Air Fry Crispy Fried Chicken - A Bountiful Love

Air Fry Crispy Fried Chicken

I thought it is time to share $5 meals especially at this time when a lot of households have a significant change in their income. $5 meals can be a life-saver when you live paycheck to paycheck, saving for a vacation or project, trying to reach a goal, building a savings account or emergency savings fund, or if you just want to be frugal to make room for what is important with whatever season you are in at the moment.  This crispy fryer chicken recipe uses an air fryer!

 If you do not own one, you may think that it is quite pricey but think of it as an investment for your health.  Imagine a crispy fried chicken recipe that is air fried and not cooked or drenched in cooking oil. You can do a lot with an air fryer, a wide variety of recipes. Not just meals but desserts too. My husband gave me a Cosori Air Fryer for my birthday and it is one of the most used small appliances in my home (aside from crockpot and Instant Pot). I got the Cosori Smart Wi-Fi that has an app. I love that it keeps a history of what I previously cooked and if I cook a recipe often, it's nice that I can just go back and choose that recipe option again (with the saved temperature and time). I hope that you will enjoy this air fryer fried chicken that is delicious, crispy, and budget-friendly.

Just a few reminders with my $5 meals:

  • With this recipe, I bought a pack of 12 chicken legs for $7 (on sale too). We had it for dinner and for lunch the next day.
  • We are a family of four (me, my husband, and two school-aged children).
  • If you served this with a side, obviously the amount will change but it will still be frugal if you opted for a frugal side such as frozen or canned veggies  (corn, peas, or broccoli) which can be bought for also $1 or less. I will also share frugal side ideas.
  • I live in Southern California (Inland Empire). Prices in my area will be different in your area.
  • For this recipe: I shopped at Aldi.
  • I made this meal with the notion that you have a stock of spices in your pantry. If not Walmart and Aldi are my go-to stores for spices.

Crispy Air Fryer Chicken


14 pieces of chicken drumsticks

1 tbsp oil

1 tbsp baking powder

2 tsp paprika

2 tsp onion powder

2 tsp garlic powder

3/4 tsp salt


 Mix all of your spices together. Pat your chicken dry and rub the spices into your chicken legs. Let it marinate for at least 20 minutes.

I'm sure you are wondering why baking soda. Baking soda is the secret ingredient in making this chicken crispy on the outside but tender and tasty inside. This is the baking soda that I used, I already have it in my pantry. If not Aldi and Walmart have baking soda for less than a dollar.

Preheat air fryer (400 degrees for 5 mins). Spray the basket of your air fryer. I find it easy (for clean-up) when I line my basket with aluminum foil. I still spray my basket with non-stick cooking spray.

Arrange your chicken in a single layer and do not overcrowd the basket of your air fryer. I also lightly sprayed the chicken. If your air fryer has a preset cooking time for chicken legs, you can use that option or "fry" for 35-45 minutes (flipping halfway through). My Cosori has a reminder to shake (or flip) whatever you are cooking if you choose a preset cooking time option. 

You can tweak this recipe with whatever seasonings you have in your pantry! Do not skip the baking soda, this secret ingredient will make your chicken really crispy.

Crispy air fryer chicken

 The chicken is crispy on the outside, moist, and inside.

Here are some frugal side ideas: 

  • Rice (brown or white)- Aldi and Walmart  (even Dollar Tree) has a small bag of rice.
  • Canned Veggies- corn, peas, green beans, or mixed veggies.
  • Frozen Vegetables- mixed veggies, corn, broccoli, corn peas combo.
  • Potato- a small pouch of instant potato (from Aldi, Dollar Tree, or Walmart) OR buy a sack of potato. I bought a sack of russet potato, 5 lbs for $2.69. Those potatoes can be divided into several recipes- mash potatoes, potato soup, garbanzo curry, and picadillo. You can even have it for breakfast-fried potato and eggs!
         Other recipes with potatoes:
         Pork Estofado
         Sweet Potato Taco

Air Fryer Chicken Legs

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