[GUIDE] How Long To Cook Fried Chicken In Air Fryer

Fried chicken is a classic comfort food that many people love to indulge in. However, traditional deep-frying methods can be quite messy and unhealthy due to the excessive use of oil. Fortunately, air fryers offer a healthier alternative by using hot air to crisp up food, resulting in a similar texture to deep-fried dishes but with a fraction of the oil. If you’re craving a delicious batch of crispy fried chicken, using an air fryer is a simple, convenient, and healthier way to enjoy this beloved dish.

In this comprehensive guide, we will discuss everything you need to know about cooking fried chicken in an air fryer, including selecting the right chicken pieces, preparation tips, ideal air fryer temperatures, and cooking times to ensure your fried chicken turns out perfectly every time.

Quick Answer: How Long To Cook Fried Chicken In Air Fryer

The quick answer to cooking fried chicken in an air fryer is approximately 20-25 minutes at a temperature of 375°F (190°C). However, the precise cooking time and temperature can vary based on the size and thickness of the chicken pieces, as well as the specific air fryer model you are using. To ensure that your fried chicken is thoroughly cooked and crispy, it’s important to follow specific guidelines for choosing, preparing, and cooking the chicken.

Choosing Fried Chicken

When it comes to choosing the right chicken for frying in an air fryer, it’s essential to consider the cut and size of the pieces. Opt for bone-in and skin-on chicken pieces, such as thighs, drumsticks, or chicken wings, as they tend to retain moisture and flavor better during the cooking process. The skin also becomes deliciously crispy in an air fryer, adding a satisfying texture to the finished dish.

Additionally, selecting pieces that are similar in size and thickness will help ensure uniform cooking. This is important because if the pieces are too uneven, some may end up undercooked while others become overcooked and dry. By choosing uniform chicken pieces, you can achieve a consistent and delicious result with each bite.

Preparing Fried Chicken

Properly preparing the fried chicken before air frying is crucial for achieving the desired crispy texture and delicious flavor. Start by rinsing the chicken pieces under cold water and patting them dry with paper towels. This helps remove any excess moisture, which can prevent the skin from crisping up and may lead to a less satisfying final result.

Once the chicken pieces are dry, season them generously with your preferred blend of spices and herbs. A classic seasoning mix may include salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and dried herbs such as thyme or oregano. You can also add a touch of cayenne pepper for a hint of heat if you prefer a spicy kick.

After seasoning, it’s beneficial to let the chicken pieces rest for at least 15-20 minutes at room temperature. This allows the seasonings to penetrate the meat and infuse it with flavor before cooking. Additionally, bringing the chicken to room temperature helps ensure more even cooking throughout the meat.

Air Fryer Temperature For Cooking Fried Chicken

The ideal temperature for cooking fried chicken in an air fryer is 375°F (190°C). This temperature creates the perfect balance between crisping up the exterior while ensuring the chicken is cooked through to the desired doneness. Preheating the air fryer is also recommended, as this helps kickstart the cooking process and ensures that the chicken begins to cook as soon as it’s placed inside the air fryer basket.

Air Fryer Cooking Time For Cooking Fried Chicken

The cooking time for fried chicken in an air fryer typically ranges from 20 to 25 minutes. However, it’s important to remember that individual air fryer models may vary slightly in their cooking times. For this reason, it’s advisable to refer to the specific instructions provided by the manufacturer for your air fryer model.

To achieve the best results, it’s recommended to cook the chicken in batches, especially if you have a large quantity of pieces. Overcrowding the air fryer basket can prevent the hot air from circulating properly, resulting in unevenly cooked chicken with less crispy skin.

When cooking the chicken, it’s essential to periodically check on its progress. Around the halfway mark, pause the air fryer and use tongs to carefully turn the chicken pieces. This ensures that both sides of the chicken are evenly cooked and that the skin becomes crispy and golden all over.

To determine when the fried chicken is fully cooked, use a meat thermometer to check for an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C). This temperature indicates that the chicken is safe to eat and has reached the ideal level of doneness, with juicy and tender meat.

Cooking fried chicken in an air fryer offers a healthier and convenient alternative to traditional deep-frying methods. By selecting the right chicken pieces, properly preparing the chicken with flavorful seasonings, and using the appropriate temperature and cooking time, you can achieve deliciously crispy and tender fried chicken every time.

