Double breaded, crispy fried chicken coated with a sweet and spicy hot honey sauce. Forget traditionally fried chicken, and dig into this Air Fryer Hot Honey Chicken instead! Get ready to meet your new favorite chicken leg recipe!
Air Fryer Hot Honey Chicken
I really don’t know how we all, as a society, survived as long as we did without air fryers. We’ve become so accustomed to the little to no time it takes for them to preheat, and the fact that they can make all of our fried favorites with none of the grease really has us spoiled.
This hot honey chicken, for example, is SO EASY to make in the air fryer! First chicken legs are marinated for an hour in a savory blend of seasonings. Then they are dredged and air fried to crispy perfection. Lastly, we coat them with a sweet and spicy hot honey sauce that’s guaranteed to make your mouth water. Hungry yet?
This air fryer hot honey chicken is spicy, sweet, seasoned, and incredibly easy to make. Pair it with your favorite sides for a well rounded and satisfying dinner. Or serve them as an appetizer or afternoon snack!
Why is it Called Hot Honey?
The name “hot honey chicken” comes from the sauce. These crispy fried chicken legs are smothered in a spicy (aka “hot”) sauce made with honey. This chicken recipe is finger-licking good.
What’s the Best Air Fryer to Use?
Air fryers come in two different styles. The more popular type has a drawer/basket that slides in the front and usually doesn’t require preheating. The second type looks like a toaster oven and opens with a door, like a mini version of a regular oven.
We have personally tried a few different styles of air fryers and these are our three favorites. Depending on your budget and air fryer style preference, you should find one that will work for you below:
- Large Budget Friendly Basket Style: 8 Qt Gourmia Air Fryer
- Best Large Basket Air Fryer: Power XL 10 Qt Air Fryer
- Toaster Oven Style Air Fryer: Cuisinart Air Fryer Toaster Oven
Whatever you do, we recommending getting a large air fryer (8 qt minimum if you can!). Smaller air fryers don’t have enough space when you are cooking multiple chicken legs, breasts, etc. Once you get started air frying, you are going to want to cook a lot in it!
Here’s a quick overview of what you’ll need to make hot honey chicken. Be sure to scroll down to the recipe card for specific amounts.
- Buttermilk: Don’t have any on hand? That’s ok – you can make your own buttermilk by combining a tbsp of vinegar with a cup of whole milk. True buttermilk will provide the best results, but it’s ok to sub if you need to.
- Seasonings: salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika
- Chicken Legs: Use skin-on chicken legs for the best, crispiest results.
- Cornstarch: This is the secret to getting the air fried chicken perfectly crispy.
- Honey: Use a rich, dark honey for the best flavor. Avoid the little plastic bear that just tastes like sugar!
- Butter: Salted or unsalted both work, it’s up to you!
- Cayenne Pepper: You can alter the level of spice with how much of this you add.
How to Make Air Fryer Hot Honey Chicken
- Marinate. In a large container, combine the buttermilk, eggs, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and paprika together. Add the chicken and let it marinate in the refrigerator for at least one hour, but it can stay for up to 24 hours.
- Brush. Brush the inside of the air fryer basket with olive or vegetable oil, then set it aside. You can also mist it if you have one of the oil misters instead.
- Mix. Once you’re ready to cook the chicken, mix the flour, cornstarch, salt and pepper together in a shallow bowl. Set aside.
- Dredge. Remove the chicken from the marinade and drain any excess liquid from it. Then, dredge the chicken in the flour, being sure to coat it completely. Set the coated chicken on a plate, then repeat the process with the remaining chicken legs.
- Re-Dip. Let the chicken legs sit for 5 minutes to soak up the flour, then re-dip them once again in the flour to make sure they are coated them completely.
- Brush or Mist. Place the chicken legs in the air fryer basket in an even layer and generously brush the tops of them with more oil. If you have a sprayer, you can mist them instead with the oil.
