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!

air fryer fried chicken legs and thighs on a plate garnished with parsley and lemon

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.

fried chicken legs and thighs in air fryer basket

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.

Ingredients

ingredients for air fryer fried chicken recipe

  • 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

  1. 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. Buttermilk and eggs in one bowl; flour, cornstarch and seasonings in another bowl.
  2. Coat the chicken in the flour mixture, and gently shake off any excess. chicken leg coated in seasoned flour
  3. Coat the chicken in the buttermilk mixture, and gently shake off any excess. chicken leg dipped in buttermilk and egg mixture
  4. Coat the chicken in the flour mixture a second time. chicken leg coated in seasoned flour mixture a second time
  5. Spray all sides of the chicken with oil spray, until no more dry flour is visible.
  6. Place chicken pieces in a single layer in the air fryer basket, with chicken thighs skin side down.
  7. 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, add 1/4 cup of hot sauce to the buttermilk mixture. This won’t make it spicy, but will just add more flavor. We don’t find the hot sauce necessary, but some people like to add it.

crispy air fried chicken leg with a bite taken from it, stacked on a plate of chicken

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!

Serving Suggestions

There are so many side dish options that go well with this air fryer fried chicken!

Classic Side Dishes: Biscuits, Mashed Potatoes, Coleslaw, Macaroni Salad, Cornbread

Instant Pot Sides: Instant Pot Mac and Cheese, Instant Pot Baked Beans, Instant Pot Corn on the Cob

Healthy Side Dishes: Corn Salad, Quinoa Salad, Green Salad, Kale Salad, Sautéed Green Beans

An ice-cold glass of our favorite Lemonade Recipe is the perfect refreshing drink!

close up of air fried chicken legs and thighs stacked on a plate

More Air Fryer Recipes

Air Fryer Fried Chicken

air fryer fried chicken legs and thighs on a plate garnished with parsley and lemon
Print Pin
5 from 2 votes
This Air Fryer Fried Chicken is the BEST! It's insanely crispy, perfectly seasoned and incredibly easy to make! Serve it with your favorite side dishes for a meal that the whole family will love.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword air fried chicken, air fryer fried chicken
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time45 mins
Servings 4 servings
Calories 521kcal

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions 

  • 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.

Notes

  • 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. 

Nutrition

Calories: 521kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 230mg | Sodium: 1373mg | Potassium: 531mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 1316IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 125mg | Iron: 3mg
Nutrition information is an estimate.
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