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!
Why This Recipe Works
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 and skin-on;
- buttermilk: tenderizes the meat and ensures that the chicken stays juice inside; make a homemade version by following my recipe with half and half or milk and vinegar;
- flour: the first ingredient for making the crunchy breading;
- breadcrumbs: any kind works, I used plain because I like to add my own seasoning;
- Parmesan cheese: adds toasted cheese flavor to the breading and makes it even more crunchy;
- seasoning: paprika, 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 the bowl and refrigerate for at least half an hour or overnight.
- Mix breading ingredients: flour, breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese and seasoning.
- Preheat the air fryer to 380 degrees F.
- Shake off the excess buttermilk from each chicken piece, then dip each in breading mixture.
- Spray chicken lightly with cooking spray.
- Place chicken thighs in the air fryer, do not stack, and cook for 25 minutes.
- Check the internal temperature of each chicken piece (see info below), cook for a few more minutes if needed.
- Do not overcrowd the air fryer. Cook in batches if you have more than 3 to 4 pieces. The air circulates in the air fryer and each piece should have space around it to cook properly.
- Don't skip the buttermilk. It tenderizes the meat but also ensures that the breading sticks to the chicken.
- To prevent drips, use parchment paper. Cut a square of parchment to fit in the air fryer basket and place chicken on top. This will prevent the mess during cooking.
Instead of spraying the food with cooking oil once already in the air fryer basket, spray it when it's still on a plate. This will prevent cooked on oil on your air fryer basket and tray. It's not easy to remove. This also prevents damage to the heating element and the finish of the inside of your air fryer.
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 the 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.
No, it is not necessary. If you do not want to wait for it to heat up, simply add 3 minutes to the cooking time.
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.
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.
Any leftovers should be stored in the fridge for up to 4 days. To reheat, preheat the air fryer to 400 degrees and heat the chicken for 5 minutes.
More air fryer recipes:
If you like this recipe and make it, let me know in the comments below! Don't forget to rate it if you enjoyed it!
Air Fryer Fried Chicken
- 4 chicken thighs skin-on, bone-in (see note)
- 1 cup buttermilk see note
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup plain breadcrumbs
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ 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° 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.