Deliciously Crispy Air Fryer Fried Chicken

Freshly fried chicken is a simple, yet delicious comfort food. Even many followers of an active and healthy lifestyle, like myself, find this treat delightful. However, tasty or not, it should have little space in your diet, if any at all. If you want to know more about crispy air fryer fried chicken then continue reading this article.

Deep fried food is saturated with trans fats, which are difficult to digest, amongst other issues that come with its consumption. Repeated use of oil develops carcinogenic compounds, responsible for developing cancer and other diseases. 

Now the good news!

Crispy fried chicken doesn't have to be on the guilty pleasures list. An air fryer opens up the doors of opportunity to make this comfort food with a tiny fraction of oil. Applying the right technique, your crispy air fryer chicken will be unrecognisable from its unhealthy counterpart. 

Removing bad fats from your diet will help you keep in shape. Enjoy crispy golden chicken tenders, drumsticks or anything you fancy with peace of mind. 

Deliciously Crispy Air Fryer Fried Chicken

Air frying works on a completely different principle than deep frying. It circulates small droplets of hot oil inside the frying chamber. Most models can be used without any oil at all. In that case the airfryer reminds more of a small oven. 

Have you noticed that fried, roasted and grilled meat have richer flavour than when it’s just boiled or steamed? These airborne droplets are causing surface of food to brown faster, developing flavours and making it more crispy. The sugars in food start to caramelise under direct heat, creating the delicious umami flavours. No, you don’t need to add any sugar. We are talking about natural sugars and carbohydrates that most ingredients naturally contain. 

Air fryers can make crispy chicken, identical to the that of an deep fryer. Without the worry of handling blazing hot oil, especially if you have free roaming kids or pets around. Not to mention that disposing of used oil requires further attention as it can be very harmful to the environment.

Air fryer is considered one of the more healthy ways of cooking. Using air fryer too much can, however, still affect your waist line.

Think Beyond Drumsticks

Fried drumsticks or chicken tenders are great. But you can be more creative than just that. Have you ever tried frying chicken thighs? This juicy and most flavourful part of the chicken, in my opinion, is oftentimes overlooked. 

Air fryers can make any part of chicken crispy and well cooked. Why not fry the whole chicken directly?

air fryer fried chicken

Gather The Ingredients

Good breading will help achieve that crispy golden crust with soft and tender meat inside. Unfortunately, air fryers don’t cope well with food coated only in the batter. The high-speed fan will strip it out and spread it around the frying chamber. There are many recipes out there. Most of them come down to a few basic ingredients. Keep things simple.


You can use all-purpose flour in your batter. Adding cornstarch will slow the gluten development process, resulting in a crispier crust. Alternatively, use tempura flour. 


The texture will be affected most noticeably by the type of breadcrumbs you use. For the lightest crust, use Japanese Panko breadcrumbs. These days, they are easily accessible in most supermarkets.

Normal breadcrumbs will be more robust but will do the trick of sealing the food and preserving its moisture. 

If you have a lot of leftover bread, don’t throw it out. Make your own breadcrumbs. Cut it in thin slices and let it dry. When it’s rock hard, throw it into the food processor and let it get shredded into pieces. Or maybe even your blender could do the job.


Adding C02 contained in soda water will aerate the batter and slow the gluten development process. The batter will be lighter and fluffy.


Try your air fryer crispy chicken with a cornflake crust. Cornflakes add a slightly sweeter flavour and crunchier texture. Use unsweetened version. Pair the final dish with sweet chilli dip.

Make It To Your Taste

Introduce fresh herbs and spices into your air frying recipes. Make your creations more interesting and unique. 

Use Mediterranean flavours like rosemary, oregano or marjoram. Get inspired by this list of commonly used spices in the UK. Dry spices work best when mixed with flour or rubbed onto the meat directly. Be careful when applying salt onto the fresh meat in advance. It affects the moisture and your chicken may taste dry.

Citrus zest is full of oils that add zing and freshness to the aroma. Lemons and oranges are most commonly used, but limes can do well too. Go for non-waxed citrus fruits if possible. Or at least scrub it with a food brush under the running tap water. Use a fine cheese grater to extract the zest from the surface. Don’t apply too much pressure so you won’t scrape the pith as well. This white part of citrus skin contains that unpleasant bitterness. 

Fresh produce can be used as well. It is better to incorporate it into the breading. Mix freshly chopped aromatic herbs with breadcrumbs before coating the chicken. 

Crispy Air Fryer Fried Chicken Recipe

You can achieve air fried food results comparable to that of a deep fryer using breadcrumbs or without. Light breading is always necessary, otherwise, you will end up with a roasted chicken.

Allowing the raw chicken to warm up to room temperature will help cook it more evenly and remain juicy. Just take it out of the fridge before you start setting up your breading station. 

Some air fryers have pre-programmed modes for fried chicken. The results may vary as each machine is slightly different. If you bought your air fryer just recently. You may test its capabilities, with a few easy recipes first.

No matter how complex the settings on your air fryer are, you should always check the food temperature with the kitchen thermometer. Especially when cooking chicken. The temperature should be at least 75℃, at that range, all potentially harmful bacteria will be obliterated.

Crispy Chicken Without Breadcrumbs

air fryer fried chicken


  • 1 tsp Paprika
  • 1 tsp Marjoram
  • 1 tsp Garlic powder
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Coarse black pepper
  • 120g All-purpose flour
  • 40g Cornstarch
  • 2 Eggs
  • 30 ml Milk
  • 15 ml Soda water
  • 7 chicken drumsticks


  1. Season the chicken drumsticks with your spice mix. Add some chilli flakes if you want. Make sure each part is rubbed and covered with the mix. 
  2. In a separate bowl, mix together 120g of all-purpose flour and 40g cornstarch. 
  3. Beat the eggs together with milk and club soda.
  4. Dip the chicken into the egg batter and transfer to the bowl with the flour mix. 
  5. Let it rest for 3-5 minutes. The flour will absorb the moisture. 
  6. Do it one more time. Dip the chicken into egg batter again and into the flour mix. It will develop a thicker crust.
  7. Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat your air fryer if necessary.
  8. Spray the chicken with oil, use rice bran oil or olive oil suitable for frying. You don’t have to buy those expensive oils in sprays. They slightly affect the flavour. Just use an ordinary refillable spray bottle.
  9. Air fry the chicken for 20 minutes at 190℃ and flip it halfway after the first 10 minutes.
  10. Apply one more thin layer of oil 3-5 minutes before the end of a cooking cycle. It will make the crust more crispy.

Crispy Chicken With Breadcrumbs

air fryer fried chicken


  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Coarse black pepper
  • 1 tsp Garlic powder
  • 2 Eggs
  • 100g All-purpose flour
  • 30g Cornstarch
  • 15ml Soda water
  • Zest of 1 Lemon
  • 1 Bunch of finely chopped fresh parsley


  1. Beat eggs with salt, pepper, garlic powder and soda water.
  2. Mix panko with freshly chopped parsley and lemon zest.
  3. In a separate bowl mix together flour and corn-starch. 
  4. Coat the chicken with flour first. Then dip it into the egg batter and finally cover it with panko mix.
  5. Lightly spray it with cooking oil.
  6. Air fry the chicken for 20 minutes at 190℃ and flip it halfway after the first 10 minutes.
  7. Apply one more layer of oil 3-5 minutes before the end of a cooking cycle. Same as in the previous recipe.

Serve your chicken immediately. Use an air fryer for reheating the leftovers, if there will be any. 
You can cook the whole dinner only by using an air fryer. Make baked potato as a delicious side or a starter. Enjoy the home movie night with air-fried crispy chicken and fresh french fries. And if you are cutting on carbs, try this zucchini chips recipe. Learn more about how to make air fried chicken with sides at the same time.

Air Fryer Fried Chicken: Summing Up

While crispy air fried chicken should taste amazingly on its own, there are ways to make it more interesting. Spice it up with fresh herbs and spices. 

The batter is the foundation of all fried foods. If it’s done right, it can be light, almost fluffy with a crispy bite.

Use panko breadcrumbs or make your own with leftover bread. Mix it with fresh herbs or cheese like parmesan. This almost asks for being dipped in marinara sauce, or homemade mayonnaise.