CookingLight diet CookingLight diet
Gina DeSimone
Active Time
15 Mins
Total Time
6 Hours 50 Mins
Yield
Serves 4 (serving size: 1 chicken thigh)

If you’ve been fighting the temptation of fried chicken for the sake of your healthy diet, you can finally indulge guilt free. This spicy, crispy chicken emerges from the air fryer with all the flavor and crunch you’ve been craving.

For the best flavor, be sure to let the chicken marinate as instructed—if you have the time, go the full 12 hours. The results are worth it. Prefer chicken tenders? Feel free to sub them for chicken thighs.

(You can make those fries you see in the air fryer too! Get the recipe here.)

How to Make It

Step 1

Combine buttermilk, paprika, and cayenne pepper in a large bowl. Add chicken thighs, and turn to coat. Cover and marinate in refrigerator at least 6 hours or overnight.

Step 2

Place flour in a shallow dish. Lightly whisk together eggs and water in a second shallow dish. Place panko in a third shallow dish. Remove chicken from marinade; discard marinade. Sprinkle chicken with salt. Dredge in flour, shaking off excess. Dip in egg mixture, allowing excess to drip off. Dredge in panko, pressing to adhere. Coat chicken on both sides with cooking spray.

Step 3

Lightly spray air fryer basket with cooking spray. Place chicken in single layer in the basket, and cook in batches at 400°F until a thermometer inserted in chicken registers 165°F and coating is golden brown and crispy, 16 minutes, turning chicken over halfway through cooking.

Step 4

To serve, place a chicken thigh on each plate, and drizzle with 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce. Serve immediately.

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