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Air Fryer Fried Chicken

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This Air Fryer Fried Chicken is golden brown, juicy, and full of flavor. It’s one recipe you have to try in your Air Fryer.

air fried chicken breast in Air Fryer

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Full Recipe/Instructions are available in the
recipe card at the bottom of the post.
You can find important tips/tricks in the
blog post.



If you’re living in the South, then knowing how to make fried chicken is a must. I tried for the longest to avoid posting a fried chicken recipe on the blog because, in all honesty, I didn’t tend to get excited about fried chicken.

Until now. For years, when my Southern husband requested fried chicken, I’d just shrug and make him these air fried chicken wings covered in an Asian sauce instead.

But one day, I went ahead and made a traditional Southern fried chicken recipe right in my Air Fryer. It was phenomenal. I had to apologize for taking so long to make it and I had to apologize for hating on fried chicken all these years. Now it’s a part of our monthly meal rotation.

I like to cut a whole chicken up into separate portions, it’s economical and nothing goes to waste. I can make air fryer fried chicken thighs, air fryer fried chicken drumsticks, and also use the breast meat and wings too.

For the juiciest chicken, I like to marinade my Air Fryer Fried Chicken in buttermilk, which tenderizes the chicken and also adds a great tangy flavor.

air fried chicken pieces on white background

Ingredients

  • Whole chicken cut into separate pieces (breast, thigh, wing, and leg)
  • Hot sauce – I use Texas Pete.
  • Buttermilk
  • All-Purpose Flour
  • Seasoning salt
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Italian seasoning
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Canola or vegetable oil

How to Make Air Fryer Fried Chicken

First, you will want to marinate your chicken. I use a mixture of half buttermilk and half hot sauce. I learned the hot sauce trick from my mother-in-law. The buttermilk helps keep the chicken juicy on the inside and the hot sauce adds flavor to the chicken. Don’t worry about it being spicy, it won’t be. You can marinate in the refrigerator anywhere from 1 hr to as long as 24 hours. 

chicken pieces in buttermilk and hot sauce

Combine flour, Italian seasoning, seasoning salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and cayenne pepper. I use a whisk to ensure that my flour is fully seasoned.

Grab a pair of tongs and remove one piece of chicken from the buttermilk mixture, allowing it to drain off a bit, and place it in the flour mixture and use the tongs to make sure the chicken pieces are fully coated.

chicken leg in flour with tongs

Place a piece of parchment paper with holes in the Air Fryer. This has been my best solution for not having the breaded fried chicken stick to the bottom of the Air Fryer. Just make sure that you don’t put the parchment paper down without food on top. If it there is no food to hold it down, it could fly up into the heating coils on top of the air fryer and start a fire.

Place your floured chicken piece on top of the parchment paper. Make sure the chicken pieces are not overlapping or touching. The more space the better. 

chicken pieces covered in flour in Air Fryer

Frying the Chicken Pieces

Close the air fryer drawer and set the temperature to 390 degrees Fahrenheit and timer for 25 minutes.

After about 13 minutes, open the Air Fryer. Your chicken should look like the photo below on the left (still showing some dry flour spots). Grab your Air Fryer oil spray bottle and spray those flour spots. Then grab some tongs and flip your chicken. Spray this side of the chicken as well, covering all flour spots. Close your Air Fryer and let it resume cooking.

Once your cooking cycle is done, use a quick-read thermometer to ensure your chicken is fully cooked to 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove and enjoy 🙂

There you have it! Delicious Southern Style Buttermilk Soaked Air Fryer Fried Chicken.

Additional recipes

If you like chicken, try these out:

If you’re looking to fry fish instead, try this recipe for fish in your air fryer.

