This Air Fryer Fried Chicken is juicy inside and crispy on the outside. You will love the crunchy coating with Parmesan cheese. It’s a delicious fried chicken dinner made healthier!
After the huge success with my chicken nuggets, I wanted to make another chicken recipe. One that you will most likely fry in a lot of oil. Well, forget deep-fat frying! This Air Fryer Fried Chicken is crispy on the outside and juicy inside. Marinate the chicken in buttermilk (I am sharing my quick homemade version), then coat in flour, breadcrumbs, and Parmesan cheese breading with spices. The simple bath in buttermilk helps keep the chicken juicy while air frying. The breading is perfectly seasoned and has a hint of toasted cheese. AMAZING!
- chicken thighs (bone-in, skin-on)
- buttermilk (or half and half and vinegar)
- Parmesan cheese
- garlic powder
- onion powder
- Italian seasoning
- salt and pepper
How to make fried chicken in an air fryer?
- Place chicken thighs in a large bowl and add buttermilk. Cover bowl with saran wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes (up to 8 hours).
- Mix breading ingredients: flour, breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese and seasoning.
- Lightly spray your air fryer basket with cooking spray and preheat it to 380 degrees F, for 3 minutes.
- Shake off excess of buttermilk of each chicken pieces and dip in breading mixture.
- Place chicken thighs in air fryer, do not stack. Cook for 25 minutes.
- Check the internal temperature of each chicken piece (see info below), cook for a few more minutes if needed.
How long to cook chicken in the air fryer?
- thighs: set timer to 25 to 28 minutes and cook chicken until internal temperature is at least 180 degrees F.
- breasts: set timer to 23 to 25 minutes, depending on the thickness of the chicken. Cook until internal temperature reaches at least 165 degrees F.
- strips: set timer to 15 to 17 minutes, depending on the thickness of the pieces. Cook until internal temperature reaches at least 165 degrees F.
Can I use frozen chicken?
If you have frozen chicken strips or nuggets, you can cook them in the air fryer as you would in the oven. It is not recommended to use frozen chicken breast or thighs.
Can I stack the chicken?
The air fryer cooks food by circulating the hot air around it so the surface of your food needs to be exposed to the air to be cooked properly. If you want to cook more than 4 pieces, I suggest doing so in batches.
Do I need to preheat the air fryer?
No, it is not necessary. If you do not want to wait for it to heat up, simply add 3 minutes to cooking time.
More air fryer recipes:
For more recipes like this, browse our Air Fryer category.
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Air Fryer Fried Chicken
- 4 chicken thighs skin-on, bone-in (see note)
- 1 cup buttermilk see note
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup plain breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- Trim chicken of any excess fat. Place in a large bowl. Add buttermilk and make sure all pieces are coated. Cover bowl with saran wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes (up to 8 hours).
- In a bowl combine the breading ingredients: flour, breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese and seasoning.
- Lightly spray your air fryer basket with cooking spray. Preheat air fryer to 380 degrees F, for 3 minutes.
- Shake off excess of buttermilk of each chicken pieces and dip in breading mixture. Make sure it is well coated.
- Place chicken thighs in air fryer, do not stack. Close air fryer, set timer to 25 minutes.
- Check the internal temperature of each chicken piece (it should be at least 180 degrees F). Cook for a few more minutes if needed.
- You can use boneless skinless chicken thighs, however, they will cook faster. Check their internal temperature after 20 minutes.
- To make homemade buttermilk: combine 2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar and enough half and half to make 1 cup of liquid. Let sit for a few minutes.
- You can easily double the recipe to make more servings, however, you will have to cook the chicken in batches.
- Please note, that the nutrition value can vary depending on what product you use. The information below is an estimate. Always use calorie counter you are familiar with.
This recipe was originally published on March 25th, 2019 and updated on March 4th, 2020.