Air Fryer Southern Fried Chicken is a Southern seasoned chicken. This is my go-to air fryer fried chicken. The chicken is crispy coated, with juicy meat in the center. Whip this up and pair it with all your favorite sides: Collard greens, mashed potatoes, gravy, corn, dinner rolls, etc.

Air Fryer Southern Fried Chicken
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There is nothing better than air frying a great plate of chicken thighs and chicken drumsticks, and with this recipe, you will get the perfect recipe right from your air fryer basket. So, if you love traditional southern fried chicken recipes, this will soon be one of your favorites! 

The Best Southern Fried Chicken Recipe​

Regarding classic comfort food, few dishes can rival Southern fried chicken’s crispy, juicy goodness. Whether served for a family dinner, a potluck gathering, or a backyard barbecue, this iconic dish will surely please any crowd. While there are countless variations of Southern fried chicken, some recipes stand out. In this article, we’ll explore what it takes to create the best Southern fried chicken recipe, from the perfect blend of spices and herbs to the ideal cooking technique. So put on your apron and get ready to cook up some deliciously crispy chicken!

Why Cook Southern Fried Chicken In Air Fryer

Cooking Southern fried chicken in an air fryer has become increasingly popular, offering a healthier and more convenient alternative to traditional frying methods. Unlike deep-frying, air frying uses hot air to cook food, resulting in crispy, golden-brown chicken with a fraction of the oil and fat.

This makes for a healthier meal option and reduces the time and mess typically associated with deep-frying. Additionally, cooking fried chicken in an air fryer allows more control over the cooking temperature and time, resulting in more consistent and evenly cooked chicken. Cooking Southern fried chicken in an air fryer is a great way to enjoy this beloved dish with less guilt and hassle.​

Ingredients Needed For Air Fryer Southern Fried Chicken

Southern fried chicken is a classic American dish and an iconic comfort food. It’s one of those dishes traditionally deep-fried, using an oil-based technique to create the golden crunchy coating. But what if you could make this beloved recipe in your air fryer?

That’s right — with some simple ingredients and steps, you can whip up delicious Southern fried chicken without touching a pot of hot oil! Below, we’ll share the ingredients needed for making air fryer southern fried chicken so you can enjoy all the flavor and crunch – minus the mess.

Ingredients Needed For Air Fryer Southern Fried Chicken

Remember the full instructions and detailed ingredients are below in the printable recipe card at the bottom of the page, as well as the nutritional information.

  • Chicken: Use a whole chicken that has been cut up, chicken breasts, chicken thighs, or chicken legs
  • Oil; Use any high-heat oil, such as olive oil, extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil, or coconut oil
  • Flour: Use all-purpose flour; for a gluten-free option, use gluten-free, all-purpose flour
  • Buttermilk: Nothing is better on fried chicken than a dredge of buttermilk
  • Hot Sauce: Ajudst for your taste, a little bit or a lot; it’s a great recipe you can adapt for your preference. 
  • Eggs: Use large eggs
  • Seasonings and Spices: Kosher Salt, Black Pepper, White Pepper, Thyme, Basil, Oregano, Celery Salt, Paprika, Onion Powder, Cornstarch, and Baking Powder

How To Make Southern Fried Chicken In Air Fryer 

Southern fried chicken is an iconic comfort food dish that can be enjoyed worldwide. Not only does it taste delicious, but it also has a unique crunch that sets it apart from other kinds of fried dishes. If you’re looking for an easier yet healthier way to enjoy your favorite southern fried recipes without all the oil, then you’ll love how quick and simple an air fryer can make preparing them! So gather your ingredients, preheat your appliance, and get cooking – in just 20 minutes or less, you can munch down on some savory, crispy Southern Fried Chicken made with hardly any mess or fuss!

How To Make Southern Fried Chicken In Air Fryer 

Step One: Season Your Chicken

Mix all the Southern Spice Blend seasonings in a small bowl, then add olive oil to the spice blend. Coat the chicken on both sides with the seasoning blend. 

How To Make Southern Fried Chicken In Air Fryer

Step Two: Prepare Your Dreding Stations

Mix the flour, baking powder, cornstarch, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Add the eggs, hot sauce, water, and buttermilk to another large mixing bowl. Mix well.