What to serve with Crispy Fried Chicken

Looking for some recipes to serve this chicken with? Try these out:

Notes on Air Fryer Fried Chicken

  • I do not recommend overlapping the chicken pieces in this recipe. It’s best to have the chicken spaces in a single layer and not touching. That way the air can get around the chicken to crisp it up and give it that nice and crispy golden layer.   
  • Remember to spray lightly with oil. The purpose of the oil in this recipe is to cover the dried flour spots. Not spraying with oil will have those flour spots tasting like you would imagine they would, dry flour. I use either canola or vegetable oil for my air-fried chicken.
  • Some breading will fall off, whether you use the liners or not. However, much less breading falls off when using parchment liners.
  • If using parchment liners, make sure that you place the chicken on top of them before starting the Air Fryer. Not doing so will cause the liners to fly into the fan, get caught, and possibly start a fire.
  • Timing will vary depending on the Air Fryer brand. Use a meat thermometer to ensure your chicken has at least reached a temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. My chicken usually reaches 180 degrees or more and is still juicy and deliciously crisp.  
  • This chicken is best served on the same day. If reheating, place chicken in Air Fryer and cook at 370 for about 10 minutes.
  • Use any part of the chicken you like that has skin on. The breading may not stick to skinless chicken and it may not be as crispy.  

Pin Air Fryer Fried Chicken for Later

pin image of air fryer fried chicken with chicken pieces in air fryer basket

Watch me make this chicken from start to finish.

Air Fryer Fried Chicken Video

How to store leftover fried chicken

To refrigerate: Keep any leftover fried chicken in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. To heat up the next day warm the chicken in a preheated oven at 400F until warmed through. Leftovers also make a great addition to salads and sandwiches the next day.

To freeze: Once cooked and cooled, place any pieces of leftover chicken into an airtight container and store in the freezer for up to 3 months. As the chicken is already cooked it can be reheated from frozen in a preheated oven at 350F. When ready to enjoy place the frozen chicken onto a baking sheet and place in the oven for 30-40 minutes to reheat.

FAQs:

Is it okay to put raw chicken in the air fryer?

Yes, absolutely, just ensure you cook it until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

How to make my breading stick to fried chicken?

The pieces of chicken are marinated in buttermilk and hot sauce. When ready to cook lift a piece of chicken and shake it gently to remove any excess marinade. This marinade will help the breading mixture to stick to the chicken.

Good substitutes for buttermilk?

If you don’t have buttermilk in the fridge don’t worry, there are a few good substitutes for buttermilk. Try adding a tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice to a cup of milk; alternatively, mix 1 3/4 teaspoons of cream of tartar to a cup of milk; or mix some sour cream or plain yogurt with a little milk or water to thin it down a little.

How to make Air Fryer Fried Chicken crispy?

Once the chicken is coated in the breading place the pieces into the Air Fryer in a single layer, allowing space between each piece of chicken for the air to circulate. Do not be tempted to overcrowd the basket or the chicken won’t crisp up. Next set the Air Fryer to a hot 390 degrees Fahrenheit so the chicken cooks fast and high. Finally, I like the flip the chicken over halfway through, this also allows me to spray any flour spots with a little extra oil so the coating crisps up nicely.

The best oil to use for Air Fryer Fried Chicken?

I like to use Canola oil or vegetable oil as it has a higher smoke point which is ideal for frying chicken. Don’t be tempted to use olive oil as it has a lower smoke point and is likely to burn.

Can I use boneless chicken?

Your chicken will not crisp up if using boneless chicken. I recommend using skin-on, bone-in chicken pieces.

What if my breading doesn’t stick?

You can place your chicken pieces in the fridge for 10-15 minutes after breading, and before air frying. This will help if you have trouble with the breading staying on.

If you have tried my Air Fryer Fried Chicken or any other recipe on my blog, then please rate it and let me know how it turned out in the comments below!

air fried chicken in air fryer basket
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4.80 from 137 votes

Air Fryer Fried Chicken

This Air Fryer fried chicken is a healthier and easier version of traditional fried chicken. Soaked in buttermilk and hot sauce, covered in seasoned flour, and air fried to perfection.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword air fryer chicken breast, air fryer fried chicken
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Marinade 1 hour
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 318kcal
Author Tanya

Ingredients

Marinade

  • ½ whole chicken cut into separate pieces (breast, thigh, wing, and leg)
  • ½ cup hot sauce
  • ½ cup buttermilk

