If you want to make buttermilk fried chicken with less mess, then this air-fried chicken is the easiest way to go.
Buttermilk fried chicken can be a messy thing to cook, especially when you do it in the traditional southern soul food recipe way with several cups of oil and a large skillet or deep fryer for frying the chicken. I'm not about that greasy kitchen life, and I have enough grease burns on my arms from years of working in a restaurant so air frying is definitely my preferred method of cooking.
This fried chicken recipe has so much flavor, that it's sure to please the whole family. The buttermilk marinade ensures that even the white meat stays juicy and tender.
Ingredients for Buttermilk Fried Chicken (Air Fryer)
- Whole chicken- cut into 8 pieces, bone-in and skin-on: The skin allows the flour to attach to it, and the bone helps ensure juicy chicken.
- Hot sauce: I used Franks hot sauce, but you can use your favorite hot sauce.
- Seasoned salt- Lawry's brand is the one I use most often
- Soy sauce: I used a low-sodium soy sauce, but you can use your favorite kind.
- All-purpose flour
- Cooking spray: To get crispy air fryer chicken, use cooking spray to coat the chicken generously before placing it in the air fryer basket.
Soak the chicken in buttermilk, then combine flour and seasonings while the chicken is marinating in the buttermilk mixture.
Let the excess buttermilk drip off the chicken then dredge the chicken in the flour coating.
Let the chicken rest after you bread it so the coating doesn't fall off. Your chicken will end up moist, juicy, and full of flavor.
Place the chicken in the air fryer basket and let cook until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165F. I let the dark meat pieces cook a little longer than the white meat, but that's a personal preference.
I use this meat thermometer to monitor the temperature of the chicken while it's cooking. I place the thermometer in the chicken thighs to get the most accurate representation of doneness.
🎥How to Make Fried Chicken in the Air Fryer
- Whole Chicken - instead of a whole cut-up chicken, you can use all chicken legs, all chicken wings, etc. If you have chicken leg quarters, you can cut them in half to make leg and thigh pieces, and use those for this recipe. I have only tested this recipe with bone-in chicken, but you can use boneless chicken breast as well.
- Buttermilk - you can make your own buttermilk by adding 1 ½ Tablespoons of lemon juice to 1 ½ cups of whole milk. Let those sit together for about 5 minutes until the milk starts to curdle. Use in place of the buttermilk.
You can customize this chicken to your liking by adjusting the spiciness.
- Mild - If you don’t want the chicken to be too spicy, decrease the amount of hot sauce in the marinade to ¼ cup.
- Spicy - add a tablespoon of cayenne pepper to the flour mixture.
I currently use a bella pro air fryer for all of my air fryer recipes. I am looking at upgrading to this cosori model that comes highly recommended by a blogging friend.
Store any leftover chicken in a resealable plastic bag or a sealed container once it has come down to room temperature. The chicken can be stored in the refrigerator for 3-5 days or in the freezer for up to a month.
Place your thermometer in the chicken before you place it in the air fryer. This way you aren't stabbing the chicken and letting all the juices run out when you get near the end of the cooking time. This is my favorite thermometer. It is pricey but worth it.
🍽️What to serve with air fryer buttermilk fried chicken
- French fries- my kids love to dip their fries in chick-fil-a dipping sauce. Me too!
- Green salad with a simple vinaigrette.
- Mint Iced tea would be delicious served with this chicken recipe
- Chocolate chip cookie for dessert
You can freeze this cooked chicken for up to 1 month, then thaw overnight in the refrigerator or using the defrost setting in the microwave. Or, store it in the refrigerator, covered, for up to three days. Reheat in the air fryer at 300 F, for 3-4 minutes on each side or until it's warmed through.
You don’t need to use any type of liner for this recipe. Most air fryer models come with a non-stick basket, so you only have to coat the chicken with spray oil to ensure a golden crust.
If you are using a basket-style air fryer, make sure not to overcrowd the basket. The air needs to get around each piece of chicken in order to cook it to perfection, so leave some room for that to happen.
Be sure to cook your chicken until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
📖Printable Recipe Card
Buttermilk Fried Chicken in the Air Fryer
For the Marinade:
- 1 ½ cups buttermilk
- ⅓ cup hot sauce
- 2 Tablespoons seasoned salt
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 2 pounds bone-in skin-on, chicken pieces (you should have a whole chicken broken down into 8 pieces)
For the Breading:
- 1 ¾ cups flour
- 2 Tablespoons seasoned salt
- Cooking spray
- Combine the buttermilk, hot sauce, seasoned salt, and soy sauce into a large bowl. Whisk everything until fully combined and then transfer to a gallon Ziploc bag.
- Use a paper towel to completely dry the chicken pieces and then transfer them to the Ziploc bag with the marinade.
- Let the chicken marinate for 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
- Preheat the air fryer to 360 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Whisk the flour and seasoned salt together in a shallow bowl.
- Transfer the chicken pieces from the marinade into the flour and dredge each piece with the flour thoroughly. Let the chicken sit for 10 minutes with the flour coating to make sure it adheres and does not come off when cooking.
- Place the chicken pieces into the air fryer and cook for 9-15 minutes on one side and then 9-15 minutes on the other side. Spray generously with cooking oil halfway through to create a crispier outside.
- Make sure the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit which indicates it is fully cooked.
- Remove chicken from the air fryer and then plate and serve.