Best Air Fryer For Chicken 2020; Reviews & Buying Guide
These best air fryers for chicken score high on health & taste and low on calories.
Here in this article we’ve rounded up 7 of the best air fryers for chicken of various types, specifications, and budget. Below, you’ll find in-depth reviews of each, as well as an elaborate buying guide for the best air fryers.
Foods like fried chicken and crispy chicken stix sure are delicious, but with all the extra calories and oils, they aren’t very good for you.
What about your favorite kind of fried chicken without all the oil?
That’s where air fryers come in, as a way to “fry” food without drenching them in oil.
Table of Contents
What is an Air Fryer
These irregularly shaped countertop appliances don’t fry food at all. They’re actually small convection ovens. A heating unit and fan located at the top of the fryer work together to rapidly shoot hot air at the food.
The small space, compared to a traditional oven, helps to quickly and efficiently fry the food. The result is deliciously fried food. Finger food you’d typically fry can go in an air fryer instead.
Not just fried chicken, also add to the list chicken wings, chicken nuggets, jalapeño poppers, cheese sticks, even pizza bites. Essentially, an air fryer is perfect for frozen foods. Greens, vegetables, and cheese, on the other hand, don’t fare so well.
Benefits of an Air Fryer
These gadgets, which have spiked in popularity in recent years, are essentially countertop convection ovens, cooking ingredients by circulating hot air around their inner chamber. This gives food the crispy texture you’d get from frying without requiring excessive amounts of oil, and it also cooks faster than a traditional oven.
While your typical deep fryer needs enough oil to completely drown the food, an air fryer barely uses any, a tablespoon at most.
Air fryers can also cook a hell of a lot more food than a deep fryer and can be used for things like grilling a steak or baking a pizza.
It’s like having a combo oven and deep fryer, except it fits on your counter and doesn’t require frozen food to be thawed before cooking.
Best Air Fryers For Chicken 2020
If you’re in the market to find the best air fryer for chicken as a calorie-saving alternative to traditional frying, we did our research and read through hundreds of reviews and rounded up the best air fryers for chicken on the market.
For our tests we looked at the performance of the air fryer, basket size, temperature range, overall unit size, build quality, safety features, accessories, appearance, versatility and user reviews.
Best Air Fryer For Chicken - Overall
The Ninja Air Fryer is the top-of-the-line unit. This 4 Qt capacity Air Fryer is designed for a family of 3 to 5 people.
This fryer offers many options that are not found on standard units. The wide temperature range gives you the ability to roast, bake, air fry, reheat, or dehydrate foods, making it your new go-to appliance for any meal or snack.
Compared to other air fryers, this model provides a very user-friendly control panel with a digital display, where you can set the desired cooking mode, cooking time and the temperature.
It is equipped with a smart processor that provides a wide temperature range while powering the fan that automatically adjusts speeds based on what you’re cooking. This ensures the even circulation of hot air around your chicken for quick, crispy, and golden finishes.
The dehydrator function is a great addition to the versatility of the AF101. The low temperature of 105 ºF (40.4 ºC) is great to make fruit slices or beef jerky. This setting adds a different dimension that most other air fryers don’t have.
Another great feature in the Ninja AF101 is the nonstick ceramic basket and grill. This coating is extremely durable, it does not scratch easily and it can withstand a temperature of 800 ºF (426.7 ºC).
The ceramic coated crisper plate is also a unique feature that encourages even circulation of hot air around the food item, giving you evenly cooked and crisp treats, every time. Reviewing most air fryers on the market, this feature really sets the Ninja apart.
It is easy to clean overall and the multi-layer rack, the crisper plate and the frying basket are all safe to be put in the dishwasher. You can roast/fry chicken, veggies, beef, casseroles and more without needing to use your large oven. If you have any leftover chicken wings, pizza, fries or other meals from yesterday you can reheat and revive them to their original taste and texture.
In most of the air fryers, the hot air releases through the bottom, which may damage the surfaces they are placed on. The Ninja AF101 air fryer gets around this problem by having the hot air circulate from the sides and not the bottom.
- Its lightweight and compact
- Cooks evenly in a much shorter time
- Features a dehydrate mode
- Vents hot air from the bottom
- 4 one-touch preset cooking modes
- Extra large capacity
- No extra attachments
- Needs preheating
Best Compact Air Fryer For Chicken
This kitchen appliance will appeal to anyone wanting a meal that has less fat without falling short on taste. For someone also worried about calorie consumption, this Philips device will likely be welcomed into the home. Plus, its modern exterior will fit easily within most kitchens.
