Air Fryer Buttermilk Fried Chicken (Gluten Free)


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This Air Fryer Buttermilk Fried Chicken might be THE crispiest, juiciest, most delicious gluten free fried chicken ever! Made in the air fryer, this Southern Fried Chicken is much healthier than the deep-fried alternative. And a perfect replacement for a gluten free KFC!

As soon as I got an air fryer I knew I wanted to nail gluten free fried chicken and trust me, this buttermilk air fried chicken hits. the. spot.

The coating is deliciously crispy and golden – you’d never know it’s gluten free! And the buttermilk ensures the chicken thigh fillets stay super moist and juicy.

I’ve never been able to eat KFC before, as I was diagnosed with coeliac disease before they opened in my town, so this is my gluten free KFC replacement!

If you love the gluten free fried chicken recipe in my cookbook, or my gluten free popcorn chicken, you’ll absolutely love making this version in the air fryer.

Serve it up with golden gluten free oven chips, wrap it in my gluten free flatbreads or tortilla wraps, or even in a super soft gluten free burger bun.

Ingredients

There’s a printable recipe card below, but for the shopping list you’ll need the following ingredients to make my air fryer fried chicken:

  • Chicken Thighs: I much prefer chicken thighs for gluten free fried chicken, I find chicken breast just goes really dry. I use skinless, boneless chicken thighs. If using bone in chicken pieces – such as thighs or drumsticks – allow for a little extra cooking time. I recommend a food thermometer to know when the chicken is safely cooked – it should be at least 74C (165F) in the centre.
  • Buttermilk: If you don’t have any buttermilk, you can make your own by adding 1 tbsp lemon juice or apple cider vinegar to 300ml milk. Stir and leave for a few minutes to curdle. If you want to make dairy free fried chicken, use a dairy free milk instead.
  • Spray Oil: It’s a common misconception you don’t need oil with an air fryer – you do! You just don’t need anywhere near as much as deep frying. Spray oil makes it easy to keep the chicken crispy and the air fryer basket greased so it doesn’t stick.

For the crispy Southern Fried coating you will need:

  • Plain Gluten Free Flour: I recommend using a plain or all purpose gluten free flour blend.
  • Cornflour: or cornstarch in the US.
  • Baking Powder: Not all brands are gluten free – I have a guide to gluten free baking powder in the UK to help you out.
  • Smoked Paprika
  • Garlic Powder
  • Onion Salt
  • White Pepper
  • Dried Oregano
  • Dried Thyme
  • Dried Sage
A plate of buttermilk fried chicken.

How to make buttermilk fried chicken in the air fryer

To make this recipe in the air fryer is so simple, but here are a few step-by-step photos.

If you want to make deep-fried gluten free fried chicken, you’ll need to grab a copy of my cookbook, Delicious Gluten Free Meals. My Fantastic Fried Chicken recipe is on page 186.

To make this easy gluten free buttermilk fried chicken in the air fryer:

The chicken marinading in buttermilk and the herbs and spices to coat it in a bowl.

Add the chicken thigh fillets and buttermilk into a bowl and mix well. Cover and leave for at least 30 minutes – ideally overnight or a few hours if you can.

Add all the coating ingredients to a large tub and secure the lid in place. Shake well to mix (alternative stir together in a bowl) and then pour into a shallow, large bowl.

Left: the fried chicken coating and right: coating the chicken thighs.

When the chicken has marinaded for at least 30 minutes, preheat the air fryer at 200C (I usually just run it for 4-5 minutes at this temperature).

One piece at a time, add the chicken to the coating and turn, really using your hands to press the coating into the chicken so it’s completely covered.

You might want to turn it a couple of times. Gently shake off any excess and place on a plate until all the chicken is coated.

Liberally spray the air fryer basket with cooking spray, then place the chicken pieces in, in one even layer with space between them. You may have to do this in batches.

The buttermilk fried chicken before (left) and after (right) frying.

Spray the chicken with extra oil and then air fry for 12 minutes at 200C.

After 12 minutes, open the air fryer drawer, spray the chicken with more oil then turn it over. Spray the tops of the chicken with oil and then air fry for another 5 minutes until golden brown and cooked through.

I recommend using a food thermometer to check the internal temperature – it should be over 74C (165F). Serve this air fryer chicken straight away while it’s crispy!

Buttermilk fried chicken in the air fryer basket.

Serving suggestions

Need some ideas for how to serve this gluten free fried chicken? Here are some of my favourite ways to enjoy this recipe:

A plate of air fryer buttermilk fried chicken with sriracha mayo.

If you make this recipe and love it, please do let me know by tagging me on my Instagram or using #theglutenfreeblogger. You can also share your creations in my Facebook group! And please do leave a 5* review ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ to let others know you loved it too! It would mean the world to me and really helps support my website.

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  • Add the chicken thigh fillets and buttermilk into a bowl and mix well. Cover and leave for at least 30 minutes – ideally overnight or a few hours if you can.

  • Add all the coating ingredients to a large tub and secure the lid in place. Shake well to mix (alternative stir together in a bowl) and then pour into a large, shallow bowl.

  • When the chicken has marinaded for at least 30 minutes, preheat the air fryer at 200C (I usually just run it for 4-5 minutes at this temperature).

  • One piece at a time, add the chicken to the coating and turn, really using your hands to press the coating into the chicken so it’s completely covered. You might want to turn it a couple of times. Gently shake off any excess and place on a plate until all the chicken is coated.

  • Liberally spray the air fryer basket with oil then place the chicken pieces in, in one even layer with space between them – you may have to do this in batches. Spray the chicken with extra oil and then air fry for 12 minutes at 200C.

  • After 12 minutes, open the air fryer drawer, spray the chicken with more oil then turn it over. Spray the tops of the chicken with oil and then air fry for another 5 minutes until golden brown and cooked through – the internal temperature should be at least 74C. (I recommend a food thermometer for this).

  • Serve the chicken straight away with your favourite dips, sauces and sides. If cooking in batches, wrap on a plate in tinfoil until all the chicken is cooked.

  • For step-by-step photos, check out the blog post above. For FAQs including how to store any leftovers, freezer instructions and how to make this fried chicken dairy free, scroll to the FAQs section below.

Calories: 463kcal | Carbohydrates: 58g | Protein: 37g | Fat: 10g

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some FAQs about this air fried buttermilk chicken recipe – if you can’t find the answer to your question here or in the post above, please comment and I’ll try answer!

Can I make dairy free fried chicken?

Yes you can! Make your own dairy free buttermilk for this air fryer chicken by adding 1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice to 300ml dairy free milk. Stir and leave for a few minutes to curdle. All the other ingredients are both gluten free and dairy free!

How can I store leftover fried chicken?

Any leftovers can be kept in the fridge for up to 3 days, as long as you thoroughly reheat them before eating. I recommend reheating in the air fryer or oven, as you may find the crispy coating can go a bit soft. It’s definitely best fresh!

To freeze, simply allow to cool to room temperature before freezing for up to 6 months. The same applies about reheating once it’s defrosted.

Why do I need to soak chicken in buttermilk before frying?

Soaking your chicken in buttermilk is the secret to getting THE juiciest chicken ever. It keeps the chicken really tender. Half an hour should suffice but if you can leave it overnight, even better!

delicious gluten free meals a cookbook by sarah howells

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Want more gluten free meals inspiration? My debut cookbook, Delicious Gluten Free Meals, has 100+ gluten free recipes, from breakfast and lunch ideas to dinners, desserts and sides.



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