Air Fryer Copycat KFC Chicken

Copycat KFC Fried Chicken easy-to-follow recipe is crispy, golden, and bursting with 11 herbs and spices, this homemade version brings the finger-lickin’ goodness of KFC right to your kitchen.

Discover the Secret to Healthier Air-Fryer Fried Chicken: A KFC-Inspired Delight

Everyone loves the indulgence of KFC’s crispy fried chicken. 

But what if you could enjoy all that finger-licking goodness right at home? 

Enter air frying: a game-changer in the world of healthy cooking with hot air.

My Ninja Foodi is one of my favorite kitchen gadgets. It never leaves my counter. That’s how much I use it.

Join us as we unveil the secrets to crafting a KFC style chicken that’s just as satisfying but using a little oil. 

Fried chicken on a plate with sauce on the side.

This traditional fried chicken recipe will revolutionize the way you think about “fried” crispy chicken.

Be sure to check out our Air Fryer Copycat KFC Famous Bowl also.

Homemade KFC Secret Herbs and Spices, Decoded

The heart of KFC chicken lies in its secret blend of 13 herbs and spices.

While the exact recipe remains a closely guarded secret, we’ve honed in on a combination that captures that iconic KFC taste.

Paprika for warmth, basil and oregano for a herby backdrop. Each spice and herb plays its part in creating that mouthwatering profile.

Air fryer copycat fried chicken.

The Step-By-Step Guide to Your New Favorite Chicken Recipe

  1. Prepare your spice blend.
  2. Bathe your chicken pieces in buttermilk for that tender, juicy interior before coating them thoroughly in your spice mix and flour.
  3. Transfer the chicken into the air fryer basket, giving each piece enough space for the air to flow all around.
  4. Finally, watch the air fryer weave its magic, delivering crispy, golden-brown chicken that’s ready to woo your senses.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 50 minutes

Additional time: 24 hours

KFC Recipe Ingredients

  • Chicken drumsticks or chicken thighs at room temperature (chicken breast or cut-up whole chickens can also be used.) 
  • Buttermilk
  • All purpose flour
  • Oil of choice (peanut or vegetable oil)

KFC 11 Spice Blend Ingredients

  • Salt
  • Thyme
  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Celery salt
  • Black pepper
  • Dried mustard
  • Paprika
  • Garlic salt
  • Ground ginger
  • White pepper

For exact measurements, please see the printable recipe card below.

The ingredients for chicken tikka masala on a grey background.

How to Make Air Fryer KFC Chicken

Soak the chicken legs in salt water (brine) for up to 24 hours before starting this recipe.

For best results, preheat the air fryer to 350 degrees F.

Place the egg and buttermilk in one bowl and the flour and spices in a second large bowl. Stir the spices well into the flour mixture.

Four pictures showing how to make korean fried rice.

Place an oven-safe wire rack over top of a baking sheet.

Dredge each chicken leg in the flour mixture, then the buttermilk mixture, and then the flour coating once again. 

A person kneading dough in a bowl.
Chicken breasts in a baking dish next to a bowl of flour.

Place the coated drumstick on the rack and repeat with the remaining chicken.

Powdered chicken wings on a baking sheet.

Set the chicken in the air fryer basket in a single layer.

Copycat fried chicken in an air fryer.

Cook for approximately 15 minutes and then flip for another 15 minutes of cooking.

​Check that the internal temperature is at least 165 degrees.

Fried chicken on a plate with sauce on the side.

Enjoy!

Copycat Recipe Deep Frying Directions

Soak the chicken legs in salt water (brine) for up to 24 hours before starting this recipe.

Preheat the deep fat fryer.

Place the egg and buttermilk in one bowl and the flour and spices in a second large bowl. Stir the spices well into the flour mixture.

Place an oven-safe wire rack over top of a baking sheet.

Dredge each chicken leg in the flour mixture, then the buttermilk mixture, and then the flour coating once again. 

Place the coated drumstick on the rack and repeat with the remaining chicken.

Fry the chicken legs in batches in the hot oil until the coating is golden and the internal temperature is at least 165 degrees F. 

A basket filled with fried food in a stainless steel sink.

Remove the southern fried chicken to the cooling rack and repeat with the remaining chicken.

Fried chicken on a cooling rack.

Oven and Deep Fryer Cooking Version

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Soak the chicken legs in salt water (brine) for up to 24 hours before starting this recipe.

Using two small bowls, place the egg and buttermilk in one bowl and the flour and spices in a second bowl. Stir the spices well to creat the seasoned flour mixture.

Place an oven-safe cooling rack over top of a baking sheet. This will serve two purposes during your recipe.

Dredge each chicken leg in the flour mixture, then the buttermilk mixture, and then the flour mixture once again. 

Place the coated drumstick on the cooling rack and repeat with the remaining chicken.

Place your oil in a large Dutch oven or stockpot over medium-high heat. 

Fry the chicken legs in batches of 3 for 2-4 minutes in the hot oil until the coating is golden. 

