Air Fryer Hot Honey Chicken — Breaded chicken cutlets are air fried until crispy, then drizzled with spicy-sweet hot honey! This is such a QUICK and EASY air fryer chicken recipe that takes less than 30 minutes to prepare! Oven-baking instructions are also provided.
Table of Contents
- Air Fried Chicken Cutlets with Hot Honey
- Ingredients for Air Fryer Hot Honey Chicken
- Make These Recipes with Panko Breadcrumbs
- How to Make Hot Honey Chicken in an Air Fryer
- Tips for Air Frying Hot Honey Chicken
- Recipe FAQs
- Storage and Reheat Instructions
- What to Serve with Hot Honey Chicken
- Air Fryer Hot Honey Chicken Recipe
- More Easy Air Fryer Chicken Recipes:
Air Fried Chicken Cutlets with Hot Honey
Did you just get an air fryer for Christmas and wondering what to make with your new toy?
Are you wanting to make healthier recipes as we kick off the new year?
Or are you just wanting an amazing recipe for (air) fried chicken?
Whatever it is, I’ve got you covered with this easy, 30-minute chicken dinner recipe that’ll leave the whole family begging for seconds!
Hot honey chicken is crispy on the outside thanks to the seasoned panko breadcrumb coating and ultra moist and juicy on the inside.
As soon as the chicken is finished cooking, it’s slathered with homemade hot honey which has a perfectly sweet and spicy flavor that compliments the chicken perfectly.
If you’re unfamiliar with hot honey, it’s exactly what it sounds like — honey with a few additional ingredients that give it a kick of heat. My recipe uses hot sauce, chipotle chili powder, and cayenne pepper for spice and depth of flavor, but you’re welcome to adjust the spice levels to suit your personal tastes.
Using an air fryer for this recipe crisps up the breading on the chicken beautifully without overcooking the meat itself. I used chicken cutlets for this recipe instead of chicken breasts, which also reduces the air frying time significantly.
The next time you’re in need of a quick chicken dinner but can’t be bothered to preheat the oven, make this hot honey air fried chicken. It’s easy to make and is so much more interesting than the usual baked chicken breasts!
Ingredients for Air Fryer Hot Honey Chicken
This recipe has two components, the breaded air fried chicken cutlets and the homemade hot honey.
For the chicken:
- Chicken cutlets or thin-sliced chicken breasts (see notes below)
- Panko breadcrumbs
- All-purpose flour
- Smoked paprika
- Dried parsley
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Onion powder
- Garlic powder
- Hot sauce
- Salt and pepper, to taste
Make These Recipes with Panko Breadcrumbs
Don’t feel like you’re buying panko breadcrumbs just for this recipe!
Check these others out, the first 3 are also made in an air fryer!
For the hot honey:
- Unsalted butter
- Hot sauce
- Onion powder
- Garlic powder
- Chipotle chili powder
- Cayenne pepper
Note: Scroll down to the recipe card section of the post for the ingredients with amounts included and for more complete directions.
What Are Chicken Cutlets and What Makes Them Special?
Chicken cutlets are simply chicken breasts that have been cut in half lengthwise to create a thinner piece of chicken. Sometimes chicken cutlets are also referred to as thin-sliced chicken breasts.
Chicken cutlets are perfect for air frying because they cook more quickly than whole or intact chicken breasts which can sometimes be very large or thick. The thinner size keeps the finished chicken incredibly moist and tender.
If you can’t find chicken cutlets at your local grocery store or only have chicken breasts on hand, no problem! Simply slice the chicken breasts in half horizontally to create two thinner filets from the one larger piece of chicken.
From there, you’ll likely need to pound the freshly made chicken cutlets until they’re about ¼-inch thick.
You can also use ‘chicken tenders’ which are just as they sound – the size of an average chicken tender. This cut of chicken tends to be a bit thicker but because of their overall small size you don’t need to pound them.
Full details provided in the recipe card at the end of this post!
How to Make Hot Honey Chicken in an Air Fryer
Hot honey chicken is a cinch to make in an air fryer with only about 15 minutes prep time and 10 minutes total time needed for air frying. Follow this easy steps:
Step 1: Using a meat tenderizer or mallet, pound the chicken cutlets until they’re ¼ inch thick all over. It’s possible depending on your chicken, you may not need to, but if in doubt, give it a quick pound.
