The 13 Best Air Fryer Chicken Recipes That Revamp Boring Meals

The air fryer transforms your favorite restaurant meals into healthier versions — all in the comfort of your own home.
Image Credit: bhofack2/iStock/GettyImages

Many of us fall into one of two categories: Air fryer-obsessed or desperately wishing we had one because there's so much to love about it. After all, the air fryer is relatively easy to use and can recreate that deep-fried texture and flavor we hate to admit we love.

If you're not familiar with the air fryer, let us brief you: It's similar to a convection oven and uses a circulation of hot air to cook. The hot air takes the place of the vat of oil you'd find in a deep frier, which is one of the reasons users are falling in love with this nifty machine. Without the need to submerge food in oil, you cut down on both calories and fat in your dish.

Now that we've convinced you that the air fryer is the next best thing to hit kitchen counters, we've rounded up 13 easy air fryer chicken recipes to make in minutes.

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1. Asian-Inspired Glazed Air Fryer Chicken Thighs

Before cooking, marinate your chicken thighs for 30 minutes or 8 hours, if you have the time.
  • 361 calories
  • 46 grams of protein

For a burst of flavor, try adding a glaze or marinade to your air-fried chicken, like this Asian-inspired recipe calls for. Because this glaze includes soy sauce, which is high in sodium, Nicole Rodriguez, RDN, recommends swapping for liquid coconut aminos, which has 60 milligrams of sodium per serving instead of the 500 milligrams in soy sauce.

Get the Asian-Inspired Glazed Air Fryer Chicken Thighs recipe and nutrition info from Diethood.

2. Air Fryer Grilled Chicken Kebabs

Try incorporating seasonal produce into your kebabs.
Image Credit: Stay Snatched
  • 136 calories
  • 23 grams of protein

We often pigeonhole kebabs to the summer season, thanks to the grill, but air frying allows us to make this delicious meal no matter what the weather's like outside. "Kebabs are the perfect vehicle to add more plants into our diets," Rodriguez says. After all, you can skewer any veggie — or fruit! — for a perfect lunch or dinner. "Just skip pre-made seasonings and prepare your own with dried spices to reduce the overall sodium content."

Get the Air Fryer Grilled Chicken Kebab recipe and nutrition info from Stay Snatched.

3. Air Fryer General Tso's Chicken

Air frying this Chinese takeout dish makes for easier clean up than deep frying.
  • 397 calories
  • 46 grams of protein

When the Chinese takeout cravings hit, consider making this healthier version instead. "For about a quarter of the calories and a tenth of the fat of the original, this is a winner, winner chicken dinner," Rodriguez says. To make it a well-balanced meal, serve with a nutrient-dense green vegetable on the side like bok choy or broccoli.

Get the Air Fryer General Tso's Chicken recipe and nutrition info from Easy Chicken Recipes.

4. Air Fryer Chicken Fajitas

Enjoy these fajitas alone, inside a tortilla or atop a bed of greens.
  • 214 calories
  • 26 grams of protein

Instead of babysitting your chicken and peppers over a stove, simply toss them in the air fryer and you've got a ready-made meal in minutes. "Serve alongside corn tortillas, which are lower in sodium and carbs [than flour tortillas] and top with plain Greek yogurt instead of sour cream," Rodriguez suggests.

Get the Air Fryer Chicken Fajitas recipe and nutrition info from Sweet Peas and Saffron.

5. Air Fryer Chicken Parmesan

For a crispier, lighter bite, consider swapping traditional Italian-style breadcrumbs for panko.
  • 541 calories
  • 47 grams of protein

Even though this Italian-American favorite is a better-for-you option when air fried, Rodriguez warns that it's full of sodium. "Keep the cheese and substitute no-salt-added canned tomato sauce for the marinara," Rodriguez says. And if you're watching your carb intake, skip the pasta and serve alongside vegetables.

Get the Air Fryer Chicken Parmesan recipe and nutrition info from Julie's Eats and Treats.

