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Air Fryer Chicken Thighs

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This recipe for air fryer chicken thighs is my go-to for an easy week-night dinner. They are full of flavor, and also gluten-free, paleo and keto. Team them with some fries and/or a salad for a dinner that will be approved by the whole family.

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Air fryer chicken thighs in a white bowl with salad.
Air fryer chicken thighs.

How to Cook Chicken Thighs in an Air Fryer

Air frying chicken thighs is a great way to cook them, you can grill or roast them by varying the amount of oil used (a light brush of oil for grilling, or use more for roasting). They make a great mid-week dinner, so flavorful, so easy to cook, and good value too!

Air frying is such a great way to cook chicken, especially for any chicken recipe for crispy chicken. Here are some of my air fryer chicken recipes: air fryer chicken tenders, air fryer chicken breast, and air fryer chicken wings.

Scroll down for the printable card for this air fryer chicken thighs recipe, or read on for all the details!

Ingredients

Quantities for all ingredients are given in the recipe card below.

Chicken Thighs

I usually buy boneless skinless chicken thighs for air frying, as I find they take the seasoning more easily, and they cook slightly more quickly.

You can also use skin-on if you prefer, air frying chicken thighs guarantees the skin will be crispy! I use skin-on thighs if I am cooking a more traditional roasted chicken thighs.

You can use frozen chicken thighs for this recipe, but the cook times will be a little longer, so always confirm it has reached the safe internal temperature 165°F/ 74°C.

Uncooked chicken thighs, seasoning and oil in separate bowls on a white background.
Air fryer chicken thighs recipe ingredients.

Seasoning

For seasoning, I often use a store-bought chicken seasoning mix*, or Italian seasoning, but you can easily make your own. Try some of these homemade mixes:

  • Ground pepper, smoked paprika, ground cumin and salt
  • Rosemary, thyme, salt and black pepper for traditional style roasted chicken thighs
  • Chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, oregano, onion powder, paprika, and salt

You need approximately one to one and a half tablespoons of seasoning in total.

Oil

I normally use light olive oil for this chicken thighs recipe, but you can substitute any type of cooking oil that you normally use for frying. Choose something with a high smoke point. Vegetable oil, avocado oil, or canola oil are good options.

If you want to make a healthier version of this recipe you can use an olive oil spray instead of liquid oil. However, please choose the type of spray that spritzes rather than an aerosol as the propellant in aerosol sprays can damage the non-stick coating of your air fryer basket.

Also, please do not use a generic cooking spray (like PAM) in your air fryer as these too can damage the coating of your basket.

Directions

Step 1: Prepare chicken thighs. Pat the chicken thighs dry. Mix the seasoning and oil in a large bowl, then add the chicken thighs and toss to coat evenly in the seasoning. Preheat the air fryer to 400°F/ 200°C.

Uncooked chicken thighs mixed with oil and seasoning in a glass bowl.
Mix the oil and seasoning in a large bowl then toss the chicken thighs in the seasoning mix until well coated.

Step 2: Place chicken thighs in air fryer basket. Place the chicken thighs in the air fryer basket in a single layer, smooth side down. Ensure they are not touching, this allows the hot air to reach all sides so that they will cook evenly.

Raw chicken thighs in air fryer basket.
Place chicken thighs in air fryer basket, ensure they are not touching.

Step 3: Air fry chicken thighs. Cook the chicken thighs in the air fryer for 12-15 minutes, until they are cooked through and have reached 165°F/ 74°C in the center of the thickest part. Cook for additional 2-3 minute intervals if required until they are done. See the section below for more details on cooking times.

Cooked chicken thighs in air fryer basket.
Cook chicken thighs in the air fryer until 165°F/ 74°C in the center.

Step 4: Rest. When cooking is finished it is important to rest chicken thighs so that the juices can reabsorb into the meat. Remove them from the air fryer to a plate, cover with aluminum foil and leave for 5 minutes.

