Crispy, juicy fried chicken tops the list as one of the most requested chicken dishes of all time. Although this guilty pleasure food is incredibly delicious, it's not exactly what we'd call healthy eating.

Luckily, healthy eating can start with simple changes in the kitchen. Begin by preparing air fryer fried chicken that uses a handy air fryer that ditches half the fat and calories.

Recipe

Ingredients

  • Assortment of chicken thighs and chicken drumsticks, skin on (we used 2 thighs and 3 drumsticks)
  • 1/4 cup hot sauce, Franks
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • canola oil, for spraying

Directions

  1. Pour hot sauce and buttermilk into a large bowl. Mix. Add the raw chicken pieces and allow them to marinate for up to an hour to overnight. Cover and place in the refrigerator.

  2. In a separate large bowl, mix the flour, cornstarch, garlic salt, onion powder, and pepper. Set aside.

  3. Poke holes in a rounded piece of parchment paper and place it at the bottom of the air fryer basket. This parchment paper liner will reduce the amount of sticking and keep the breading on the chicken.

  4. Remove the marinated chicken from the refrigerator. Dredge each piece of chicken in the seasoned flour mixture and place in the air fryer basket. Be careful not to overcrowd the chicken. You may need to make two batches.

  5. Set the air fryer to 390 degrees and the timer to 12 minutes. Begin air frying.

  6. After 12 minutes, open the air fryer. You'll notice various flour spots throughout the chicken. Spray the chicken lightly with canola oil spray, especially areas with exposed flour. Using a pair of tongs, flip the chicken and continue to spray with canola oil. Close the air fryer and continue to air fry the chicken for an additional 12-15 minutes or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees on an instant-read thermometer.

  7. Remove the chicken from the air fryer with clean tongs when the chicken is golden brown, crispy, and has reached a temperature of 165 degrees. Serve immediately with your favorite sides and sauce.

Supplies

  • 2 large bowls
  • air fryer
  • parchment paper liner
  • tongs
  • instant-read thermometer

Recipe Notes

No Buttermilk, Now What?

Buttermilk is an essential ingredient when making southern-style fried chicken, so we don't recommend leaving it out. Buttermilk is responsible for tenderizing the chicken and keeping it nice and juicy.

But, if you find yourself out of this vital ingredient, don't fret. Learn how to make buttermilk in a snap with our handy guide.

A Word About Parchment Paper

It's possible to prepare air fryer fried chicken without the parchment paper liner. However, the liner will help the breading from sticking to the bottom of the basket. Remember to poke holes in the liner to help with the airflow.

Never place the parchment paper liner in the air fryer without food weighing the liner down, or you'll risk having the liner fly up into the heating element - a potential fire hazard.

More Air Fryer Recipes

If you thought this quick and easy chicken air fryer recipe was tasty, check out some of these 25 popular dishes you can cook in your new air fryer!

Air Fryer Fried Chicken—It's Also Finger-Lickin' Good!

air fryer fried chicken half fried
Brittany Baxter / OOLA

No one would ever suspect that air fryer fried chicken wasn't deep-fried. One bite of the crunchy, golden juicy air fryer fried chicken will leave anyone feeling bamboozled.

Even though an air fryer's inner workings are relatively simple, being a modern countertop convection oven, using circulating hot air to cook food. The way it crisps up fried chicken seems magical, as it mysteriously looks and tastes deep-fried.

After you learn how to make air fryer fried chicken, you may never feel the need to deep-fry chicken again. Not only does the air fryer reduce fat and calories, but it also makes cleaning up a total cinch!

Air Fryer Fried Chicken and Sides

mac and cheese

Are you looking to prepare a family-friendly weeknight meal in less than an hour? Air fryer fried chicken is your go-to for a simple and quick dinner, perfect for busy weeknights, families, and picky eaters.

Add some southern flair to your air fryer fried chicken with some of these tasty southern side dishes for fried chicken: