Air fryer honey garlic chicken is simple to make, delicious and fast! This easy air fryer chicken dinner is sticky, crispy, tender and juicy and ready in just 20 minutes, making it a perfect meal for busy weeknights.
This chicken recipe is an irresistible combination of crispy and juicy chicken pieces in a sweet and sticky sauce. That makes this meal a family favorite and a great alternative to ordering take out!
Cooking honey garlic chicken in the air fryer means it is ready in almost no time and has fewer calories than if it was fried. Pair this with microwaveable rice and a simple veggie for an almost effortless dinner.
Why You Will Love Air Fryer Honey Garlic Chicken
- It is sweet and salty, which is an amazing flavor combination.
- The sticky honey based sauce makes this a kid friendly meal.
- Air frying uses much less oil than cooking this on the stove, making a healthy meal option.
- The recipe is made with simple pantry ingredients.
Chicken : One of the ways to make this such a quick and easy recipe is to use boneless cubes of chicken. Chicken cubes cook much more quickly than if you used bone in chicken thighs or chicken wings. It doesn’t matter if you use cubes of chicken breast or chicken thighs for this recipe. I use chicken breast cubes in these pictures, but I have made it with thighs before too and the recipe is the same.
Cornstarch : The chicken cubes are coated with cornstarch to help brown them and get crispy. Potato starch can be substituted for cornstarch.
Spices : The chicken is also flavored with salt, pepper and soy sauce. Using soy sauce gives this somewhat of an Asian flavor, but this isn’t a remotely authentic Chinese dish.
Honey Garlic Sauce
In making this recipe the honey garlic sauce is cooked separately from the chicken and then poured over the air fried chicken before serving. This is important to realize because if you try to cook the sauce on the chicken in the air fryer you will end up with a mess!
An air fryer is really good at making crispy chicken, but not good at cooking sauces. So make the separately sauce on the stove while the chicken air fries.
Other sauce ingredients are honey, garlic, rice vinegar, butter, honey, chicken broth, soy sauce and pepper.
How to Make Honey Garlic Chicken in the Air Fryer
1. Air Fry the Chicken
Set the air fryer to preheat at 350 degrees F for 5 minute while you get the chicken ready to cook.
Put the pieces of chicken in a bowl and add the cornstarch, salt, pepper and soy sauce. Stir it to mix well so that the cornstarch coats the chicken.
Once the air fryer has preheated spray the basket with some oil. Put the chicken pieces in the basket spreading them out in a single layer.
Tip: Don’t use a commercial spray oil since these can damage the non stick finish.
Don’t overcrowd the basket, you can cook the chicken in batches if necessary. My 5.8 quart Cosori air fryer will fit 1 pound of chicken pieces.
Spray a little more oil on top of the chicken and cook it for 5 minutes at 350 degrees F. Then use a spatula to flip the pieces over. Cook it for another 3-5 minutes until the chicken is golden brown and cooked through to 165 degrees F.
Always use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature, don’t try to cook based just on time. A thermometer is not expensive and the peace of mind they give you is priceless. Food poisoning is not fun! This is my favorite inexpensive meat thermometer, which you can buy on Amazon.
2. Make the Sauce
Make the sauce while the chicken cooks. Combine the honey, chicken stock, rice vinegar, soy sauce, red pepper flakes and black pepper together in a small bowl.
Heat a pan on the stove over medium heat. Add the butter and once it melts add the garlic. Stir for about 30 seconds to saute the garlic.
Then pour the bowl with the sauce ingredients into the pan. Let it cook for about 2 minutes until it thickens and take if off the heat.
Once the chicken is done take it out of the air fryer basket and stir it into the pan of still warm honey garlic sauce. Stir so that the chicken becomes coated with the sauce.
How to Serve
Serve the honey garlic chicken with hot steamed rice and garnish it with chopped green onions and more red pepper flakes. I like to serve it with instant microwaved rice to make this a super simple dinner!
An easy vegetables like asparagus or green beans is a great addition to the meal. In the summer I frequently just serve baby carrots or fruit like blueberries or cantaloupe as a side dish to minimize cooking!
How to Store
Store leftover honey garlic chicken in an airtight container for 3 days in the refrigerator or about 2 months in the freezer.
Variations and Tips
You can add more garlic to make the dish more garlicky or more red pepper flakes to make it spicier. As written the sauce is mostly sweet with a hint of spiciness.
You can use this same sauce with air fried whole chicken thighs. They will need to cook longer, about 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees F.
I love to serve rice with honey garlic chicken because the sticky sweet sauce blends into the rice and makes it taste amazing. Mashed potatoes also work well for soaking up the sauce. Some vegetables that go well with the chicken are corn on the cob, green beans or asparagus.
Once you have combined the chicken with the honey garlic sauce you can’t just put it in the air fryer. For the best results reheat it in a pan on the stove or microwave the leftovers. The chicken pieces won’t be as crispy when they are reheated, but it is still plenty yummy!
Find More Easy Air Fryer Chicken Recipes
- 1 pound chicken breast or chicken thighs cut into bite-size cubes
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
Honey Garlic Sauce
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
- 5 tablespoons honey
- ¼ cup chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- Set the air fryer to preheat at 350 degrees F for 5 minutes.
- Put the chicken in bowl and add the cornstarch, salt, pepper and soy sauce. Stir to coat the chicken thoroughly.
- Use a spray bottle with oil to coat the bottom of the preheated air fryer basket. Add the chicken to the basket in a single layer and spray a little more oil on top.
- Set the air fryer at 350 degrees F for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes is up flip the chicken over and cook for another 3-5 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and golden brown. Use an instant read thermometer to make sure the internal temperature of the chicken has reached 165 degrees F.
- Make the sauce while the chicken air fries. Combine the honey, chicken broth, rice vinegar, soy sauce, red pepper flakes and pepper in a bowl.
- Heat a pan on medium and add the butter. Once the butter melts add the garlic and saute for about 30 seconds. Then add the bowl of remaining sauce ingredients cook for about 2 minutes, until the sauce thickens. Remove the sauce from the heat.
- Once the chicken is done add it to the pan with the still warm honey garlic sauce and stir so that the sauce evenly coats the chicken.
- Serve with rice and garnish with green onions and red pepper flakes.
- Don't use a commercial spray oil since these can damage the non stick finish.
- Add more garlic to make the dish more garlicky or more red pepper flakes to make it spicier. As written the sauce is mostly sweet with a hint of spiciness.
- Use this same sauce with air fried whole chicken thighs. They will need to cook longer, about 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees F.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 529Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 195mgSodium: 1392mgCarbohydrates: 39gFiber: 1gSugar: 29gProtein: 58g
Nutrition facts are estimates.