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
4.60 from 62 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. Our favourite air fryer recipe! We have not bought any store bought fried chicken since we got an air fryer and tried this recipe out. We make it at least once a week. I make a big batch of the flour coating and store to use for later.

  2. I’m new to air frying, I’m still learning the appliance. This recipe turned out perfectly! It was crispy, moist, and tasty. I would like to try it again with boneless skinless chicken.

  3. Not sure what I’m doing wrong. I’m new to the air fryer, ours is in our oven. Mine did not crisp up all around. Helllp.

  4. This was my first attempt and I was very disappointed. I followed the instructions closely and the pieces all burned. I used olive oil and wonder if that’s where I went wrong, althoughthe recipe said it was acceptable. I cooked a breast, wing, thigh and leg, the breast without skin. I plan to try again using vegetable oil so hoping that works.

    1. What brand and size air fryer do you use? unfortunately, the results can vary from air fryer to air fryer and also on how large your chicken pieces are.

    2. It wouldn’t have gotten crispy without the skin on.

    3. Hi Kaye…perhaps use the lower shelf & use a higher point cooking oil like Avocado?

  5. Can this work without leaving the skin on? We don’t usually eat the chicken skin.

      1. Can I use chicken cutlets? Should I reduce the time?

        1. Yes, you can! I would just keep an eye on the chicken as it varies based on the airfryer you use but half the time should be enough.

  6. Can I eliminate the hot sauce ? My husband hates anything spicy .

  7. Thanks so much for this recipe. Hardly eat crispy chicken because of the oil but this is a game changer. Done and dusted in 30 minutes. Super crunchy and delicious.

    1. I have used my cooker once for grilled cheese and now want to try fried chicken. What is the purpose of the preheating? When you open to put chicken in basket you lose all the heat. Help please.


      1. It’s like pre-heating the oven. Yes you may lose some air when you open it but if you open it and close it quickly, most of the heat should remain inside!

  8. I love air fried chicken and I must say this is without a doubt the crispiest, juiciest, chicken I have ever eaten. I followed the recipe exactly and used 4 thighs with the skin on. Couldn’t believe how good it was. I highly recommend this dish. It’s so easy.

  9. Very good. Made it in my Go Wise fryer….perfect. After cooking15 min. I turned chicken and it took only 7 minutes more. I did not have hot sauce so I used hot pepper flakes instead. Otherwise I strictly went by your receipe.

  10. Can you spray with Avocado Oil instead of the others?

      1. Hello the recipe sounds delicious, but I don’t use butter milk..any suggestions..im lactose 😪

  11. This recipe is awesome! The only thing I changed was I reduced the hot sauce to 1/8 cup. I also made the buttermilk using the 1 Tbls of white vinegar, as listed in the recipe… Awesome!

    It wasn”t listed as a separate step, so I completely overlooked the drizzling some of the buttermilk batter into the flour mixture. (My bad… will try that next time).

    I’m using a PowerAirFryer Pro-Plus, (with wire racks), and cooked for 25 min @375, turned out great for two thighs and 1 breast cut in half. I preheated the fryer @ 375 for 10 min.

    I will definitely be making this again!

    1. Keith, thanks for the technique! I have the same air fryer/model so the time/degrees are helpful.

  12. Is there a modification you can use to make the chicken less spicy? Also in the past Ive never been able to cook chicken in my ai-fryer and get the timing right. It is always under cooked.

      1. I made this for dinner tonight & it was delicious! We, too, only used 1/8 cup of hot sauce. We probably could have used a little more but 1/4 cup would be way too spicy for us. I forgot to include the onion powder so next time I will put that in. Otherwise, I wouldn’t change a thing. Thanks for the recipe!

      2. My first time cooking chicken in an air fryer! This recipe is perfection!

  13. I made this last night in my Chefman. The chicken was super moist and very tasty but the chicken was not as crunchy for some reason. I did spray w/canola oil generously but am not sure what else I could try. Thoughts?

  14. Hands down the beast chicken I’ve ever cooked. Adding a little cayenne pepper to it tonight. Thank you so much so this recipe

  15. The video doesn’t should adding some of the better into the four mixture. Is this a necessary step?

    1. Made this chicken tonight in my air fryer and it was delicious!!! Husband and kids couldn’t get enough!!
      I used Louisiana hot sauce! Definitely making a again!

    2. It’s not but it does give the chicken an extra crispy texture.

  16. OH my gosh – SO good! I did have to cook mine a bit longer than the 30 minutes, but not more than 10-15 more minutes. My entire family devoured these! Definitely a keeper!!

  17. This was a hit with my family. My daughter, who does not give compliments often, said it was better than a popular local restaurant’s chicken. Everyone thought it was flavorful, juicy and the crust was so crispy. I will definitely be making this again. I had to cook longer than 30 min because I have an Instant Pot Vortex and had to use the two trays and swap postitions etc. ..I just kept an eye on it and it was not a big deal. Great recipe!

  18. Made this tonight for my parents and my husband and kids, my VERY picky 11 yr old ate 5 LEGS!!!! The rest of us barely had any to eat, but we loved what we had! Thank you!

    Really good idea to watch the chicken and check on it while it’s cooking. My legs got a bit tooo dark, as you can read my daughter didn’t mind though.

  19. I tried a recipe of fried green tomatoes in mine and was a big floured mess. Ended up taking out and doing old fashion in the oil. Does flour get brown. If not I don’t want to waste my chicken.

    1. Hello Elaine, I also find juicy veggies tend to mush up. Wonder if mildly dehydrating the tomatoes before air frying might work..