Step 2: In a large bowl, whisk together the panko, flour, and spices. In another bowl, beat together the eggs and hot sauce. These are your two dredging stations.
Step 3: Dredge the pounded chicken cutlets, one at a time, through the egg mixture and then the panko mixture.
Step 4: Place the dredged chicken in the air fryer basket in a single layer (you might have to cook them in batches!) and spray with cooking spray. Be sure to spray each side with cooking spray before air frying. This makes for extra crispy chicken!
Step 5: Air fry the chicken cutlets at 400ºF for 5 minutes, then flip over and spray with additional cooking spray before air frying for another 5 minutes. Chicken is done when the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165F. Repeat the process until you’ve air fried all the chicken.
Step 6: Meanwhile, stir together the hot honey ingredients and microwave for 1 minute. You can also do it on the stove in a small saucepan, simmer lightly for 1 minute over medium heat, and you’re all set. When the chicken is removed from the air fryer, drizzle the hot honey sauce over top.
How Long to Cook Chicken Cutlets in an Air Fryer?
The breaded chicken cutlets need to air fry at 400ºF for about 5 minutes on each side. Make sure NOT to crowd the pieces or layer the chicken.
Of course, it will depend on exactly how thick your chicken is, and how large the pieces are. Always cook chicken until you’re sure it’s done, no matter how much time the clock says has passed.
How Can You Tell If Air Fried Chicken Is Done?
If you don’t know how to guess or judge when chicken is done, I suggest investing in a digital cooking thermometer.
Chicken is done when it reaches an internal temperature of 165ºF.
Tips for Air Frying Hot Honey Chicken
Chicken cutlets substitute: If you don’t have chicken cutlets or thin-sliced chicken breasts on hand, you can make them yourself by cutting chicken breasts in half horizontally to create thinner filets. You can also substitute chicken tenders for the chicken cutlets. Both work equally well in this recipe, so use what you have.
Pounding the chicken: Chicken cutlets are already much thinner than chicken breasts, but you still need to pound them to an even thickness of about ¼ inch. Pounding the chicken helps it cook quickly and evenly in the air fryer, so don’t skip this step! To pound the chicken cutlets, you can place them between two pieces of plastic wrap, then use a meat mallet, rolling pin, or a heavy pan to pound them to an even thickness. Or you can just plop them on a cutting board and give them a few whacks, which is all I do!
Hot sauce: You can use any bottled hot sauce you like, but I prefer sriracha for this recipe. It’s spicy but not too spicy, and it pairs well with the honey.
Adjusting the spice level: The combination of hot sauce, chipotle chili powder, and cayenne pepper add a nice kick to the air fryer hot honey chicken. If you don’t like very spicy foods, add HALF the amount of hot sauce, chili powder, and cayenne pepper that the recipe calls for, taste the hot honey, and then add more as desired.
Air fryer size and model: I used a Cosori air fryer that I’ve had for a few years. I like that the basket is larger than other models. However, even with an “extra large” basket, you can really only cook two chicken cutlets at a time. Extra cutlets will have to be cooked as a second round.
Air fry in batches, if needed: Jumping off of the tip I shared above, if your air fryer is not large enough to fit all four chicken cutlets without crowding them you MUST air fry them in batches. If you crowd the air fryer, the chicken cutlets will cook unevenly and will steam instead of fry, which will result in soggy chicken.
Chicken cutlets are simply chicken breasts that have been sliced in half horizontally to create the thinner filets. They’re sometimes called thin-sliced chicken breasts. So, they’re the same cut of meat just butchered differently.
Yes, but if using chicken breasts, slice them horizontally to create two thinner chicken cutlets. Then, pound to an even thickness of about ¼ inch.
Yes you can. For this recipe I personally like chicken breasts, but if your a thighs person or that’s what you have on hand, you can use them. Make sure they’re 1/4-inch thick and pounded, and note that thighs tend to take slightly longer to cook. I’d give them 6 minutes per side rather than 5, but I have never actually tested it.
Technically, yes, but regular breadcrumbs don’t crisp as much as panko breadcrumbs. They’re also not as light and airy. So while regular breadcrumbs will work in this recipe, they’re not what I recommend.
Hot honey is sweet and spicy from the blend of honey, hot sauce, and spices like chipotle chili powder and cayenne pepper.
I also add butter and other spices to mine to jazz it up but it’s not truly necessary and you can get away with just using honey and some hot sauce. Another option is to add some red pepper flakes for a bit of heat, without being overpowering.