How To Make Southern Fried Chicken In Air Fryer

Step Three: Dredge Your Chicken

Place chicken pieces into the flour mixture, and use your hands to coat the chicken, shaking off the excess flour. Soak the chicken in the buttermilk mixture. Then recoat it in the flour mixture.

How To Make Southern Fried Chicken In Air Fryer

Step Four: Air Fry The Chicken

Spray your air fryer basket with cooking spray. Then as you coat your chicken (double coating), add the chicken pieces to the bottom of the air fryer basket in a single layer. Then GENEROUSLY spray the tops of the chicken with olive oil spray (this helps it crisp up). Set the air fryer temperature to 350 degrees F and set the cooking time for 15-20 minutes.

Remove when the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F by inserting a meat thermometer or instant-read thermometer into the thickest part of the chicken. 

How To Make Southern Fried Chicken In Air Fryer

Step Five: Serving

Serve with your favorite side dish and dipping sauce. 

How To Make Southern Fried Chicken In Air Fryer

Pro Tips For The Best Air Fryer Southern Fried Chicken

If you want to make the best Southern fried chicken in an air fryer, here are some pro tips to follow:

  • Start with the right chicken: Use bone-in chicken pieces with skin on, such as drumsticks, thighs, or wings. They will yield the best results in terms of flavor and texture.
  • Marinate the chicken: For maximum flavor, marinate the chicken in a mixture of buttermilk and spices for at least 2 hours before cooking.
  • Preheat the air fryer: Preheat the air fryer to 375°F for at least 5 minutes before adding the chicken. This will ensure that the chicken cooks evenly and becomes crispy all over.
  • Use a light coating: Dredge the chicken in a mixture of seasoned flour and cornstarch for a light and crispy coating. Too much coating will result in a heavy and greasy chicken.
  • Spray the chicken with oil: Lightly spray the chicken with cooking spray or brush it with a small amount of oil to help it crisp up and brown evenly.
  • Don’t overcrowd the air fryer: Arrange the chicken pieces in a single layer in the air fryer basket, leaving some space between them. Overcrowding the basket will result in uneven cooking and a less crispy chicken.
  • Cook in batches: If you have a lot of chicken, cooking it in batches is better than overcrowding the air fryer.
  • Use a meat thermometer: To ensure the chicken is fully cooked, use a meat thermometer to check that the internal temperature has reached 165°F. Remember, cook times will vary based on the thickness of the chicken and air fryer model you are using. 

By following these pro tips, you’ll be well on your way to making the best Southern fried chicken in your air fryer.

How To Make Southern Fried Chicken In Air Fryer

How To Store Leftover Fried Chicken​

To store leftover fried chicken, follow these steps:

  • Storing: Let the chicken cool: Allow the fried chicken to cool to room temperature for about 20-30 minutes before storing. Remove any excess oil: Pat the chicken with a paper towel to remove any excess oil. Store in an airtight container: Place the fried chicken in an airtight container or ziplock bag, and seal it tightly. Refrigerate: Store the container in the refrigerator and consume within 3-4 days.
  • Reheat properly: When you’re ready to eat the leftover fried chicken, reheat it in the oven or air fryer at 350°F for 10-15 minutes or until heated. This will help maintain the crispy texture of the chicken.
  • Note: Do not reheat the chicken in the microwave; it can make it soggy and less flavorful.

What To Serve With Classic Fried Chicken​

Classic fried chicken is a staple in many cuisines and can be served with various sides to make a delicious and satisfying meal. Here are some traditional and tasty options to consider:

  • Mashed potatoes: Creamy mashed potatoes pair perfectly with crispy fried chicken.
  • Coleslaw: A crisp and refreshing coleslaw can help balance fried chicken’s rich and savory flavors.
  • Biscuits: Warm buttery biscuits are a great addition to fried chicken.
  • Mac and cheese: A comforting and cheesy mac and cheese is a classic side dish that complements fried chicken nicely.
  • Corn on the cob: air fried is a great way to add sweetness and crunch to the meal.
  • Green beans: A simple sautéed or steamed green bean dish can be a light and healthy side option.
  • Collard greens: A Southern classic, collard greens cooked with bacon or ham hocks can add hearty and savory flavor.
  • Fried okra: Another Southern staple, fried okra is a crunchy, flavorful side dish that pairs well with fried chicken.
  • Potato salad: A tangy and creamy potato salad is a classic summer side dish that goes well with fried chicken.
  • Cornbread: Sweet and savory cornbread is a classic Southern side that pairs well with fried chicken.

