Air Fryer Fried Chicken Recipe

It's safe to say that eating fried chicken is one of the most popular ways to enjoy poultry. The combination of tender chicken and crispy batter is a match made in heaven. But, if you don't have the means to make traditional fried chicken, as many of us don't own deep fryers, you could also go an alternative route, and cook it in the air fryer. There are so many benefits to cooking chicken in the air fryer, and one of those reasons is that there's less of a mess. Another plus is that it's a much lighter way to enjoy the fried chicken that we all know and love. And guess what? It gets just as crispy in the air fryer, as it does in a deep fryer.

Recipe developer Joe Dillard came up with this easy recipe for air fryer fried chicken that will change how you make your chicken. This crispy chicken hits the spot, whether you want it on a salad, or served between buns. Keep reading to find out how to make this recipe.

Gather the ingredients for this air fryer fried chicken recipe

You can find several of the ingredients for this recipe in the spice aisle. Be sure to grab paprika, ground black pepper, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, dried oregano, and all-purpose flour. You will also need cornstarch, buttermilk, boneless skinless chicken thighs, and cooking spray.

 "You can use canned cooking spray, or use a refillable oil mister of your choice filled with olive oil, vegetable oil, or avocado oil," Dillard notes. Once you have those items, you can make this air fryer fried chicken. 

Preheat the air fryer, and mix the spices

Preheat the air fryer to 350 F. "While preheating isn't necessary, it makes for more even cooking," Dillard shares. "If your air fryer doesn't have a preheat function, simply let it warm up for at least 5 minutes prior to adding the chicken."

Next, mix together the paprika, ground black pepper, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne powder, and dried oregano in a small bowl. Then, add the flour and cornstarch to a large bowl, and sprinkle 1 ¼ tablespoons of the spice mixture into the flour mixture. Use a whisk to combine everything.

In another bowl, mix the buttermilk and the remaining spice mixture together. 

Dredge the chicken

To make things easier, set up a dredging station. Add the chicken thighs to a cooking rack, and place a piece of foil or parchment paper underneath to catch anything that may fall off the chicken. Place the bowls with the buttermilk and flour mixture next to the chicken thighs. To coat the chicken, first place each chicken thigh into the buttermilk mixture, and allow any excess to drip off. Next, coat each side of the chicken in the flour mixture.

Finally, spray each piece of coated chicken with the cooking spray. "While the air fryer uses less oil than a deep fryer, some oil is still needed to achieve a flavorful and crunchy coating for this recipe," Dillard explains. "Spraying [the flour mixture] lightly with cooking spray is essential to the outcome of the recipe. Flour that is not dampened by oil will remain dry and grey in the air fryer, rather than a delicious golden brown."

Fry the chicken

It's time to get air frying. Place each piece in the air fryer basket, and fry for 20 to 25 minutes. Be sure to flip the chicken over when there are only 5 minutes left on the clock. "Depending on the size of your air fryer, you may need to work in batches," Dillard notes. "Air fryer ovens and large basket air fryers may fit 6 to 8 pieces at a time, whereas smaller air fryers may only fit 1 to 2 pieces at a time, so your cooking time for the full recipe will be increased."

Once done, the chicken should be golden brown with an internal temperature of 165 F. "Different cuts of meat, and bone-in pieces will require different cooking times," Dillard adds. "They can still be coated in the same breading; just be sure always to check the internal temperature for doneness."

Serve and enjoy

Remove the chicken thighs from the air fryer, and serve immediately. It's great on its own, but Dillard provides a few of his favorite serving suggestions. "Serve this recipe with mashed potatoes, biscuits, and green beans for a true comfort meal," he suggests. "This air fryer fried chicken tastes excellent alongside all of your favorite dipping sauces, such as barbecue sauce, ranch, and even a dash of hot sauce."

Be sure to save any extras for another day. "Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days," Dillard recommends. "To reheat, warm in the air fryer at 300 F for 5 to 10 minutes, until heated through."

Air Fryer Fried Chicken Recipe
5 from 32 ratings
Who needs a deep fryer, when you can make deliciously crunchy fried chicken in the air fryer, thanks to this recipe.
Prep Time
Cook Time
close up of fried chicken
Total time: 40 minutes
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoons garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne powder
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup cornstarch
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • Cooking Spray
  1. Preheat the air fryer to 350 F. In a small bowl, mix the paprika, ground black pepper, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne powder, and dried oregano, until well combined.
  2. Place the flour and cornstarch into a large bowl, and whisk in 1 ¼ tablespoons of the spice blend.
  3. Pour the buttermilk into a large bowl, and whisk in the remaining spice blend.
  4. Prepare a dredging station with the buttermilk and flour mixture. Place your chicken thighs on a cooking rack with parchment paper or foil underneath to catch drippings.
  5. Place each chicken thigh into the buttermilk mixture to fully coat. Allow excess buttermilk to drip off the chicken thigh, and then coat each side in the flour mixture. Spray each piece of chicken with cooking spray, so that all of the flour is slightly damp.
  6. Place the prepared chicken into the air fryer basket, working in batches as needed. Air fry for 20 to 25 minutes, flipping when 5 minutes remain. When done, the chicken should be golden brown, and the internal temperature is at least 165 F. Serve warm.
Calories per Serving 964
Total Fat 52.6 g
Saturated Fat 5.6 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 215.6 mg
Total Carbohydrates 66.7 g
Dietary Fiber 2.3 g
Total Sugars 3.3 g
Sodium 948.8 mg
Protein 52.1 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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