fried chicken? I mean come on, he studies birds and here I am talking about cooking one {don't worry we're not vegetarian at home}.

Really, this recipe reminds me of him because it would be the perfect picnic dinner. One of the things I love about going home in the summer is eating outside with my parents on our deck, with a fire blazing in our outdoor fire pit. This meal is easy to make, doesn't require many ingredients, is healthy and not even fried at all. In fact, I'll let you in on a little secret: it's baked!

Gluten-free Fried Chicken | Queen of Quinoa

Air Fryer Popcorn Chicken

This air fryer popcorn chicken is crunchy on the outside and moist on the inside. It's gluten-free, dairy-free, and takes less than 20 minutes to make.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 4 minutes
Total Time 18 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 309kcal
Print Pin
A serving tray of popcorn chicken garnished with parsley, with a bowl of dipping sauce
5 from 1 vote



  • Preheat the air fryer to 400°F.
  • Place the cornflakes in a zip-top plastic bag. Mash into a coarse, sandy texture. Transfer to a large plate.
  • On a separate plate, combine the coconut flour, paprika, chili powder, and ½ teaspoon salt.
  • Beat the egg and milk in a medium bowl with ½ teaspoon salt.
  • Working one at a time, dip each chicken piece first into the coconut flour, turning to coat on all sides, then into the egg mixture, and finally into the cornflakes, pressing to adhere the cereal to the chicken.
  • Spray the breaded chicken with nonstick spray. Arrange as many as will fit in the basket of the air fryer, leaving space between each piece.
  • Air fry for 8 minutes, flipping halfway through, until the chicken is cooked through and registers 165°F on an instant-read thermometer.


Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Reheat in the oven, toaster oven, or air fryer. 


Calories: 309kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.02g | Cholesterol: 113mg | Sodium: 824mg | Potassium: 522mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 645IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 56mg | Iron: 2mg


Happy Father's Day to the greatest dad on earth. I love you with all of my heart! 

And to all you other dads out there – happy Father's Day to you!



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About Alyssa

Hey there, I’m Alyssa Rimmer, a certified Holistic Nutritionist, yoga-lover, dog mom, and founder of Simply Quinoa. It’s nice to meet you! I created SQ as a way to provide solutions for women just like me, who were struggling to find helpful information about how to live a healthy and fulfilled life. My hope is that you will find inspiration here on SQ – in my story, in my recipes, in the hundreds of wellness articles, and in our amazing community. Welcome!

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  1. This is just a suggestion for Rebecca. I have used buttermilk to dip chicken in and then continue with the recipe. Works very well.

  2. Great idea to use corn flakes for coating the chicken! Sounds like a great gluten free recipe – will have to try !

  3. Thanks Alyssa, will give them a go & see how they turn out. I did see a suggestion on a vegan website to mix water & cornflour and dip in that prior to dipping in the crumb mix so may try both ways. x

    • Hi Rebecca – I’ve never tried crusting these with anything but the eggs, but I’m guessing you might be able to just skip it all together. You may not get the ingredients to stick as much, but it should still work. Let me know how it turns out or if you have any questions. I’ll be testing an egg free version for you this week 🙂

      xo Alyssa

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  6. That is a very sweet tribute to your dad! Although my parents didn’t serve what I now consider “healthy food” when I was growing up, I did kind of resent the whole wheat bread when other kids had white bread. But, like you, it shaped me into who I am today. Yay for parents who actually care what their kids are eating!

    • Thank you, Jane! We are lucky to have had parents that made those decisions for us. It makes me realize how important it is and I will definitely raise my kids on the same healthy foods that I had when I was little.

  7. Wow, these nibbles look tasty. I used to make an oven-fried chicken with corn flakes, Parmesan cheese, and cayenne. I like the idea of using coconut instead.

    These bites and a quinoa salad would make a delightful picnic.

    • Thanks Tammi! Yes, they are delicious and the coconut adds an awesome flavor. We had a chili lime quinoa salad on the side – perfection 🙂


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