Get ready to enjoy crispy, tasty air fryer fried chicken! It's a healthier and lower-calorie option compared to traditional deep-fried chicken. This simple air-fried chicken recipe gives you all the deliciousness of fried chicken without a lot of calories. It's a tasty and guilt-free treat you won't want to miss! Let's dive into this easy recipe for mouthwatering air-fried chicken.
With the magic of an air fryer, preparing fried chicken has never been easier or cleaner. In no time at all, you can achieve air fryer fried chicken perfection without the mess. The result? An irresistibly crispy exterior that gives way to tender, juicy goodness on the inside. It's a taste that rivals your favorite restaurant, and the best part is you can whip it up using common ingredients found right in your kitchen.
In this recipe, I'll guide you through the entire process, from listing the necessary ingredients to the step-by-step cooking instructions. You'll also discover valuable tips and tricks to achieve the crispiest and most flavorful fried chicken using an air fryer.
Here are the ingredients you'll need for your delicious air fryer fried chicken, along with their purposes. These simple ingredients come together to create the perfect crunchy and flavorful fried chicken using your air fryer.
Chicken Thighs and Chicken Drumsticks: These are the star of the show, providing the meaty goodness for your fried chicken.
All-Purpose Flour: This will create the crispy outer coating when combined with the seasonings. It gives your chicken that satisfying crunch.
Garlic Powder: Adds a flavorful, savory kick to the coating of the fried chicken.
Onion Powder: Provides a subtle, aromatic taste that enhances the overall flavor.
Cayenne Pepper: Adds a hint of heat and a burst of flavor for those who enjoy a bit of spiciness in their fried chicken.
Egg: Acts as a binder, helping the flour and seasonings adhere to the chicken, ensuring that flavorful coating sticks.
Black Pepper: Adds a classic, mild peppery taste that complements the other seasonings.
Salt: Enhances the overall flavor and brings out other seasonings.
Instructions - How to Cook Fried Chicken in an Air Fryer
Follow this simple step-by-step guide for crispy fried chicken, and you'll be enjoying homemade the best fried chicken straight from your air fryer in no time.
Step 1: Prepare the Breading Station
- Begin by getting your breading station ready.
- In a bowl, gently beat the egg, adding a pinch of salt, a dash of cayenne pepper, and some black pepper.
- In a larger bowl or a zip-lock bag, combine all-purpose flour with cayenne pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, a bit of salt, and more black pepper.
Step 2: Bread the Chicken
- Now, pat your chicken dry using a paper towel.
- First, roll the chicken pieces in the seasoned flour mixture, ensuring they're nicely coated. Give them a little shake to remove any excess flour.
- Next, dip them into the egg wash, making sure they're evenly coated. Again, let any extra egg drip off.
- Finally, give the chicken another roll in the seasoned flour mixture for that extra crispy goodness.
Step 3: Air Fry the Chicken
- Preheat your air fryer to 390°F (about 200°C).
- To prevent sticking, lightly grease the air fryer basket with some oil.
- Place your chicken thighs and drumsticks in a single layer in the basket.
- To get that perfect golden crunch, spray the chicken on both sides with a little oil.
- Now, let the air fryer work its magic for about 25 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked.
Remember to flip the chicken halfway through cooking for an even crispiness.
Variations and Substitutions
Feel free to explore these variations and substitutions to tailor your air-fried chicken to your personal preferences
1. Buttermilk Substitute If you prefer not to use eggs as a binder, you can opt for buttermilk as a fantastic alternative. Simply substitute each egg with ½ cup of buttermilk. This substitution not only helps create that perfect coating but also imparts a subtle tangy flavor to the chicken, elevating its taste.
2. Paprika for a Twist For a slight twist on the classic recipe, consider using paprika instead of cayenne pepper. Paprika adds a rich color and a smoky undertone to the chicken, giving it a unique flavor profile. If you're feeling adventurous, you can even combine both paprika and cayenne pepper to achieve a balance of color and spiciness that suits your taste buds.
3. Boosting Flavor with Seasoning To enhance the flavor of your fried chicken, don't hesitate to experiment with different seasonings. Cajun seasoning, Old Bay seasoning, or poultry seasoning are excellent choices that can add depth and complexity to the taste. Sprinkle these seasonings into the flour mixture for an extra burst of flavor that sets your air-fried chicken apart.
4. Oil Spray Options When it comes to oil spray, you have a couple of choices. Avocado and olive oil both work well to prevent sticking and help achieve that crispy exterior. Choose the one you prefer or have on hand; both will contribute to the texture of your air-fried chicken.
5. Boneless Chicken Option If you prefer boneless chicken over bone-in, feel free to make the swap. Just remember to reduce the cooking time to avoid overcooking. Boneless chicken cooks faster and can become dry and tough if overdone. Keep an eye on the cooking time to ensure your boneless chicken remains juicy and tender.
