How to make easy and super crispy Salt and Pepper Chicken in an air fryer!
This EASY and QUICK Air Fryer Salt and Pepper Chicken is going to be your new favourite! Air fryers have been out a good while and it seems like everyone and their mothers owned one… except me. I already own a nice, huge oven, and an air fryer is but a mini oven (yes, that’s all it is), so I never could convince myself to invest in one. I also don’t have much space left on my countertop, thanks to my microwave oven, blender, and kettle.
BUT not gonna lie, some nights when I crave that couple of chicken nuggets, and it takes too long to cook it in my oven (preheating time + cooking time = no more craving for nuggets 🙁 ), I definitely wish I have an air fryer.
So when Kyvol Singapore asked if I’d like to try out their air fryer, I HAD to say “YES!”. Now that I own one, I would like to humbly eat all of my words! This little machine has been the best thing to join my kitchen family since… well, my big oven!
Why You will LOVE this Air Fryer Salt and Pepper Chicken?
- EASY and FUSS FREE! The ingredients here are minimal and you skip the entire process (and pain) of deep frying. Unlike deep frying, you don’t have to actively watch this too.
- Ultra VERSATILE! This is a very basic recipe, that tastes great with just salt and pepper. The highlight here is really that crispy air fried chicken.
- It’s unbelievably QUICK to prepare.
How to Make ULTRA Crispy Air Fryer Salt and Pepper Chicken
This is SO easy. And let me tell you the results are far BETTER than if I deep fried the chicken pieces in oil. It’s as quick, it’s less messy, and it’s far more consistent.
1. Marinate the chicken first.
I used a simple marinade of grated ginger and garlic, salt, pepper and sugar. You can use any of your favourite marinade! Allow to marinade for 30 minutes or overnight would (always) be best. That said, since we are chopping the chicken into smaller pieces, I rarely marinade it for long! I would allow it to marinade in the same time I use to make the seasoning powder and air fry the curry leaves – maybe some 10 to 15 minutes.
2. Coat the chicken with cornstarch.
When you’re ready to cook, coat the chicken pieces with cornstarch. You can press it on the chicken, but I’m… far too lazy and haphazard and simply dump cornstarch bit by bit, until the chicken is adequately coated with the cornstarch.
3. Lay the chicken pieces in one layer on a rack
Place chicken pieces on the air fryer rack. Make sure the pieces do not overlap.
4. Spray on cooking oil.
This will help it to crisp up even more. Make sure to spray to coat on both sides of the chicken!
5. Pop in the air fryer and let it cook!
Then simply let the air fryer do its thing! Since I used a rack, I don’t need to flip it halfway through, but if yours do not have a rack, make sure to flip the chicken pieces half way through, and spray on more cooking oil for an evenly crispy chicken.
By the way, if you do not have an air fryer and still want to try out this recipe, you can deep fry the chicken pieces! The steps here are all the same except for the air fryer portion.
I’m sure you can also replicate this in an oven, but mind to put the temperature higher and leave it in for longer. You would do best to use a wire mesh for even cooking, but you can also simply flip your chicken pieces over to get an even crisp.
Crisping up the Curry Leaves in the Air Fryer
I wanted to see if the air fryer can crisp up curry leaves as well, so I just threw it in and crossed my fingers. No need to use a rack for this too. With my air fryer, once it started, my curry leaves swirled around in the basket… it was incredibly fun to watch.
I only had to set it for 5 minutes, at 180 degrees Celcius (same as the chicken settings) and it crisped up incredibly well! I mean, look, the chicken was great… but I consider this groundbreaking! If you’ve ever tried deep frying curry leaves you will know exactly what I’m talking about. It spits and pops when deep fried! Now I can get the same effect without all of the painful splatters.
The only thing is to eat immediately. I find that if left out for a while, it loses its crisp.
I also tried to air fry some Thai Bird’s Eye Chillies for a bit of colour. It resulted in some nice charry, red bits to the overall dish.
Besides curry leaves, you can also use basil leaves.
The Seasoning Powder for Air Fryer Salt and Pepper Chicken
In this recipe, I simply combined salt, pepper and five spice powder to make the seasoning powder for the chicken. You can make so many variations of the seasoning powder.
You can even just do a seasoning of salt and pepper and call it a day. I like to add chilli powder (even better, ground Sichuan Peppercorns) for some heat, and a little bit of sugar to help pull the flavours together too.
More Recipes Like This
- Taiwanese XXL Crispy Chicken Cutlet
- Crispy Garlic Fried Chicken
- Crispy Ayam Goreng
- Mala Zi Ji | Sichuan Fried Chicken
Air Fryer Crispy Salt and Pepper ChickenCourse: Recipes
300g Chicken Thighs, chopped into bite sized pieces
1 tsp grated ginger
1 tsp grated garlic
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp sugar
3-4 tbsps cornstarch, or enough to coat
2 stalks of curry leaves (or basil)
1-2 stalks bird’s eye chillies (optional)
- Seasoning Powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/4 tsp five spice powder
- Chop chicken into bite sized pieces. Marinate with the grated ginger, grated garlic, salt, pepper and sugar. Allow to marinate for 30 minutes or overnight.
- When you’re ready to cook, toss curry leaves and bird’s eye chillies (if using) first in the air fryer. Cook for 5 minutes at 180 degrees celcius or 350 fahrenheit, until crispy. Remove from the air fryer.
- To marinated chicken, add cornstarch and toss to coat. Gradually add cornstarch to the chicken and toss until chicken is fully coated.
- Add a rack to the airfryer. If your air fryer does not have a rack, then you will need to return halfway to flip the chicken to the other side for even cooking. Place the chicken in one layer on the rack. Spray with cooking oil.
- Pop back in the oven and cook for 15 to 20 minutes until the chicken is fully cooked and surface is crispy. Make sure to flip half way through if your air fryer does not come with a rack.
- While chicken is cooking, make the seasoning powder. Simply combine salt, white pepper and five spice powder.
- Once chicken cooks through, add chicken to a bowl, and sprinkle on the seasoning powder. Toss to combine. Then add the curry leaves and gently toss (you don’t want to break the crispy curry leaves too much!). Serve immediately!