Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken

Taiwanese popcorn chicken is a variation of popcorn chicken that takes things to another level. A few key characteristics of it is the super crispy coating and flavorful chicken. We use coarse sweet potato or coarse tapioca starch as the coating. This will create the crackling crispy bits that everyone loves. The most unique component in my opinion is the fried basil mixed in with the chicken.

Type of chicken to use in Taiwanese popcorn chicken

I always prefer chicken thighs especially when dealing with smaller cut pieces of chicken. This way it ensures you with a juicy and flavorful piece of meat. I have them cut into 1 – 1.5 inch pieces.

Chicken thighs cut

Flour for Taiwanese popcorn chicken

You will want to use COARSE sweet potato or tapioca starch. The reason we use the coarse version of these flours is because the coarse granules create another layer of crunch and texture when fried. It also gives off the signature look of Taiwanese popcorn chicken.

Sweet potato starch

Deep fried Thai basil

The addition of fried basil is something that is visually appealing but also adds umami flavor. I would compare to to adding seaweed. When frying the Thai basil it will initially pop and might cause some oil splashing so you will want to cover. But after 5 seconds There will be no more popping and you can remove from the oil.

Fried basil

The KEY to long lasting crispy chicken

You might already know this, but double frying your chicken will ensure that it stays crispy for longer. The first fry is just to cook it through, but the second one is to get it golden brown and CRISP which is why we use a higher temp.

Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken

The best type of popcorn chicken in my opinion and it is very easy to make at home.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Appetizer, lunch, Side Dish


  • 6 boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • 1 tsp five spice powder
  • 1 knob grated ginger
  • 2 cloves grated garlic
  • 1 large egg
  • tbsp corn starch
  • 1 cup coarse sweet potato or tapioca starch
  • 1 handful Thai basil leaves

Seasoning salt

  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp white pepper
  • ½ tsp five spice


  • Cut chicken thighs into 1.5 inch bite size pieces.
    6 boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • Season cut chicken with soy sauce, salt, white pepper, five spice, grated garlic & ginger, egg, and corn starch. Mix well and let marinate if you have time.
    1½ tbsp soy sauce, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp white pepper, 1 tsp five spice powder, 1 knob grated ginger, 2 cloves grated garlic, 1 large egg, 1½ tbsp corn starch
  • Using COARSE sweet potato or tapioca starch, coat all of our chicken well.
    1 cup coarse sweet potato or tapioca starch
  • Deep fry at 350F for 4 minutes. Remove and fry once more at 365F for 1 minute to get extra crispy.
  • Add Thai basil leaves into the oil to fry for 20 seconds. The oil will pop for about 5 seconds so be carful.
    1 handful Thai basil leaves
  • Toss chicken with fried basil and finishing with seasoning salt as needed.
    1 tsp salt, ½ tsp white pepper, ½ tsp five spice
Keyword chicken, chinese, fried, fried chicken, popcorn, taiwanese

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