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Air Fryer Crispy Lemon Pepper Chicken Breasts

Crispy air fryer lemon pepper chicken breasts are made with “made from scratch” lemon and pepper seasonings and a cornstarch and flour mixture.

Getting Air Fryer Crispy Lemon Pepper Chicken

The secret to achieving the crispiest chicken is by using cornstarch.  It’s the most important ingredient to getting that desirable airy and crunchy texture when biting into a piece of fried chicken.

Using flour alone won’t create the crispiest chicken; you need cornstarch to elevate your crispy chicken to the crispiest chicken!

Golden brown Air Fryer Lemon Pepper Chicken Breasts garnished with specks of parsley.

Corn Starch is a Star Ingredient

Corn Starch is the secret ingredient you’ve been looking for – bringing endless possibilities to the table and providing a worry-free solution to thicken, adjust texture and elevate your cooking and baking.

Using cornstarch isn’t only great for creating crispy chicken; it also is great for making crispy vegetables when roasting your favorites in either the oven or air fryer.

It’s simple to do; follow your usual recipe for roasting and toss your vegetables to be roasted in just about 1/2 tbsp of corn starch.  This method is also great for crisping vegetables on the stove!

One of my favorite ways to use corn starch is by using it in desserts!  Whenever I make cheesecakes, usually in my pressure cooker, I use cornstarch to help bind the cheesecake mixture together.

It produces beautiful results and without a floury taste.

Another great use for cornstarch is to use it as a thickening agent in soups and gravies.  It takes less corn starch than flour to get creamy, delicious results.  I often create a slurry of corn starch and water to thicken my soups at the end.  It makes watery and brothy soups thick and creamy.

Corn starch is also gluten-free, so it’s a great alternative for recipes that call for flour, such as soups and vegetable dishes!

RELATED: Air Fryer Lemon Vinegar Chicken Breasts

The Crispiest Air Fryer Lemon Pepper Chicken Breasts

There are just a few main ingredients in making these crispiest chicken breasts – lemons, coarsely ground pepper, cornstarch, flour, and cooking spray for coating.

Creating the dry mixture and batter is fairly simple in making these chicken breasts.

Four crispy lemon chicken breasts made in the air fryer and served with fresh wedges of lemon.

To ensure getting not only the crispiest chicken but also the juiciest – don’t skip the brine!  This allows the chicken to tenderize and makes it juicy and flavorful.

I recommend leaving the chicken in the brine for at least 24 hours.

Although, you can take it out earlier than that.  I recommend 24 hours to maximize the tender and juicy results.

RELATED: Lemon Yogurt Bread

This recipe uses both lemon juice and lemon zest.  When zesting the lemons, be careful not to get grate the white peel of the lemon.  Doing so will make your chicken more bitter.

After zesting the lemons, squeeze the lemons to release them of their juices.  Remove any seeds that may have fallen into your juice and set them aside.  You’ll be using the lemon juice for the batter to dredge your chicken!

Air Fryer Crispy Lemon Pepper Chicken

Depending on the size of your air fryer, you may need to cook your chicken breasts in batches.  It’s also important to shop for chicken breasts that aren’t too large for your air fryer!  This could result in uneven cooking, and they may not even fit!

If using a basket-style air fryer, you will need to cook only two chicken breasts at a time, flip your chicken breasts, and coat them with oil during cooking.

When using the oven-style air fryer, you may be able to fit all four chicken breasts but will still need to turn and rotate the trays.  You’ll also need to spray any dry spots with cooking spray to get an even cook.

Yield: 4 breasts

Air Fryer Crispy Lemon Pepper Chicken Breasts

Air Fryer Crispy Lemon Pepper Chicken Breasts

The crispiest chicken breasts made in the air fryer and made with "made from scratch" lemon pepper seasonings.

Prep Time 14 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Brining Time 1 day
Total Time 1 day 34 minutes

Ingredients

Buttermilk Brine

  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 4 skin-on chicken breasts

Dry Mixture

  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 6 tbsp Argo® Corn Starch
  • 4 tbsp lemon zest, roughly 4 lemons
  • 3 ½ tsp black pepper, coarse, grinded
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp salt

Batter

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 tbsp Argo® Corn Starch
  • 7 tbsp lemon juice, from zested lemons
  • 4 tbsp water
  • cooking spray

Garnish

  • coarse pepper, grinded
  • fresh parsley

Instructions

  1. Pour the buttermilk, lemon juice, and the salt into a large sealable bag along with the skin-on chicken breasts.
  2. Place in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together the dry mixture ingredients (all-purpose flour, Argo® Corn Starch, lemon zest, black pepper, garlic powder, and salt).
  4. In a separate bowl, mix together the batter ingredients (flour, Argo® Corn Starch, lemon juice, and water). You are looking for a wet and loosely combined batter mixture.
  5. Once the chicken breasts are brined, remove them from the sealable bag and discard the remaining buttermilk mixture.
  6. Pat the chicken breasts with paper towels to remove any excess moisture.
  7. Roll the chicken breasts in the dry corn starch mixture.
  8. Then dredge the chicken breasts into the wet mixture, making sure to shake off any excess batter.
  9. Spray the air fryer basket or trays with cooking spray.
  10. Spray the chicken breasts with the cooking spray and them into the air fryer basket or trays. It may be necessary to cook the breasts in batches depending on the size of your air fryer.
  11. Set the air fryer to 350° and for 20 minutes.
  12. Allow the chicken to cook for 10 minutes, spray the breasts with more cooking spray (paying attention to spots with flour). Turn the breasts and coat the other side and rotate the trays if applicable.
  13. Top the chicken breasts with freshly ground pepper and fresh parsley if desired.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1 grams

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 282Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 5mgSodium: 4028mgCarbohydrates: 61gFiber: 6gSugar: 9gProtein: 9g

Nutrition calculation is a rough estimate and can vary depending on the cooking technique and the exact ingredients used. For informational purposes only.

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AD These crispiest air fryer lemon pepper chicken breasts are made with "made from scratch" lemon and pepper seasonings and a cornstarch and flour mixture. #crispychicken #crispiestchicken #friedchicken #airfryerchicken #lemonpepper #familydinner
AD These crispiest air fryer lemon pepper chicken breasts are made with "made from scratch" lemon and pepper seasonings and a cornstarch and flour mixture. #crispychicken #crispiestchicken #friedchicken #airfryerchicken #lemonpepper #familydinner

Jonathan Wright

Friday 28th of August 2020

Is there any particular reason that bone-in and skin-on thighs can't be used? How about boneless and skinless breasts and/or thighs?

Dana

Sunday 30th of August 2020

That will still work! You will just need to adjust the cooking time based on your air fryer.

Terri

Sunday 1st of September 2019

Can I use this recipe and bake chicken instead of deepfry?

Dana

Sunday 1st of September 2019

Yes you can bake this in the oven. The only difference would be that baking it in the oven will take longer than in the air fryer.

Anne Lawton

Sunday 25th of August 2019

mmm! Would have never thought to use my air fryer to make lemon chicken

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