This easy Air Fryer Fried Chicken is crispy, juicy and delicious! Who knew you could fry chicken breasts in the air fryer? Marinated in buttermilk and topped with pork panko crumbs, the whole family will love this delicious fried chicken recipe.
THE BEST AIR FRYER FRIED CHICKEN
I came to the States when I was almost 11 years old, and upon arrival – literally right when we arrived – we were introduced to McDonald’s Happy Meals. How else do you welcome a 10-year old and a 7-year old to the United States? 🇺🇸
BUT, our second stop? POPEYES! For my parents. My mom’s eyes popped out when she sank her teeth into that fried chicken. It was true love at first bite, and that’s when we knew why it was called POPeyes. 😜
Thus, thinking about Popeyes chicken, I was very skeptical about trying fried chicken in an Air Fryer. As you are, too, I’m sure of it. To that point, let me just say this; this Air Fryer Fried Chicken is really delicious. It’s crispy and mega flavorful, BUT do not expect KFC or Popeyes type of fried chicken. M’kay?
WHY FRY CHICKEN IN THE AIR FRYER?
Traditional, crispy, buttermilk fried chicken coated with pork panko crumbs is pretty amazing, though. Rather than deep frying or submerging these chicken breasts into lots of oil, I decided to try out the Air Fryer version.
Air fryer fried chicken is lighter and healthier, obviously, but it’s also faster, and nowhere near as messy.
HOW TO MAKE FRIED CHICKEN IN THE AIR FRYER
For this Air Fryer Chicken recipe I decided to use chicken breasts, only, but this recipe works with thighs, drumsticks, and wings, too. I also used coconut flour and pork panko crumbs to keep the chicken lower in carbs, but you can use plain breadcrumbs and regular flour, if you want.
- First, you’ll want to combine buttermilk and Frank’s hot sauce in a large mixing bowl. Don’t worry about the hot sauce; it won’t make the chicken too spicy, but it will inject it with lots of flavor.
- Add chicken breasts (or other chicken pieces) to the buttermilk mixture and let marinate in the fridge for at least 1 hour, and up to 24 hours.
- When ready to prepare the chicken, take it out of the fridge 10 to 15 minutes before cooking.
- In a shallow plate, combine flour with pork panko crumbs and seasonings. Now, about the flour; I use coconut flour for almost all things that require breading because I want to keep carbs at a minimum. The coconut flavor is very subtle, in case you’re worried about that. However, it’s all good if you want to just use all-purpose flour.
- Coat all sides of the chicken with the flour mixture, shaking off any excess flour. Place chicken in the Air Fryer basket in a single layer. Spray with cooking spray and set to cook at 390˚F for about 20 to 22 minutes. I also like to use these air fryer parchment paper liners for easier cleanup.
- Half way through cooking, open up the air fryer basket; flip over the chicken and coat with cooking spray. Continue to cook until done. Please use an Instant Read Thermometer to make sure that chicken is cooked through; chicken is done when internal temperature registers at 165˚F.
TIPS FOR AIR FRYER FRIED CHICKEN
- Any traditional fried chicken recipe will work in an Air Fryer, however, judging by experience, I suggest not to add a very thick breading to the chicken because it doesn’t cook through. I tried and I ended up with lots of white floury spots on the outside, and pinkish spots on the inside of the chicken.
- I advise to dip the buttermilk soaked chicken only once in a well seasoned flour-mixture. For a bit more crunch, add panko crumbs to the flour-mixture.
- Use cooking spray to coat the chicken before cooking.
- Let chicken rest for 5 minutes before serving.
HOW TO STORE FRIED CHICKEN
- Store leftovers in an airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to 4 days.
MORE “FRIED” CHICKEN RECIPES
- Beer Battered Yogurt Fried Chicken
- Lemon Pepper Chicken
- Parmesan Crusted Chicken Tenders
- Baked Chicken Parmesan
TOOLS USED IN THIS RECIPE
Air Fryer Fried Chicken
FOR THE CHICKEN BREASTS
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1/4 cup hot sauce
- Combine buttermilk and hot sauce in a large mixing bowl; place chicken breasts in the buttermilk mixture. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour, and up to 24 hours.
- Take chicken out of fridge and set on counter while preparing flour mixture.
- In a shallow plate combine flour, breadcrumbs, garlic powder, onion powder, Italian seasoning, paprika, salt, and pepper.
- Preheat Air Fryer to 390˚F.
- Line Air Fryer basket with parchment paper (optional).
- Remove chicken breasts from the buttermilk, allowing excess to drip off.
- Dredge chicken in the flour mixture, shaking any excess off.
- Place a single layer of chicken breasts in the basket, with space in between the pieces. I cook 2 to 3 chicken breasts at a time.
- Spray with cooking spray and air fry for 10 minutes.
- Open the air fryer basket and flip over the chicken pieces; spray with cooking spray, and continue to cook for 10 to 12 more minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and an instant read thermometer registers at 165˚F.
- Repeat with the remaining chicken.
- Let stand 5 minutes.