Philips Airfryer has the full size and power to cook a whole chicken or delicious fried chicken pieces fries in one go.
With its digital display and solid black body with a curved shape, this air fryer is modern looking and attractive. It has a 1.8 lbs. capacity and measures 12 inches high, 11 inches wide, and 15 inches deep. The weight is 13 lbs for the 1,425-watt device.
The Philips Turbo Star Digital Air Fryer has been designed with compactness in mind with a countertop saving 20% smaller footprint. and simultaneous cooking.
With its reduced size and fabulous fat-free cooking technology, this fryer is guaranteed to become a daily use appliance. This means a healthier menu with less fat and less clean up.
The Advance Digital controls offer a unique way to control your air fryer. It has four preset settings for popular dishes, and it comes with a recipe book that includes directions for more than 200 air-fried foods.
What makes this unit different is that you change the setting with a Quick Control Dial. This means that the screen symbols don’t need to be touched hence they will last longer.
- Super user-friendly
- Great for fried chicken and a range of different foods
- Excellent entry-level air fryer
- High end appliance, costs more than other brands
Best Smart Air Fryer For Chicken
The Breville Smart Oven Air is one of the best countertop ovens you can get on the market right now.
The Smart Oven Air is beautiful on the outside and huge inside. It’s a larger version of Breville’s Smart Oven and Smart Oven Pro, and could easily take the place of your conventional oven for many day-to-day uses. With a one-cubic-foot capacity, it can simultaneously toast up to nine pieces of bread, cook a 13-inch pizza or you can even roast an entire chicken in this air fryer.
You can use its Air fry mode to crisp food that you would alternatively fry in a traditional oil-based fryer, but without oil. Instead of oil, Air fry uses high heat and super convection.
Use the included air fry/dehydrate basket with your Breville oven with Air fry mode.
There are eight different rack positions to choose from, with clear labels on the window showing you what each slot should be used for.
The biggest selling point for getting the Smart Oven Air over any of Breville’s other ovens are the extra cooking modes it offers, namely slow cook, dehydrate, and air fry.
If you were already considering buying an Air fryer, Slow cooker or a dehydrator, or like the idea of fried crispy chicken without oil, these extra features are likely worth the Smart Oven Air’s additional cost.
Listed on the display are 13 pre-programmed cooking modes – Toast slices, Bagel, Broil, Bake, Roast, Warm, Pizza, Proof, Airfry, Reheat, Cookies, Slow Cook, Dehydrate
It boasts 2-speed fan convection—which outstrips conventional ovens by continuously circulating hot air, making it a must for both even baking and perfectly juicy chicken—it could potentially stand in for your microwave, slow cooker, dehydrator , air fryer, and yes, toaster and toaster oven as well.
- 3 kitchen gadgets in 1 (air fryer, convection oven + dehydrator)
- Reduces cooking time by up to 30%
- Precision cooking and Element IQ
- Bright LCD display
- 2-speed convection fan
- Dehydrates up to 4 trays of food
- Ease of use
- Several adjustable and programmable controls.
- Easy to clean
- Large capacity
- Requires more space on a kitchen countertop
Best Rated Air Fryer For Chicken
Modern in design and coated in a sleek brushed finish, this versatile air fryer packs the latest technologies under a compact frame. It’s made to fit on your countertop, but it’s still big enough to feed up to 5 people.
The Cosori air fryer allows for easier and healthier fried chicken using 85% less oil than traditional deep fryers.
Huge 5.8 quart capacity gives you more than enough room for anything you want to cook up. Then there are 11 different cooking presets for all different types of food, so it really couldn’t be easier to use.
If you plan to make a specific dish for your special night but later change your mind, this power air fryer oven will accommodate almost any food in your kitchen. You won’t ever have to guess which setting to put on because the buttons will guide you.
It operates at a temperature range of 170 degrees to 400 degrees F and has a timer for up to 60 minutes.
Unlike traditional deep fryers which require foods to be fully submerged in hot oil to cook, an air fryer uses smart air circulation technologies and minimal oil usage for faster, lower fat cooking.
It even reminds you to shake so you get amazing results every time you use this appliance.
It features an Air crisp technology that uses less fat than traditional frying methods, but delivers the same deliciously crunchy taste of fried chicken with little to no oil.
The square basket design, standard with either size fryer, allows for a bit more capacity compared to a traditional round basket style.
If you don’t want to use the presets, know that temp and time are easily adjustable. You can use this fryer to cook virtually any meal, from necessary veggies to delicious meats.
The removable nonstick coated drawer and the food basket are dishwasher safe, PFOA-free & BPA-free, with a cool touch handle & button guard to prevent accidental detachment.
