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Vegan Popcorn “Chicken”

Hiiii! It’s Bailey again here from Basics with Bails! I’m SO flipping excited for today’s recipe!!! I have recreated a vegan and gluten-free version of KFC popcorn chicken! I also paired it with a homemade honey mustard sauce that is absolutely to DIEEE for!!

PSA: I’m not vegetarian or vegan, but I do LOVE some good vegetarian and vegan alternatives! I don’t actually like real chicken, so I much prefer these over real popcorn chicken. They are also much easier on the waistline, as they are baked, and have a quick frying option at the end (but not necessary).

How to Make Cauliflower Popcorn Chicken

Making cauliflower popcorn chicken is surprisingly easy! All you have to do is chop up cauliflower into bite-size florets.

Dip the cauliflower in a simple batter, then coat them with panko bread crumbs.

Bake them in the oven! You can also fry them in avocado oil at the end, to further crisp them up!

Easy Homemade Honey Mustard

While the cauliflower is baking to perfection, you have plenty of time to whip up an easy honey mustard dip. Simply add all the ingredients to a bowl and whisk! That’s it. Easy peasy lemon squeezy!

What I love about making your own dressings and dips is that you can taste the mixture as you go – so feel free to adjust the seasoning to your liking. When you dip the cauliflower popcorn chicken into the honey mustard, they are downright addictive (trust me, I ate WAY too many)! Be sure to serve them with some french fries and ketchup to have the full KFC experience!

Can you substitute other flours in this recipe?

All-purpose flour can be substituted 1:1. So if you are not celiac or gluten-free, all-purpose works perfectly in this recipe! I have not tried with Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free 1:1 flour, but I imagine that would also work!

Can you substitute other milks in this recipe?

Yes, any other nut milks would work just fine, just keep in mind it may change the flavour slightly! You can also use regular milk if you’re not vegan or dairy-free!

To be clear, this cauliflower popcorn chicken does not taste exactly like OH MY GOSH real popcorn chicken. If you find any recipe that claims cauliflower is going to taste just like chicken, run far away. Sprint, and don’t look back.

Cauliflower is not chicken, cauliflower will never be chicken, and cauliflower popcorn “chicken” is never going to fool anyone into thinking that it is REAL POPCORN CHICKEN. End of story.

That being said, these are flipping delicious in their own way. There’s no need to treat them as a 100% substitute for the real thing because they are the real thing.

Vegan Popcorn “Chicken”

4 from 1 vote
Recipe by From the Kitchen of Jillian Harris


  • popcorn chicken
  • 1 small head of cauliflower

  • ¾ cup unsweetened almond milk

  • ¾ cup chickpea flour

  • ¼ cup water

  • 1 tsp 1 dried oregano

  • 1 tsp 1 paprika

  • 1 tsp 1 garlic powder

  • 1/2 tsp 1/2 dried mustard

  • Seasoning salt + pepper

  • 1 ¾  cup panko bread crumbs (use GF panko breadcrumbs to make recipe GF)

  • 1/3 cup 1/3 avocado oil

  • honey mustard
  • 1/4 cup 1/4 Dijon mustard

  • 1/4 cup 1/4 vegan mayo

  • 1/4 cup 1/4 honey

  • 1 tsp 1 white vinegar


  • Preheat oven to 350F.
  • Chop up cauliflower into bite-size florets.
  • In a medium-size bowl, combine chickpea flour, almond milk, water, oregano, paprika, garlic powder, dried mustard, and salt + pepper. Dip the florets into the batter then into the panko breadcrumbs.
  • Line baking sheet with parchment paper and place florets on about 1 inch apart.
  • Bake for 40 minutes, rotating the florets halfway through.
  • Remove florets from the oven. 
  • Heat 1/3 cup avocado oil in a medium frying pan over medium heat. Work in bunches, making sure not to overcrowd the cauliflower, cook until golden brown on all sides, approximately 2 to 3 minutes. This step is optional, but will really crisp the popcorn“chicken” up!
  • In a separate bowl, combine all the ingredients for the honey mustard and whisk!
  • Season the popcorn “chicken” with more salt and pepper and serve with french fries, ketchup, and the homemade honey mustard! KFC ain’t got NOTHING you on you!

Some other delicious plant-based snacks you may want to try!

Cauliflower Buffalo “Wings”

Vegan Perogies 

Savoury “Sausage” Hand Pies

I can’t wait to see your remakes! Share your KFC popcorn “chicken” remakes with me and Jillian by tagging @basicswithbails and @jillian.harris on Instagram!



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