Air Fryer BBQ Chicken Poppers (Whole30, Keto, Paleo)

4.90 from 19 votes
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My BBQ Chicken Poppers are the ultimate Appetizer for any party or get together! In addition, they serve as a family friendly lunch or dinner option. Honestly, everyone is sure to go crazy over these crispy balls of goodness that are Whole30, Keto and Paleo compliant.

Chicken Poppers

The base of these poppers is ground chicken, which can be found at most grocery stores. If you can’t find it, just ask your butcher to grind some chicken breast for you. Easy peasy! To the chicken, I add in fresh chopped onions, an egg, salt, pepper, garlic powder and almond flour. If you are wanting to take the spice level up a notch, I also suggest adding a few tbsp of chopped jalapenos.

Chicken Poppers

Before adding to the air fryer, I roll each ball in a mixture of almond flour along with a little salt, pepper and garlic powder. In order to get that crispy skin, it is recommended to use an air fryer, but you can also fry these in a pan and finish in the oven. I know not everyone has an air fryer, so I wanted to make sure to include another easy cooking method for you guys.

Chicken Poppers

Can I make these Chicken Poppers in the oven if I don’t have an air fryer?

Yes, you can also make these in the oven. However, they will not get as crispy as the air fryer version. If you are wanting to still get that crispy skin, I would suggesting frying in a little coconut or avocado oil before transferring to the oven. This will allow the outside to get the same type of crispy as you would get using an air fryer. It will be an extra step, but totally worth it.

Chicken Poppers

Tips for making these Chicken Poppers?

  • Using an air fryer is highly recommended
  • Use my homemade Whole30 Ranch for dipping
  • Do not toss these popper in the BBQ sauce UNTIL right before serving. If you toss too soon, they will become soggy.
  • If you are making these for meal prep, I would recommend storing them without tossing in the BBQ Sauce. Before you heat up the next day, you can toss right before adding to the oven or microwave. This will allow the poppers not too get too soggy in the fridge.


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If you love this recipe, be sure to check out my other favorites below:

Air Fryer BBQ Chicken Poppers

By: Ashley McCrary
4.90 from 19 votes
A crispy Chicken Popper smothered in BBQ sauce and dipped in a homemade creamy ranch dressing. This is the perfect for the entire family and also a great appetizers for a party or a get together. Whole30, Keto, Paleo and Dairy Free. 
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 18 Poppers


  • 2 lbs ground chicken OR ground turkey
  • 1 large egg beaten
  • 1/3 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 sweet onion diced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 tbsp diced jalapenos *OPTIONAL
  • Ranch dressing for dipping
  • 3/4 cup compliant BBQ Sauce


  • 3/4 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder


Air Fryer Instructions

  • In a large mixing bowl add in the ground chicken, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onions and chopped jalapenos if desired. Mix together.
  • Add in the beaten egg and almond flour. Mix with a spoon until everything is combined.
  • Roll the chicken mixture into golf ball sized balls.
  • In a separate medium mixing bowl, mix together all the ingredients for the coating.
  • Carefully roll each chicken ball into the almond meal.
  • Spray the air-fryer basket with cooking spray and add in each ball. Depending on how big your air fryer is, you may need to do this in 2 batches. Don't overcrowd the meatballs and only cook in a single layer.
  • Set the fryer to 400F and cook 13 mintues, flipping halfway through and spraying the balls with cooking spray (This helps it get more crisp). 
  • Remove the cooked chicken poppers and toss in the 3/4 cup compliant BBQ sauce or sauce of choice and serve immediately
  • Serve with my homemade ranch and celery and carrots

Oven Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400F 
  • Follow steps 1-5 from above
  • Heat a large skillet along with 1/2 cup cup coconut or avocado oil (divided, if completing in 2 batches)
  • Once the oil is hot, add each meatball to the skillet and cook until the coating gets crispy on all sides. A couple of minutes or so, flipping the poppers throughout. 
  • Transfer the chicken poppers to a coated sheet pan and bake for 15 minutes or until the internal temperature is 165F
  • Toss the poppers in BBQ Sauce or sauce of choice and serve immediately. 
  • Serve with my homemade ranch and celery and carrots.


  • Click here for my homemade version BBQ sauce or I recommend using Oh So Sweet Super BBQ Sauce (which is Keto) or The New Primal BBQ Sauce for Whole30. 
  • Make sure to wait to toss the chicken poppers in the sauce until RIGHT before serving so they don't get soggy.
  • If you are not a BBQ fan, feel free to toss in Franks Hot Sauce or another sauce of choice. These are very versatile. 
  • If making for meal prep, I recommend not tossing until ready to eat. If these sit in the fridge with the sauce, they will become very soggy. Simply reheat then toss in sauce. 
  • Last 3-4 days in the fridge and up to 3 months in the freezer. 
  • If the mixture is still a little too wet, be sure to add a little more almond flour. 

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @healthylittlepeach or tag #healthylittlepeach!

This is a rough estimate without the poppers being tossed in the BBQ Sauce. I recommend using my homemade BBQ sauce that is Keto/Whole30 or sub The New Primal’s BBQ sauce or Oh So Saucy Keto BBQ Sauce for a great alternative that low in carbs. *Additionally, feel free to use Franks Hot Sauce instead of BBQ sauce and it won’t add any carbs.

About Me

Mother, wife, cookbook author, recipe creator an open book

Welcome to Healthy Little Peach. I’m Mac, the lady behind the recipes. I believe in living a healthy lifestyle that consists of a mix of healthy whole foods, and full-fat comfort meals. Life is too short not to enjoy good food while maintaining a healthy body and mind. Here you will find gluten-free, dairy-free, paleo, keto, and even full-fat comfort recipes. Let’s have fun in the kitchen together!

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    These were a hit in my home! My kids loved them. My daughter is allergic to gluten and she is very picky as she hates gluten-free food. She told me to cook these everyday! I rubbed olive oil on my hands to prevent them from sticking while I rolled them.

  2. 5 stars
    I really enjoyed the extra step of adding the breading to these. I tried just one in the area fryer and decided then to double the salt and garlic powder, and in addition to the jalapeño, I added 2 TBSP cilantro. They’re amazing! I made some to freeze without the breading, and they were delicious that way too. I used the Primal Hawaiian BBQ on some and Frank’s on the others. I loved them both! Thank you 🙂