Whether you're craving classic fried chicken drumsticks or flavorful chicken wings, an air fryer provides an efficient way to satisfy your cravings without the excessive use of oil. With the tips and guidelines provided in this guide, you can confidently cook fried chicken in your air fryer and enjoy a scrumptious and guilt-free meal. So go ahead, fire up your air fryer, and treat yourself to a delectable batch of homemade fried chicken with confidence and ease.

How To Cook Fried Chicken In An Air Fryer

Fried chicken is a delicious and popular dish enjoyed by many people all over the world. Traditionally, it is cooked by deep frying chicken pieces in hot oil, resulting in a crispy and golden-brown exterior with a moist and flavorful interior. However, with the advent of air fryers, it is now possible to enjoy the same crispy texture and succulent taste of fried chicken with significantly less oil and a healthier cooking method.

Cooking fried chicken in an air fryer is a simple process that involves a few key steps. Follow the instructions below to achieve crispy, tender, and flavorful chicken:

Step 1: Preparing the Chicken:
Start by selecting your preferred chicken pieces – whether it’s drumsticks, thighs, breasts, or wings – and ensure they are cut and trimmed to your desired size. It is essential to pat the chicken dry with paper towels to remove any excess moisture, as this will help the coating adhere better and result in a crispier end product. You may also choose to marinate the chicken in your favorite seasonings or brine it beforehand to enhance the flavor.

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Step 2: Preparing the Coating:
Next, it’s time to prepare the coating for your fried chicken. You can stick to traditional flour-based coatings or experiment with breadcrumbs, panko, or even crushed cornflakes for added texture. Season the coating mixture with spices, herbs, and seasoning salts according to your taste preferences. Coat each piece of chicken thoroughly in the coating mixture, pressing it gently onto the surface to ensure even coverage.

Step 3: Preheating the Air Fryer:
Preheating the air fryer is an important step to ensure even cooking and a crispy exterior. Set your air fryer to the desired temperature (we will discuss temperature adjustments in the next section) and allow it to preheat for a few minutes. This will create a hot and consistent cooking environment.

Step 4: Cooking the Chicken:
Once the air fryer is preheated, carefully arrange the coated chicken pieces in a single layer inside the air fryer basket. Avoid overcrowding the basket, as it can hinder proper air circulation and result in uneven cooking. If needed, cook the chicken in batches. Insert the basket back into the air fryer and set the cooking time (we will discuss cooking time adjustments shortly).

Step 5: Flipping and Monitoring the Chicken:
About halfway through the cooking process, flip the chicken pieces using tongs to ensure even browning on both sides. It is crucial to monitor the chicken as it cooks to prevent overcooking or undercooking. You may also spray some oil lightly on the chicken at this stage to achieve a more golden and crispy finish, although it is not essential.

Step 6: Checking the Chicken’s Doneness:
Use an instant-read meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the chicken. It should reach a minimum temperature of 165°F (74°C) for safe consumption. If required, continue cooking until the desired temperature is reached.

Step 7: Resting the Chicken:
Once the chicken is cooked, remove it from the air fryer and let it rest for a few minutes. This allows the juices to redistribute and the crust to set, resulting in a more tender and flavorful chicken.

Cooking Time For Frozen Fried Chicken

Sometimes, you may not have access to fresh chicken and may need to rely on frozen options. Luckily, cooking frozen fried chicken in an air fryer is equally feasible. However, it does require some adjustments to the cooking time to ensure thorough and even cooking.

When cooking frozen fried chicken in an air fryer, it is important to:

  1. Preheat the air fryer to a slightly higher temperature than when cooking fresh chicken.
  2. Extend the cooking time to account for the frozen state of the chicken.

Generally, cooking frozen fried chicken in an air fryer requires preheating the air fryer to 400°F (200°C) and cooking the chicken for approximately 20 to 25 minutes. However, it is vital to check the chicken’s internal temperature using a meat thermometer to ensure it reaches 165°F (74°C) for safety reasons.

Adjusting Air Fryer Temperature For Cooking Fried Chicken

The cooking temperature plays a significant role in achieving the desired texture and doneness of fried chicken in an air fryer. While the optimal temperature may vary depending on personal preferences and air fryer models, we recommend starting with a temperature of 380°F (193°C).

If you prefer a lighter, less crispy exterior, you can lower the temperature to around 350°F (175°C). This will result in a more tender and moist chicken. Conversely, if you prefer a darker and extra crispy crust, you can increase the temperature to 400°F (200°C).

Keep in mind that air fryers can vary in their heating capabilities, so it may be necessary to experiment with different temperatures and cooking times to find the perfect combination that suits your preferences.