If you’re a hot honey lover, you can make a double batch, by using 1 cup honey and doubling all other ingredients.
Yes you can but if you already have honey + hot sauce on hand, you don’t need to buy it. I see it for sale and other than Trader Joe’s version, most are really pricey for what it is. Again, it’s just honey and some hot sauce, and any other spices like the garlic or onion powder are a nice bonus.
My family didn’t think the hot honey in this recipe was that spicy. We thought it had a nice kick to it that added flavor without burning our tongues off.
If you’re worried about the honey being too spicy, add half of the hot sauce and cayenne as the recipe calls for and then slowly add more until it’s the right level of heat and spicy kick for you.
About 10 minutes total at 400ºF, flipping the cutlets once halfway through. Again, make sure your particular cuts of chicken are done, given their size and thickness, given your particular air fryer and its basket size.
By and large, yes you can, and I would use my Baked Parmesan Crusted Crispy Chicken recipe as the jumping off point in terms of the chicken cuts, the oven temp, and baking time.
Rather than adding Parmesan to the dry ingredients for dredging the chicken, you can follow the breading and seasoning ingredients for this chicken cutlets recipe along with the hot sauce-spiked egg dip. Bake on a parchment-lined baking sheet for about 20 to 25 mins or until done, flipping once midway through.
I’ve also got a Baked Everything-Bagel Seasoned Chicken Tenders recipe that’s another good jumping off point for oven baking, rather than air frying.
Storage and Reheat Instructions
The air fryer hot honey chicken is best enjoyed immediately while it’s warm and crispy. However, leftovers may be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Note that leftovers will not have that same lovely, crispy-crunchy texture that freshly fried chicken does. Nothing fried is ever quite the same after it sits or is refrigerated.
You can pop the leftover chicken into your AF to try to re-crisp it, although I don’t because I don’t want to clean my air fryer basket again and just nuke it. Not crispy, but still very tasty.
The hot honey will last easily 1 to 2 weeks stored airtight in the fridge.
I recommend storing the hot honey and air fried chicken separately because the honey will make the breading soggy.
What to Serve with Hot Honey Chicken
Serve the air fried hot honey chicken with vegetables or a green salad for freshness and your favorite fried chicken side dishes!
- Classic Mashed Potatoes
- Parmesan Balsamic Roasted Broccoli
- House Salad
- Macaroni Salad
- Potato Salad with Bacon
- Baked Beans
- Thick Cut Seasoned Fries
- Green Beans with Bacon
- Apple Pear Salad
Pin This Recipe
Air Fryer Hot Honey Chicken
- 1 pound chicken cutlets or thin-sliced chicken breasts, pounded to 1/4-inch thick (4 pieces that are about 1/4 lb each)*
Dredging and Battering
- 1 ½ cups panko breadcrumbs
- ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 2 tablespoons hot sauce such as sriracha, or to taste
- ½ cup honey
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons hot sauce
- 1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Optional fresh herbs such as parsley or cilantro, for garnishing if desired
- Preheat the air fryer to 400F. I use a Cosori Extra Large Air Fryer. I've had it for a few years and there are newer/bigger models around. However, if your air fryer is smaller, you may need to cook 2 pieces of chicken at a time, and repeat with the other 2 pieces.
- Chicken – If necessary, pound the chicken to 1/4-inch thick using a meat tenderizer. Just place it on a cutting board and give it a couple whacks until it's as thin as necessary. You want it to be quite thin so it cooks evenly and quickly; set aside momentarily.
- Dredging and Battering – To a medium or large yet shallow bowl, add the panko, flour, smoked paprika, dried parsley, salt, pepper, onion and garlic powder, and whisk to combine. Note – All seasoning amounts should be added to taste. If you like things more or less salty, more garlicky, etc. add more or less, based on your preferences.
- To a separate medium or large yet shallow bowl, add the eggs, sriracha (or your favorite hot sauce), and whisk to combine.
- Dip each piece of chicken briefly into the egg mixture, coating both sides, but allowing any excess to run back off into the bowl.
- Then dip and dredge through the dry ingredient mixture, pressing the panko into each piece of chicken using your fingers.