6. Air Fryer Garlic Parmesan Chicken Wings

Serve these crispy chicken wings at your next summer soiree.
  • 358 calories
  • 27 grams of protein

These wings get their signature crispy texture thanks to the air fryer, and the garlic Parmesan coating ensures they're finger-lickin' good. If you're going to enjoy this dish as an appetizer or dinner, "slash the fat, calories, and sodium in half by spreading this recipe across eight servings instead of four," Rodriguez says.

Get the Air Fryer Garlic Parmesan Chicken Wings recipe and nutrition info from Real Housemoms.

7. Air Fryer Chicken Breasts

These chicken breasts are so versatile and work great for meal prepping.
  • 133 calories
  • 24 grams of protein

The chicken breast is probably the most popular and versatile cut of chicken. If you find that breast meat tends to be drier, this recipe is for you as it calls for soaking your meat in a brine first — this creates a more tender protein, Rodriguez says.

Get the Air Fryer Chicken Breasts recipe and nutrition info from Diethood.

8. Air Fryer Barbecue Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Bites

Not a fan of store-bought barbecue sauce? Consider making your own low-sugar version at home.
  • 728 calories
  • 61 grams of protein

These bacon-wrapped chicken bites will please the whole family. To make it a bit healthier, go for a low-sugar barbecue sauce and swap pork bacon for low-sodium turkey bacon.

Get the Barbecue Bacon Wrapped Chicken Bites recipe and nutrition info from Air Fried.

9. Air Fryer Taquitos

These chicken taquitos are customizable and kid-friendly.
  • 273 calories
  • 20.9 grams of protein

"This recipe is lower in calories than the fried version you would enjoy at a Mexican restaurant," Rodriguez says. To keep sodium levels down, consider skipping the dip and using your own seasonings instead of the store-bought dressing packet.

Get the Air Fryer Taquitos recipe and nutrition info from Momma Fit Lyndsey.

10. Air Fryer Buffalo Chicken Tenders

If you're craving buffalo wings, consider this better-for-you version instead.
  • 285 calories
  • 29 grams of protein

Boneless chicken tenders are a great cut of meat to keep in your freezer for easy-to-make dishes like this one. "Clocking in at a mere gram of fat per serving, they also deliver 25 grams of protein which is an ideal amount per meal if you're looking to maintain muscle," Rodriguez says. But be mindful of the blue cheese dip — go for blue cheese crumbles instead.

Get the Air Fryer Buffalo Chicken Tenders recipe and nutrition info from The Creative Bite.

11. Air Fryer Fried Chicken

To cut down on the fat in here, swap for low-fat buttermilk or skip the buttermilk soak altogether.
  • 792 calories
  • 46 grams of protein

The truth is, fried chicken is never actually healthy, but there are ways to make it better for you than those tasty deep-fried versions you order out — enter: the air fryer. This recipe delivers all the crispiness you know and love with a fraction of the fat.

Get the Air Fryer Fried Chicken recipe and nutrition info from Julie's Eats and Treats.

12. Air Fryer Orange Chicken

For a well-balanced meal, serve this sweet and saucy chicken with brown rice and vegetables.
Image Credit: AirFried
  • 593 calories
  • 43 grams of protein

Recreating takeout favorites at home is an easy way to save on calories and fat — orange chicken included. "Keep sodium levels balanced by choosing a low-sodium soy sauce or coconut aminos," Rodriguez says. "And the added orange juice in this recipe delivers half a day's worth of vitamin C."

Get the Air Fryer Orange Chicken recipe and nutrition info from AirFried.

13. Air Fryer Drumsticks

If you love grilling chicken legs, you'll love the char these drumsticks get from the air fryer.
  • 201 calories
  • 22 grams of protein

If chicken is your protein of choice, consider an inexpensive cut like the drumstick. While it does take longer to cook, thanks to the bone, and has more fat than a breast, it's still a healthy option. "More than a third of chicken's fat content is monounsaturated, the same kind of fat found in plant-based fats like olive oil," Rodriguez says.

Get the Air Fryer Drumstick recipe and nutrition info from AirFried.

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