Our air fryer fried chicken recipe can be made both ways: with or without buttermilk. If you choose to make the Air fryer buttermilk fried chicken, it will take a little longer but it’s delicious.

Air Fryer Fried Chicken on tray

Air Fryer Fried Chicken Recipe

We’re so obsessed with fried chicken. It’s one of our favorite foods, ever. But eating deep fried foods isn’t always ideal so that’s why this air fryer fired chicken recipe is ideal! Air fryer technology has come to the rescue. Air frying fried chicken is fantastic and give a very similar crispy crunch sensation as deep fried, but without all the calories! It’s not “exactly” like deep fried chicken but the air fried chicken comes really darn close. After you master the air fried technique, there’s no turning back to greasy deep fried foods. Best of all, clean up is amazing!

Air Fryer Fried Chicken on Plate with Slaw

Video: Crispy Air Fried Buttermilk Fried Chicken

How to Make Healthy Air Fryer Chicken

“Healthy” fried chicken is a relative term because so there’s factors that can make it “un-healthy”. We’re saying it’s healthier than deep fried chicken. So if you compare deep fried chicken in greasy oil vs air frying, there is definitely a significant calorie factor. So air fryer fried chicken is definitely a healthier version when compared to deep fried in oil.

  • Dredge the chicken in less flour so there’s less calories from flour.
  • Use skinless chicken. Removing the skin will definite make this lighter on calories. If you remove the skin and use boneless chicken, the chicken will cook a little quicker.
  • Cook with boneless skinless chicken breasts. Chicken breasts are less fatty than chicken thighs. But breasts can also be drier. So we suggest slicing the breasts thinner so they can cook quicker and dry out less in the air fryer. Cooking time will definitely change so make some adjustments based on the recipe below.
  • Eat based on a reasonable serving size. Portion control is crucial to enjoying fried chicken in a “healthier” way.
Air fryer fried chicken in basket

Tips for Making Air Fried Chicken Juicy and Crispy

With so many different types, models and styles of air fryers out there on the market, cooking times will vary so much. Please keep in mind that your results will vary based on the size, thickness and type of chicken you use. We give a time range but that will vary for every model of air fryer.

  • Start with our base and make adjustments as needed. After you make your first batch, you’ll know more of what the best time and temp will be for all the different factors.
  • NOT ALL PIECES ARE THE SAME SIZE & THICKNESS! Is your chicken too thick? If so, make sure to add some extra time during cooking. Is your chicken smaller? Then you might need to cook it for a little less than our recommended time. Our results are based on bone-in skin-on chicken thighs and drumsticks.
  • Use an oil spray to liberally oil the flour coating. If the flour coating doesn’t have any oil on it, the coating will cook dry and hard. It won’t be crispy or crunchy. It’ll be… dry… and hard.
  • If needed when you flip, add an additional light spray of oil to ensure the crust cooking crispy and delicious.
  • Don’t overcrowd your air fryer. Give space between the chicken so air can flow through and cook all sides of each chicken piece crispy.
  • SILICONE LINERS: If you use silicone liners or silicone bowls, the chicken will take a little longer to cook. Silicone does not conduct heat, so the the sides of the chicken that are touching the liners will be more raw. You’ll have to flip more often or cook a little longer. But silicone liners definitely make cleanup easier!
  • Use your favorite seasonings! Once you get all the basic concepts down and making a successful batch, have fun with different seasonings to customize your air fryer fried chicken!
  • Is your air fryer smoking? Here’s some awesome tips: Why is smoke coming out of my air fryer?
Air Fryer Fried Chicken on Plate with Slaw

Air Fryer Buttermilk “Fried” Chicken

This crunchy and juicy chicken is fantastic. It’s hard to believe that they weren’t deep fried! Chicken thighs take at least 5 minutes longer, especially if they’re larger than the drumsticks.
5 from 10 votes

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  • 2 pounds (907 g) bone-in chicken drumsticks or thighs (4 drumsticks or 2 thighs per pound size)
  • 3/4 cup (180 ml) buttermilk , for soaking
  • 1 cup (125 g) flour
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt , or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) dried oregano or thyme leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1.25 ml) cayenne or chipotle powder , (optional)
  • 3 Tablespoons (45 ml) buttermilk , for the batter
  • oil spray , for coating


  • Pat dry the chicken. Soak the chicken in buttermilk for about 30 minutes in the fridge.
    Chicken soaking in buttermilk
  • While chicken is soaking, whisk together the flour, salt, pepper, paprika, oregano or thyme or oregano, garlic powder, and cayenne or chipotle in a separate bowl. Add the 3 tablespoons of buttermilk and mix together, breaking up the big clumps. The flour mixture will be clumpy but should still be dry-ish. The clumps will create a great texture during frying.
    Clumpy batter with chicken
  • Preheat air fryer at 360°F/182°C for 4 minutes.
    Preheat Air Fryer
  • Remove the chicken from the buttermilk soak and dredge the chicken in the flour mixture, making sure to coat the chicken completely. Generously spray all sides of coated chicken with oil spray right before cooking.
    Chicken in bowl with buttermilk, in coating mixture and on a plate
  • Spray air fryer with oil or place an air fryer perforated parchment sheet or perforated silicone mat in the bottom of the air fryer basket.
    Spraying Air Fryer Basket with Oil Spray
  • Place the coated chicken in a single later (you’ll need to cook in batches). Make sure chicken is not touching or the coating may flake off when you flip them.
    Coated chicken in a single layer in air fryer basket
  • Air Fry at 360°F/182°C for about 25-35 minutes, flipping half way. Chicken thighs need about 5-8 minutes additional cooking time to cook completely through. Lightly spray any dry spots, then continue cooking for the remaining time or until they are crispy brown or until internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165°F/74°C.
    Finished air fried chicken


YouTube video

Nutrition Information per Serving

Calories: 400kcal, Carbohydrates: 28g, Protein: 32g, Fat: 17g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 7g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 146mg, Sodium: 800mg, Potassium: 477mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 468IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 93mg, Iron: 3mg