Air Fryer Fried Chicken
See my guide on how to use an Instant Pot.
This Air Fryer Fried Chicken is the best! It’s insanely crispy, perfectly seasoned and incredibly easy to make!
With this air fryer fried chicken recipe, it was love at first bite. The air fryer makes the BEST fried chicken!
Since an air fryer cooks by circulating hot air around the food in the basket, it’s ideal for making your favorite crispy foods healthier and every bit as delicious. This air fried chicken recipe uses very little oil, yet it still makes the most unbelievably crispy coating on the chicken. And since we’re not frying in oil, there’s much less mess, too.
Underneath the crispy exterior, this air fryer fried chicken is supremely juicy. My family devoured it, and asked for more! This crispy fried chicken is now one of our favorite Air Fryer Recipes!
The Best Crispy Air Fried Chicken
There are a few steps that you can take to help your homemade fried chicken become extra crispy in the air fryer:
- Add cornstarch to the flour mixture. A cornstarch coating is great for making foods crispy. I also use this trick in my Sweet Potato Fries recipe.
- Double dip the chicken in the flour mixture: coating the chicken in the seasoned flour and cornstarch, then buttermilk, and then the flour mixture once more helps more of the breading to stick.
- Spray the chicken with an oil spray. This ensures that the batter crisps up as the chicken cooks.
- Cook the chicken long enough to crisp the coating and skin. Bone-in thighs and drumsticks can be cooked above 165° F and still remain moist and juicy. I cook mine a few minutes past 165° for the crispiest air fried chicken.
- Flip the chicken pieces over halfway through the cooking time to cook all sides evenly.
- All-Purpose Flour and Cornstarch: Dredging the chicken in seasoned flour and cornstarch creates a breading that will make the crispy coating on the fried chicken.
- Seasonings: This air fryer chicken has the best seasonings! Paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, dried oregano, salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper are a winning combination for the most delicious fried chicken.
- Buttermilk and Eggs: You can’t beat the tang of buttermilk in fried chicken. The combination of buttermilk and eggs acts as a glue for the flour and seasonings.
- Bone-In Chicken Pieces: I like to use a combination of bone-in chicken thighs and drumsticks. You can also use bone-in breasts but they will take longer to cook. Or use a cut up broiler/fryer chicken which includes two of each: breasts, thighs, legs and wings.
- Oil Spray: Coating the chicken with canola oil, olive oil, or another vegetable oil spray is essential for crispy chicken.
Find the full printable recipe with ingredient amounts and instructions in the recipe card below.
How to Make Air Fryer Fried Chicken
- Combine the flour, cornstarch and seasonings in a wide, shallow dish, such as a pie plate or bowl. Whisk together the buttermilk and eggs in another bowl.
- Coat the chicken in the flour mixture, and gently shake off any excess.
- Coat the chicken in the buttermilk mixture, and gently shake off any excess.
- Coat the chicken in the flour mixture a second time.
- Spray all sides of the chicken with oil spray, until no more dry flour is visible.
- Place chicken pieces in a single layer in the air fryer basket, with chicken thighs skin side down.
- Air fry at 370° F for 15 minutes. Then flip the chicken pieces over and cook for 8-15 more minutes, until the chicken is crispy and cooked to at least 165° F. Different air fryer models may cook differently, so adjust the cook time as needed.
Air Fryer Fried Chicken Recipe Tips
- Don’t skimp on the seasonings. It may seem like you are adding a lot of seasonings to the flour, but each piece of chicken only gets a fraction of the seasonings since they’re spread throughout the flour mixture.
- To keep the flour from clumping and sticking to your fingers, use one hand for wet and one for dry when dipping the chicken.
- Gently shake off any excess flour or buttermilk when you coat the chicken. This helps to keep the batter from falling off in the air fryer. Handle the chicken gently when flipping it over.
- Don’t overcrowd the air fryer basket. The chicken pieces should be in a single layer, not stacked on top of each other. Cook in batches as needed.
- Using 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper makes it somewhat spicy. You can use less or omit the cayenne if you don’t want spice.
- For extra flavor, serve with Buffalo Sauce or add 1/4 cup of hot sauce to the buttermilk mixture. Adding hot sauce to the buttermilk won’t make it spicy, but will add more flavor. We don’t find the hot sauce necessary, but some people like to add it.
How to Reheat Fried Chicken
The air fryer is perfect for reheating fried chicken! Unlike the microwave (which will make fried chicken soggy), the air fryer will crisp the exterior back up as the meat heats through.
To reheat fried chicken in an air fryer, first take the chill off of the chicken by letting it sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes. Then heat it in the air fryer at 370° F for about 4-6 minutes, until it is hot and crispy. Enjoy!
There are so many side dish options that go well with this air fryer fried chicken!
An ice-cold glass of our favorite Lemonade Recipe is the perfect refreshing drink!
More Air Fryer Recipes
- Air Fryer Chicken Wings
- Air Fryer Chicken Tenders
- Air Fryer Chicken Thighs
- Air Fryer French Fries
- Air Fryer Sweet Potato Fries
- Air Fryer Cauliflower
Air Fryer Fried Chicken
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (see note)
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 2 eggs
- 1 ½-2 pounds bone-in skin on chicken thighs and/or drumsticks
- canola oil, olive oil or other vegetable oil spray
- In a pie plate, 8x8-inch square baking dish, or other wide, shallow dish, combine the flour, cornstarch, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, dried oregano, salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper. Whisk until well combined.
- Whisk the buttermilk and eggs together in a medium bowl.
- Coat each chicken piece first in the flour mixture, then in the buttermilk mixture, and then in the flour mixture a second time. Gently shake off any excess flour or buttermilk each time you coat the chicken.
- Spray all sides of the chicken pieces with the oil spray, until no more dry flour is visible. I find the easiest way to do this is to place the chicken pieces in the air fryer basket, spray one side, and then flip them over and spray the other side. Make sure that the chicken pieces are in a single layer in the air fryer basket and that chicken thighs are skin side down. (Cook in batches if needed to fit the chicken in a single layer.)
- Air fry at 370° F for 15 minutes, then flip the chicken pieces over and cook for 8-15 more minutes, until chicken is crispy and cooked to at least 165° F at the thickest part away from the bone. Serve immediately.
- 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper will make the chicken somewhat spicy. If you want it less spicy use 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne. If you don't want it spicy at all, omit the cayenne.
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