Adjusting Air Fryer Cook Time For Cooking Fried Chicken

The cooking time for fried chicken in an air fryer largely depends on the size of the chicken pieces and the desired level of crispiness. The following guidelines can help you determine the approximate cooking time:

  • Drumsticks and thighs: Cook for 20-25 minutes, flipping halfway through the cooking process.
  • Chicken breasts: Cook for 18-22 minutes, flipping halfway through.
  • Chicken wings: Cook for 12-15 minutes, flipping at least once.

These times are provided as a general starting point and may require adjustment based on the size and thickness of the chicken pieces. Regularly checking the internal temperature and visual appearance of the chicken during the cooking process will help you determine if it needs more or less time.

Cooking Techniques

To further enhance the flavor and texture of your air fryer fried chicken, you can incorporate different cooking techniques. Here are a few techniques you can try:

1. Pre-baking or Air Chilling: Before coating the chicken, you can pre-bake it in the air fryer at a lower temperature for 10-15 minutes. This helps to render excess fat and partially cook the chicken, resulting in a crispier final product. Alternatively, you can air chill the coated chicken in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before cooking. This allows the coating to adhere better and creates a sturdier crust.

2. Double Dipping: For an extra crispy crust, you can coat the chicken in the coating mixture, dip it in beaten egg or buttermilk, and then coat it again in the coating mixture. This technique provides a thicker and crunchier outer layer.

3. Seasoning Variations: Feel free to experiment with different seasoning blends, herbs, and spices to create unique flavor profiles. Cajun seasoning, paprika, garlic powder, and dried herbs like thyme and oregano all work well with fried chicken.

4. Brining: Brining the chicken in a saltwater solution before cooking helps to infuse it with moisture and flavor. Submerge the chicken pieces in a mixture of water, salt, and any desired spices for a few hours or overnight. Rinse the chicken thoroughly and pat it dry before coating and cooking.

5. Brushing with Sauce: If you prefer saucy fried chicken, you can brush the cooked chicken with your favorite sauce during the last few minutes of cooking. This will add an extra layer of flavor and stickiness to the chicken.

Cooking fried chicken in an air fryer provides a healthier alternative to traditional deep-fried versions without compromising on flavor and texture. By following the step-by-step instructions outlined in this article, you can achieve succulent, perfectly crispy fried chicken that will satisfy your cravings. Remember to adjust the cooking time and temperature based on whether you are using fresh or frozen chicken. Additionally, experimenting with different cooking techniques and seasonings will allow you to personalize your air fryer fried chicken to your liking. Enjoy your homemade, guilt-free fried chicken!


Fried chicken is a beloved cuisine that is enjoyed by people worldwide. The combination of crispy, seasoned coating and succulent meat is simply irresistible. Traditionally, fried chicken is cooked in a deep fryer, which uses a large amount of oil to achieve that crispy exterior. However, with the emergence of air fryers, cooking fried chicken has become a much healthier and convenient option.

An air fryer is a countertop appliance that cooks food by circulating hot air around the ingredients, creating a crispy texture and deep-fried taste without the need for excessive oil.

One of the challenges of cooking fried chicken in an air fryer is the risk of undercooking. Since air fryers use hot air to cook the food, it is essential to ensure that the chicken is cooked through to avoid any potential foodborne illnesses.

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To prevent undercooking, start by preheating your air fryer. Most air fryers have a preheat function, and using it will help ensure that the chicken cooks evenly and thoroughly. Preheating typically takes around three to five minutes, depending on the model and size of the air fryer.

It is also crucial to pat dry the chicken pieces before cooking. Excess moisture on the chicken can hinder the airflow and result in uneven cooking. Use paper towels to absorb any moisture on the surface of the chicken, ensuring a crispier coating and even cooking.

When placing the chicken in the air fryer, make sure to leave enough space between the pieces. Overcrowding the air fryer can lead to uneven cooking since the hot air needs to circulate around each piece. Cook the chicken in batches if needed to achieve the best results.


While undercooking is a concern, overcooking can also ruin the texture and taste of your fried chicken. In an air fryer, overcooking can lead to dry and rubbery chicken, which is far from the juicy and tender outcome we desire.

To avoid overcooking, it is essential to follow the recommended cooking times provided in your air fryer’s manual. The cooking time may vary depending on the size and thickness of the chicken pieces. It is always better to slightly undercook the chicken and then check for doneness, as you can always return it to the air fryer if needed.

