Ever tried air fryer buttermilk fried chicken? It’s delicious!

Better than oven-baked, and super easy to prepare! Buttermilk fried chicken in an air fryer is better than deep-fried, less mess, and less fat! You’ll never make buttermilk fried chicken the old way again!

Air Fryer Buttermilk Fried Chicken in a bowl with sauce

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Can You Make Buttermilk Fried Chicken in an Air Fryer?

You sure can, and it’s even better than regular buttermilk oven fried chicken! Air fryers are the new darlings in kitchens everywhere, they are so versatile! This homemade buttermilk batter makes crispy breasts, chicken wings, chicken legs, thighs, or tenders totally delish!

The air fryer circulates hot air around each piece so they are perfectly cooked, tender, and juicy every time! And crispy too!

close up of Air Fryer Buttermilk Fried Chicken

Why We Love Air Fryer Buttermilk Fried Chicken

We love this air fryer buttermilk fried chicken recipe because the air fryer cooks foods clean. No splattering of hot grease or messy steps to cover. And chicken soaked in buttermilk tenderizes it just perfectly!

The marinade does most of the work, making each piece flavorful and ready for breading! The final drizzle adds a little sweet and spicy to the finished chicken. Or, dip pieces in creamy dill dressing too!

top view of Air Fryer Buttermilk Fried Chicken after cooking



Buttermilk brined fried chicken has a tangy flavor! But if buttermilk isn’t available, can milk be used instead? Fried chicken using buttermilk is the preferred way, but there are always options! Milk alone won’t give the chicken that tangy flavor, but it can be mixed with some vinegar or lemon juice to give it that “buttermilk bright” flavor. Mix about 1 Tablespoon per cup of milk.

Buttermilk ranch dressing also makes a great marinade if time is short!


Crushed cornflakes or Chex cereal can also be used in the third step mixed in with the flour for extra crunch. 


The spicy honey sauce is truly delicious, with only a small kick of heat, and is a perfect complement to this dish. Both of my kids loved it. The chicken tastes amazing with Dillionaire Dip, sweet and sour, or your favorite BBQ sauce. Any sauce you fancy will pair well with this crunchy, tender chicken.

Air Fryer Buttermilk Fried Chicken in a bowl with sauce in the background

How to Make Buttermilk Fried Chicken in an Air Fryer

Perfect fried chicken can be achieved with this delicious recipe. Here’s a quick overview of the steps involved.

  1. Prepare the sauce, set aside until ready to use.
  2. Marinate chicken according to recipe below.
  3. Preheat air fryer, place perforated parchment on tray.
  4. Prepare flour mixture. Coat chicken using tongs, place on air fryer tray.
  5. Air fry according to recipe, drizzle with sauce, and serve immediately.
soaking chicken in buttermilk, coating Air Fryer Buttermilk Fried Chicken with flour

Tips and Tricks for Air Fryer Success!

  • Choose pieces of chicken that are roughly equal in size so they cook at the same rate
  • When marinating the chicken, press the buttermilk mixture into each piece so the seasonings adhere well to the meat.
Air Fryer Buttermilk Fried Chicken on the air fryer rack

PRO TIP: Cut holes in the parchment paper to allow the air to circulate around the chicken, or buy air fryer liners with holes on Amazon. I cut the holes “snowflake” style to make it quick and easy, but the liners you can buy are pretty cool!

What to Serve Air Fryer Buttermilk Fried Chicken With

We love buttermilk fried chicken with a side of scalloped potatoes, orzo pasta salad, air fryer broccolini and some cornbread muffins. Top it all off with some ginger rhubarb pie, for a perfect summer treat! 

taking a bite from Air Fryer Buttermilk Fried Chicken

How to Store and Reheat Leftovers

Leftovers are best stored in an airtight plastic container and will last in the fridge for about 4 days. Drizzle or no drizzle, the pieces of chicken are best reheated in the air fryer or oven for about 10 minutes at 350°F, or until heated through.

The chicken can be reheated in the microwave for about 30 seconds, but you will lose the crispiness.

Air Fryer Buttermilk Fried Chicken in a bowl with sauce
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Air Fryer Buttermilk Fried Chicken

This Air Fryer Buttermilk Fried Chicken is a healthy alternative to traditional fried chicken! The whole family will love this crispy, coated chicken!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Marinating Time 4 hours 36 minutes
Total Time 5 hours 46 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Author Candace




  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2-3 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons Kosher salt
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 3-4 pounds chicken cut up pieces, bone in (breasts cut in half)
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon salt optional, to taste
  • cooking spray or oil in a spray bottle



  • Mix together honey, cayenne pepper, paprika, and ¼ teaspoon salt. Cover and set aside at room temperature to allow flavors to meld (overnight is OK).

Marinate Chicken

  • Add buttermilk, cayenne pepper, 2 Tablespoons salt, and garlic to a large zip-top bag. Mix ingredients together and add chicken. Gently massage bag to ensure chicken is covered. Refrigerate for 4 hours, or overnight.

Air Fry Chicken

  • Remove chicken from fridge. Preheat air fryer to 370°F. Prepare parchment paper (with holes) and add to air fryer tray* and set aside.
  • In a shallow dish, mix flour, cornstarch, and salt if using.
  • Using tongs, add chicken to the flour mixture and turn to coat. If needed, use a spoon to add flour mixture on chicken. Using tongs, add to air fryer tray, leaving space around each piece. (Avoid crowding and cook in batches).
  • Air fry for 13 minutes. Remove from air fryer and spray floury areas with cooking spray or oil. Flip and spray with cooking spray. Return to air fryer and bake for 12 minutes. Flip and bake for 1 more minute. Cook chicken to 170°F.
  • Add drizzle and serve immediately.


*I cut holes in my parchment with scissors, snowflake style, and this worked well. If using a basket style air fryer, add parchment and chicken to the basket at the same time.
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Nutrition Information

Calories: 558 | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 36g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 129mg | Sodium: 4395mg | Potassium: 466mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 1288IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 94mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information does not include optional ingredients or garnish and is an estimate. It may change based on actual ingredients and cooking methods used.

Course Main Course
Cuisine American

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Recipe from Grandbaby Cakes and inspired by My Forking Life 

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Air Fryer Buttermilk Fried Chicken before and after cooking in the air fryer with writing
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Air Fryer Buttermilk Fried Chicken with a title
piece of Air Fryer Buttermilk Fried Chicken with writing
Air Fryer Buttermilk Fried Chicken with writing


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About the author

I am a wife, mother of two, and professional accountant. I love fantastic food, and it is so often the center of our lives, from everyday dinner, to family gatherings, and special evenings at fabulous restaurants. I have always loved cooking and baking, with my mom and grandma, and now, with my daughter and son. I love trying new recipes while enjoying my favorites too. I’m so happy to share them with you.
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