- Has a big surface area to cook
- The basket and drawer slide in and out without issues
- Creates absolutely delicious food
- Comes with 100 recipes to make
- Easy to clean
- Includes a preheat button
- Includes several of presets
- The touch screen buttons are a little loud
- It does not have a rotisserie option
Most Versatile Air Fryer
The Ninja Foodi is a modern multi cooker with the TenderCrisp technology and a 1400-watt power for pressure cooking, for air frying, broiling, baking, roasting, searing, sautéing, slow cooking and steaming.
This amazing electric pressure cooker addresses a complaint many people have about pressure cooking; that it’s difficult to create crunchy foods or a crispy-outside-moist-inside product.
The Foodi’s pressure-cooking capacity is 6.5 quarts, while the air fryer can hold 4 quarts.
The Ninja Foodi can be both a pressure cooker and an air fryer because it has two separate lids.
The air frying lid is attached to the device by a hinge, and the pressure-cooking lid is separate from the device.
The great news is that you can Air-fry any food with up to 75% less fat than you would have with traditional frying methods.
This air-fry feature is a much-desired one if you are one of those people who is watching their fat intake but loves the deliciously crispy, crunchy foods.
It Air fry, bake, roast, or broil to evenly crisp and caramelize meals to golden-brown perfection.
Most models needlessly complicate the control panel by having multiple settings for chicken beef, soup, etcetera, which can be helpful but for many recipes are superfluous. The Foodi cuts out all these settings, resulting in a much more streamlined control panel.
Your meal will be cooked quickly and properly and will get a golden and crispy exterior with the crisping lid. This special design cooker will air fry your ingredients with very little oil to get meals with 75% less fat and will cook your ingredients 70% quicker than conventional methods as a great pressure cooker.
All of the Foodi’s operations are quick to set into motion for however long you or your recipe requires. Crisper operations even pause immediately when you open the lid, allowing you to easily stir or add ingredients anytime in between.
Cooking with Ninja Foodi is easy and always under control, whether you want to make a delicious pork tenderloin that crumbles with a gentle touch or potato fries that are crunchy on the outside and soft inside.
The removable cooking parts consist of a large non-stick enameled pot, a roasting / broiling rack, and a non-stick steaming / frying basket.
- Air crisping and dehydrating functions
- Good pressure cooking
- It can prepare a variety of foods faster
- Large footprint
Best Easy-To-Use Air Fryer
The GoWISE USA 8-in-1 Electric Air Fryer is a digital air fryer model that provides you with not only a high level of functionality but also a high level of efficiency and some real value for money. These are the reasons why the GoWISE USA Electric Air Fryer is one of the bestselling air fryer models on the market today.
This Air Fryer has the standard capacity of about 3.7 Quarts. This is neither too large nor too small, just enough to cook a good batch of snacks for a family of three.
This XL air fryer has 8 built-in smart programs including Fries, Pork, Shrimp, Cake, Chicken, Steak, Fish, and Pizza.
The easy-to-use control panel features the previously discussed presets. Other touch control features include a cooking timer that times a cycle up to 30 minutes. And there’s a temperature control that is variable from 176ºF to 392ºF.
It also features a new built-in alarm function that reminds the user to shake or check their food in 5, 10, and 15-minute increments.
The LCD display system is completely touchscreen and easy to wipe and clean.
It does more than just fry foods. It can also grill, roast, and bake. If you want to bake a cake, you can purchase a non-stick baking pan accessory that’s made just for your GoWISE Air Fryer.
The unit circulates hot air in all directions around the ingredients to cook chicken or any of your favorite food to perfection, all while you do other things to prepare your meal or even sit on the couch watching TV.
This airfryer contains a few special safety features that may be of interest to you. It has overheat protection as well as an automatic switch-off feature and an automatic standby mode for your safety and convenience.
- Easy to use
- 8 preset cooking functions
- Dishwasher safe basket
- Large enough for 2-3 people
- No viewing window
- To bake, you will have to buy baking pan separately
Best For Large Family
The Instant Vortex Plus 7-in-1 Air Fryer Oven is more than just an air fryer—it’s a multi-use appliance that will save you time and space in the kitchen as it’s able to roast, broil, bake, reheat, dehydrate, air fry, and more.
The rectangular, six-quart draw makes the Instant Vortex more appealing for larger families (or big eaters). This does mean its overall size is larger than these smaller air fryers, though, so you’ll need the space to accommodate it.
The touch controls are all well-labeled and the dial means you can set the time and temperature without having to repeatedly press plus and minus buttons, as is common on rivals.