Overall, many different side dishes can be served with classic fried chicken. Consider your own personal preferences and the flavors you want to highlight in your meal when choosing your sides.

Southern Country Chicken in Air Fryer Basket

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the difference between fried chicken and Southern fried chicken?​

Fried and Southern fried chicken are similar in that they are both battered and deep-fried chicken dishes. However, there are a few key differences between the two.

Southern fried chicken is a specific style of fried chicken originating in the Southern United States. It typically involves seasoning the chicken with a blend of spices, then dipping it in a mixture of buttermilk and eggs before coating it in a seasoned flour or cornmeal mixture. The chicken is then deep-fried until it is crispy and golden brown.

One of the key differences between Southern fried chicken and other fried chicken dishes is the use of buttermilk in the batter. The buttermilk’s acidity helps tenderize the chicken and adds a tangy flavor to the batter. Another difference is the use of cornmeal or seasoned flour in the coating, which gives the chicken a crunchy texture and a distinctly Southern flavor.

In contrast, other styles of fried chicken may use a different batter or coating and may not necessarily include buttermilk or Southern-style seasonings. Additionally, Southern fried chicken is often served with traditional Southern sides like collard greens, mac and cheese, or biscuits. In contrast, other styles of fried chicken may be served with different sides depending on the cuisine.

Overall, while fried chicken and Southern fried chicken are similar dishes, the use of buttermilk, seasoned flour or cornmeal, and traditional Southern sides sets Southern fried chicken apart as a distinct and beloved style of fried chicken.

Best Sides to Make With Air Fryer Country Fried Chicken

Sweet Potato Hash | Here is a different style of side dish. Transform your sweet potatoes into a hash recipe. This is one of my favorites and compliments the chicken. 
Instant Pot Broccoli | Here is a wonderful way to whip up broccoli if you enjoy it. This allows for perfectly tender broccoli that pairs great with a vegetable side dish. 
Air Fryer Veggie Tots | I love taking frozen veggie tots and cooking them up for a crispy and delicious outside filled with tasty vegetable flavor. Dip in some ranch, or eat alone. 


Air Fryer Southern Fried Chicken

5 from 4 votes
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
0 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 8 Servings


Air Fryer Southern Fried Chicken is a Southern seasoned chicken. This is my go-to air fryer fried chicken. The chicken is crispy coated, with juicy meat in the center. Whip this up and pair it with all your favorite sides: Collard greens, mashed potatoes, gravy, corn, dinner rolls, etc.
YouTube video


  • 2 pounds chicken parts, legs, drumsticks, chicken wings, etc.

Southern Spice Blend:

  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried celery salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried paprika
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1-2 tablespoons hot sauce, (depending on how hot you like it)
  • 2 tablespoons buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 large eggs


  • In a small bowl, mix together all of the spices, for Southern Spice Blend.
  • Add the olive oil into the spice mixture.
  • Use your hands and rub the spices and olive oil into the chicken.
  • Then in another small mixing bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, cornstarch and salt, and pepper.
  • Then in another mixing bowl add the eggs, hot sauce, water, and buttermilk. Mix well.
  • Dredge the chicken into the flour mixture, use your hands to really coat the chicken.
  • Then shake the excess off.
  • Soak the chicken in the buttermilk mixture.
  • Then recoat it in the flour mixture.
  • Spray your basket with olive oil spray.
  • As you coat the chicken for the second time, place it in the air fryer basket.
  • Then GENEROUSLY spray the chicken with olive oil (this helps it crisp up)
  • Set the temperature to 350 degrees F, for 15-20 minutes.
  • Plate, serve, and enjoy!


  • Air Fryer
  • Parchment Paper
  • Cooking Spray


Serving: 1ServingCalories: 294kcalCarbohydrates: 17gProtein: 18gFat: 17gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 105mgSodium: 1363mgPotassium: 209mgFiber: 1gSugar: 0.3gVitamin A: 315IUVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 79mgIron: 2mg

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