- Cook. Cook the chicken legs in the air fryer at 375°F for 20-25 minutes, or until they’re golden and crispy. Flip them halfway through cooking.
- Sauce it Up! While the chicken cooks, melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Add the honey and cayenne pepper, stirring to combine.
- Simmer. Bring the sauce to a simmer and then add the remaining garlic and onion powder. Let the sauce simmer for 2-3 more minutes, then remove it from the heat and let it cool for 5 minutes.
- Brush. Once the chicken legs are cooked through, generously brush the sauce onto the chicken legs when they come out of the air fryer. Then, cook for just 3 more minutes. Serve them immediately with more of that delicious hot honey sauce on the side!
Tips For Best Hot Honey Chicken
This chicken recipe is pretty easy, but it never hurts to have some tips up your sleeve. Here are my recommendations:
- Single Layer: Make sure your chicken legs are in a single layer in your air fryer and are not stacked on top of each other. This will ensure they are crispy and perfectly cooked!
- Do not overcook. If you overcook your legs they will become dry and will no longer be tender inside. If you are not sure if they are done, use a meat thermometer to make sure they have reached an internal temperature of 165ºF.
- Preheat Air Fryer? Most air fryers do not require preheating. However, please read your manual to know if your air fryer does need to be preheated. Follow manufacturer instructions if it does to require best results!
- I WANT IT HOT! How spicy your hot honey is depends on the hot sauce you use and if you add any cayenne pepper. I don’t like things crazy spicy, so I use a more mild hot sauce. My dad loves them extra spicy, so he uses his favorite HOT hot sauce. And you can always add more cayenne pepper to really punch up the heat!
How Long Will Fried Chicken Legs Last?
This saucy fried chicken really is best fresh right when it comes out of the air fryer. You can reheat it again, but it’s never as good as it was the first time.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. This chicken will stay fresh for about 3-4 days.
- To reheat the chicken, do NOT use the microwave! Instead, reheat your leftovers back in the air fryer! Set it to 375°F and let them heat up for about 4-5 minutes.
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons salt, divided
- 2 teaspoons ground black pepper, divided
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder, divided
- 2 teaspoons onion powder, divided
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 ½ pounds skin on chicken legs (5-6 legs)
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/3 cup honey
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- In a large bowl or ziplock bag, combine the buttermilk, eggs, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of pepper, 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, 1 teaspoon of onion powder and paprika together. Add the chicken and let it marinate in the fridge for 1 hour (or up to 24 hours).
- Brush the inside of the air fryer basket with olive or vegetable oil and set aside.
- Once ready to cook chicken, mix the flour, cornstarch, remaining 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper together in a shallow bowl and set aside.
- Remove the chicken from the buttermilk marinade and drain any excess milk off chicken. Then dredge the chicken in the flour, coating it completely. Set coated chicken on a plate then repeat the process with the remaining chicken legs.
- Let chicken legs sit for 5 minutes to soak up the flour, then re-dip them once again in the flour, to coat them completely.
Place chicken legs in the air fryer basket in an even layer and generously brush the tops with more oil (you can also mist them with oil if you have it in a sprayer).
- Cook chicken legs at 375°F for 20-25 minutes, or until they are golden and crispy. Flip chicken legs halfway through cooking.
- While chicken cooks, melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Add the honey and cayenne pepper and stir to combine. Bring the sauce to a simmer and then add the remaining garlic and onion powder. Let the sauce simmer for 2-3 more minutes, then remove it from the heat and let it cool for five minutes.
- Once chicken legs are cooked through, generously brush the sauce onto the chicken legs when they come out of air fryer and cook for 3 minutes more. Serve immediately with extra sauce on the side!
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 785Total Fat: 31gSaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 344mgSodium: 1589mgCarbohydrates: 72gFiber: 2gSugar: 29gProtein: 54g
More Easy Dinner Ideas
Keep that air fryer plugged in for more of these delicious easy dinner recipes: