“Southern-style Fried Chicken cooked in an Air Fryer! Easy recipe that creates a crunchy, golden, crisp fried chicken”

Visual learner? Watch me make this Air Fryer Southern Fried Chicken from start to finish!

I caved yall. I just couldn’t fight it any more ok! I had to have it.

I’m talking about the highly talked-about Air Fryer!

Do you have an Air Fryer? I usually don’t fall for new kitchen appliances. I still haven’t caved to the Instapot (yet) but FOMO (fear of missing out) was strong on this one!

I mean, can chicken fried in air REALLY taste like it was fried in oil like the reviews are saying??? Would my french fries seriously “fry” up crisp and golden without needing to use oil?

Nuh-uhn, stop playing! I didn’t believe it at all. So off to King Amazon, I went!

I read a dizzying number of reviews and felt completely stumped on which brand or size to get. After playing eeny meeny miny moe, I landed on the 3.8QT Habor Air Fryer. It looked pretty straight forward without too many settings to fool with and had great reviews.

Air Fryer Southern Fried Chicken Recipe

Amazon Prime had it on my doorsteps in a matter of hours. Ahhh the many perks to living close to an Amazon fulfillment center. Prime real estate people!

The first thing I tried and Instagrammed about was some store-bought nuggets and fries for my boys. I. FELL.IN.LOVE. It cooked them quick, and they were perfectly crisp!

My next test was a major one! This would make or break my love for the air fryer and that test was homemade southern-style fried chicken! I made a basic Southern-Style Fried Chicken recipe and threw it in the air fryer. Although I’m sure any fried chicken recipe would work.

The results: Perfectly golden, crisp and crunchy Air Fryer Southern-fried chicken! Wow it works!

Now, let me just say, and this is my opinion, but it DOES NOT taste like it’s fried in oil. The greasy, deliciousness of deep-fried foods are in a league of their own and that’s the way God intended.

However, it does taste similar to a Southern fried chicken that’s baked in the oven on a grill pan, which is delicious!  I’ve noticed that the breading on foods fried in the air fryer seem to be much more fragile and the crispiness doesn’t last long. So it’s best to go light on breading and serve immediately. I’ve also noticed that when I fry chicken in the air fryer I don’t need to brine it in buttermilk like I usually do. It’s soooooo juicy!

Air Fryer Southern Fried Chicken Recipe

3 Tips for the BEST Air Fried Southern Fried Chicken

  1. ALWAYS lightly coat chicken with oil or butter. I used olive oil. Oil will help the breading crisp up and come to that beautiful, crunchy golden brown color. If you don’t use enough oil the breading will have a slightly powdery texture.
  2. DO NOT expect for it to taste like chicken fried in oil. Whatever you do, don’t set yourself up for this. Just don’t. It doesn’t taste like it’s cooked in oil. Yes, it’s crispy and golden which is a win for hardly any oil.
  3. Go easy on the breading. Lightly coat the chicken evenly in the egg mixture and flour. I love a thick, triple dipped fried chicken, but in the air fryer I’ve discovered a thinner coat will crisp up better and it’s as fragile.

Air Fryer Fried Chicken Trouble-Shooting

(Because it took me 4 times to get it right!)

My chicken came out soggy underneath the breading? This can happen when using too much egg (not letting the excess drip off) or cooking on the wrong tempt. My air fryer says to cook chicken on 350.F however, other air fryers may require a different temperature. Follow the instructions on your’s but don’t be afraid to try a different temperature.

There is still flour on my chicken even when it’s cooked through. A very light coating of oil before you place your chicken in the fryer and midway through should get rid of all the flour. If a light coating of oil is not enough, then there is too much flour on the chicken.

My chicken is not done after the allotted time. Cook it longer and use a meat thermometer. Feel free to check it often when you are just getting the hang of frying chicken in an air fryer.

Can I use a different flour, oil, skip the egg, etc. This is the ONLY way I’ve made fried chicken in the Air Fryer so I can’t give my results on substitutions.

Is the air fryer really worth it??

Honey, I don’t know. Some folks live by them just like they live by the George Foreman grill! When I first got my Air Fryer and made nuggets and fries for my sons I was sold. However, when it came to making larger meals for the whole family, things needed to be cooked in batches. I found myself pushing my air fryer to the side and just going back to the oven so I could get it done all at once.

