Easy and Crispy Air Fryer Fried Chicken

4.58 / 5 ( 84 Reviews )
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Fried chicken in the air fryer is easy and healthy!

Healthy Air Fryer Fried Chicken

You are going to love today’s air fryer recipe because it’s so crispy and healthy. You read that right, we are making healthy fried chicken right in the air fryer. This is just one of the many reasons why I love my air fryer- I use less oil, which means the food is healthier. And, it tastes better than deep frying.

Follow along as I show you how to make the best fried chicken in the air fryer. OR you can watch me make it in this video:

Easy Buttermilk Fried Chicken Recipe

I bet you already have everything you need for this amazing air fryer recipe. It’s quick, easy, and packed with awesome flavors. And the best part, if you aren’t a fan of spicy, then you can reduce the hot sauce to your liking. For this recipe, you need:

easy homemade crispy fried chicken ingredients

  • buttermilk (or 1½ cups of milk with 1½ teaspoons lemon juice or white vinegar)
  • hot sauce
  • smoked paprika
  • onion powder
  • garlic powder
  • salt
  • pepper
  • drumsticks
  • flour
  • cornstarch (if you don’t have cornstarch, use a 1/2 cup of flour)
  • baking powder
  • avocado oil or olive oil (or any high smoke point oil)

How do you make fried chicken in the air fryer?

The key perfectly fried, crispy, and juicy air fryer chicken is to make a brine and a dredge for your chicken. I like to use chicken drumsticks (skin-on or skin-off), but chicken breasts, chicken thighs, chicken wings, chicken pieces, or chicken tenders will also work for this recipe.

Note: The recipe is written for chicken drumsticks, if you choose a different type of chicken, you may need to make adjustments to the recipe.

Homemade Buttermilk Recipe

If you don’t have buttermilk, make a homemade buttermilk mixture. Pour in a cup 1½ cups of milk then add in 1½ teaspoons of lemon juice or white vinegar and let it sit for at least 10 minutes.

Easy Chicken Brine Recipe

Make a brine to marinate the chicken. This buttermilk chicken brine will make the chicken perfectly juicy and give it a great flavor. To do this:

  • Pour the buttermilk into a bowl and whisk it with the hot sauce. If you aren’t a fan of hot sauce, then use only about 2 tablespoons of hot sauce.
  • Then stir together half of the spice mixture with the buttermilk and hot sauce.

Then, marinate the drumsticks in the brine. I like to use a bowl or a ziplock bag. I recommend using a bag with this handy bag holder, so that the brine can fully envelope the chicken. Let the chicken soak for at least 1-2 hours. You can even let it soak overnight.

How do you crisp chicken in the air fryer?

how to make crispy fried chicken

To make crispy chicken you need to make a dredge. The light coating of the cornstarch or flour will help make the chicken crispy when you cook it in the air fryer.

In a different zip lock bag, shake together the flour, cornstarch, and baking powder, and the rest of the spices.

Once the chicken has finished soaking in the brine, you are going to double dip the chicken to make it extra crispy:

  1. Place three drumsticks in the dredge.
  2. Shake it around then place the drumsticks on a plate
  3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 until all the drumsticks are covered
  4. Pour the remaining buttermilk mixture in a bowl
  5. Dip the chicken in the buttermilk mixture
  6. Shake 2-3 drumsticks in the dredge Ziploc then put back on the plate
  7. Repeat steps 5 and 6 until all drumsticks have been double drudged

Do you need to put oil on chicken in an air fryer?

Your chicken is now ready for the air fryer… well almost. Spray your chicken with a little bit of avocado oil, I love using my reusable oil sprayer bottle. Spraying the chicken with oil will help it get extra extra crispy because it will help the dredge adhere to chicken and oil is a great heat conductor.

You don’t need a lot of oil, just enough to cover your chicken.

How long should I air fry chicken?

homemade fried chicken drumsticks in the air fryer

Preheat the air fryer at 400°F/200°C for 5 minutes.

Spray the air fryer basket with oil and place 4 drumsticks inside the air fryer basket in a single layer. Cook for 15 minutes at 380°F or 193°C, flip the chicken at the halfway point.

When is my chicken done cooking?

crispy chicken in the air fryer

Chicken is generally done cooking once it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F or 74 degrees C on an instant read thermometer. However, chicken drumsticks are finished at 170 degrees F or 77 degrees C.

how to make fried chicken in the air fryer

Final Thoughts

I can’t wait for you to try this air fryer chicken! Ever since I made this recipe, it has quickly become a new favorite in our home. We love this one and air fryer chicken tenders!

What’s your home’s favorite air fryer recipe? Share with us in the comments below!

More of our family favorite air fryer recipes

I’m here to help you use your air fryer, check out these guides for more info!

Get this recipe and more in my air fryer cookbook!

air fryer fried chicken

Fried chicken in the air fryer is easy and healthy!

The Crispiest Air Fryer Fried Chicken

The healthiest and crispiest fried chicken in the air fryer!
4.58 / 5 ( 84 Reviews )
Print Rate
Prep Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours
Serves: 4
Adjust Servings: 4




  • Mix the smoked paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper together in a small bowl
  • Make the brine: whisk together hot sauce, buttermilk, and half of the spice mixture
  • Add drumsticks and brine in a plastic bag. Let it soak for at least 1-2 hours or overnight
  • Make the dredge: add flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and the rest of the spices in a plastic bag and shake to mix everything together
  • After the chicken has finished soaking, add up to 3 drumsticks at a time into the dredge bag. Coat the drumsticks by shaking the bag. Take the drumsticks out of the bag and set on a plate. Repeat this for all the drumsticks
  • Pour the remaining buttermilk mixture from the brine bag into a bowl and double dredge the drumsticks in the brine and then in the dredge.
  • Let the drumsticks rest for 10 minutes
  • Preheat the air fryer to 400˚F/204˚C for 5 minutes
  • Spray the drumsticks with oil to help the dredge adhere to the chicken. This will also crispen the chicken.
  • Spray the air fryer basket with oil and place 4 drumstick to the basket
  • Cook for 15 minutes at 380˚F/193˚C, flipping once at the halfway point


Calories: 462kcal | Carbohydrates: 60g | Protein: 34g | Fat: 9g | Sodium: 2495mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g
Ingredients: Avocado oil, Buttermilk, Chicken, Cornstarch, Flour
Meal Type: Main Dish, Popular, #StayHome, 4th of July, Back to School, Father's Day, Mother's Day, New Year's Eve, Spring, St. Patrick's Day, Summer, Super Bowl Party, Winter, Egg Free
Categories: Healthy, Meat and Poultry, Air Fryer

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