Air Fryer Chicken Thighs are a game changer for quick weeknight dinners! All it takes is 20 minutes to get impossibly crispy skin and juicy, tender air fried chicken. If you’re on the fence about getting an air fryer (I was too!), this air fried chicken recipe might change your mind.
Why I’m in Love with My New Air Fryer
Alright, I’ll be honest with you, I never thought I’d be sharing air fryer recipes on the site. I tend to give any new “fad” appliance the side eye (it took me years to finally invest in a food processor!), and I doubted that the air fryer would really be worth my money or my counter space.
Well, I have to happily (and somewhat begrudgingly) confess that I was wrong. This air fryer has earned its spot on my counter top and in my heart.
The air fryer is incredibly versatile and makes short work of so many different foods! We use it for:
- Reheating leftovers- Pizza! French fries! Chicken tenders! The air fryer brings leftovers back to life.
- Cooking frozen foods- Mozzarella sticks (including homemade Wonton Mozzarella Sticks), chicken nuggets, egg rolls–they all come out crisped and golden!
- These Air Fryer Hot Dogs (this result is reason enough by itself to justify the existence of the appliance)
- Making Air Fryer Donuts!
- Roasting vegetables- Do you love crispy, life changing Roasted Broccoli and Cauliflower? Me too. The air fryer does the job in even less time!
- Making Crispy Parmesan Air Fryer Pork Chops. (*you gotta try these)
- Cooking the juiciest, most delicious Air Fryer Chicken Thighs!
How to Make Crispy Chicken Thighs in the Air Fryer
Cooking chicken thighs in the air fryer is so easy and PERFECT for busy weeknights. You can have it in your air fryer in 5 minutes and it only needs to cook for about 16 minutes! I seasoned this with my homemade chicken seasoning, but if you’re really short on time just use salt and pepper!
- Pat the chicken thighs dry with a paper towel, then brush with a tiny amount of olive oil or spray with cooking spray.
- Rub the seasoning over all sides of the meat.
- Place the chicken in the air fryer in a single layer. We have a 4 quart fryer and it fits 3-4 thighs with room to breathe between each one.
- Air fry at 375 degrees for 10 minutes. Flip the chicken and fry an additional 6-8 minutes, or until a thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the meat reads 165 degrees.
Game Changing Air Fryer Chicken Thighs
I am not kidding when I tell you this air fryer chicken recipe has changed the dinner game for me.
I used to always buy a rotisserie chicken from the store when I was making things like 30 Minute Chicken Noodle Soup or Cranberry Chicken Salad. Now, I take 5 minutes to put these chicken thighs in the air fryer, and they’re done by the time the other ingredients are prepped. Game. Changing.
I also LOVE that I can just throw 1 or 2 chicken thighs in the air fryer for lunch without heating up the oven or making a huge mess. I can eat them plain, or cut them up and use them in Mason Jar Chicken Taco Salads, Chicken Apple Bacon Kale Salads, or Springtime Avocado Toasts. Game changing, I tell you!
Side Dishes for Air Fried Chicken
Other great side dish options include:
- Cheesy Potatoes
- Easy Garden Salad
- Corn Souffle
- Cucumber Tomato Salad
- Asian Zucchini
- Maple Roasted Sweet Potatoes
FAQ for Air Frying Chicken
What temperature should I fry chicken in the air fryer?
I’ve found 375 degrees to deliver the best combination of crispy skin and juicy, tender meat. This temperature allows the meat to cook thoroughly without the skin burning.
Can you stack chicken in an air fryer?
Unfortunately, in my 4 quart air fryer you can’t stack the chicken with consistent results. I bought an insert for mine in the hopes that I’d be able to stack, but stacking caused the top layer of chicken skins to burn while the chicken underneath wasn’t cooked through. If you have a larger air fryer, stacking might be a possibility.
Just remember, air fryers work by circulating hot air around the food, so you need space on all sides of the meat in order for it to crisp properly.
Depending on the size of your air fryer and the number of people you’re cooking for, you might have to cook the recipe in batches, doing 3-4 thighs at a time.
How much oil do you put in an air fryer?
One of the selling points of the air fryer is how little oil you need to get crisp food. I’ve found most recipes benefit from a small amount of oil, but not much. Here we use about a teaspoon of olive oil–just enough to get the seasoning to stick and really help crisp the skin!
You can also use cooking spray instead of olive oil if you prefer.
Can I use boneless skinless thighs in the air fryer?
Yes! You can use skinless thighs if you prefer, but you won’t get the crispy skin, which is the best part! If you do use boneless thighs, reduce the cooking time by a few minutes.
Do I need to preheat the air fryer?
My air fryer does not require any preheating, but I always recommend you read your manual for model-specific instructions.
- 1.5 lbs. bone in, skin on chicken thighs (about 5-6 thighs)
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon homemade chicken seasoning
- If your air fryer recommends preheating, preheat to 375 degrees. Otherwise, proceed to step 2.
- Pat the chicken dry then lightly brush with olive oil or spray with cooking spray. You only need enough oil for the seasoning to stick.
- Rub the seasoning on all sides of the chicken.
- Place the chicken in the air fryer in a single layer, making sure there is room on all sides of the chicken for air to circulate.
- Air fry the chicken for 10 minutes, then flip and fry an additional 6-8 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted at the thickest part of the meat reads 165 degrees.
- Repeat with remaining chicken thighs, if needed.
- This recipe was developed in the Ninja AF 100 4 Qt. Air Fryer. If I was buying a new air fryer, I would probably invest in the 5.5 quart size. Always check your own air fryer manual for preheating and frying instructions.
- If you prefer not to make the homemade chicken seasoning, plain old salt and pepper will still make super delicious air fried chicken!
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 256Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 145mgSodium: 198mgCarbohydrates: 1gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 27g
Please note nutritional information for my recipes is calculated by a third party service and provided as a courtesy to my readers. For the most accurate calculation, I always recommend running the numbers yourself with the specific products you use.