A fork is being used to pick up a piece of fried chicken.

Remove the chicken to the cooling rack and repeat with the remaining chicken.

Bake for 35-45 minutes until an inserted thermometer reads 165 F degrees.

The Healthy Difference: A Comparative Look

Compared to traditional frying, using an air fryer drastically reduces the calorie count.

By using just a brush of oil or cooking spray, the air fryer locks in the flavors and moisture, presenting a healthier version of your beloved KFC chicken that doesn’t compromise on taste.

Tips and Tricks for the Perfect KFC Air Fryer Chicken

  • Always preheat your air fryer for the crispiest results.
  • Don’t overcrowd the basket – good air circulation is key.
  • Flip the chicken halfway through for even cooking. This will help to produce juicy chicken.

Copycat KFC Chicken Printable Recipe Card and Nutritional Information

Yield: 4

KFC Fried Chicken Copycat Recipe

Fried chicken on a plate with sauce on the side.

Copycat KFC Fried Chicken easy-to-follow recipe is crispy, golden, and bursting with 11 herbs and spices, this homemade version brings the finger-lickin' goodness of KFC right to your kitchen.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Additional Time 1 day
Total Time 1 day 1 hour 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 10 chicken drumsticks or chicken thighs at room temperature (chicken breast or whole chickens cut up can also be used.) 
  • 1 cup of Buttermilk
  • 2 cups All purpose flour
  • 2/3 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon basil
  • 1/3 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried mustard
  • 1 Tbsp paprika
  • 2 teaspoons garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3 teaspoons white pepper

For Deep Frying Version

  • 6+ cups oil of choice (peanut or vegetable oil)

Instructions

  1. Soak the chicken legs in salt water (brine) for up to 24 hours before starting this recipe.
  2. For best results, preheat the air fryer to 350 degrees F.
  3. Place the egg and buttermilk in one bowl and the flour and spices in a second large bowl. Stir the spices well into the flour mixture.
  4. Place an oven-safe wire rack over top of a baking sheet.
  5. Dredge each chicken leg in the flour mixture, then the buttermilk mixture, and then the flour coating once again. 
  6. Place the coated drumstick on the rack and repeat with the remaining chicken.
  7. Set the chicken in the air fryer basket in a single layer.
  8. Cook for approximately 15 minutes and then flip for another 15 minutes of cooking.
  9. Check the internal temperature is at least 165 degrees.
  10. Enjoy! Kc copycat fried chicken recipe.

Notes

Deep Frying Directions

Soak the chicken legs in salt water (brine) for up to 24 hours before starting this recipe.

Preheat the deep fat fryer.

Place the egg and buttermilk in one bowl and the flour and spices in a second large bowl. Stir the spices well into the flour mixture.

Place an oven-safe wire rack over top of a baking sheet.

Dredge each chicken leg in the flour mixture, then the buttermilk mixture, and then the flour coating once again. 

Place the coated drumstick on the rack and repeat with the remaining chicken.

Fry the chicken legs in batches in the hot oil until the coating is golden and the internal temperature is at least 165 degrees F. 

Remove the southern fried chicken to the cooling rack and repeat with the remaining chicken.

Oven and Deep Fryer Cooking Version

Preheat oven to 350 F

Soak the chicken legs in salt water (brine) for up to 24 hours before starting this recipe.

Using two small bowls, place the egg and buttermilk in one bowl and the flour and spices in a second bowl. Stir the spices well to create the seasoned flour mixture.

Place an oven-safe cooling rack over top of a baking sheet. This will serve two purposes during your recipe.

Dredge each chicken leg in the flour mixture, then the buttermilk mixture, and then the flour mixture once again. 

Place the coated drumstick on the cooling rack and repeat with the remaining chicken.

Place your oil in a large Dutch oven or stockpot over medium-high heat. 

Fry the chicken legs in batches of 3 for 2-4 minutes in the hot oil until the coating is golden. 

Remove the chicken to the cooling rack and repeat with the remaining chicken.

Bake for 35-45 minutes until an inserted thermometer reads 165 F degrees.

Nutrition Information

Yield

5

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 1004Total Fat 66gSaturated Fat 9gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 53gCholesterol 266mgSodium 1482mgCarbohydrates 43gFiber 3gSugar 3gProtein 57g

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

More Easy Air Fryer Recipes

Bringing the KFC Original Recipe Experience Home

With this air-fryer chicken recipe, you’re not just biting into a piece of chicken; you’re experiencing the comforting taste of KFC from the sanctuary of your home.

The difference? You’re indulging in a smart, health-conscious way.

So grab your air fryer and get cooking the Copycat KFC Chicken that’s all about great taste, minus the guilt.

With this healthier take on KFC’s famous chicken, you’ll satisfy those deep-fried cravings and keep your health goals on track.

Happy cooking, and even happier eating!

Follow us on Pinterest and PIN THE Copycat KFC Chicken FOR LATER!

Copycat kfc fried chicken.

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