Asian fried chicken is some of the most celebrated around, from the ubiquitous orange chicken, sesame chicken, or honey garlic chicken, to favorites like chicken karaage or taiwanese popcorn chicken, it’s clear that the world loves all the Asian fried chickens. And, believe it or not, along with being quick and easy, the air fryer is one of the best ways period to make any Asian fried chicken recipe.

How is Asian fried chicken different?

Asians love texture to a fault; it’s just a fact. I have a running joke that if I ask Steph how good a Chinese restaurant is, she will only describe their textures, like “they make really crispy fried chicken” or “they have really chewy noodles”. It’s taken for granted that the food tastes good.

So likewise with the wings, Asian fried chicken emphasizes texture. Sometimes this means crisp shattering crunch, but sometimes it also means “used to be crunchy but now saucy”. You have to taste it to understand that one.

How to Make the Crunchiest Asian Fried Chicken in an Air Fryer | www.iamafoodblog.com

How to make the best fried chicken

Almost all Asian fried chickens are made the same way. The chicken is marinated first, if it’s not being coated in a sauce. Then it’s dredged in a flour or starch coating, then fried, then sauced while hot or dusted with spices, if needed. It doesn’t matter if it’s korean fried chicken or thai fish sauce wings, the basic steps are the same.

The best coating to use for fried chicken: potato starch vs cornstarch vs flour

Most of the time, we use potato starch or cornstarch. Potato starch can be hard to find (although Amazon is now a thing, and Bob’s Red Mill is carried everywhere) but produces the best, lightest, crispiest results. Cornstarch comes in a close second and you can get it everywhere. Sometimes, we will use rice flour or cake flour. Unless you really have nothing else, try to avoid all purpose or bread flour. The lower the gluten, the lighter and crispier the wings.

How to Make the Crunchiest Asian Fried Chicken in an Air Fryer | www.iamafoodblog.com

The best way to make Asian fried chicken in an air fryer

The air fryer is perfect for making light, crispy wings. The fan movement of the air allows an even cooking, while the lack of extraneous oil means you get a lighter final product. Here’s how you do it:

1. Season and marinate the chicken (optional). Salt and pepper your chicken and let stand for 5 minutes or so. If you are making a chicken that requires a marinade, do it now as well.

2. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Water generates steam, and steam is our enemy right now.

3. Lightly oil the chicken. This is to help promote even browning. You can/should use a spray oil for this, but you can also just toss the chicken in 1 tablespoon of a high heat oil as well.

How to Make the Crunchiest Asian Fried Chicken in an Air Fryer | www.iamafoodblog.com

4. Toss the chicken in potato/corn starch. I like to use a ziplock bag or, even better, a compostable produce bag (we have city compost).

Air Fryer Korean Fried Chicken Recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com

5. Air fry the chicken. Oil the basket of your air fryer with the spray bottle or a brush. Then arrange the chicken on a single layer with at least 1/4” spacing between each piece.

Air Fryer Korean Fried Chicken Recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com

6. Flip the chicken. I don’t like the shaking method, I’ve found that it’s better to just use tongs to flip the chicken so that the other side is consistently even. Besides, you need the tongs to take the chicken out later anyway.

7. Sauce or salt? Remove the chicken immediately so that a) it doesn’t overcook and b) the sauce or spice dusting will stick to it better.

and that’s it, perfect Asian fried chicken, every time.

What can you make with this recipe?

Vietnamese Fried Chicken: After frying, dust with our Vietnamese chicken spice (equal parts sugar, white pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder).
Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken: Toss with 1 teaspoon soy sauce, then marinate with 1 teaspoon white pepper and 1 teaspoon five spice. After frying, dust with another 1 teaspoon white pepper and 1 teaspoon five spice.
Korean Fried Chicken: After frying, coat with korean spicy chicken sauce (1 tablespoon each ketchup, gochujang, honey, brown sugar, and garlic, and half tablespoon each of soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, and minced ginger).
Japanese Karaage Wings: Marinate with 1 tablespoon each of soy sauce, sake, minced ginger, and crushed garlic, as well as 1 teaspoon sugar.
Thai/Vietnamese Fish Sauce Wings: After frying, coat with our fish sauce vinaigrette (1 tablespoon sugar, 1 tablespoon fish sauce, 1 tablespoon lime juice, 2 cloves garlic, 1 Thai chili).
Orange Chicken: After frying, coat with our 5 ingredient orange chicken sauce (1/4 cup each of orange juice, soy sauce, sugar, and rice vinegar, plus a tablespoon of cornstarch to thicken).

The list is endless!

Air Fryer Vietnamese Chicken Wings | www.iamafoodblog.com

Tips for the best fried chicken

  • Always season your chicken
  • Dry your chicken as well as possible, steam is the enemy of crunch
  • For ultimate crispiness, you can double fry the chicken by letting the chicken rest for 5 minutes after frying both sides, then putting it back in for another 5 minutes.

How to Make the Crunchiest Asian Fried Chicken in an Air Fryer | www.iamafoodblog.com

How to Make the Crunchiest Asian Fried Chicken in an Air Fryer | www.iamafoodblog.com

The Best Air Fryer Asian Fried Chicken Wings

5 from 1 vote

Ingredients

  • 1 lb chicken wings
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

  • Coat the chicken with the oil, then season with salt and pepper. Toss with corn starch.
    Air Fryer Korean Fried Chicken Recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Spray the air fryer basket with oil or use a brush/paper towel to apply a thin coat of oil onto it. Arrange the chicken in a single layer and air fry the chicken at 400ºF for 15 minutes. When the 15 minutes is up, flip the chicken and air fry another 5 minutes.
    Air Fryer Korean Fried Chicken Recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Remove chicken immediately. Sauce or dust as needed.
    How to Make the Crunchiest Asian Fried Chicken in an Air Fryer | www.iamafoodblog.com

13 Comments

  1. Melissa Hunt says:

    Hi! Do y’all have a favorite air fryer?

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi melissa,
      the one we have is this one! i can’t say if it’s the best one out there because it’s the only one we’ve tried but we like it – it has a huge basket :)

  2. Jac says:

    Wow, this couldn’t have come at a more perfect time! I just got an air fryer and had planned to try wings in it this week. For the double fry method, do you re-oil the wings before putting them back in a second time?

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi jac,
      yes, re-oil the wings for extra browning and crunch :)

  3. Janet says:

    I have an Air Fried Oven. Just prepare as stated and spray oil on the chicken. I am doing this tomorrow. Just took my poultry out of the freezer.

  4. Eileen says:

    Need to steam the wing before frying in air fryer?

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi eileen,
      they wings go in the air fryer raw :)

  5. Eve says:

    Can I use chicken legs instead of wings

    1. Stephanie says:

      yes but you’ll probably have to cook them a bit longer :)

  6. Priscilla says:

    Hi, just wondering if you pat the chicken dry AFTER salt and peppering the chicken? Thanks!

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi priscilla,
      you can pat it dry and then salt and pepper it, there should still be a bit of moisture on the skin that will help it stick.

  7. akanksha jayant says:

    Is it necessary to have skin on the chicken? can the same steps be followed with skinless chicken wings to get crispy results?

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi,
      skinless won’t be as crispy :)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *






Did you make this recipe?

Share it on instagram and tag it #iamafoodblog. If you'd like to leave a rating without leaving a comment, you can do so by clicking the stars underneath the recipe name.

Thanks for reading as always!
-Steph & Mike