Still being somewhat of an air fryer newbie, the one thing I know my air fryer is exceptionally good at is frying chicken.

So, when I was thinking about a new quick Weeknight Recipe Rescue chicken dish, I knew I wanted an air fryer recipe.

Air Fryer Snobbery

Before I was gifted my air fryer, I’ll admit I was skeptical that an air fryer could make any kind of difference in my kitchen.

I mean, really…was it going to save me that much time?

And, would there be a marked difference in the end product? How would air fry anything better than a pan and oil??? There’s no way the crispiness could possibly compete.

Well, it doesn’t compete.

The air fryer wins. By a mile.

For crispiness. For juiciness. And for time saved.

I’m eating my words. And a lot of air fryer chicken!

In the past I’ve happened to make my share of super crispy and equally juicy chicken, but most times I’m sacrificing one for the other.

You see, fried chicken is my kryptonite.

I’m paranoid about undercooking the chicken, so I usually leave it in the oil “just a little bit longer” to make sure I won’t make my family sick. But that just ends with dry chicken (that was actually perfectly cooked when I decided it needed “just a bit longer”) that is extremely golden brown (read: bordering on burned).

Enter the air fryer.

My Cuisinart Air Fryer makes the crispiest, juiciest chicken.

And it does it every time.

Simple to Make−Air Fryer Bang Bang Chicken

Source: Munchkin Time

Ok. What is up with the Bang Bang Chicken name? Where did that come from?

Well, Bang Bang Chicken is traditionally a dish of cold chicken drizzled with a spicy and nutty sesame sauce sold as a snack by street vendors in the Szechuan region of China. Rumor has it that it got its Bang Bang name because originally the chicken was tenderized by banging on it with a wooden stick.

Hmmm…that doesn’t even remotely sound like the Bang Bang Chicken I’m familiar with.

So, why all the talk about air fryers when traditional Bang Bang chicken is a cold chicken dish?

Because, over the course of many, many years, Bang Bang chicken has come to mean many different things and one of the most common ones in the U. S. is bite-sized fried chicken served with a creamy, spicy “Bang Bang” sauce.

See…now it all makes sense. Sort of.

Bang Bang Chicken Ingredients

12 (!!!) things to know about the Air Fryer Bang Bang Chicken Recipe:

  • This recipe extremely simple and perfect for a busy weeknight! The prep time really is 15 minutes, and depending on the amount of chicken you’re cooking and your air fryer, you can easily have this on the table in less than 30 minutes.
  • To save more time, before you make the Bang Bang Chicken Sauce, get your chicken in the air fryer. The Bang Bang sauce comes together quickly and you should have time while your chicken is cooking to make the sauce.
Bang Bang Sauce
  • Cut your chicken into equally-sized chunks to ensure even cooking. I failed miserably at this the night I made my chicken, so I ended up separating my larger-sized pieces from my smaller-sized chunks and cooking them separately. Sigh…
  • The buttermilk batter should be on the thicker side (see photo below). The thickness allows it to stick to the chicken and gives the panko something to hold on to.
Thick buttermilk batter for Bang Bang Chicken
  • Set up a dredging station for quicker prep. Line up your cut chicken, the buttermilk batter, the panko, and then your oil-sprayed air fryer rack. Then move from raw chicken through the batter, to the panko and onto the rack.
Dredging station
  • Use however much panko you need. The recipe calls for 1 C. panko, but you may need more or less to coat your chicken. Don’t worry about that. Just use however much you need to get your chicken breaded!
  • This is a pantry pull dinner for me (other than the buttermilk). Everything other than the buttermilk is in my pantry or my fridge, so with just a bit of preparation in buying buttermilk, this recipe is the ultimate in busy weeknight meals.
  • While your first batch of chicken is frying, get your remaining pieces coated in the buttermilk batter and panko and place them on parchment paper until you’re ready to fry them. Use the time you have while the chicken is frying to prep the next round so you can quickly empty the fryer rack and refill it.
Battered and breaded chicken ready for the air fryer!
  • My air fryer took about 12 minutes per batch to fully cook the chicken and I did 3 batches (partially because of my poor chicken-cutting skills). In no way does my longer cooking time reflect negatively on the estimated cooking time in the recipe. I knew going in that my chicken would take longer because I was making 1.5 lbs chicken. And then there was my inability to cut my chicken evenly, so that added more time when I needed to fry additional batches.
Look at those crispy beauties!
  • You could substitute shrimp for the chicken. Shrimp would work well in this recipe. Just be sure to decrease the cooking time as shrimp is a fast-cook protein!
  • For a super quick meal idea, serve this with pre-made Asian salad. The cabbage, green onion, cilantro and sesame dressing flavors in this Kroger salad perfectly complement the Bang Bang Chicken.
Add pre-made Asian salad for a quick weeknight meal.
  • Do you drizzle the Bang Bang sauce or dip the chicken in it??? That’s completely up to you. Either way is perfectly fine.

Drop us a note and let us know how many often you’re making this recipe. Because you’re going to make it all the time!

We drizzled our Bang Bang sauce over the crispy chicken.