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When I first made this crispy keto fried chicken recipe, my husband kept asking if I was sure it’s low carb. With a crunchy breading on the drumsticks that sizzles to perfection in the air fryer (or the oven), it’s hard to tell the difference!
Why You’ll Love This Keto Fried Chicken Recipe
- Crispy zero carb coating
- Tender, juicy chicken
- Smoky, savory taste
- Quick 10 minute prep
- Air fryer and oven options
- Only 2g net carbs
- Naturally gluten-free
Is Fried Chicken Keto?
Regular fried chicken in not keto friendly, because it is breaded with high-carb wheat flour, but you can make it keto by using a low carb breading instead.
Here are the ingredients you’ll need…
Ingredients & Substitutions
This section explains how to choose the best ingredients for keto air fried chicken, what each one does in the recipe, and substitution options. For measurements, see the recipe card below.
- Chicken – I used bone-in skin-on chicken drumsticks, but you can also use chicken leg quarters, chicken breasts, chicken thighs, or a variety of chicken cuts. Select ones that are uniform in size, so that they cook evenly at the same rate.
- Wholesome Yum Coconut Flour – Used for dredging, which helps the egg stick, and in turn helps the breading stick.
- Sea Salt & Black Pepper
- Eggs – Dipping the chicken in egg will allow the breading to stick. You should be able to use an egg substitute (such as a flax egg) here if you need to.
- Pork Rinds – You can make homemade pork rinds or buy them. Either way, once you crush them up, this is the keto equivalent to breadcrumbs. You can even get them pre-crushed to save time. If you like a cheesy flavor, replace half of the crushed pork rinds with grated parmesan cheese.
- Smoked Paprika – Smoked paprika adds a wonderful smoky flavor and color. If you don’t have this spice, you can use regular paprika as a substitute.
- Garlic Powder – Instead of using fresh garlic, which can burn easily, we’ve opted for garlic powder. To incorporate the flavor of fresh garlic, you can mix minced garlic with some butter and place the mixture under the skin like I do for air fryer chicken drumsticks.
- Dried Thyme – Dried parsley, basil, or chives would also work here. Or, use fresh herbs instead (triple the amount).
- Cooking Spray – I used olive oil cooking spray for extra crispy chicken, but you could use avocado oil cooking spray as well.
How To Make Keto Fried Chicken
This section shows how to make low carb fried chicken, with step-by-step photos and details about the technique, to help you visualize it. For full instructions, including amounts and temperatures, see the recipe card below.
- Combine the dredging ingredients. In a medium shallow bowl, stir together coconut flour, sea salt and black pepper. Set aside.
- Whisk the eggs. In a second medium bowl, whisk eggs. Set aside.
- Mix the breading. In a third bowl, mix crushed pork rinds, smoked paprika, garlic powder and thyme.
- Dredge the chicken. Place a chicken drumstick into the coconut flour mixture and coat on all sides. Dip into the egg mixture and shake off the excess. Press the chicken into the pork rind mixture. Repeat dredging, dipping, and coating the remaining drumsticks.
TIP: Use one hand to handle the dry ingredients (coconut flour and pork rind mixtures) and the other to handle the wet egg wash.
This will help keep the dry bowls dry, so that you don’t end up with clumpy breading that doesn’t stick.
I also recommend keeping most of the third mixture in a separate bowl and add a little at a time to the bowl where you’ll be coating the chicken. That way, it won’t get clumpy too fast.
- Air fry. Preheat the air fryer. Lightly grease the air fryer basket and arrange the breaded chicken in it in a single layer, without touching. Spray with cooking spray on all sides. Cook the keto fried chicken in the air fryer until it reaches an internal temperature of 170 degrees F.
VARIATION: Keto oven fried chicken!
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line baking sheet with foil and place an oven safe rack on top. Bake the chicken legs in the oven for 25 minutes. Flip and bake for another 10-20 minutes, or until a meat thermometer reaches the internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
- Store: Keep leftover keto air fryer fried chicken in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- Reheat: You can reheat keto fried chicken in the air fryer at 350 degrees F or in the oven at 375 degrees F, until warm.
- Freeze: Wrap tightly and store in the freezer for up to 3 months.
What To Serve With Keto Fried Chicken
Need some ideas for what to serve with these deliciously crispy drumsticks? Here are some of my favorites:
- Sauces – For more flavor, add sauces to your chicken legs. Use the hot sauce from my baked buffalo wings to coat the chicken after cooking, or dunk the legs in sugar-free teriyaki sauce, sweet BBQ sauce, or herby chimichurri sauce.
- Air Fryer Vegetables – Make a full meal with air fryer okra, garlicky air fryer green beans, easy air fryer cauliflower, or tender air fryer asparagus.
- Classic Sides – I love to pair these legs with cauliflower mashed potatoes, creamy keto coleslaw, buttery almond flour biscuits, or sweet keto cornbread. A side of cauliflower mac and cheese also pairs well!
- Salad – Broccoli cauliflower salad or cauliflower potato salad make quick and easy cookout-style options, but kale salad is another one of my favorites.
- Keto Fries – For a quick and simple side dish, pair keto friendly fried chicken with garlic and parmesan zucchini fries, crispy keto fries, or jicama fries.
More Easy Keto Chicken Recipes
It’s easy to make chicken that satisfies your cravings — without the excess carbs! Try some of these flavorful recipes next:
Keto Fried Chicken
Keto Fried Chicken (Air Fryer Or Oven)
Make the BEST keto fried chicken, with air fryer or oven options! It's super crispy, easy, and only 1.6g net carbs per serving.
Tap underlined ingredients to see where to get them. Please turn Safari reader mode OFF to view ingredients.
Tap on the times in the instructions below to start a kitchen timer while you cook.
In a medium shallow bowl, stir together the coconut flour, sea salt and black pepper. Set aside.
In a second medium bowl, whisk together the eggs. Set aside.
In a third bowl, mix the crushed pork rinds, smoked paprika, garlic powder and thyme.
Dredge the chicken pieces in the coconut flour mixture, dip in the eggs, shake off the excess, then press into the pork rind mixture. For best results, keep most of the third mixture in a separate bowl and add a little at a time to the bowl where you'll be coating the chicken. That way, it won't get clumpy too fast.
Preheat the air fryer at 400 degrees F (204 degrees C) for 5 minutes. Lightly grease the basket, spray the chicken with cooking spray on all sides, and arrange the breaded chicken on it in a single layer, without touching.
Cook keto fried chicken in the air fryer for 20 minutes, until it reaches an internal temperature of 170 degrees F (77 degrees C). (The safe internal temperature is 165 degrees F, but for dark meat, 170 is optimal for the most tender, juicy results.)
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Serving size: 1 drumstick
Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy. Have questions about calculations or why you got a different result? Please see our nutrition policy.
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