For Delectable Air Fryer Chicken, Focus On The Seasonings

Over the last few years, air fryer fried chicken has become a popular choice for those seeking a simpler and healthier alternative to traditional deep-fried chicken. With a crispy coating, juicy interior, and big flavors, it's undeniably a formidable match for the classic dish. While the method plays a significant role in achieving that delectability, one crucial element that often gets overlooked is the seasoning. By focusing on the right seasoning, you can take this ubiquitous, casual food from good to exceptional while still keeping the cooking process quick, easy, and fuss-free. And the great part about it is that there's no need to marinate the chicken to pack in the flavor. Simply apply your chosen seasonings as you're prepping the meat for the air fryer.

Seasonings enhance the chicken's naturally mild taste while also layering in some marvelous depth and complexity. The flavor notes range from spicy, savory, and briny to herby, sweet, and all kinds of in-between nuances. Tailor them to your heart's desires and never worry about eating dull, monotonous chicken again. Whether you prefer something light and simple with just a hint of aroma or a bold, fiery kick that ignites the senses — it's all possible. Beyond the flavor improvement, there's also a textural boost depending on the seasoning varieties. A combination of coarse and fine seasonings can create an extra-crispy and flavorful crust that contrasts the juicy and tender meat inside — an all-time important hallmark for mouthwateringly good fried chicken.

When it comes to seasoning air fryer chicken, there's no limit

Seasoning generally includes salt, sugar, spices, herbs, and other flavorings, all of which you can use individually or mix to coat the chicken prior to air frying. A dry rub or quick toss gets the job done well. You can also mix seasonings into the batter for a fully flavor-packed crispy coating. Do both for a double hit of flavor.

Some classic choices that you probably have in the pantry are salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika, cayenne pepper, onion powder, and dried oregano. Add those in a blend for super-tasty chicken. If you want the chicken to have a smoky undertone that resembles grilled food, go for some Cajun seasoning or Tex-Mex mix. They impart a savory, spicy touch that makes every bite of the fried chicken much more exciting. 

Of course, you don't have to stick to the same old things. Take a page from Middle Eastern cuisine and incorporate enticing aromas into your air-fried chicken with staples like cumin, nutmeg, turmeric, cardamom, saffron, or a homemade za'atar blend. For an Asian twist, use toasted sesame seeds, five-spice, curry powder, and Sichuan pepper. They bring an umami-rich taste profile and, if added to the batter, a harmoniously sweet-spicy coating. And if you've got a few oranges, limes, or lemons lying around, use their juice to induce a citrus hit that will brighten the whole meal in an instant, although citrus flavors can work best in a quick marinade, if you have a little extra time.