How To Cook Chicken In An Air Fryer

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Published by: Chef Matty Riedel • Updated: October 26, 2023

Cooking chicken in an air fryer is a simple and convenient process. With proper seasoning, you can cook any chicken cut in the air fryer and make a delicious meal. Most chicken cuts take around 20 to 25 minutes to cook to perfection.

Cooking Chicken In An Air Fryer

Ever since I have gotten my air fryer, I have taken every opportunity I can to make most of my meals in it. All you need is proper meal planning and a set of recipes handy to get started. Once you get the hang of it, you will not want to do without the handy appliance.

Air fryers provide an easy and convenient way of preparing meals. Despite its name, there is no actual frying involved. It simply mimics the results using hot air and minimal to no oil.

The high-powered appliance allows you to cook your chicken in a shorter time. The time variation will depend on the part of the chicken you are cooking and its thickness.

There are two ways you can prepare the chicken. You can choose to brine the chicken before you pop it into the air fryer, or you can completely skip that step. Either way, you will get a moist meal.

Steps For A Juicy Air Fryer Chicken

Brining allows you to cook a juicy chicken. Simply letting the chicken rest in the brine for at least 30 minutes makes a significant difference to the end result. Salt from the brine flavours the meat thoroughly, whereas the extra liquid keeps it moist.

You can choose between a wet brine or a dry brine. There is no use of extra liquid in dry brining. Instead, the process makes use of the natural moisture of the meat that then gets soaked back into it to produce a flavourful and juicy result. Dry brining is the better choice when you want crispy skin and better browning.

Besides choosing to brine, you also have to be careful with the temperature and duration. Overcooking will result in dry meat.

Let’s take a look at how to cook various chicken cuts in an air fryer. Each cut will require a different temperature and duration.

Also, check out our post on how to cook a whole chicken in a Ninja Foodi Grill

Chicken Breasts

Preparing this cut takes minimal work. You can choose the seasoning you want. Customise with what you have in your pantry. The duration required to thoroughly cook the meat will depend on the thickness and weight of the chicken breasts.

cooked chicken pieces with broccoli

Below is a rough time estimate of how long you need to set the timer to cook various sizes of chicken breasts.

  • Weight


  • 140 g to 200 g

    7-10 minutes

  • 220 g to 280 g

    10-12 minutes

  • 300 g and more

    12-16 minutes

Halfway through the cooking time, you will need to flip the meat to ensure even cooking.

Chicken breasts can become the star of your meal if done properly. Unlike the oven, the air fryer will put out tender and succulent meat without reducing its nutritional value.

Prepare the meat the way you want it. You have an endless array of seasoning options at your disposal. Use a little olive oil to help the breasts retain moisture. If you want, you can marinate the chicken cut for a different flavour profile.

If you are unsure if the chicken is done, use a thermometer. As per food safety standards, once the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 75ºC, it is considered done.

Cooking Chicken Breasts

  1. Lay out the chicken on a chopping board and lightly pound it.
  2. If you are dry brining it, put it into the fridge for a minimum of 30 minutes. Once the timer has lapsed, take it out and bring it to room temperature. The same applies to wet brining.
  3. Get your spices together. Combine the spices, olive oil and chicken in a bowl. Ensure the cut is coated in the spices well.
  4. Preheat the air fryer to 190℃. Pop the chicken in the basket and allow it to cook for six minutes. Turn over the chicken and continue cooking for two to eight minutes.

Chicken Wings

You do not need to preheat the air fryer when cooking chicken wings. Prepare the wings the way you want them. You can toss the wings in a bowl with some olive oil and seasoning and put them into the air fryer immediately.

Lay out the wings in the basket. Make sure they are in a single layer. Set the temperature to 200℃ and cook for 10 minutes. Turn them over and cook for another 8 to 10 minutes.

crispy chicken wings with chilis

Chicken Legs

Chicken drumsticks are also prepared and cooked in a similar way to chicken wings. They also require 18 to 20 minutes of cook time in the air fryer to be done well.

Chicken Thighs

Prepare chicken thighs with the seasonings of your choice. To ensure crispy chicken thighs, make sure you pat them completely dry before seasoning. Put the thighs with their skin side down into the basket and cook them for 15 minutes at 200℃. 

Flip them over once the timer elapses. Cook for another 10 minutes.

Frozen Chicken Cuts

You can cook frozen chicken cuts in an air fryer. If you are in a hurry and do not have time to thaw the meat, you can simply pop in the frozen cut. However, you will not be able to pound it or brine it. This will impact how juicy the end result will be.

Cooking Frozen Chicken Cuts

  1. Preheat your air fryer. Set the temperature to 182℃.
  2. Coat the frozen chicken cut in seasoning and olive oil as per your taste.
  3. Coat the air fryer basket with oil or a non-stick spray.
  4. Pop the chicken cut into the basket. You will have to set the timer based on the thickness of the cut.
  5. If you are using frozen chicken breasts, set the timer to 20 minutes.
  6. Flip the cut halfway for even cooking.

The Bottom Line

Air fryer cooking is easy. When working with chicken cuts, make sure you dry them properly before seasoning them. Put them into the basket and cook them halfway before flipping them over to ensure an even cook.

Based on the weight of the chicken, the temperature and duration of cook time will vary. The proper way to ensure your chicken is fully done is to check if the internal temperature has reached 75ºC.

Chef and Restaurant Owner Matty Riedel
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