Ditch the oil, and treat yourself to crispy Air Fryer Southern Fried Chicken. Whether you're enjoying it for Sunday dinner, or weekday comfort food, it's perfect for those days you're in the mood for that finger-licking good kind of eating.
Best Ever Air Fryer Southern Fried Chicken
It's no secret Southerner's love fried chicken. Truthfully, the love of breaded and fried pieces of chicken is loved nationwide. That being said, we do know how to do it right here in the South. Most fried chicken recipes are passed down from one generation to the next, especially when it comes to technique. I come from a long line of chicken frying experts yet, each one had something they did slightly differently from the next. The end result was always delicious so, everyone wins.
Tips for Making Air Fryer Fried Chicken
- Air fryers are like any other kitchen appliance, they can vary in performance. Know how your appliance performs and you'll be good to go.
- I'm a firm believer in seasoning and brining the chicken pieces in buttermilk. It's how I was taught to make fried chicken, and it stuck. Preferably using whole fat buttermilk but, low fat will do in a pinch.
- After breading the chicken pieces, allow the breading time to rest and set. It will adhere to the chicken pieces better.
- When spritzing the breaded chicken with oil, It's important to cover every inch of breading. If you don't, those areas tend to get really dark and burn.
- You may line the bottom of the air fryer with parchment to prevent sticking. When doing so, add it just before placing the chicken pieces into the air fryer to prevent it from blowing around.
- You can use either a quality cooking spray or, make your own oil spray using an oil sprayer.
- It's best to cook the chicken in batches, frying similar size pieces together for even cooking.
- When turning the chicken halfway through, spritz again with oil taking care to cover all floured areas.
- See how to make classic Southern fried chicken here.
Best Dishes to Serve Along with Southern Fried Chicken
Depending on the occasion and time of year, side dishes can vary. In the summer, you may enjoy:
At other times of year, the accompaniments you may enjoy:
- Southern Style Cole Slaw
- Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes
- Double Cheddar Macaroni and Cheese
- Hasselback Sweet Potatoes from Country Living
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Helpful Kitchen Items:
Air Fryer Southern Fried Chicken
- 1 4 lb whole fryer chicken (Divided into 8 pieces)
- 3 cups buttermilk divided
- ¼ cup hot sauce
- 3 ½ teaspoon seasoned salt divided
- 2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper divided
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- ½ cup cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon granulated garlic or garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 3 large eggs
- vegetable oil spray or cooking spray
- Season chicken pieces on all sides with 1 teaspoon seasoned salt and ½ teaspoon black pepper. Place into an oblong baking dish. Whisk together 2 ½ cups buttermilk and hot sauce, pour over chicken. Turn to coat. Chill for at least 4 hours or overnight, turning once.
- Remove chicken from buttermilk, discard marinade. On a plate sift together the flour, cornstarch, 2 teaspoon seasoned salt, 1 teaspoon black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and paprika.
- In a large shallow bowl whisk together eggs, ½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon black pepper, ½ cup buttermilk.
- Dredge chicken pieces in flour mixture, into egg wash then into flour again. Arrange on a baking sheet. Let stand for 15 minutes to set breading.
- To fry: Spray basket of air fryer liberally with cooking spray. You may also brush with oil. Preheat air fryer to 375°F for 3 minutes. (Tip: If using a parchment liner, wait to add just before chicken pieces are arranged in air fryer to prevent it from blowing around.)
- Spray chicken pieces liberally on all sides with oil taking care to leave no dry flour spots. Arrange chicken in air fryer leaving space between pieces for air to circulate. Cook dark meat pieces together and breasts together, if needed. (You can also cut large breasts in half to make smaller pieces)
- Cook at 375°F for 15 minutes. Gently turn pieces taking care not to disturb breading. Spray any dry spots with additional oil if needed, and continue to cook for another 10-15 minutes or until an internal temperature of 165°F is reached.
- To keep chicken pieces warm between batches: Preheat oven to 200°F. Prepare a rimmed baking sheet with an oven safe baking rack. Place fried chicken on rack.
- Let chicken rest 5 minutes, then serve.