Dinner

June 2, 2022

Crispy Thai Sweet Chili Chicken - Air Fryer

These crispy Thai sweet chili chicken bites pack a ton of flavour into each tiny bite! The combination of flavours from the sauce checks all the boxes: sweet, spicy, sour and of course delicious. Pairing it with some cooling cucumber slices helps to balance it even more. You're going to love these Thai chili chicken bites for serving to family and friends or serving as an appetizer or as part of dinner. Don't forget to make extra sauce to dip into!

Thai sweet chili chicken

Ingredients

How to Make Crispy Thai Sweet Chili Chicken in the Air Fryer

I really never thought that I'd love my air fryer as much as I do, but it's true - I'm pretty obsessed with it. Since getting one about a year and half ago, I can't stop finding ways to use it. It really can get food quite crispy in a short amount of time, and these Thai chili chicken bites are no exception.

The key to making crispy Thai sweet chili chicken in the air fryer is with a dry/wet batter. Similar to a batter you would use for deep frying, it also works in the air fryer.

Add the cubed chicken to a bowl and season with salt.

In a large bowl, whisk together the egg and buttermilk and set aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk together both flours and spices.

Dredge each piece of chicken into the flour and tap off any excess.

chicken bites in flour

Transfer each piece of chicken and place in the buttermilk. Let it sit for about 30 minutes. 

chicken bites in buttermilk

Remove chicken pieces from the buttermilk one at a time and transfer back to the flour and coat on all sides. Place the chicken bites on a large plate or lined baking sheet and let them sit for 10 minutes. This helps the coating stay on better.

chicken bites in air fryer with batter

Preheat the air fryer to 390℉ and spray with a bit of avocado oil. Place chicken bites into the air fryer, leaving space between each bite. Bake for 11 to 12 minutes, until cooked through and crispy. There is no need to flip pieces, just open halfway through and spray with more oil as needed to make sure the flour is coated and can get crispy.

chicken bites in air fryer crispy and cooked

How to Make Homemade Thai Sweet Chili Sauce

If you'd prefer to save time, buy a Thai sweet chili sauce that you love. Most of the time, I find the store bought versions too sweet so I like to make my own. It's actually really easy to make at home.

You can easily whip up this sweet chili sauce for chicken while it's hanging out in the buttermilk mixture.

  • In a small saucepan, combine the rice vinegar, water, sugar, garlic, tamari and sambal oelek. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, and then reduce the heat and simmer for eight to nine minutes.
  • In a small bowl whisk together the arrowroot and 1 tsp arrowroot. Pour this into the simmering sauce and whisk to combine.
  • Turn the heat off once thickened, about 30 seconds to one minute. Set aside.
Thai sweet chili sauce in bowl

How to Assemble

The fun part of course is assembling because this means you are closer to eating ;)

  • Remove the crispy chicken bites and place in a large bowl. Toss with the Thai sweet chili sauce and transfer to a serving dish.
  • Garnish with sliced cucumber, Thai basil and sesame seeds. Serve and enjoy!
Thai sweet chili chicken

Tips for making crispy Thai Sweet Chili Chicken

  • Don't be shy with the oil: whenever you are air frying, using a good spritz of avocado oil spray helps to ensure that your food can get crispy.
  • Open the air fryer to check: just like the oven, keep an eye on the chicken around the halfway mark. I like to give it a bit of a spray of oil if there are any floury bits remaining on the chicken bites.
  • Let the batter adhere: after removing the chicken bites from the buttermilk and coating in the flour, let them sit for about 10 minutes. This helps the coating stay on better before air frying.
  • Sauce right before serving: the crispy Thai chili chicken will lose some of that crispiness when you toss it with the sauce (as is expected), so only toss it once you're ready to eat.
  • Don't over do it with the sauce: the sauce is delicious so I understand the tendency to use a lot. Keep some extra on the side for dipping if you'd like, but don't overdo it.
Thai sweet chili chicken

Substitutions

  • Gluten-Free: use a gluten-free all purpose flour, I recommend Bob's Red Mill as I've used it for my air fryer Buffalo chicken strips here.
  • Dairy-free: use a dairy free milk and mix with fresh lemon juice or apple cider vinegar (about 1 tsp per cup).
  • Less spicy: use less sambal oelek in the Thai sweet chili sauce. This recipe as written is about a mild-medium level heat, which can easily be toned down or up depending on preference.
  • Coconut sugarswap that out for brown sugar (light) or use honey.
  • Arrowroot flour: swap this for cornstarch.

How to Make in the Oven

I have only tested this recipe in the air fryer. I'm not sure if the breading would crisp up the same in a regular oven.

Which Air Fryer Do I Use and Recommend

The air fryer I use and really enjoy and recommend is this T-Fal Easy Air Fryer. I like the size of it for cooking for 1 to 2 people. Plus, I think it's fairly affordable as well and doesn't take up too much room.

Thai sweet chili chicken

Other Air Fryer Recipes:

Thai sweet chili chicken

If you make these air fryer crispy Thai sweet chili chicken bites please share with me, by tagging me on Instagram or leave a comment and/or review below. I truly love seeing and hearing form you!

This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only share products and services I have personally used and love. Disclosure here.

Crispy Thai Sweet Chili Chicken - Air Fryer

These crispy Thai sweet chili chicken bites are made in the air fryer and served with cooling cucumber for a delicious dinner or appetizer.

Prep:
15
min
cook:
25
min
total:
40
min
servings:
4
Author:

Jaclyn

Ingredients

For the Thai Chicken Bites:

For the Thai sweet chili sauce:

For serving:

  • sliced cucumber
  • Thai basil
  • sesame seeds
Instructions

For the chicken bites:

  1. Add the cubed chicken to a bowl and season with kosher salt.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the egg and buttermilk and set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together both flours, garlic powder, ginger and gochugaru.
  4. Dredge each piece of chicken into the flour and tap off excess and place in the buttermilk. Let it sit for about 30 minutes. 
  5. Remove chicken pieces from the buttermilk one at a time and transfer back to the flour and coat on all sides. Place the chicken bites on a large plate or lined baking sheet and let them sit for 10 minutes. This helps the coating stay on better.
  6. Preheat the air fryer to 390℉ and spray with a bit of avocado oil. Place chicken bites into the air fryer, leaving space between each bite. Bake for 11 to 12 minutes, until cooked through and crispy. There is no need to flip pieces, just open halfway through and spray with more oil as needed to make sure the flour is coated and can get crispy.

For the Sauce:

  1. While the chicken is marinating in the buttermilk, make the sauce: in a small saucepan, combine the rice vinegar, water, sugar, garlic, tamari and sambal oelek. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, and then reduce the heat and simmer for eight to nine minutes.
  2. In a small bowl whisk together the arrowroot and 1 tsp arrowroot. Pour this into the simmering sauce and whisk to combine.
  3. Turn the heat off once thickened, about 30 seconds to one minute. Set aside.

To assemble:

  1. Remove the crispy chicken bites and place in a bowl. Toss with the Thai sweet chili sauce and transfer to a serving dish.
  2. Garnish with sliced cucumber, Thai basil and sesame seeds. Serve and enjoy!

Notes

Air fryer: check on the bites as they are cooking and spray with a bit more oil as needed. If flour spots remain on any, spray with a bit of oil to get it crispy. There is no need to flip the chicken as its baking.

Thai sweet chili sauce: make ahead of time and reheat when ready to use. Also, feel free to use a store bought version if you prefer.

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