Seasoning

  • ¾ cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 teaspoon seasoning salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Oil for spraying Canola or Vegetable

Instructions

  • Place chicken pieces in buttermilk and hot sauce. Place in refrigerator and allow to marinate anytime from 1-24 hours.
  • Whisk together all-purpose flour, seasoning salt, garlic powder, onion powder, italian seasoning, and cayenne pepper in a bowl. Set aside.
  • Place a parchment liner in the Air Fryer basket.
  • Remove a piece of chicken from the buttermilk mixture and place in the flour mixture, coating all sides of the chicken and shaking off any excess flour. Place the chicken pieces in the basket in a single layer.
  • Close the Air Fryer basket and set temperature to 390 degrees Fahrenheit and timer to 25 minutes. Start the Air Fryer.
  • After 13 minutes, open the air fryer and spray any flour spots on the chicken. Flip the chicken and spray the other side with oil, ensuring all the flour spots are covered. Close the Air fryer and cook for 12 more minutes.
  • Once the timer is up, open the Air Fryer and check chicken pieces with a quick read thermometer. Chicken is done when it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees at the thickest part of the chicken.

Video

Notes

  • I do not recommend overlapping the chicken pieces in this recipe. It’s best to have the chicken spaces in a single layer and not touching. That way the air can get around the chicken to crisp it up and give it that nice and crispy golden layer.  
  • Remember to spray lightly with oil. The purpose of the oil in this recipe is to cover the dried flour spots. Not spraying with oil will have those flour spots tasting like you would imagine they would, dry flour.
  • Some breading will fall of, whether you use the liners or not. However, much less breading falls of when using the parchment liners.
  • If using parchment liners, make sure that you place the chicken on top of them before starting the Air Fryer. Not doing so will cause the liners to fly into the fan, get caught, and possibly start a fire.
  • Timing will vary depending on Air Fryer brand. Use a meat thermometer to ensure your chicken has  at least reached a temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. My chicken usually reaches 180 degrees or more and is still juicy and deliciousy crsip.  
  • This chicken is best serve the same day. If reheating, place chicken in Air Fryer and cook on 370 for about 10 minutes.
  • Use any part of the chicken you like that has skin on. The breading may not stick to skinless chicken and it may not be as crispy. 
  • I use Texas Pete hot sauce in this recipe. If you are sensitive to heat or use a spicier brand, reduce the amount of hot sauce.  
Suggested Tools for Air Fryer Fried Chicken

Nutrition

Calories: 318kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 74mg | Sodium: 2055mg | Potassium: 297mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 325IU | Vitamin C: 23.9mg | Calcium: 56mg | Iron: 2.3mg
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Although myforkinglife.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Under no circumstances will myforkinglife.com be responsible for any loss or damage resulting for your reliance on nutritional information.

This post was originally published on March 5, 2019. It has been updated with additional helpful tips.

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Recipe Rating




Skippy781

Friday 25th of November 2022

Loved it!

Bill Davidson

Thursday 20th of October 2022

My wife is very hard to please when it comes to chicken I made it for her and she wants me to make it again thank you so much

Tanya

Friday 21st of October 2022

Awesome! So glad she likes the recipe :)

Jean

Sunday 2nd of October 2022

I used to have a recipe similar to this but freeze it halfway through cooking time. Then I always had “Banquet” style fried chicken in the freezer. Have you ever tried that?

Tanya

Tuesday 4th of October 2022

Hi Jean, I haven't tried that yet.

Steve

Sunday 4th of September 2022

Whatever you do, don't try this recipe if you cut your chicken down into fingers or bites. They'll cook up in the first 12 minutes and the underside coating comes off. If you turn them over to try to get color on the underside, all you do is lose the fried coating from the first side. You basically pull out bald chicken with a layer of goop left in the parchment. That's on me, though... the tiny bit of fried coating remaining seemed to taste good, though the hot sauce in the marinade DEFINITELY was still in play.

Debbie

Thursday 4th of August 2022

Is there a substitute for a dairy , egg free diet for my grandson to make the chicken tender?