Air Fryer Buttermilk Fried Chicken

updated Oct 21, 2020
Air Fryer Fried Chicken

The air fryer yields flawless buttermilk fried chicken — crunchy skin, a cracker-crisp coating, and juicy, tender meat.


Prep8 minutes

Cook50 minutes

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Credit: Olive & Mango

I went to college in the South, so I’ve had my fair share of crispy, juicy, finger-licking fried chicken. As you may imagine, I was skeptical about making a healthier version in the air fryer.

The second I pulled out my first batch, however, my concerns vanished. The skin was crunchy, the coating was cracker-crisp (just as it should be), and, most importantly, the chicken itself was juicy and tender — the sign of a flawless piece of fried chicken.

Air fryer fried chicken is lighter, faster, and much less messy than deep-fried chicken. Here’s how to do it.

Credit: Olive & Mango

5 Tips for the Best Air Fryer Fried Chicken

These tips will help you achieve the absolute best results.

  1. Soak the chicken in buttermilk. You’ll want to let it soak for at least one hour, but overnight is preferred.
  2. Heavily season the flour breading. This is where you’ll get the most flavor.
  3. Coat the chicken with cooking spray. Spraying the chicken before you place it in the air fryer will make the coating that much crispier, and more similar to deep-fried chicken. 
  4. Rotate the chicken pieces halfway. This will help attain even crispiness and avoid any soggy spots.
  5. Let the chicken cool for a few minutes. You’ll be tempted to eat your chicken immediately, but wait a few minutes so you don’t burn yourself.

Air Fryer Fried Chicken

The air fryer yields flawless buttermilk fried chicken — crunchy skin, a cracker-crisp coating, and juicy, tender meat.

Prep time 8 minutes

Cook time 50 minutes

Serves 6

Nutritional Info


  • 1

    (3 to 4-pound) whole chicken

  • 1 tablespoon

    plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided

  • 1 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper, divided

  • 2 cups


  • 2 cups

    all-purpose flour

  • 1 tablespoon

    garlic powder

  • 2 tablespoons


  • 1 teaspoon

    cayenne pepper

  • 1 tablespoon

    onion powder

  • 1 tablespoon

    ground mustard

  • Cooking spray


  1. Cut the chicken into 10 pieces. Place in a large bowl and season with 1 teaspoon of the kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon of the black pepper. Add 2 cups buttermilk and marinate for at least 1 hour in the refrigerator. Meanwhile, whisk the remaining 1 tablespoon kosher salt, remaining 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, 2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 tablespoon garlic powder, 2 tablespoons paprika, 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1 tablespoon onion powder, and 1 tablespoon ground mustard together in a large bowl.

  2. Preheat an Instant Vortex Plus 7-in-1 Air Fryer Oven to 390ºF. Coat the air fryer racks with cooking spray. Remove the chicken from the buttermilk, allowing any excess to drip off. Dredge in the flour mixture, shaking any excess off. Place a single layer of chicken in the basket, with space in between the pieces. Air fry, flipping the chicken hallway through, until crispy and an instant-read thermometer registers 165ºF in the thickest piece, 18 to 20 minutes total. Repeat with the remaining chicken.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 4 days.

This recipe was tested in the Instant Vortex Plus 7-in-1 Air Fryer Oven. It will work with any air fryer, but timing may differ slightly.