Air Fryer Fried Chicken
This amazing Air Fryer Fried Chicken recipe is an easy way to make crispy fried chicken drumsticks, thighs, and breasts without using oil!
This easy recipe for Air Fryer Fried Chicken is a simple way to make traditional fried chicken in the air fryer. No oil needed!
As a southern girl I take my friend chicken pretty seriously and I’ll admit I was a little skeptical about using the air fryer. Now that I’ve done it I’ll never fry chicken in oil again. Not only is the chicken perfectly cooked on the outside, it’s tender and juicy on the inside.
The best part is there is no oil involved so the house doesn’t smell like fried food for three days after I’m done and I don’t have to figure out what to do with a pan full of oil.
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What You’ll Need
- Chicken, breasts, thighs, and legs – You can use any chicken parts you like for fried chicken. I prefer the dark meat (thighs and legs) because they have more flavor and stay extra juicy. Whichever part you choose to fry you should use chicken with the skin on. This skin will get crispy in the air fryer and give you that perfect bite you are craving.
- Flour – A little all-purpose flour is part of getting that perfectly crispy crust on your fried chicken.
- Spices – Salt, Onion powder, Garlic powder, Paprika, and Black pepper are mixed with the flour to give the grust extra flavor.
- Eggs, Milk, & Water – These 3 ingredients whipped together act as the “glue” for this dish helping the flour and spices stick to the chicken so it can cook into a crispy crust.
- Cooking spray – You don’t need oil to fry things in the air fryer but you will need to add a little cooking spray on the outside of the chicken to ensure that all of the flour crisps up nicely as it cooks.
How to Make It
Prepare your breading. Combine the flour, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, and pepper and pour into a shallow bowl or on a large plate. Crack the eggs into a second bowl and add the water and milk before whisking the mixture together.
Coat the chicken pieces. Coat each piece of chicken by first dipping it in the egg mixture, then rolling it in the flour mixture to coat it. Then dipping it in the egg mixture again, and then rolling it in the flour once more. You can use your hands to make sure the flour coats the chicken completely. As you finish with each piece set it aside.
Spray with oil. Once all of the pieces of chicken are breaded preheat your air fryer to 350 degrees F. Spray 2 pieces of chicken with cooking spray making sure to turn and coat all sides and place them in the basket of your air fryer.
If you can fit more pieces of chicken in your air fryer without crowding it then you can add more. Only spray the chicken when it is ready to be fried.
Fry it. Cook for 9 minutes, then open the air fryer, gently turn the chicken over, and place the basket back in the fryer to continue cooking for 9 minutes more, or until the internal temperature of each piece is 165 degrees F.
Yes! Air fryers can fry anything that is fried in oil as long as it doesn’t have a runny coating, like beer batter or tempura batter Since fried chicken has a flour coating on the outside it is perfect for the air fryer.
To get that browned, crisp texture you do need to spray your chicken with butter or olive oil non-stick spray on all sides making sure to coat the flour. This allows the flour to crisp up as it cooks like it would when it is dropped in oil during the regular frying process.
It is healthier than using an oil fryer which adds lots of extra fat from the oil that seeps into the chicken as it cooks. If you want to really be healthy though you’ll make air fryer chicken breasts or chicken thighs with no coating on the outside.
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Air Fryer Fried Chicken
- 1 pound Chicken, breasts, thighs, and legs
- 2 cups Flour
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 2 teaspoons Onion powder
- 2 teaspoons Garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons Paprika
- 1 teaspoon Black pepper
- 2 large Eggs
- 2 tablespoons Milk
- ¼ cup Water
- Cooking spray
- Combine the flour, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, and pepper and pour into a shallow bowl or on a large plate.
- Crack the eggs into a second bowl and add the water and milk. Whisk together.
- Coat each piece of chicken by first dipping it in the egg mixture, then rolling it in the flour mixture to coat it. Then dipping it in the egg mixture again, and then rolling it in the flour once more. You can use your hands to make sure the flour coats the chicken completely. As you finish with each piece set it aside.
- Once all of the pieces of chicken are breaded preheat your air fryer to 350 degrees F.
- Spray 2 pieces of chicken with cooking spray on all sides making sure to coat the flour and place them in the basket of your air fryer. See note 1 below.
- Cook for 9 minutes, then open the air fryer, gently turn the chicken over, and place the basket back in the fryer to continue cooking for 9 minutes more, or until the internal temperature of each piece is 165 degrees F.
- If you can fit more pieces of chicken in your air fryer without crowding it then you can add more. Only spray the chicken when it is ready to be fried.
If air fryers don’t need oil then why are you spraying the chicken with oil. Just don’t make sense to me. You are using oil to crisp the chicken . So that tells me that you have to use oil to crisp up the chicken.
Hi Carl, air fryers don’t require oil and you can cook this chicken without oil if you prefer. We found that a little spray of oil on the outside of the chicken helped the flour coating brown vs baking into a pale color and we preferred that so that is what we recommend. You should give it a try 🙂
Thank you for the recipe, I am going to try it.
When I finish with mine it still has flour on it. What am I doing wrong?
Hi Curtis, when you spray the chicken with the cooking spray make sure it lightly coats the flour. That helps the flour to brown and crisp up in the air fryer.
Thanks for your prompt response. And believe me, I do spray it. But the deep parts where the spray doesn’t reach remains with flour when i’s done. Sometimes even when I turn them – while cooking I spray them and still, some flour remains.
I haven’t had that problem. Is it possible your flour “crust” is too thick? Maybe try brushing, or tapping, off the excess flour after each time you flour it to get an even coating.
My new oven has a built in air fryer mode. Would I do the same thing in the actual oven? Can’t seem to find any recipes to use in the actual oven.
I haven’t had the pleasure of using an oven with an air fryer mode (that sounds so cool!!) but I think this recipe should work with it. Just make sure you check the internal temperature of the chicken to make sure it is done before you remove it from the oven.
Can you use any type of cooking spray
Hi Sue, any cooking should be fine.
This is my favorite recipe for “fried” chicken. The spices are awesome and the coating….oo laa laa. I do one more dip and the last coating is panko. That really makes it crispy. I also cook at 400° because most of the time the chicken is at least partially frozen and it only takes about 5 extra mins. Thanks for posting such a great recipe
Can I brush olive oil on instead of using spray? The only spray I have is a non stick baking spray. I think it may change the flavor.
Yes you can olive oil also
Well tried this recipe tonight. It tastes delicious but the visual hmmm not so great. Wonder what I am doing wrong? Sprayed them lightly just before putting in the air fryer….. wish I knew….
almost every site I’ve visited says DO NOT use cooking sprays such as Pam….something to do with how it reacts to the metals in the air fryer. Use a pump sprayer filled with olive oil or melted butter….
Mine was almost still raw after the 9 minutes each side and still floured. Bummed
That must have been a really big piece of chicken if it was almost raw after cooking for 18 minutes! In an air fryer you’ll need to make sure to spray your floured chicken with non-stick spray or the flour won’t crisp up.
Definitely have to coat with spray to get any kind of browned crust. I prefer a little more salt in my flour. I used the air fryer liners during this and they worked fine but probably better not to. I’d prefer to traditionally fry but this is a good recipe if you’re trying to avoid the oil.