You all know my love for jackfruit runs deep. Real deep. It’s one of the first meat-alternatives I ever tried that wasn’t sold in the frozen section from a grocery store. Also one of the first meals that I made as a plant-based eater that I can remember my #PickyAssHusband actually really liking. SHOCKING! Every time I make some fried, crispy goodness I’m asked “can this be made in the air fryer?” So I decided to do just that. Make this Spicy Chicken Fried Jackfruit in the air fryer for all to enjoy!
New to jackfruit? In case you’re not familiar, jackfruit is actually grown on a tree and is a rather large green oval shaped fruit that than grow up to 20 lbs in weight! As a member of the fig and mulberry family, it’s pretty mild in flavor and fibrous which makes it perfect for using as a meat substitute (check out the photos of the inside below)!
For this spicy chicken fried jackfruit recipe, you’ll want to be sure you’re using canned jackfruit that is in either brine or water. Avoid jackfruit in syrup! Why? It won’t give you that meaty taste you’re looking for and will be sweet. Definitely more appropriate for a dessert recipe. Jackfruit is sorta like tofu in a sense because it doesn’t really have much of a flavor on its own, making it perfectly versatile for a variety of dishes like this spicy chicken fried jackfruit, carnitas tacos, crab cakes, or curry.
Ingredients You’ll Need to Make Spicy Chicken Fried Jackfruit:
- Canned jackfruit in brine or water
- Spray oil
- Unsweetened non-dairy milk
- Apple cider vinegar
- Cayenne pepper sauce
- All-purpose flour
- Panko breadcrumbs
- Organic brown sugar
- Ground paprika
- Ground cayenne pepper
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
How to Make Air Fried Spicy Chicken Fried Jackfruit
If you’ve made my Spicy Chicken Fried Cauliflower recipe, you’ll find that this Spicy Chicken Fried Jackfruit recipe is pretty similar to that one, only made in an air fryer! You’ll want to start by draining and removing the jackfruit from the can. If you’re new to jackfruit, you’ll notice that there are three main parts: seed, stringy area and the hard part. My personal preference is to remove the hard part and seed. To me, it makes the final product more “meat-like.” However, if you’re short on time or don’t mind eating the hard part or seed, you can keep each piece as is. Completely up to you!
Once you’ve prepped your jackfruit the way you like, you’re ready to go ahead and create your spicy chicken fried jackfruit marinade that consists of unsweetened non-dairy milk, apple cider vinegar and cayenne pepper sauce. Combine all of these ingredients together in an appropriately sized bowl and add in the jackfruit. Marinate it for at least 30 minutes.
While the jackfruit is marinating, you can begin combining the ingredients for the Spicy Chicken Fried Jackfruit breading mixture. The recipe calls for panko breadcrumbs to give it that extra crunch, but you can also substitute for regular breadcrumbs if you don’t have any panko on hand. Not into spicy foods too much? Feel free to adjust the spices as necessary to suit your preferences, because when I say spicy, I mean spicy!
Once the jackfruit is done marinating, use a spoon to scoop out the pieces of jackfruit and transfer them to a separate small bowl. Be sure to reserve the leftover liquid! The leftover liquid is perfect for now creating the liquid batter. Transfer the leftover liquid to a liquid measuring cup. In the same bowl that the the excess liquid was in, add your ¾ cups of all-purpose flour. Now slowly add back in the reserved marinading liquid, whisking everything together until it has the consistency of pancake batter.
You might be wondering, why I’m asking you to pour the marinade out, of the bowl, just to add it right back in two seconds later… good question! I always feel like adding wet ingredients to dry ingredients gives me more control over the outcome as opposed to doing it the other way around. For me, it never quit seems to mix the way I intend for it to.
At this point you should have three bowls: one with the marinated jackfruit pieces, another with the liquid batter and another with the breading mixture. Arrange your three bowls in the following order: jackfruit pieces (furthest from the air fryer basket), liquid batter, breading mixture (closest to the air fryer basket). Using a spoon or tongs, dip each jackfruit piece into the liquid batter, then into the breading mixture and finally into the air fryer basket. Repeat this process until all of your jackfruit pieces have been coated and placed into the air fryer basket.
Now that each spicy chicken fried jackfruit piece has been dipped, coated, and placed into the air fryer basket, grab a can of oil spray and generously spray each piece of jackfruit on both sides (be sure to flip each of them over). The oil is necessary to help develop the crispy coating you’re looking for! Be sure to spray them well because if you don’t, you’ll be left with white spots throughout where you’ll be able to see that no oil was added.
FAQ’s About Making Air Fried Spicy Chicken Fried Jackfruit
- Can I adjust the heat level? If so, how? The best way to do this is by cutting back on the amount of cayenne pepper being used in the breading mixture. Do this according to your heat preference.
- What kind of plant milk did you use for the marinade/liquid batter? In most recipes, my go-to is unsweetened almond milk. It’s so versatile! However, you can use whatever you’d like. Just make sure it has a neutral taste and is unsweetened.
- Can Spicy Chicken Fried Jackfruit be made oil free? If you’re looking for that crispy, crunchy coating, I wouldn’t skip the oil.
- I don’t have an air fryer. Can these be fried traditionally on the stove? Absolutely! If you want to fry them on the stove, instead of adding them to an air fryer basket, place them in a heated pan filled with oil at least 1 inch high and let them cook on each side until golden brown. Have a look at this recipe as a reference for frying.
I know you’ll love this Spicy Chicken Fried Jackfruit recipe! It’s really easy to put together and makes for the perfect meat substitute! Give this recipe a try and let me know what you think in the comments below!
Other Jackfruit Recipes You’ll Enjoy:
- Easy Jackfruit Carnitas Tacos
- Jackfruit Crab Cakes
- Jackfruit Curry
- Sriracha Jackfruit Bowl
- BBQ Jackfruit Empanadas
Tools You Might Need:
Spicy Chicken Fried Jackfruit (Air Fryer Recipe!)
- 2 20 oz. cans jackfruit in brine or water hard parts and seeds removed
- enough spray oil for air frying (I used olive oil)
To Add to the Marinade to Make Liquid Batter
- ¾ cups all- purpose flour to be added AFTER the jackfruit has marinaded
- In a large bowl, combine the ingredients for the buttermilk marinade.
- Transfer the trimmed jackfruit to the marinade and let sit for 30 minutes, stir to cover all pieces.
- While the jackfruit is marinating begin combining all ingredients for the breading mixture in a separate large bowl.
- Once the jackfruit is done marinating, spoon out each of the pieces to a separate medium sized bowl, reserving the leftover liquid.
- Transfer the leftover marinade liquid to a liquid measuring cup. In the same bowl that had the marinade liquid, add in ¾ cups of all-purpose flour. Slowly pour the marinade liquid back into the bowl with the flour while whisking to combine until you've created a pancake-like consistency.
- Arrange your three bowls in the following order: jackfruit pieces (furthest from the air fryer basket), liquid batter, breading mixture (closest to the air fryer basket).
- Use a spoon or tongs to dip the jackfruit pieces into the liquid batter, then gently press each piece into the breading mixture so that it's well coated on each side, then into the air fryer basket.
- Spray both sides of each jackfruit piece generously with neutral oil of your choice.
- Cook on air fryer setting at 400° for 20 minutes. Enjoy!