My Air Fryer Pros:

  • It’s versatile and quick. You can cook a lot of things in this baby and pretty quickly!
  • Set it and forget it. It’s nice not having oil to deal with! Just set the timer, check it halfway and come back to perfectly crisp food!
  • Space saving. Some people use it daily and it’s taken the place of their ovens! It’s a teen’s best friend because they can make all of their favorites (burgers, grilled sandwiches, chicken nuggets, fries, etc)
  • Easy to use. Operating the Air Fryer is pretty darn easy.
  • Healthier. Of course the obvious is that it doesn’t require much oil, if any.

My Air Fryer  Cons:

  • Certain from-scratch recipes have a learning curve. I cook primarily from scratch. It took me a few tries to get homemade fried chicken right. Frozen, store-bought nuggets were a breeze.
  • Yet another kitchen appliance. I’m a minimalist in the kitchen. I usually get an appliance, use it and then give it away within a month. It does take up more space than I wished it would.
  • Need it to be bigger. Yes, I prefer it small but bigger lol. I cook big meals so we’ll have leftovers. It’s really too small for my family, even the larger one. It would be ideal for a single, couple or small family with young kids.
  • The texture is “different” than what I’m used to. I can’t really explain it. I’m SUPER picky with textures so this might just be my issue. It’s not a bad texture at all, just… different.

So far, I give the Air Fryer two thumbs up for what is it! I mean, it’s pretty incredible to fry foods with air right! I do however prefer oven-fried chicken over air fried chicken. I’m just saying.

I have yet to use my Air Fryer for baking though and when I do, I’ll be sure to give my FULL review! I’m excited to try a cheesecake in this thing, which apparently it can do like a pro! Stay tuned! Until then, make some fried chicken! Or some Air Fryer Honey BBQ Chicken Wings. 

Air Fryer Southern Fried Chicken Recipe

Get the Recipe: Air Fryer Southern Fried Chicken

3.95 from 239 ratings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 6 legs


  • 2 lbs. chicken, I used 6 legs

Spice Mix

  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
  • 1 cup self-rising flour
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce
  • 2 tablespoons milk or buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup water
  • olive oil


  • Wash and dry chicken, set aside.
  • In a bowl combine seasonings.
  • Coat chicken generously with about a tablespoon of the spice mixture. (Add a splash of olive oil to the chicken to help distribute the spices if needed. Really rub it in!). Set aside.
  • In a gallon-size plastic bag, mix together flour, cornstarch, and remaining spice mix. (VERY IMPORTANT: Flour SHOULD taste well-seasoned. Add in more spices and salt if needed) Set aside.
  • In a large dish, mix together eggs, hot sauce, milk, and water.
  • Coat chicken very lightly in the flour mixture, shaking off the excess.
  • Place on a tray to allow time for some of the flour to absorb a little.
  • Coat the chicken in the egg mixture (shaking off excess).
  • Immediately, coat the chicken lightly in the flour mixture, shaking off excess.
  • Let chicken rest for about 15 minutes so that some of the flour is absorbed.
  • Use an oil mister or brush, to coat the chicken very lightly (all over) with olive oil.
  • Place chicken in greased Air Fryer basket, allowing room for the air to flow all around the chicken. (do not crowd)
  • Cook according to your air fryer, flipping halfway and brushing very lightly with more oil (if needed) so that no flour is visible. (I cooked on 350 F. for about 18 minutes)
  • Remove and let chicken rest for about 5 minutes.
  • Serve immediately. (Homemade air fried chicken does not stay crisp very long)


Cuisine: American, southern
Course: Main, Main Course
Author: Divas Can Cook
Serving: 0g, Calories: 0kcal, Carbohydrates: 0g, Protein: 0g, Fat: 0g, Saturated Fat: 0g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0g, Monounsaturated Fat: 0g, Trans Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Sodium: 0mg, Potassium: 0mg, Fiber: 0g, Sugar: 0g, Vitamin A: 0IU, Vitamin C: 0mg, Calcium: 0mg, Iron: 0mg
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