Chili Chicken (Air Fryer)

With a restaurant-style flair, this Chili Chicken is air fried rather than deep fried. The chicken features a delightful dry, savory coating with a peppercorn zing and a subtle touch of sweetness. It is complemented by the addition of vibrant bell peppers and fresh green onions for a balance of flavors.

Serves: 4
Prep Time: 20 minutes – Cooking Time: 20 minutes – Total Time: 40 minutes

Helpful equipment

  • Air fryer 
  • Air fryer basket and pan
  • Parchment paper


  • ¾ lb. chicken sliced into irregular pieces, 1" in length and 1/4" thick
  • Oil

The chicken marinade:
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  • 1/8 tsp salt

For the coating:
  • 1/3 cup tapioca flour
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp Sichuan peppercorn powder
  • 1/4 tsp sugar of choice

For the seasoning:
  • ½ tsp Sichuan peppercorn powder
  • ½ tsp sugar of choice
  • 1/4 tsp salt or to taste

For the stir-fry:
  • ½ bell pepper, any color, cut into triangles
  • 3-5 chili peppers, deseeded (optional)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 slice ginger, minced
  • 2 green onions (scallions), roughly diced
  • Hot chili oil (optional)


Step 1
Marinate the chicken. Toss the chicken pieces with soy sauce, white pepper, and salt, ensuring the pieces are coated evenly. Set aside.

Step 2
Prepare the coating. In a shallow dish, combine tapioca flour, salt, Sichuan peppercorn powder, and sugar.

Step 3
Assemble the seasoning mixture. In a small bowl, combine Sichuan peppercorn powder, sugar, and salt. 

Step 4
Assemble the tapioca flour mixture. In a shallow plate, combine salt, Sichuan peppercorn powder, and tapioca flour.

Step 5
Prepare the air fryer setup. Lay parchment paper over the removable air fryer tray, coat it lightly with oil, and sprinkle seasoning mixture over it.

Step 6
Coat each marinated chicken piece evenly by rolling in the tapioca flour mixture, then place on parchment paper. Take care to leave space between each piece to prevent them from touching and sticking together during the cooking process. 

Step 7
Lightly baste the tops of each chicken piece with oil, then sprinkle the tops with seasoning. Air fry at 400F for 2 minutes, then flip each chicken piece, and decrease the temperature to 375F and air fry for an additional 12 minutes. Once done, set aside and prepare the vegetables.

Step 8
In a skillet over medium-high heat, sauté bell peppers until they soften. Lower the heat and add ginger, garlic, chilis and green onions and fry until aromatic and fragrant. Next, incorporate the air-fried chicken pieces, tossing them with the remaining seasoning mixture a drizzle of chili oil (optional). Taste and adjust seasoning, such as salt, or chili oil as desired.


  • Chicken – Slice the chicken (tenders, breast, or thighs) thinly, about 1/4th inch thick, then slice the pieces at an angle into irregular pieces approximately 1 inch in length. To soften the chicken and prevent dryness during air frying, consider adding some baking soda to the chicken or brining it in advance. 
  • Tapioca flour – Tapioca flour yields a satisfyingly dry coat that complements the chicken well, but chickpea flour can substitute for tapioca flour.
  • Chili peppers – Use preferred chili peppers, halved and deseeded without the stem. For dried chili peppers, rehydrate in boiling water for 15-30 minutes, then halve and deseed as needed.
  • Air frying tip – Avoid overcrowding the air fryer pan to prevent the chicken pieces from sticking together. When heated,tapioca flour becomes sticky; therefore, any chicken pieces not adequately spaced apart may stick together and clump.
  • Parchment paper – Use parchment paper instead of aluminum foil for easy release and to prevent chicken from sticking to the pan. 
  • Seasoning – Make sure to reserve a portion of the seasoning mix specifically for the stir-fried vegetables, and avoid using it all for the chicken.

Post a Comment