Air Fryer Fried Chicken

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This Southern Air Fried Chicken is just as tasty and crunchy as its oil-fried cousin. All the taste without the guilt.
Air Fryer Fried Chicken
Air Fryer Fried Chicken
Air Fryer Fried Chicken Thighs

This Southern Air Fryer Fried Chicken is just as tasty and crunchy as its oil-fried cousin. All the taste without the guilt.

Southern fried chicken is a wonderful thing. Prepared correctly, it’s not greasy, just crisp and flavorful. However, no matter what, the coating always absorbs a lot of that oil. Fried chicken has about 16 grams of fat, but air fryer fried chicken has about 7 grams of fat, and that’s including the fat in the skin and the fat in the low-fat buttermilk.

This is a recipe that I adapted from my Grandmother’s recipe. This was something she didn’t write down, she just did it. She had a cast iron skillet that lived on the stove and she would fry the chicken in it. Boy, did I love that chicken! Then when I got my air fryer, I decided it was time to convert her wonderful recipe to an air fryer version.

What Pieces Are Best to Fry?

Feel free to use whatever chicken pieces you like best. We like thighs, but you could use legs, breasts, wings, or even a combination. Do you have a whole chicken? Use a pair of poultry shears to cut the pieces up and then everyone gets the piece they like.

Buttermilk and Chicken

Buttermilk, because of its acidity, starts to break down the meat and make it more tender. The seasonings in the marinade also flavor the chicken. The longer you can marinate the chicken, the better. The shortest time would be about 2 hours, the longest about 24 hours. You must refrigerate the chicken so it stays under 40℉ / 4.44℃. Never marinate or defrost chicken on the counter.

Always cook chicken completely to 165 / 73.88. Find out more about food safety.

A Bag to Dredge Air Fryer Fried Chicken

The best way to dredge coating is in a bag. You can use either a paper grocery bag or a plastic grocery bag. Just put the coating in the bag with the chicken, close it up, and shake it so all the chicken gets coated evenly. When you are finished, just toss the bag. Easy-peasy!

This is not the same thing as breading, which uses flour, egg, and breadcrumbs. That is also a great way to put a coating on chicken and air fry it. I did that with my Pesto Stuffed Chicken Thighs.

Air Fryer Fried Chicken

Air Fryer Fried Chicken

This Southern Air Fried Chicken is just as tasty and crunchy as its oil-fried cousin. All the taste without the guilt.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Marinading: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 55 minutes
Servings (slide to adjust): 6
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American South
Difficulty: Easy
Allergen: Dairy, Gluten
Calories per serving: 377kcal

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  • 2 pounds chicken thighs, bone-in skin-on

~~ — Marinade — ~~

  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning, freeze-dried
  • ½ teaspoon sage
  • ½ teaspoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper, freshly cracked
  • 1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper
  • 1 teaspoon basil, fresh leaves
  • 2 tablespoon lemon juice

~~ — Coating — ~~

Ingredients necessary for the recipe step are in italic.


  • Mise en place
    Air Fryer Fried Chicken
  • To make the marinade, mix the spices together. Put the buttermilk in a large bowl.
    Air Fryer Fried Chicken
  • Add the spices and lemon to the buttermilk. Mix thoroughly.
    Air Fryer Fried Chicken
  • Add the chicken. to the marinade and refrigerate from 2 hours to overnight.
    Air Fryer Fried Chicken
  • After the chicken has been marinated, prepare the coating.
    Air Fryer Fried Chicken
  • Mix the seasonings with the flour.
  • Put the coating into a large disposable bag. A grocery bag, paper or plastic, does a fine job.
    Air Fryer Fried Chicken
  • Add the chicken pieces to the coating. Close the bag and shake it to distribute the coating on the chicken.
  • Put the chicken on the rack of your air fryer.
    Air Fryer Fried Chicken
  • Set the air fryer to 380 for 22 minutes.
  • Use an instant-read thermometer to test that the chicken is 165. Continue to cook for 5-minute increments until it reaches the proper temperature.
    Air Fryer Fried Chicken


The weight and servings are approximate.  Some chickens are bigger than others and some people are hungrier than others.  You will know best.


Serving: 285gCalories: 377kcalCarbohydrates: 39gProtein: 37gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 129mgSodium: 605mgPotassium: 583mgFiber: 2gSugar: 5g
Got Questions? Let me know!Mention @arbpen or tag #arbpen!
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