Air Fryer Fried Chicken is one of those recipes you have to see to believe! Crispy, juicy fried chicken without all the oil or mess! This is the perfect example of just how good air-fried food can be!
Air fryer fried chicken is a game changer for someone that loves fried chicken, but is trying to eat a little healthier and avoid all that grease!
Besides the obvious health benefits of air frying versus deep frying, this method for air fryer fried chicken is so much easier too! No waiting for a pot of oil to heat up, no worry about it splashing on you, no stinky grease smell in the house, no wondering what to do with all that leftover oil…
Who doesn’t love a cooking hack that saves time, and effort, and still tastes fantastic?
I am a LOVER of deep-fried chicken and I am so glad that I can now say I am a LOVER of AIR FRIED chicken too!
The taste of air fryer fried chicken still gives you that glorious crispy coating on the skin and the tender, juicy goodness of a perfectly cooked chicken!
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Chicken – When we cook this we use thighs and drumsticks. We like the bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces. The recipe will work for breasts and wings too, but pay attention to cook time for the breasts.
Breading – While grocery shopping be sure to pick up buttermilk, kosher salt, cornstarch, and flour. This is the base of the breading!
Seasoning– We try to keep the seasonings simple. We use a little bit of hot sauce, garlic, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and cracked pepper.
How to Make Air Fryer Fried Chicken:
- Soak- Add your buttermilk, hot sauce, garlic, and salt to a large bowl. Whisk to combine these ingredients, then add your chicken to the mixture. Make sure most of the chicken is covered in the liquid, then cover the bowl, and refrigerate for 2-4 hours. If the liquid in your dish doesn’t fully cover the chicken, flip the chicken over after an hour or so. Remove your chicken from the fridge an hour before cooking to allow it to come to room temperature.
- Breading – Add the flour, cornstarch, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper to a dish and give it a stir to combine. Drizzle in a few tablespoons of the buttermilk mixture and stir it together with a fork to make the breading a bit clumpy.
- Coat – Remove the chicken from the buttermilk marinade and shake off the excess liquid. Dredge it in your flour mixture fully covering all sides in the breading and then add it to your air fryer basket.
- Air Fry – Spray the chicken liberally with oil on all sides and air fry for 25 minutes at 360 degrees F. Depending on the size of your chicken pieces, you may need to adjust the cook time. For all chicken you want the internal temperature to be 165 degrees F for safe eating. For dark meat, you get the best-tasting meat if you cook to an internal temp of 185 degrees F.
Don’t be shy with the oil spray! If each bit of the breading isn’t covered in some amount of oil, it will come out dry from the air fryer. We’re still using much less oil than we would if we were deep frying!
Shop our Favorite Air Fryers!
We’ve tested loads of air fryers over the years and narrowed it down to the best of the best! Whether you’re looking for a basket style air fryer that fits nicely on your countertop or you want the toaster oven style air fryer, we’ve got a recommendation for you!
Frying chicken in the air fryer is healthier than deep frying chicken, but at the end of the day, it’s still skin-on chicken with a breading. The chicken is not submerged and cooked in oil, so it does have less fat than if it were deep fried.
Be sure not to overcrowd the air fryer basket. You need space between each piece of chicken for air to flow as this is what will crisp up the breading on the chicken.
Yes you can! The wings, legs, and thighs will have similar cook times to be safe to eat. However, the breasts will take additional time and that time will also depend on your air fryer. Your best bet is to get a meat thermometer and cook to an internal temp of 165 degrees F.
Be sure not to leave any dry spots when spraying with oil spray or the breading won’t crisp as nicely.
The hot sauce in the buttermilk marinade doesn’t make the chicken spicy. It just adds more flavor to the chicken.
Use a meat thermometer to check for doneness. All chicken should be cooked to a minimum of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Dark meat can go up to 185 degrees and will stay moist and tender.
Air Fryer Fried Chicken
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 2 tablespoons hot sauce
- 2 cloves garlic peeled and smashed
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt divided
- 2 pounds bone-in, skin on chicken pieces see notes
- 3 cups flour
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons onion powder
- 1 teaspoon cracked pepper
- Add the buttermilk, hot sauce, garlic, and 2 teaspoons of salt to a dish that is large enough to fit all of the chicken pieces. Whisk to combine.
- Add the chicken to the buttermilk mixture and cover. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 12 hours. Turn the chicken occasionally if it’s not fully immersed in the liquid.
- Remove the chicken from the fridge about 1 hour before cooking to begin to come to room temperature.
- Add the flour, cornstarch, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, pepper, and remaining teaspoon of salt to a large dish and stir to combine.
- Add 2-3 tablespoons of the buttermilk mixture from the chicken to the flour mixture and use a fork to combine. The mixture should have some small lumps of flour throughout to make that classic fried chicken breading.
- Remove the chicken from the marinade and shake gently to remove excess liquid. Dredge 3-4 pieces of the chicken in the flour mixture and place in a well greased air fryer basket. Be sure to leave room between each piece of chicken for air to flow – do not overcrowd the air fryer.
- Liberally spray the chicken on all sides with oil spray.
- Air fry at 360 degrees for 25-30 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken pieces, until the chicken is golden brown and crispy and cooked through.
- Set chicken aside in a warm oven set at 200 degrees to keep warm while the next batch cooks. Alternately, set chicken aside on a plate and rewarm in the air fryer for 5 minutes before serving.