Air Fryer Crispy Chicken Tacos Recipe 

 Last Update May 15, 2024

By Jenny Zhang

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Crispy, crunchy, and bursting with flavor, air fryer crispy chicken tacos are the ultimate crowd-pleasing dish that will elevate your taco game. If you're tired of the same old soggy and greasy tacos, it's time to discover the magic of air frying. And unlike shredded chicken tacos, air fryers can give you the ultimate crispy, irresistible chicken tacos. 

In this blog post, we'll guide you through creating the ultimate air fryer chicken tacos.

Air Fryer Chicken Tacos

Prep Time
10 minutes

Cook Time
20 minutes

Rest Time
0 minutes

Total Time
30 minutes

  • Cooking Method: Air Frying
  • Cuisine: Mexican
  • Servings: 4
  • Calories: 306
  • Courses: Main Dish
  • Best Season: Any


  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup pickle juice
  • 2 large egg
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup panko
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • Cooking spray
  • 8 blue corn tortillas
  • 1 cup pickled radish (store-bought or homemade)
  • 1 cup shredded lettuce
  • Spray Cooking Oil
  • Honey mustard sauce (store-bought or homemade)


1. Slice the chicken breasts to nugget size or strips.

2. Start by marinating the chicken breasts in pickle juice. Place the chicken in a bowl or a resealable bag, and generously pour the pickle juice over it, ensuring it is fully immersed. Let it marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or overnight for optimal flavor.

3. Once the brining process is complete, remove the raw chicken tenders from the pickle juice and gently dry them using paper towels.

4. Before you begin, heat your air fryer or an air fryer oven to 400°F (200°C) for a few minutes, ensuring it reaches the desired temperature.

5. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk the egg until thoroughly beaten.

6. In a shallow dish, separate from the previous one, combine flour, paprika, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper. Thoroughly mix the ingredients together to form a well-seasoned coating for the chicken.

7. Dip each chicken strip into the beaten eggs, ensuring that it is completely coated with a consistent and even layer. Then, thoroughly coat each chicken strip with the flour mixture by gently pressing it, ensuring the coating adheres completely. Arrange the breaded chicken breasts in the air fryer, ensuring they are placed without touching each other. Repeat this process for all the chicken strips, guaranteeing an even coating on each piece.

8. Give the chicken a light spray with cooking oil to prevent burning.

9. Air fry the chicken for approximately 15-18 minutes, flipping them halfway through the cooking process, until they reach an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) and the coating turns into a golden, crispy texture.

10. While the chicken is cooking, warm the blue corn tortillas either in the air fryer for a few minutes or on a skillet over medium heat.

11. While the chicken is cooking, warm the blue corn tortillas in the air fryer for a few minutes or on a skillet over medium heat.

12. Once the chicken has finished cooking, remove it from the air fryer and allow it to rest for a few minutes. Then, slice it into strips or cubes.

13. Assemble your tacos by placing the crispy chicken on each blue corn tortilla. Top with pickled radish and shredded lettuce. Drizzle honey mustard sauce over the chicken mixture.

Once you have enjoyed your taco, don't forget to clean up your air fryer.

air fryer taco square

Tips & Notes

Marinate the chicken: To achieve optimal flavor and tenderness, it is recommended that the chicken be marinated in the pickle juice for a minimum of 1 hour, preferably overnight. This process imparts delightful tangy and savory flavors to the chicken.

Use cooking spray: To enhance crispiness, apply a light coating of cooking spray to the air fryer basket or rack before placing the chicken. You can also spray the tops of the chicken strips to enhance the crispy texture.

Flip halfway through cooking: To ensure both sides of the chicken strips are evenly cooked and crispy, flip them halfway through the cooking process. This promotes an even golden exterior.

Nutritional Facts

Nutrition Facts

Servings: 4



% Daily Value*

Total Fat 6.3g


Saturated Fat 1g


Cholesterol 157mg


Sodium 1241mg


Total Carbohydrate 33.5g


Dietary Fiber 2.3g


Total Sugars 8.9g

Protein 28.4g

Vitamin D 9mcg


Calcium 54mg


Iron 3mg


Potassium 545mg


*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calorie a day is used for general nutrition advice.

Don't overcrowd the air fryer: For the best possible crispiness, ensure that the chicken strips or nuggets in the air fryer are not touching one another. This allows the hot air to circulate around each piece, resulting in even browning and a delightful crunch.

What You Will Need To Make Crispy Chicken Tacos

Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts

Chicken breasts are commonly preferred for this recipe due to their versatility and lean nature. They provide a solid base for the crispy chicken. Boneless and skinless chicken breasts are preferred as they cook more evenly, allowing the seasoning and coating to adhere well.

Eggs play a crucial role in the recipe for air fryer chicken tacos. They serve as a binding agent and help create a cohesive coating on the chicken, contributing to its crispy texture. In addition to their binding properties, eggs also add moisture to the chicken. The chicken's moisture helps prevent drying out while cooking, producing a juicy and tender final product.

