Popcorn chicken is an American dish consisting of tiny, bite-sized pieces of chicken that have been breaded or battered and deep-fried. The name of the dish refers to the small pieces of chicken that are reminiscent of popcorn after they have been fried.
The dish has been popular in the American South for centuries, since the small chicken pieces were easy to prepare and pack into lunchboxes. It is believed that the dish originated with slaves who often had to use every single bit of meat, so smaller pieces of chicken were usually fried together, and chicken bite dishes were born.
In the early 1990s, a fast-food chain restaurant called KFC introduced popcorn chicken to their menus, and the dish remained a trademarked staple of KFC until today.