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Buttermilk Fried Chicken

by Camilla Saulsbury

Buttermilk Fried Chicken

Buttermilk Fried Chicken, page 40 of
175 Best Air Fryer Recipes by Camilla Saulsbury

In this lighter, simpler version of fried chicken, chicken drumsticks and thighs are marinated in spicy seasoned buttermilk before being tossed in a flavorful coating. A spritz of cooking spray is all it takes to deliver a crispy, crunchy “fried” texture.

Makes 2 servings


If you prefer, you can use 2 bone-in chicken breasts (totaling no more than 1 lb/500 g) in place of the thighs and drumsticks.

You can use all drumsticks or all thighs in place of a combination.

Air fryers become very hot. Use oven pads or mitts when touching the appliance and when opening and closing the basket.


2       chicken drumsticks (about 8 oz/250 g total), patted dry   2

2       small chicken thighs (about 8 oz/250 g total), patted dry   2

23 cup buttermilk                    150 mL

        Salt and freshly ground 
 black pepper

18 tsp cayenne pepper                0.5 mL

23 cup all-purpose flour             150 mL

1 tsp   garlic powder                   5 mL

1 tsp   paprika                         5 mL

1 tsp   baking powder                   5 mL

        Nonstick cooking spray

1.   In a large sealable plastic bag, combine drumsticks, thighs, buttermilk, 14 tsp (1 mL) salt, 18 tsp (0.5 mL) black pepper and cayenne. Press out most of the air, seal and gently squeeze bag to combine. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes or for up to 12 hours.

2.   Preheat air fryer to 380°F (200°C).

3.   In another large sealable plastic bag, combine flour, garlic powder, paprika, baking powder, 34 tsp (3 mL) salt and 34 tsp (3 mL) black pepper.

4.   Remove 2 chicken pieces from buttermilk, shaking off excess, and place in bag with flour mixture. Seal and shake well, coating completely. Place in air fryer basket. Repeat with the remaining chicken and flour mixture, spacing chicken pieces evenly in a single layer in basket. Discard buttermilk marinade and any excess flour mixture. Spray chicken with cooking spray.

5.   Air-fry for 20 minutes. Open basket and, using tongs or a spatula, carefully turn chicken over. Spray with cooking spray. Air-fry for 8 to 12 minutes or until coating is golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of a drumstick registers 165°F (74°C). Serve immediately.


Gluten-Free Fried Chicken: Replace the all-purpose flour with an all-purpose gluten-free flour blend.