Pickle Juice

Pickle juice serves as a unique and flavorful brine for the chicken. It is the leftover liquid from pickles and contains a mixture of vinegar, salt, and spices. The pickle juice's acidity helps tenderize the chicken and infuses it with tangy and savory flavors. The result is chicken that is both juicy and packed with delicious pickle notes.


Flour is a key ingredient for coating the chicken and achieving a crispy texture. It provides a light and thin layer that turns golden brown when air-fried. The flour helps seal the chicken's moisture and creates a barrier between the meat and the hot air in the air fryer, resulting in a crispy exterior.

Japanese Panko

Using Japanese panko breadcrumbs in this recipe can take your air-fried chicken tacos to the next level of crunchiness and texture. Panko is a type of breadcrumb from Japan known for its distinct characteristics. The use of Japanese panko adds an extra dimension of texture and enhances the overall eating experience of the crispy chicken tacos. It brings a lightness and crispness that traditional breadcrumbs may not achieve.


The flour coating for the chicken incorporates seasonings such as paprika, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper. Paprika imparts a delicate smokiness and a gentle hint of mild heat to enhance the overall flavor profile. If paprika powder is not available, there are paprika substitutes you can use, like chili powder. Garlic powder contributes savory notes and enhances the overall flavor profile. Salt and black pepper play a crucial role in seasoning the chicken and harmonizing its flavor profile. If you don't have any of these seasonings at home, you can substitute them with taco seasoning instead.

Cooking Spray

Cooking spray lightly coats the air fryer basket or rack before placing the chicken. This addition helps prevent sticking and encourages the development of a crispy texture while reducing the requirement for excessive oil, resulting in a healthier alternative to deep-frying. I recommend using avocado oil spray or coconut oil spray. Avoid olive oil or any oil spray with low smoking points.

Blue Corn Tortillas

Blue corn tortillas are made from blue corn masa, which is ground whole-grain blue corn. They have a slightly nutty flavor and a vibrant blue color, adding visual appeal to the air fryer tacos. Blue corn tortillas serve as an excellent gluten-free alternative for individuals with dietary restrictions.

While the recipe suggests using blue corn tortillas, you can use any type of tortilla you prefer, such as flour tortillas or corn tortillas. Feel free to explore and experiment with different tortilla options, as they greatly influence the flavor and texture of your air fryer tacos. Take the opportunity to find the combination that best suits your taste buds.

Pickled Radish

Pickled radish introduces a tangy and invigorating component to the crispy chicken tacos, elevating their overall flavor. The radish is thinly sliced and soaked in a mixture of vinegar, sugar, and spices, allowing it to develop a briny and slightly sweet flavor. The pickled radish contrasts the crispy chicken, adding a vibrant and crunchy component to each bite.


Shredded lettuce is a classic taco topping that adds freshness and a satisfying crunch. The mild and crisp nature of lettuce helps balance the flavors in the air fryer tacos, providing a light and refreshing contrast to the savory and tangy components.

Honey Mustard Sauce

Honey mustard sauce is a creamy and zesty condiment made with honey, mustard, and other complementary ingredients. It adds a sweet and tangy flavor profile to the air fryer tacos, enhancing the overall taste experience. The sauce contributes a velvety and creamy texture that harmonizes perfectly with the crispy chicken, imparting an additional layer of indulgence to the dish.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Can I Use Chicken Thighs Instead Of Chicken Breasts?

Certainly, chicken thighs can be used as a substitute for chicken breasts. Thighs will provide a slightly different texture and flavor to the air fryer chicken taco, as they are juicier and have more fat. As chicken thighs may take slightly longer to cook through, make sure to adjust the cooking time accordingly.

Can I Use A Different Brine Instead Of Pickle Juice?

Certainly! While pickle juice provides a unique and tangy flavor to the chicken, you can also try other brines. For example, you can use buttermilk, yogurt, or a combination of citrus juices and spices to marinate the chicken and enhance its tenderness and flavor.

Can I Use An Oven Instead Of An Air Fryer?

Absolutely! Even without an air fryer, you can achieve crispy chicken tacos using the oven. You can also use an air fryer oven. Follow the same steps above with adjustment on temperature and time. However, remember that baked chicken tacos may taste slightly different than air-fried chicken tacos as the chicken texture may vary.

Can I Use Regular Breadcrumbs Instead Of Panko?

Certainly, regular breadcrumbs can be used as a substitute for panko breadcrumbs. However, it is important to note that panko breadcrumbs offer a lighter and crispier texture than regular breadcrumbs. If using regular breadcrumbs, consider adding more seasonings or finely crushed cornflakes to enhance the crunchiness.

Jenny passionately advocates a holistic and natural approach to health and well-being. She has a Bachelor of Science degree and years of working in food sciences, specializing in organic & natural products. She is committed to helping others embrace a balanced, natural lifestyle that fosters well-being. Jenny believes that a harmonious balance between nutrition, fitness, and mindfulness is the key to unlocking the full potential of one’s well-being.