Learn how to make the BEST buttermilk fried chicken in the air fryer in under 45 minutes. Super crispy on the outside and tender and juicy, this air fried chicken is loaded with spices and tastes 1000x better than frying in oil and is so much healthier too!

The Best Air Fryer Fried Chicken

Air frying is a gamer changer. Ever since I got my hands on a 6qt air-fryer, I knew the possibilities are endless. We love air-frying just about anything that can be air-fried because it’s so much healthier and faster than traditional baking or frying.

The Best Air Fryer Fried Chicken

This air fryer chicken has been long in the making and we’ve tested and perfected it to make sure you make the most delicious chicken possible in your air fryer.

The man objectives to the perfect air fryer fried chicken were:

  • The crunch: The chicken must be crispy & crunchy on the outside with lots of spices.
  • Juicy: It must be cooked through and tender and juicy on the inside with flavor and spice.
  • Save time: be able to get the chicken on the table from start to finish in under an hour.
  • Healthy: have all the above without deep frying.


The secret to making air fried chicken that tastes just as good as frying is to marinate the chicken with buttermilk and spices and to bread it with a mixture of flour and corn starch.

The 2nd must is to generously spray it with cooking spray to ensure all the flour is coated with oil.

This combo will ensure air fried chicken that is tender and juicy on the inside and crispy crunchy on the outside with so much flavor and texture that we promise you will never go back to deep frying chicken.


Chicken: you can use your favorite cuts of chicken. Whether it’s half or whole (double recipe for this) chicken (with skin on), or chicken wings, legs, or your favorite cut of chicken.

Buttermilk: The buttermilk is used to tenderize the chicken and break down the protein which will result is juicy flavorful chicken. If you do not have buttermilk on hand, scroll down for a 5 minute DIY buttermilk recipe.

Flour & Corn Starch: The chicken is breaded with a mixture of flour and cornstarch to ensure a super crispy exterior. The cornstarch helps the chicken brown on the outside and creates a seal that will keep the juices inside the chicken. If you don’t have cornstarch on hand, you can use just flour until next time.

Spices: Spices are essential in this recipe because they bring out the flavor of the chicken and will make the chicken taste like your favorite fried chicken restaurants. It might seem like we are using a lot of spices but trust me, the result is amazing and worth every bite!

Hot sauce: Hot sauce adds flavor and color to the chicken and gives it an extra kick of spice. It’s completely optional but highly recommended for maximum flavor! Use your favorite hot sauce or opt-in for Frank’s.

Spicy buttermilk Air Fryer Fried Chicken


Making your own buttermilk at home is much easier than you might think! Simply combine 1 cup of milk with 1 tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice. Stir and let rest for 5 minutes until the mixture curdles.

Now you can use this buttermilk for fried chicken, baking, and just about anything else!

Spicy buttermilk Air Fryer Fried Chicken
4.61 from 64 votes

The Best Air Fryer Fried Chicken

Learn how to make the BEST buttermilk fried chicken in the air fryer in under 45 minutes. Super crispy on the outside and tender and juicy, this air fried chicken is loaded with spices and tastes 1000x better than frying in oil and is so much healthier too!
Prep15 minutes
Cook30 minutes
Servings 4 people


For the marinade:

  • 2 lb. bone-in skin-on chicken pieces, mix of cuts
  • 1 cup buttermilk, *
  • ¼ cup hot sauce
  • 1 teaspoon EACH paprika, garlic powder, black pepper, salt

For the breading:

  • 1 cup flour
  • ½ cup corn starch, or replace with more flour
  • 1 teaspoon EACH paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper
  • Oil for spraying chicken, Canola, Peanut, Vegetable, or olive oil


  • Combine buttermilk, hot sauce, and spices for the marinade in a large bowl. Add chicken and mix to combine. Cover and marinate up to 24 hours or use right away.
  • Pre-heat air-fryer to 375F.
  • In a medium shallow bowl, whisk the flour, cornstarch, and spices for breading. Drizzle 2-3 tablespoons of the buttermilk batter into the flour mixture and mix it through with a fork.
  • Working with 1 piece at a time, dredge chicken the flour mixture and press flour on the top chicken to form a thick crust. Transfer chicken to a Pre-heated air fryer in a single layer without overlapping. You may need to work in batches if needed.
  • Generously spray chicken with oil or brush it down with oil. You will need to apply a generous layer enough to coat ALL the breading or the flour will not cook and create a crispy crust. If at any point during the cooking you still see raw flour, go ahead and brush it with a little more oil. The more oil you apple the crunchier the crust will be.
  • Set the Air-fryer to 30 minutes and start. After 15 minutes, flip the chicken and lightly spray the other side with oil. Continue cooking for 10 minutes or until the chicken is golden and the internal temperature reaches 165°. Repeat with the remaining chicken as needed.