The 6-in-1 Instant Vortex 6-Quart Air Fryer has a six-quart basket, which Instant claims is capable of holding a 2lb pound bag of fries or a four-pound chicken – more than enough for a family of four – and it lets you air fry, bake, roast, reheat, broil and dehydrate..
The Vortex’s 6-quart capacity has room to air fry a whole pound of chicken, as opposed to the usual half-pound other fryers can handle. This means you can cut down on your batch cooking and get your food to the table faster.
The Instant Vortex Plus circulates super-hot air around your food so it cooks evenly and locks in moisture — giving you the crispy, golden texture and delicious taste of deep-fried chicken, without the oil, grease and mess. With little to no preheating time, you can whip up dinner in half the time of a conventional oven, without heating up the whole kitchen.
- 6 pre-programmed cooking modes
- Large capacity
- Can cook 4 lbs. of chicken at once
- Cooks quickly and quietly
- Looks beautiful on the kitchen counter
- Easy to clean
- No slow or pressure cooking feature
Best Air Fryer For Chicken- Buying Guide
Features To Look For In An Air Fryer For Chicken
Typically, these appliances have a capacity between two and seven quarts, and because it’s key not to overcrowd the basket when cooking, you’ll want to think about how much chicken you plan to cook in it.
If you’re cooking for your family or hosting a dinner party, you’ll probably want a larger air fryer, while one- or two-person households can get by with a smaller model. However, keep in mind that the larger the capacity, the larger the appliance and the more cupboard space it will take up.
First, make sure you know how much space you have available in your kitchen. If you make chicken regularly, you might want to leave it out permanently. The Air fryers come in two basic shapes: tall and fat and short and slightly fatter.
Be aware that top-opening models could be out of the running if you have restricted space above the bench, as the lid needs to be opened upwards. If you’re planning to pack your air fryer away after use, look for a compact size with a uniform shape to slot easily into a cupboard.
Presets for your favorite chicken recipe
If you plan on cooking specific dishes with your new appliance, you may want to look for a model with pre-programmed settings that will make the process easier.
There are two types of controls: dial or digital. Dial controls are more basic and less accurate, consisting of just a temperature dial and a timer dial that dings when the timer ends. Look for a timer that can be set for longer than 30 minutes. Digital controls have a touch display with an accurate timer, temperature readings and some may also have pre-programmed settings.
Air fryer parts are reasonably easy to clean and fit into a domestic sink. Most parts are dishwasher-safe. but they’re also easily cleaned by hand if they have a non-stick coating.
Tips For Cooking Chicken In Your Air Fryer
Air Fryers are becoming more and more popular these days for cooking chicken. Whichever brand you choose to buy, there are great air fryer tips that every air fryer owner should know and become familiar with.
Preheat your Air fryer
Most brands of air fryers specify that the air fryer should be preheated to ensure even cooking.
If your air fryer does not have a preheat setting, simply turn it to the desired temperature and allow it to run for around 3 minutes before placing your food in.
Use oil on your foods for the air fryer
It’s recommended to use oil on certain foods to help them crisp but certain foods don’t necessarily need it. If your food already has some fat on it (dark meat chicken, ground beef, fatty cuts of meat, etc.) then you probably don’t need the oil.
Grease your Air Fryer Basket
Even if your food does not require oil, always take a moment to at least grease your air fryer basket. This will ensure that your food won’t stick.
Never use aerosol spray cans in your air fryer
Aerosol spray cans are known to cause chipping in many Air Fryer baskets. The aerosol cans have harsh agents that just don’t mesh with the coating on most baskets. It’s best to invest in a good quality oil mister or bottle.
Don’t pack the basket
If you want your fried chicken to turn out crispy, you’ll want to make sure you don’t overcrowd the basket.
Placing too much food in the basket will prevent your food from crisping and browning. To ensure this doesn’t happen, cook your food in batches or invest in a bigger air fryer.
Shake the basket during cooking for fries, wings, etc.
When air frying smaller items, like chicken wings, french fries, and similar items, you’ll want to shake the basket every few minutes to ensure even cooking.
Spray oil halfway through cooking
We recommend spraying with oil halfway through cooking as it gets the best crisp on most foods.
Adjust the temperature for certain foods
It can sometimes be tempting to crank the heat for the Air Fryer to the highest temp to let it run but be careful as some foods can dry out quickly. A good rule of thumb is to modify the temperature and time from how long you would typically make it in the oven.
The seven different air fryers for chicken that we highlighted here in this buying guide are all great, that’s why we picked them for you!
Now you need to pick which one would work best with your family, your lifestyle, your kitchen, and your budget.
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