Popcorn Chicken vs. Chicken Nuggets – What’s the Difference?

If you crave something fried and greasy, popcorn chicken and chicken nuggets classic comfort food. And although you think you know the difference between these fried foods, you may be surprised to know the differences between popcorn chicken & chicken nuggets.  

So, what’s the difference between popcorn chicken and chicken nuggets? Let’s find out together.

Is popcorn chicken the same as popcorn nuggets?

No. Popcorn chicken and chicken nuggets aren’t the same. Here’s how these foods differ from one another.


Popcorn chicken refers to small chicken pieces reminiscent of popcorn. This dish likely originated with slaves who had to use every single bit of meat, so they fried smaller pieces of chicken together, and the chicken popcorn dish was born.

In contrast, bite-sized chicken pieces in the shape of nuggets nugget are called chicken nuggets.


Popcorn chicken often uses chicken breast meat, whereas chicken nuggets use white chicken meat that comes from the pectoral muscles of the birds, and other chicken parts are mixed in as well.

Note:  KFC nuggets have the flavor and texture of chicken breast, especially how it pulls apart in layers. They’re made with wheat and soy proteins but arent exactly vegetarian or vegan because they’re fried in the same oil as the chicken.

KFC’s Chicken Nuggets vs. Popcorn Chicken

Popcorn Chicken vs. Chicken Nuggets – Which is Healthier?

The chicken nuggets contain very little chicken meat. Rather, nuggets are mostly fat and other body parts, including nerves, bone, skin, and connective tissue.

Popcorn chicken isn’t a healthy snack. It has maximum deep-fried breading in each bite. For a healthier option, go for chicken strips with more chicken meat and less breading. Ideally, consider food choices that use grilled or baked chicken instead of fried chicken.

Is Popcorn Chicken made of real chicken?

Yes, popcorn chicken contains small, bite-sized chicken pieces that have been breaded and fried. It is crispy on the outside and juicy inside. If you’re looking for ultimate comfort food options, chicken popcorn makes a great snack and appetizer.

Why is it called Popcorn chicken?

Popcorn chicken gets its name from its small chicken pieces that resemble kernels of popped corn. The bite-sized chunks of chicken are small enough to pop a few bites in your mouth at once.

What is KFC Popcorn Chicken made of?

KFC popcorn chicken contains bite-sized pieces of breast fillet chicken coated in marinade and cooked in a crunchy coating

Are chicken Mcnuggets made of real chicken?

Yes, chicken Mcnuggets are made of USDA-inspected boneless white-meat chicken. The bite-sized McDonald’ nuggets are cut from the chicken breast, tenderloins, and rib meat.

Final Thoughts

While chicken nuggets are small pieces of deep-fried crispy chicken, popcorn chicken is even smaller and shaped like mini balls so that you can “pop” it in your mouth. Both options are delicious and available at most fast food restaurants.

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