|

Perfect Air Fryer Fried Chicken

Perfect Air Fryer Fried Chicken is crispy, yet tender and juicy. This air fryer recipe combines buttermilk with the best blend of spices for the most irresistible delicious fried chicken recipe every time you make it!

Like my air fryer chicken thighs, these are another family favorite along with my air fryer baked potatoes, air fryer bbq chicken thighs and these air fryer brats.


Want to save this recipe?

Enter your email below & we’ll send it straight to your inbox. Plus you’ll get great new recipes from us every week!

Save Recipe

Easy Crispy Fried Chicken in an air fryer

Can you make fried chicken in the air fryer? Yes you can and using the air fryer is so easy and it makes the best crispy and juicy fried chicken you have ever tasted!

Think southern fried chicken with all the spices and just as juicy and tender with less fat, oil and calories. This had me at fried chicken and the rest is just a huge bonus. Air fryer fried chicken is a game changer, and more of a more guilt free way to enjoy classic fried chicken!!

Air fried crispy fried chicken on white plate.

I started cooking fried chicken in the air fryer and soon realized it was the best air fryer fried chicken recipe that the whole family enjoyed. Making homemade fried chicken has never been so easy and the cleanup is a breeze with so little oil used.

This versatile recipe can also be used to make air fryer fried chicken breasts and air fryer fried chicken wings! You may also enjoy my air fryer chicken tenders, Garlic Parmesan French fries and my delicious chicken wings in the air fryer.

Why you’ll love this recipe

  • Easy to follow delicious recipe that beginner cooks can follow
  • Air frying has less fat and calories for guilt free fried chicken anytime
  • The air fryer always cooks your fried chicken to crispy perfection
  • Versatile recipe to make air fryer chicken breast
  • Easy cleanup with fried chicken taste

Ingredients for crispy air fryer fried chicken recipe

Labelled ingredients for recipe with text overlay.
  • Chicken pieces – with bone in, skin on chicken pieces (I used drumsticks and things that work well as similar sizes for cooking)
  • Buttermilk – helps tenderize and adds flavor to the chicken
  • Paprika – adds flavor and color to the crispy coating
  • Italian Seasoning – adds seasoning and flavor
  • All Purpose Flour – provides a crunchy, crispy coating when air fried
  • Garlic Powder – gives the chicken a savoury, aromatic quality
  • Onion Powder – enhances the flavor and aroma of the chicken
  • Salt – seasons the chicken and coating, use kosher salt, sea salt or your preferred salt. Add it to taste
  • Pepper – adds a hint of heat and flavor
  • Cooking Spray or Oil – greases air fryer basket to prevent sticking and gives the air-fried chicken a golden brown and crispy skin. Use olive oil avocado oil or any vegetable oil.

Substitutions

You can use cayenne or Chili powder to substitute for the paprika giving it a spicy kick. Substituting in fresh minced garlic for the garlic powder and dried onion flakes for the onion powder.

Can you use boneless chicken?

While you can use boneless chicken by adjusting the cooking time it is best to use bone in chicken for the added flavor and moisture it provides.

Should I use buttermilk in fried chicken recipe?

Yes you should use buttermilk, it helps to tenderize the chicken and really adds amazing flavor to batter fried chicken in air fryer.

Air fryer fried chicken without buttermilk can be made by substituting buttermilk with plain yogurt or 1 cup of milk with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice in a pinch. I recommend letting the mixture sit for 5 minutes until it thickens before using it.

Step by step instructions for how to make fried chicken in the air fryer

Chicken pieces in Ziploc bag with spices and buttermilk.

STEP ONE – Place the chicken pieces in a large bowl or Ziplock bag. Cover them with the buttermilk and add the spices. Let the chicken marinate in the buttermilk mixture for 30 minutes to an hour in the fridge.

Flour and spices in white bowl.

STEP TWO – In a shallow bowl, combine the flour, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Mix the ingredients well.

STEP THREE – Preheat the air fryer to 375°F (190°C) for 5 minutes.

STEP FOUR – Lightly grease the air fryer basket with cooking spray or brush it with cooking oil.

Chicken piece is dredged in flour in white bowl.

STEP FIVE – Remove pieces of chicken from the buttermilk, letting excess drip off. Dredge each piece of chicken in the seasoned flour, then back into the buttermilk, and again in the flour mixture for a double coating. If you have time, put the chicken on a sheet pan and let them rest for 30 minutes to about an hour in the fridge. This will help the breading to stick to the drumsticks.

Chicken pieces in basket from air fryer with coating, ready to be air fried.

STEP SIX – Place the coated chicken in the preheated air fryer basket in a single layer without overcrowding.

Cooked chicken in basket from air fryer.

STEP SEVEN – Cook at 355°F for 15-20 minutes, flipping halfway through. Chicken is done when the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F (74°C). I like to check the temperature using a meat thermometer.

STEP EIGHT – Remove your golden brown chicken from the air fryer and let rest for 5 minutes before serving your tender chicken with potato salad, cornbread, or your favorite side.

Variations

Using gluten free flour in this recipe you can make a gluten free air fryer fried chicken recipe.

