Crispy, juicy, golden brown and delicious Air Fryer Fried Chicken. This is an easy, less messy version of the classic Southern comfort food.
Who else just loves fried chicken? The crispy crunchy outside, the succulent inside. It is considered one of the all time favorite American comfort foods for a reason.
And now, I’ve perfected everyone’s favorite Southern classic fried chicken in the Air Fryer. Air Fryer Fried Chicken is a lot less messy to make. Requires a lot less oil. But it is every bit as crispy and delicious as its deep fried counterpart.
For me the secret to making the best fried chicken, whether in the air fryer or otherwise is to brine it. My Brined Fried Chicken Recipe is one of my family’s favorite recipes so it only made sense that if I wanted to make Air Fryer Fried Chicken just as delectable, I’d start with a brine too.
As far as the chicken goes, my family greatly prefers drumsticks to just about any other cut (other than my deep fried chicken wings) so that is what I use in this recipe. You can use any kind of SKIN ON chicken that you prefer. But please note that cooking times will vary.
To make the brine you’ll need:
After brining the chicken the next step is making the coating. You will need:
DES’ TIP: Depending on the size of your air fryer, you’re going to need to cook this chicken in batches. Keep the chicken warm by placing on a wire rack on top of a cookie sheet and putting it in a warm oven.
BRINE: Like my super popular Brined Fried Chicken, I highly recommend brining the chicken first. It greatly helps in keep the chicken tender. For this recipe, I use a traditional water based brine but you can also use buttermilk.
COAT IN FLOUR/CORNSTARCH: Coating the chicken in a mixture of flour and cornstarch will is my trick to making sure the skin is extra crispy. The cornstarch helps protect the chicken from moisture loss. To learn a little bit more about the actual science of why cornstarch makes things crispy check out this article from Cooks Illustrated.
SPRAY WITH COOKING SPRAY: You won’t need to use nearly as much oil with air fryer fried chicken, but because you are using flour/cornstarch, you want to use a little bit of oil. It’ll help things brown.
COOK IN A SINGLE LAYER: I have been making a lot of things in my air fryer lately and have discovered certain things, like fried chicken, need to be cooked in a single layer. This helps prevent the chicken from sticking together and ensures all spots get brown.
Absolutely! Think of your air fryer as a mini convection oven. You can put raw chicken/meat/veggies into it and it will be cooked.
I use a vegetable or canola oil non-stick spray. Stay away from the ones with the flour for this recipe since you are already coating the chicken in flour.
There could be a couple of reasons for this. Number one, you want to make sure you completely pat dry the chicken after rinsing off the brine. And two, you want to give the chicken enough space to cook so that the air flows around it. This means that you’ll likely need to make this recipe in batches.
When it comes to my family, most of us love any kind of fried chicken. Except my eldest. That is, until he tried this. His reply “Mom this is the best crispy chicken ever!” kind of sealed the deal for me and gave this recipe a permanent spot on our rotation.
Looking for more comfort food to serve along side this Air Fryer Fried Chicken? Here are some of my favorites!
Other Air Fryer Recipes:
Note: This recipe was originally published in 2020. Updated in 2023 with new photos and nutrition information.