Preheat your air fryer to 390 degrees F. *See notes about preheating tips.
While preheating, add the milk, egg and hot sauce (optional) and a medium sized bowl and whisk to combine. You could also add a pinch of salt and pepper in for additional flavor. Set aside.
In a sperate small bowl add half of the flour (¼ cup) and set aside.
In a large bowl add the remaining flour, breadcrumbs, panko and all the dried spices and stir until well distributed. Set aside.
Chop the chicken breasts into one inch cubes trying your best to make each piece the same size. Once the chicken is cubed begin breading.
One at a time dip the chicken into the bowl of just flour and coat all sides. Next dredge the same chicken bite in the egg mixture and let the excess drip off. Next, take the chicken piece and coat in the breadcrumb mixture pressing down so the breading sticks well. Place the breaded chicken on a plate and repeat this process until all the popcorn chicken is breaded.
When ready to air fry, mist the basket of your air fryer with olive oil then place the chicken in not letting any of them touch (I usually do two batches). GENEROUSLY mist the sides and tops of the popcorn chicken with olive oil then close the lid.
Air fry at 390 degrees for 14 minutes flipping the chicken halfway and re-misting with olive oil. Once the chicken is cooked though and crispy, remove from air fryer with tongs and serve warm with sauce of choice. Cook additional batches if needed.
Preheating the Air fryer: Preheat your air fryer using a preprogrammed setting (if your air fryer has one) or let the air fryer run empty at the desired temperature for 5 minutes. Using Frozen Store-bought Chicken (Like Tyson): Cook frozen store-bought chicken bites at 375 degrees F for 7-9 minutes (flipping halfway) until warmed through and crispy.Leftover Storage: Store leftover chicken in an airtight container for up to 4 days in the fridge. Rewarm before enjoying.Freezing the Chicken: To freeze homemade popcorn chicken, place cooled and cooked chicken in a large freezer bag and store for up to 3 months. Rewarm before enjoying.Misting the Chicken: Be sure to mist the chicken bites with olive oil on all sides generously. This helps the chicken get crispy and makes sure there are no raw flour spots left.Chicken Options: Chicken thighs can be swapped in for the chicken breasts if desired.Spicy Option: If you want spicy popcorn chicken you can add additional spices like cayenne pepper and red pepper flakes to the breadcrumb mixture.