Checking For Doneness Of Fried Chicken

To ensure that your fried chicken is cooked to perfection, it is crucial to check for doneness using a food thermometer. The internal temperature of the chicken should be at least 165°F (74°C) to ensure that it is safe to eat.

Insert the food thermometer into the thickest part of the chicken without touching the bone. If the chicken has reached the desired temperature, you can remove it from the air fryer and let it rest for a few minutes. This resting period allows the juices to redistribute, resulting in moister and more flavorful chicken.

If, on the other hand, the chicken has not reached the recommended internal temperature, you can return it to the air fryer and continue cooking for a few more minutes. Be mindful not to overcook it in the process, as this can lead to dry chicken.

When Things Go Wrong

Even with the best intentions and efforts, sometimes things can go wrong while cooking fried chicken in an air fryer. Here are a few common problems and their potential solutions:

  1. Uneven browning: If you notice that one side of the chicken is browning more than the other, try flipping the chicken halfway through the cooking process. This will help achieve an evenly browned and crispy texture.

  2. Not crispy enough: If your fried chicken doesn’t have the desired crispiness, try lightly brushing the chicken with a small amount of oil before cooking. This will help enhance the browning process and yield a crispier coating.

  3. Sticking to the basket: Sometimes, the chicken may stick to the air fryer basket, resulting in a messy and torn coating. To prevent this, lightly spray or brush the basket with oil before placing the chicken. Additionally, avoid moving or flipping the chicken too frequently during the cooking process, as this can also cause the coating to stick.

Tips For Cooking Fried Chicken In An Air Fryer

To master the art of cooking fried chicken in an air fryer, here are some helpful tips and tricks:

  1. Marinate the chicken: Marinating the chicken before cooking can add flavor and tenderness to the meat. Consider marinating the chicken in buttermilk, seasoned brine, or your favorite marinade for at least one hour (or preferably overnight) before cooking.

  2. Season the coating: To elevate the flavor of your fried chicken, season the coating generously with your favorite herbs and spices. Popular options include paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and black pepper. Adjust the seasoning to suit your taste preferences.

  3. Use a breadcrumb or flour coating: To achieve a crispy exterior, coat the chicken in seasoned breadcrumbs or flour. This additional layer helps create a crunchy texture while locking in the moisture of the meat.

  4. Preheat and pre-dry: Preheating the air fryer is crucial to ensure even cooking. Additionally, pre-drying the chicken before cooking helps remove any excess moisture, resulting in a crisper coating.

  5. Avoid overcrowding: Ensure that there is enough space between the chicken pieces in the air fryer to allow proper circulation of hot air. Optimal airflow ensures that the chicken cooks evenly and becomes crispy all around.

  6. Experiment with cooking times: As cooking times can vary depending on the size and thickness of the chicken, it is essential to experiment and find the ideal cooking time that suits your preferences. Start with the recommended time in the recipe, and then adjust it based on personal taste preferences.

  7. Make a dipping sauce: Consider serving your air-fried chicken with a flavorful dipping sauce to enhance the overall eating experience. Options such as honey mustard, barbecue sauce, or spicy aioli can complement the fried chicken perfectly.


Cooking fried chicken in an air fryer is a healthier and convenient alternative to traditional deep-frying methods. With proper techniques and attention to detail, you can achieve crispy, flavorful, and perfectly cooked fried chicken every time. By following the tips mentioned in this article and experimenting with different flavors, you can elevate your cooking skills and enjoy restaurant-quality fried chicken in the comfort of your own home. So, grab your favorite chicken pieces, fire up your air fryer, and embark on a culinary journey that will leave you craving for more.


Can I Use Regular Flour To Coat The Chicken Before Putting It In The Air Fryer?

Yes, regular flour can be used to coat the chicken. However, using a mixture of flour and breadcrumbs will result in a crispier coating.

How Long Should I Cook The Chicken In The Air Fryer?

The cooking time will vary depending on the size and thickness of the chicken. On average, it takes about 20-25 minutes at 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Will The Chicken Be Crispy In An Air Fryer?

Yes, the air fryer uses hot air to circulate and cook the chicken, creating a crispy and delicious outer layer without the need for excess oil.

Do I Need To Preheat The Air Fryer Before Cooking The Chicken?

Yes, it is recommended to preheat the air fryer for a few minutes before adding the chicken. This will help ensure even cooking and a crispy texture.

Can I Marinate The Chicken Before Cooking It In The Air Fryer?

Yes, marinating the chicken beforehand is a great way to add flavor to the dish. Just make sure to pat the chicken dry before coating it and placing it in the air fryer.