Air Fryer Fried Chicken

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Welcome to the world of air frying! It seems to be very popular suddenly, which is good because I finally broke down and bought the small Ninja air fryer. It’s my latest fun toy and I love it. So far, I’ve made french fries and this fried chicken, which was pretty amazing. I plan to try out fried pickles, donuts, and plenty of other goodies in the near future.

What I like about this recipe: No greasy mess. Healthier than fried chicken. Crispy on the inside, juicy on the inside. Better than oven-baked fried chicken. Period. I don’t see why to make fried chicken any other way.

Kudos to the Kitchn for this recipe! You can really use any of your favorite seasonings, but because this was my first attempt, I decided to follow a recipe…mostly. I did stray a little. Sorry people, but I’m not buying a whole chicken and cutting it up into 10 pieces. I took a knife skills class and learned how to do it, but frankly, I suck at it. My hacked up chicken looked pretty pitiful and my revolted stomach wanted nothing to do with it. I’m sure I’d get better with practice (and kudos to you if you rock the whole carving thing), but it’s not for me. Furthermore, I only wanted to use thighs and legs. Sort of wasteful to use a whole chicken.

First, you want to marinate your chicken in buttermilk for an hour or more. Don’t skip this part. Marinating in buttermilk makes the chicken super tender. I’m not sure about you, but I don’t like buying buttermilk because I never use it all so if you’re like me, make your own buttermilk with milk and vinegar. It’s a no brainer.

While the chicken is soaking up all that buttermilk, measure out a zillion seasonings and flour. This is the hardest part. 🙂

Mix it all up and when your chicken is ready, dredge it using a pair of tongs to avoid a sticky floury mess on your fingers.

Be sure to shake off any excess flour. Like I mentioned earlier, the recipe calls for a 3-4 pound whole chicken, but I used about 2 pounds of thighs and legs. I have PLENTY of flour leftover. Feel free to use more chicken if you want.

(Air) fry it up! I sprayed the racks with cooking spray, but I also sprayed the chicken so the coating would cook through. Twenty minutes later, you have fried chicken!

Air Fryer Fried Chicken

Air Fryer Fried Chicken

Servings 6


  • 3-4 pounds chicken cut-up into pieces
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper divided
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground mustard
  • cooking spray


  • Place chicken in a large bowl and season with 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper. Add 2 cups buttermilk and marinate for at least 1 hour in the refrigerator. Overnight is better.
  • Meanwhile, whisk 1 tablespoon kosher salt, remaining 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, all-purpose flour, garlic powder, paprika, cayenne pepper, onion powder, and ground mustard together in a large bowl.
  • Preheat an air fryer to 390F. Coat the air fryer racks with cooking spray.
  • Remove the chicken from the buttermilk, allowing any excess to drip off. Dredge in the flour mixture, shaking any excess off. Place a single layer of chicken in the basket, with space in between the pieces.
  • Air fry, flipping the chicken hallway through, until crispy and an instant-read thermometer registers 165F in the thickest piece, 15 to 20 minutes total. Repeat with the remaining chicken.