Diy Buttermilk: To make your own buttermilk, combine 1 cup milk and 1 tablespoon white vinager or lemon juice. Stir and rest for 5 mintues or until it begins to curdle. Use in recipe as directed. 


Serving: 11/4th the recipe, Calories: 592kcal, Carbohydrates: 20g, Protein: 45g, Fat: 35g, Saturated Fat: 10g, Cholesterol: 173mg, Sodium: 588mg, Potassium: 530mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 884IU, Vitamin C: 15mg, Calcium: 59mg, Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Keyword: air fryer, crispy, fried chicken, how to, spicy
like this recipe? Rate & Comment below!
Spicy buttermilk Air Fryer Fried Chicken
Spicy buttermilk Air Fryer Fried Chicken
Spicy buttermilk Air Fryer Fried Chicken

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  1. Like one of the previous comments. Adding oil at the flouring stage made the flour clump together (not in video).Because of this had to turn it a few more times in cooking. Will get a better oil spayer. Enjoyed the chicken. Marinating helped with the flavour.

      1. The more oil you apple the crunchier the crust will be.

  2. Fixed this 3 times and it comes out perfect every time. Great recipe, thanks

    1. Iโ€™m so happy that youโ€™ve enjoyed it! Thank you for sharing this kind review!

  3. I just have one question before trying this recipe which looks amazing, do i dry the chicken pieces out of the marinade before dredging or just dip them in the breading mix?

  4. To make the buttermilk, does the milk need to be room temp first? I made it with cold milk and after 10 min it’s still not curdled. ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™€๏ธ

  5. Hello in the recipe is says add 2-3 tablespoons of the buttermilk mixture to the flour batter but in the video
    Is does not show this step. Is it an important step ? Trying to decide whether to add the buttermilk to my flour or not

  6. I donโ€™t understand the attraction. The recipe sounds fabulous but After looking at the macros I donโ€™t see a huge benefit in terms of being a healthier product.

    1. I don’t think it’s necessarily a healthy meal, but more a yummy meal that you don’t have to deep fry in oil.

  7. According to my husband, this recipe is equal to the chicken up the streetโ€”KFC. Itโ€™s as close to that as Iโ€™ve had!
    Scrumptious flavor and juicy inside. Air fried batter is delish!

  8. Excellent. Crispy outside and moist and super juicy inside. A definite keeper. Thank you

  9. This is my “go to” fried chicken recipe. I do it at least once a month. I substitute 1/8 tsp of cayenne for the hot sauce. I cook it for 30 minutes.

    PS. In Instruction #5, last sentence, apple should be apply.

  10. First time I ever cooked chicken in the air fryer and this recipe was delicious. Will most differently will make it again.
    Even my house mate liked it which is shocking.

  11. Outstanding!!!๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ

  12. I’ve made this recipe now 3 times. I don’t understand the poor results people got. I LOVE this chicken. I can finally have fried chicken again!

    1. I agree! This is the best air fryer – fried chicken recipe. I make “fried” chicken strips. Oh my word! And you will never miss the oil!

  13. I followed the recipe pretty exactly; used boneless skin-on thighs. Maybe I didn’t shake off enough excess flour mixture? Mine, like others, didn’t get crispy and tasted very floury. I tried to spray every bit of flour I could see with cooking oil – thought I was REALLY generous.

    Chicken itself was moist and juicy, so that was successful, though if I try again I’ll go heavier on the hot sauce – barely tasted that.

    1. I loved the recipe, I did notice I had to turn and spray a few extra times but it came out completely cooked and crispy. Thanks ๐Ÿ˜Š