The Best Skinny Fried Chicken (Air Fryer)

This Un-fried chicken crisps up into perfectly crunchy, fabulous fried chicken!  Everyone will think it’s deep-fried but its easily made in an air-fryer. If you don’t own one yet, this recipe is a great reason to buy one. The buttermilk marinade makes the chicken so tender and juicy and gives it just the right amount of heat. Each serving has 232 calories and 5 grams of fat.
The Best Skinny Fried Chicken (Air Fryer)

Helpful Tips About this Recipe

Makes 6 chicken thighs. Each serving, 1 fried chicken thigh.

Healthy Benefits
Chicken is a great source of protein, niacin, and iron.  It’s also a useful source of B vitamins. Most of the fat is in the skin which is removed for this recipe.  I usually remove it for all my chicken recipes. Although chicken breasts are leaner than thighs, once you remove the skin a typical thigh has 100 calories and 3 grams of fat.

Substitution Tips
If you want to try this recipe with boneless, skinless chicken breasts, this is what I suggest. Place in air fryer basket and cook at 375° for 10 minutes. Flip chicken, and cook for another 5 minutes, until coating is golden and chicken is cooked through.

Shopping Tips
There are so many air fryer brands. Although I own several I usually recommend the Nu Wave Brio Air Fryer. It’s a 3-quart size although they do make them larger if desired. I love it! It’s very simple to use. You can buy it on Amazon or Target.
Cooking spray with flour is a great find for baking and cooking.  There’re are several brands that add flour and can be found in the aisle where cooking oils are sold. I like this type of cooking spray so the chicken doesn’t stick to the air fryer. And, I like to use this cooking spray whenever I’m baking a cake or muffins.

WW Freestyle SmartPoints 5-Blue
WW SmartPoints 5-Green
WW Points Plus-6
SKINNY FACTS: for 1 (4 ounces) fried chicken thigh
232 calories, 5g fat, 1g sat fat, 98mg chol, 650mg sod, 27g prot, 19g carbs, 1g fiber, 4g sugar
The Best Skinny Fried Chicken (Air Fryer)

The Best Skinny Fried Chicken (Air Fryer)

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Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 6
Calories 232 kcal


Ingredients for Buttermilk Marinade:

  • 6 chicken thighs, bone-in (~4 ounces each)
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1-2 teaspoons sriracha or hot sauce, to taste
  • 2 teaspoons salt, I used sea salt

Ingredients for Fried Chicken:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon Lawry’s seasoning salt
  • ¾ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¾ teaspoon onion powder
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Cooking spray with flour in it, see shopping tips


  • Remove skin from chicken and trim fat. Place all the chicken in a large bowl. In a medium bowl, mix together buttermilk, hot sauce, and 2 teaspoons salt. Pour mixture over chicken, making sure all pieces are coated. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.
  • In a shallow bowl or pie dish, combine flour, Lawry’s seasoning salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and a little black pepper. Working with one thigh at a time, remove chicken from buttermilk, shaking off excess buttermilk. Place in flour mixture, turning to coat well. 
  • Preheat air-fryer to 400 degrees. Spray the air-fryer basket with cooking spray. Place coated chicken in basket. If you have a small air-fryer, you’ll need to cook in batches so you don’t overcrowd the basket. Cook until chicken is golden and cooked through about 20 minutes. flip halfway through, if desired. Repeat with remaining chicken.
  • Heat oven to low heat and put cooked chicken on a baking pan between batches to stay warm.


Serving: 4ouncesCalories: 232kcalCarbohydrates: 19gProtein: 27gFat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 98mgSodium: 650mgFiber: 1gSugar: 4gBlue Smart Points: 5Green Smart Points: 5Plus Points: 6
Tried this recipe?Let me know how it was!


  1. It was good! It tasted like it was deep fried and will be making it more often.

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