Whether you're opting for buttermilk, adjusting the seasonings, or choosing a different oil spray, you'll discover endless possibilities to make this recipe truly your own.
Tips for Perfect Air Fryer Fried Chicken
- Dry the Chicken: Ensure your chicken is dry before breading it. This helps the coating stick better and results in a crisper skin.
- Avoid Overcrowding: Don't pack too many chicken pieces into the air fryer basket at once. Overcrowding can lead to uneven cooking and browning. If parts overlap, they might not get as crunchy.
- Batch Cooking: This recipe typically suits up to 4 pieces of chicken, which is the average capacity for most air fryers. If you need more, cook in batches to maintain quality.
- Prevent Cross-Contamination: Always use separate utensils for raw and cooked chicken to avoid any risk of cross-contamination.
- Monitor Cooking Time: Cooking times can vary depending on the size of your chicken and your specific air fryer brand/model. To ensure safe consumption, use a cooking thermometer to check that the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C).
- Avoid Non-Stick Cooking Spray: Do not use non-stick cooking spray like PAM, as it can cause damage to the lining of the air fryer basket.
Discard any leftover air fryer fried chicken that has been left unrefrigerated for an extended period. If the pasta has remained at room temperature for over 2 hours in moderate weather conditions, or for just 1 hour in scorching temperatures (above 90°F), it is no longer safe for consumption. For additional information, refer to this resource for more details on food safety guidelines.
Here are instructions for storing leftover fried chicken to ensure it stays fresh and crispy:
- Cool it Down. Allow the leftover fried chicken to cool down to room temperature for about 30 minutes after cooking.
- Find a Spacious Airtight Container. Find Prepare an airtight container that is large enough to accommodate the chicken pieces without overcrowding.
- Moisture Defense: Using Paper Towels for Crispy Chicken Storage. Line the bottom of the container with a layer of paper towels. These paper towels will help absorb any excess moisture and prevent the chicken from becoming soggy during storage.
- Maintaining Crispiness: Arranging Fried Chicken for Storage. Place the fried chicken pieces in a single layer on top of the paper towels. Ensure that they are not touching or overlapping to maintain their crispiness.
- Stacking Strategy: Layering Paper Towels for Extra Chicken Storage. If you have more chicken to store, you can add another layer of paper towels on top of the first layer and then arrange another layer of chicken pieces. Continue layering chicken and paper towels until all the chicken is stored, making sure the top layer is covered with paper towels as well.
- Secure Storage: Sealing Your Airtight Container. Seal the airtight container tightly to prevent air and moisture from getting in. Make sure the lid is secure.
- Date Labeling: Keeping Freshness in Check. Label the container with the date of storage to help you keep track of freshness.
- Refrigerate or Freeze. Store the container in the refrigerator. The cool temperature will help preserve the chicken's quality. When stored correctly, leftover fried chicken can stay fresh for 3-4 days in the fridge or up to 4 months in the freezer.
By following these instructions, your leftover fried chicken should stay crispy and delicious when you're ready to enjoy it again.
Using an air fryer to reheat fried chicken is a great way to regain its crispiness. Here's what you need to do:
- Remove the leftover fried chicken from the fridge and allow it to come to room temperature before you start reheating.
- Preheat the air fryer to 375°F (190°C).
- Place the chicken pieces in the air fryer basket in a single layer. Cook for 4-5 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C), flipping halfway through the cooking time.
By following these steps, you'll enjoy delicious and crispy reheated fried chicken.
Check Out More Air Fryer Recipes
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Air Fryer Fried Chicken
- a 6-8 quart air fryer
- 4 pieces a mixed of chicken drumsticks and thighs, (bone-in, skin-on)
- 1 egg
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 1¼ teaspoons kosher salt, (divided) I used Morton - more or less to taste
- ½ tablespoon garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 1 teaspoon black pepper, (divided)
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper, (more or less to taste), divided
- Pat your chicken dry using a paper towel.
- In a bowl, beat the egg, adding a ¼ teaspoon of salt, ¼ teaspoon of cayenne pepper, and ¼ teaspoon of black pepper.
- In a larger bowl or a zip-lock bag, combine all-purpose flour with the remaining cayenne pepper, salt, black pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder.
- Preheat the air fryer to 390°F, and lightly grease the air fryer basket with some oil.
- Coat chicken pieces in seasoned flour, shaking off excess. Dip them in egg wash, and let excess drip off. Roll chicken again in seasoned flour, shaking off excess.
- Place chicken pieces in the basket, spray with oil, and cook for approximately 25 minutes, flipping halfway. Check for doneness, remove cooked pieces and continue cooking the rest until fully done.