- Air Frying – Open the air fryer, lightly spray the basket with cooking spray or an oil mister, and then lightly spray both sides of each chicken breast before placing them in the basket in an even flat layer. Tips – Make sure to spray the chicken lightly with cooking spray or an oil mister because the small bit of oil really helps the chicken crisp up nicely. Don't crowd the chicken and cook in two batches if necessary which it likely will be. Crowding will cause the chicken to steam (get soft, soggy) as opposed to if air is allowed to circulate freely which helps create a nice crispy exterior texture.
- Close the basket door and air fry for 5 minutes, flip, give a quick cooking spray or oil misting to the top of each chicken breast, close the basket door, and air fry again for about 5 minutes, or until the chicken is done. Cooking Tips – Chicken is done when it reaches an internal temp of 165F. If in doubt, check it with a digital cooking thermometer. Exact cooking time will depend on the size, shape, and thickness of your chicken breasts; the size and heat output of your air fryer so cook until it's done, however long that takes. I suggest starting to check it after about 3-4 minutes after you've flipped it because I find the second side cooks quicker than the first side, but your mileage may vary.
- Repeat the cooking process with the second batch of chicken if you are cooking in batches due to your air fryer basket being smaller.
- Hot Honey – While the chicken is air frying, to a large microwave-safe bowl or glass measuring cup, add all the ingredients, cover with a plastic wrap, and heat on high power for about 1 minute, or until butter has melted and everything can be stirred smooth. You can also warm together in a skillet on the stove but I think the microwave is quicker and easier. Tips – All seasoning amounts should be added to taste. If you like things more or less salty, more garlicky, etc. add more or less, based on your preferences. As written, it's not particularly 'hot' but it's flavorful. However, adjust the amount of hot sauce and cayenne, to taste. If you're very spice sensitive, omit the cayenne and potentially reduce the amount of hot sauce. You can also use store bought hot sauce, however this is super easy. If you don't have all the ingredients, use what you do have with honey + hot sauce being the most essential!
- Serving and Storage – Immediately after removing the chicken from the air fryer, drizzle with the hot honey to taste, slice, and serve. Extra chicken will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months, noting that leftover chicken will lose they crispy texture that freshly air fried chicken has. You could put it back in your AF to crisp it up, although it's not worth it to me to clean my AF again and I simply just eat it after a quick nuke in the microwave. Extra hot honey will keep for 1-2 weeks, stored airtight in the fridge.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
©averiecooks.com. Content and photographs are copyright protected. Sharing of this recipe is both encouraged and appreciated. Copying and/or pasting full recipes to any social media is strictly prohibited.
More Easy Air Fryer Chicken Recipes:
Air Fryer Breaded Chicken Breasts — Learn how to make perfectly “fried” chicken in your air fryer! Deliciously crispy on the outside while staying juicy, tender, and moist on the interior. This is the BEST guiltless fried chicken! EASY, ready in 15 minutes, and perfect for busy weeknights when you need to get dinner on the table FAST!
Air Fryer Parmesan Chicken — Coated in a mixture of panko breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese, this “fried” chicken is perfectly crispy on the outside and juicy, tender, and moist inside! It’s EASY, ready in 15 minutes, perfect for busy weeknights, and a healthier way to indulge in fried chicken! Oven-baking instructions also provided.
Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets — These EASY air fryer nuggets are coated in a mixture of Panko breadcrumbs and grated Parmesan, which makes them EXTRA flavorful and SO CRISPY! Dip them in this 30-second homemade honey mustard sauce for a guaranteed family FAVORITE!!
Air Fryer Chicken Taquitos — All the flavor of the chicken taquitos in your favorite Mexican restaurant, but healthier because these are air fried! Crispy and crunchy on the outside with a perfectly spicy chicken, cheese, and cream cheese filling mixture that just melts in your mouth! EASY, ready in 20 minutes, and the whole family will want seconds! Oven baking instructions are also provided.
Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Wings with Buffalo Sauce — You don’t have to fry chicken wings to get them extra crispy, juicy, and finger-licking good thanks to the tangy buffalo sauce! FAST, EASY, and everyone LOVES these air fried crispy chicken wings! Oven baking instructions also provided.
Firecracker Air Fryer Chicken Meatballs — Lightly crisped on the outside, juicy and tender on the inside, these homemade meatballs are air fried and then coated in a sweet-with-tangy-heat firecracker sauce with the perfect amount of heat! Serve these as an appetizer or as the main course. They’re perfect for parties and events, too! Oven baking instructions provided as well as for how to make them using frozen meatballs.