French Fried Onion Chicken (Air Fryer)

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French Fried Onion Chicken is a quick and scrumptious dinner that no one will fuss about – I promise! After all, you have chicken that’s as moist as it can possibly be underneath an irresistibly crunchy coating flavored with everyone’s favorite french fried onions! Crunchy onion chicken is salty, crispy, tangy, and juicier than you can even believe!

French fried onion chicken recipe.

French Fried Onion Chicken

This 30 minute chicken recipe has saved my life on multiple occasions. It’s so delicious, everyone thinks it’s this complicated, drawn-out recipe. They don’t need to know that it’s so easy to make. Let them stay impressed!

air fryer chicken recipe ingredients


As far as chicken goes, I’ve been known to go with the air fryer to get maximum crispiness with minimum oil – and effort on my part, to be honest. 

Parmesan tenders, whole chicken legs… What can I say? I love delicious food that’s easy to prepare!

breading chicken.

Ingredient Notes & Substitutions

  • French Fried Onions – I always go for the Durkee French fried onions brand because it tastes great and has plenty of crunch.
  • Flour – All purpose suits this purpose just fine! It doesn’t have a strong flavor and browns just beautifully in the fryer. 
  • Salt & Pepper – Since the French fried onion chicken coating has so much flavor on its own, we can take it easy with the spices! If you’re looking for a little more kick, though, check out some other spice combinations you can try in the “Tips & Tricks” section.
  • Egg & Milk – You really can’t get the coating to stick without eggs, though the milk can be swapped out with a non-dairy substitute.

    I’ve also seen mayo, a bit of melted butter, and even Greek yogurt used instead, but none hold onto coating the same way that egg does. 
  • Chicken – I built this recipe for 1 ½ lbs of chicken tenders, but there’s wiggle room for different cuts and even larger amounts.

    Just adjust the other ingredients for the coating in kind.
breaded chicken ready for air fryer.

Tips & Tricks For Flawless Crunchy Onion Chicken

  • Switch the Seasonings – Let’s get creative! Opt for a Southern style with paprika, cayenne, and garlic.

    Or add lemon pepper for just a bit more acidity, and pair it with dried thyme for a savory citrusy finish!

    Just be sure to choose a set of seasonings that pair well with the oniony flavors we have here.
  • Adjust Cook Times for Thicker Cuts – My air fryer chicken tenders recipe can be used to make air fryer chicken nuggets, breasts, or even boneless thighs!

    You’ll just need to cook the meat a bit longer – for example, breast meat needs closer to 17-20 minutes to reach that safe internal temperature of 165°F.

    Let that temp be your guide as you make adjustments.
  • Delicious Dips – We’re a ranch family all the way, so it’s a must-have with crunchy onion chicken for us!

    BBQ sauce, honey mustard, a barbecue ranch that’s absolutely to die for, and plain ol’  ketchup and mustard are all good on the side. 
fried chicken in air fryer.

Storing and Reheating Fried Onion Chicken

This air fryer chicken tenders recipe can be made up to 4 days in advance – lucky for all the meal prep fans out there!

There isn’t too much prep-ahead work to be done here, though you can go ahead and crush up those onions and add the seasonings if you want to save a bit of time.

Reheating is easy! Just throw any leftover French fried onion chicken back in the air fryer at 400°F for just a few minutes.

French Fried Onion Chicken FAQ

Do you have to cook French’s crispy fried onions?

You don’t have to, no. Cooking them in the fryer or oven does make them even crispier and crunchier, though!

Feel free to add an extra crumbling of fried onions to your chicken before serving – and even on top of your mac and cheese, casseroles, soups, and really anything that could use a little texture!

How do you coat a chicken?

You need to take the time to dredge the meat, regardless of the cut you use or the coating you want, in order for the coating to stick.

“Dredging” means covering the meat in flour and egg before applying the coating. In this case, we’re using an egg and milk mixture and then the flour mixed in with all of our other seasonings and crust ingredients – including the crumbled onions!

How to make crispy chicken in the oven?

To make this air fryer chicken tenders recipe in the oven instead of in the fryer, you’ll need a bit of extra time – though the one benefit is that you can lay more chicken on your baking sheet than in the fryer at once. 

Preheat your oven to 350°F and bake for at least 20 minutes, with more time needed for thicker cuts.

moist air fried chicken.

Enjoy!
With love, from our simple kitchen to yours. 

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basket of air fryer french fried onion chicken.

french fried onion chicken.

Air Fryer French Fried Onion Chicken

Donna Elick
French Fried Onion Chicken looks, tastes, and even sounds delicious – and mine is the ultimate juicy, crispy crunchy onion chicken recipe!
5 stars from 1 review
Tried this recipe?Please comment and review!
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 12 mins
Total Time 22 mins
Course Main
Cuisine American
Method Air Fryer
Servings 5

Ingredients
 

  • 2 cups french fried onions, such as Durkee
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon milk, or non-dairy substitute
  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken tenders

Instructions
 

  • Set the air fryer to 400°F to preheat.
  • To a gallon sized zip top bag, add fried onions, flour, salt, and pepper. Seal the bag. Run a rolling pin or your hands over the bag to crush the onion mixture. Set aside.
  • In a small bowl or pie plate, whisk together the egg and milk.
  • Working in batches if needed, dredge chicken tenders through the egg mixture, then place them in the bag of onion breading. Seal the bag closed and shake to coat the chicken.
  • Place the chicken in an even layer inside the air fryer basket. (Depending on the size of your basket, you may need to cook in batches.) Spray each piece lightly with nonstick cooking spray.
  • Bake in the preheated air fryer for 12 minutes. Remove the cooked onion chicken tenders and transfer to a plate. Repeat with the remaining chicken.

Donna’s Notes

Boneless skinless chicken breast may be substituted for tenders. However, you will need to increase the cooking time to 17-20 minutes, or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F.
You can make this recipe up to 4 days ahead. To reheat, place the chicken tenders back into the air fryer at 400°F. for a few minutes.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 | Calories: 334cal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 125mg | Sodium: 593mg | Sugar: 0.2g | Fiber: 0.2g | Calcium: 18mg | Iron: 1mg

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
French fried onion chicken.

Originally published December 2022

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