Spice up your fried chicken using cayenne pepper or Chili powder as substitutes.

What is best dipping sauce for fried chicken?

Enjoy country fried chicken air fryer recipes with hot sauce, barbecue sauce, ranch dressing, sweet and sour sauce, soy sauce with ginger, honey mustard and chipotle sauce.

Air fryer chicken on a white plate with fresh parsley.

What sides go well with fried chicken?

Sandra’s top tips for making the best crispy fried chicken in the air fryer

  • Try using similar sized chicken pieces so they cook through at the same time
  • Do not overcrowd the air fryer to provide the best air circulation for even cooking of your fried chicken
  • For an extra crispiness fried chicken dip in buttermilk again before dipping in the flour coating once more
  • Using the cooking spray or oil is important to get the crispy coating we love on the fried chicken and to prevent sticking
  • You can use air fryer parchment paper basket liners to prevent sticking for easy cleanup
  • Use a food thermometer to ensure the fried chicken has an internal temperature of 165°F for the best food safety
  • To help keep you cooked chicken warm use your oven on a low temperature

How can I make crispy fried chicken in an air fryer?

To make crispy chicken, preheat your air fryer, lightly coat the chicken with oil or cooking spray and cook them at the recommended temperature and time in this recipe. The hot air circulation in the air fryer will create an amazing crispy outer layer.

Air fryer chicken in baskt from air fryer.

How does air fryer compare to deep frying for juicy chicken?

Air frying is the perfect option for cooking chicken with less oil. The hot air cooks the meat evenly, keeping it juicy without having to submerge it in hot oil.

Why is my fried chicken coating not sticking?

If you are having trouble getting your coating to stick to your chicken, put them on a wire rack to air dry for 5 to 10 minutes after coating.

Reheat fried chicken in the air fryer

First take out your fried chicken from the fridge and let it come to room temperature for 20 minutes.

What temperature to reheat fried chicken in the air fryer?

Preheat your air fryer to 375°F and place the room temperature fried chicken in the air fryer basket so they are not touching too much. Do not stack them up in layers, this will cause uneven cooking and without a crispy skin.

Reheat fried chicken in air fryer time?

We recommend you reheat the fried chicken for 5 to 8 minutes for smaller pieces and 8 to 10 minutes for larger pieces. Turn the fried chicken over half way through your cooking time to for crispy outer layer on each side.

Four pieces of cooked chicken in basket from air fryer.

Storage and freezing instructions

Store chicken in an airtight container or a zippered plastic bag for 3 to 4 days in the fridge.

Use a freezer-safe container or freezer zippered plastic bags to freeze for 2 to 3 months.

Thaw overnight in the fridge before following the reheating instructions.

You may also enjoy these recipes

Print
clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
Air fryer fried chicken on a white plate.

Air Fryer Fried Chicken


5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

No reviews

  • Author: Sandra Flegg
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings

Description

Perfect Air Fryer Fried Chicken is crispy yet tender and juicy. This air fryer recipe combines buttermilk with the best blend of spices for the perfect, delicious fried chicken recipe every time you make it!


Ingredients

For the Chicken:
4 bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces (drumsticks and thighs work well) 1 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

For the Coating:
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder 1 teaspoon onion powder 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

For the Air Fryer:
Cooking spray or oil for greasing


Instructions

  1. Place the chicken pieces in a large bowl or Ziplock bag. Cover them with the buttermilk and add the spices. Let the chicken marinate in the buttermilk mixture for 30 minutes to an hour in the fridge.
  2. In a shallow bowl, combine the flour, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Mix the ingredients well.
  3. Preheat the air fryer to 375°F (190°C) for 5 minutes.
  4. Lightly grease the air fryer basket with cooking spray or brush it with cooking oil.
  5. Remove pieces of chicken from the buttermilk, letting excess drip off. Dredge each piece of chicken in the seasoned flour, then back into the buttermilk, and again in the flour mixture for a double coating. If you have time, put the chicken on a sheet pan and let them rest for 30 minutes to about an hour in the fridge. This will help the breading to stick to the drumsticks.
  6. Place the coated chicken in the preheated air fryer basket in a single layer without overcrowding.
  7. Cook at 355°F for 15-20 minutes, flipping halfway through. Chicken is done when the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F (74°C). I like to check the temperature using a meat thermometer.
  8. Remove your golden brown chicken from the air fryer and let rest for 5 minutes before serving your tender chicken.
 

Notes

Storage and freezing instructions:

 Store chicken in an airtight container or a zippered plastic bag for 3 to 4 days in the fridge. 

Do not leave out fried chicken for more than 2 hours at room temperature for food safety.

Use a freezer-safe container or freezer zippered plastic bags to freeze for 2 to 3 months.

Thaw overnight in the fridge before following the reheat instructions.

Beware that freezing fried food can make them become soggy and lose its crispiness.

Do not freeze your fried chicken again after thawing it for food safety. Do not leave the thawed chicken for more than one day in the fridge before reheating.

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Marinate: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Category: Chicken
  • Method: Air Fryer
  • Cuisine: American

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star