This Air Fryer Fried Chicken with a crispy cornflake crust is a yummy alternative to traditional fried chicken. Juicy, tender, and perfectly spiced, this kid-friendly chicken recipe hits all the right marks with flavor and texture, so you won’t get any complaints!
Air Fryer Fried Chicken Thighs
This air fryer fried chicken is my go-to recipe when I’m running low on ideas of what to make for dinner–I know everyone will love it! I prefer using chicken thighs in the recipe, although drumsticks and chicken breasts work great too.
Making chicken in the air fryer is an easy alternative to deep frying in hot oil, without all the mess. You will get the same crunchy sensation, but with less fat and fewer calories.
Why You’ll Love this Air Fryer Fried Chicken Recipe:
- Texture: The chicken is so tender it nearly falls off the bone, and the crunch on the outside is unbeatable!
- Healthy: Air-fried chicken is the healthier option compared to deep frying in oil.
- Simple Ingredients: All the ingredients in this recipe are easy to find at your grocery store.
Trademark Note: In the spirit of transparency, I want to note that Corn Flakes are a trademarked product. Kellogg’s is a proprietary brand that I want to acknowledge and give credit to.
How to Make Air Fryer Fried Chicken
You can jump to the recipe card for full ingredients & instructions!
- Soak the chicken pieces in the buttermilk spice mixture.
- Combine flour with other seasonings in a shallow dish.
- Pulse the cornflakes and remaining spices together in a food processor.
- Remove the chicken from the marinade, saving the buttermilk for drenching.
- Coat chicken with flour, buttermilk, and cornflakes.
- Once inside the air fryer, spray the chicken with cooking oil for extra crispiness.
- After cooking, remove the chicken, let rest for five minutes, and serve!
I like to use bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs or chicken drumsticks, but you can really use any cut of chicken you like.
The final cooking time will depend on the cut of meat you select. For chicken thighs or drumsticks, it takes about 20-25 minutes. For boneless, skinless chicken breasts, it will take about 25 minutes. For chicken tenders, it will take about 15 minutes. The proper internal temperature of cooked chicken is 165°F.
Yes! The buttermilk adds flavor and helps to tenderize the meat. If you don’t have buttermilk, you can make your own by measuring out 2 cups of milk, removing 2 tablespoons, and adding 2 tablespoons of white vinegar or lemon juice. Let this mixture stand for 5 minutes before using.
I will say, it is more difficult to get the breading to stick to skinless chicken than it is to get it to stick to skin-on chicken. However, regardless, if your breading is falling off, be sure to let it air dry for about 10 minutes on a wire rack after dredging to help it adhere better.
No! Not only will the chicken cook incredibly unevenly, but there will also not be enough airflow for the breading to become crispy. Always air fry chicken in a single layer with space between the pieces.
It’s important to spray the chicken well with oil before air frying to saturate the breading, creating a crispy crust. If there are exposed areas of raw flour, those areas will not crisp up!
Reheat air fryer fried chicken in the oven at 300°F or in the air fryer at 370°F for about 10 minutes.
Fried chicken should always be served up with plenty of sides. Mashed potatoes, gravy, Mac and cheese, biscuits, and all the regulars make a great meal.
- Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes
- Cheesy Crispy Baked Green Beans
- Mac and Cheese Casserole
- Garlic Pull Apart Rolls
Make Ahead Instructions
You can marinate the chicken up to 24 hours in advance of when you plan to cook it. Store it tightly covered in the refrigerator until ready to cook.
Store leftover air fryer fried chicken in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the oven at 300°F or in the air fryer at 370°F for about 10 minutes.
Freeze air fryer fried chicken in an airtight container or Ziplock bag for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
- I like chicken thighs or drumsticks, but you can use any cut of chicken!
- Add a little bit of hot sauce into the buttermilk mixture for spicy fried chicken.
- If you don’t have smoked paprika, you can make your own by mixing 1 teaspoons regular paprika and ½ teaspoon cumin.
- For less spicy chicken, reduce or omit the cayenne pepper.
- Instead of poultry seasoning, use your favorite seasoning blend, such as Italian or Creole.
- Instead of Corn Flakes, feel free to go the more traditional route and use Panko breadcrumbs.
Tips for the Best Air Fryer Fried Chicken
- To eliminate mess, you can line your air fryer with a parchment liner.
- Thoroughly spray the chicken with oil before air frying for the crispiest coating.
- Don’t overcrowd the air fryer; cook in batches if needed.
- Make sure to cook the chicken to 165°F internally.
- If using boneless chicken pieces, reduce the cooking time. Start checking on the chicken 5 minutes before the suggested cooking time is up.
- Keep chicken warm in a 200°F oven on a wire rack set in a rimmed baking sheet while you cook the next batch.
More Air Fryer Chicken Recipes We Love
I hope you enjoy this amazing air fryer fried chicken that is so easy to pull together any night of the week! Let me know how it turns out in the comments below!
More Kid-Friendly Dinner Recipes to Try:
- Enchilada Cups
- Crockpot BBQ Chicken
- Best Chili Mac Recipe – One Pot and Easy
- Turkey Meatloaf
- Chicken Lo Mein
If you make this recipe be sure to upload a photo in the comment section below or leave a rating. Enjoy! You can also jump to recipe.