Some air fryers require food to be flipped halfway through cooking, so check your manual are if you are unsure whether this is required for your air fryer.

How Long To Air Fry Chicken Thighs

The exact length of time that chicken thighs need to be air fried for will depend on their size, thickness, whether they are boneless or bone-in, and how powerful your air fryer is

For regular-sized boneless chicken thighs, it should take around 12-15 minutes (as per the recipe below). If you are cooking bone-in, or if they are particularly large, then add an extra 5 minutes.

To ensure your chicken thighs are cooked safely check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer. Chicken needs to be cooked until it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F/ 74°C in the center of the thickest part.

Air fryer chicken thighs in a white bowl.
Air fryer chicken thighs are great served with salad.

Serving

Air fried chicken thighs are such a great dish because they are so versatile – they go well with many different types of food. I often keep things simple and serve them with a side of fries, and some steamed vegetables, but here are some other fun ideas to try:

  • Slice chicken thighs and serve over rice and steamed vegetables and teriyaki sauce or soy sauce.
  • Serve chicken thighs with a side of microwave steamed vegetables, mashed potato and gravy.
  • Slice chicken thighs and serve in tacos with salad, sour cream and salsa.

You can cook sides to go with this recipe in the air fryer too, with a little planning. Sides with a cook time of 10 minutes or less are great to cook with this recipe, try air fryer sweet potato fries, air fryer broccoli, air fryer frozen potato wedges, air fryer curly fries.

This is the process I use:

  1. First prepare the side dish ingredients and air fry for 5 minutes. Prepare the chicken thighs while it is cooking.
  2. Then remove partially cooked side dish from the air fryer to a bowl and cover with aluminum foil.
  3. Air fry the chicken thighs and remove them from the air fryer to rest.
  4. Finally, return the side dish to the air fryer to cook for a final 5 minutes while the chicken thighs are resting.
Air Fryer Chicken Thighs on a white plate
Air Fryer Chicken Thighs.

Storage and reheating

Store any leftover chicken thighs in an air-tight container in the refrigerator, and use within 3 days.

You can reheat the chicken thighs in the air fryer – air fry for 3-4 minutes until 165°F/ 74°C in the center of the thickest part.

Air fryer chicken thighs recipe card

Air fryer chicken thighs in a white bowl with salad.
Yield: 2 servings

Air Fryer Chicken Thighs

Prep Time: 3 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

How to cook chicken thighs in an air fryer.

Ingredients

  • 10 oz skinless chicken thighs
  • 1½ tablespoons chicken spices
  • 1 tablespoon light olive oil

Instructions

  1. Preheat air fryer to 400°F (200°C).
  2. Pat chicken thighs dry. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with chicken spices, turn to ensure they are evenly coated with the oil and spice.
  3. Place chicken thighs in air fryer basket. Make sure they are not overlapping.
  4. Place basket into air fryer and air fry chicken thighs for 12-15 minutes [Note 1], until they are cooked through, and have reached 165°F/ 74°C in the center of the thickest part [Note 2]. Cook for additional 2-3 minute intervals if required until they are done.
  5. Remove from the air fryer to a plate, cover with aluminum foil and allow to rest for 5 minutes. This allows the juices to reabsorb ensuring you have juicy tender chicken thighs.

Notes

  1. Some air fryers require food to be turned during cooking, so flip the chicken thighs over after 5 minutes if required for your air fryer.
  2. Use an instant-red thermometer to check the temperature in the center of the thickest part has reached 165°F/ 74°C.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

2

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 324Total Fat: 24gSaturated Fat: 6gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 138mgSodium: 110mgCarbohydrates: 2gProtein: 23g

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About Eliza

Welcome to Love Food Not Cooking!

I’m Eliza, busy mom, home cook, and blogger. My goal is to help everyone cook good food. Whether you are short on time, skills or motivation, there is something here for you! We have dozens of quick and easy recipes for dinner, lunch, side dishes, and more. Our recipes use everyday ingredients, for quick delicious meals your family will love! Read more…

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