Air Fryer Chicken Thighs – perfect every time!
Try lightly seasoned air fryer chicken thighs, a quick and delicious way to prepare chicken. Perfect as is, or easily adapted for any type of cuisine.
Why you’ll love it: Chicken cooks so quickly in the air fryer and it’s juicy and delicious.
How long it takes: 25 minutes
Equipment you’ll need: air fryer
Ready in only twenty minutes, air fryer chicken thighs are a staple in my kitchen. Looking for a quick solution to dinner? With hardly any prep, and only twenty minutes in the air fryer, you can have dinner on the table in less time than it takes to call for take out. Add a quick salad, veggies, potatoes, or even cook up a box of mac and cheese. Dinner is served!
Or, add this simple cooked chicken to other recipes. Often recipes will call for adding “cooked chicken”, which is fine and dandy if you just happen to have some cooked chicken lying around. But honestly, unless I’ve been in a real meal-prepping mood, I usually need to cook the chicken before proceeding with the recipe. Air fryer chicken thighs can be the answer in this situation.
Whether you’re making air fryer chicken thighs the star of your meal, or including them in a more complicated recipe, you’ll find yourself turning to this easy cooking method often. I sure do!
I’ll get you started right here and give you lots of helpful tips. As always, you’ll find the printable recipe card near the end of the post, with all the instructions, measurements, and nutrition information.
What You’ll Need
- Chicken Thighs: Skin-on and bone-in chicken thighs are usually cheaper than boneless skinless thighs. I like them for this recipe because they turn out juicier and more flavorful. Leave the skin on or remove it, it’s up to you. Use a kitchen shears to trim off the excess fat and skin.
- Olive Oil: Just a bit is used to rub into the surface of the chicken. It helps retain the moisture and crisp up the exterior.
- Paprika, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Salt and Pepper: These simple seasonings are mixed together to season the chicken. If you have my homemade all purpose seasoning on hand, you can substitute that. If you have another favorite, go ahead and use it.
How To Make This Recipe
This is a very simple recipe that can easily be customized to fit your needs. Here’s how to do it:
In a large bowl, coat approximately two pounds of chicken thighs with a bit of olive oil. Sprinkle with the seasoning mix.
Place the thighs in a single layer in your air fryer. You’ll probably have to cook the chicken in batches unless your air fryer is bigger than mine.
Time and Temperature
Cook at 400°F for ten minutes, flip the chicken over, and cook for another ten minutes. That’s it!
You can eat the chicken as is, because it’s juicy and delicious. Serve it with crispy roasted potatoes, sautéed mushrooms, and a crisp green arugula salad with lemon vinaigrette. It goes great with a pasta salad, like this Greek pasta salad with feta and beans or a panzanella salad.
Or cut it up and add it to recipes like cauliflower nachos or creamy chicken spaghetti. Add it to a tortilla with the fixings you like for a great chicken taco. Put it on a bun, with tomato, lettuce, and mayo for a delicious chicken sandwich. Add spaghetti sauce, and eat it with spaghetti. The possibilities are endless!
Twenty minutes is all it usually takes. The internal temperature of the chicken should be 165°F and the juices should run clear, not bloody.
The cooking time does depend somewhat on the chicken you use. Bone-in chicken with skin will take just a little longer than boneless skinless chicken thighs.
Another factor that affects cooking time is the size of the thighs. Some of the thighs I’ve purchased are absolutely gigantic. I can hardly imagine the chicken that owned those thighs. Obviously, these will take a bit longer to cook.
Absolutely! I use my air fryer to cook raw chicken all the time, including thighs, wings, breasts, and drumsticks. Check out the Make It Your Own section for recipes. It’s a safe, healthy and fast way to cook chicken.
Make It Your Own
This is a pretty basic recipe. Use different seasonings to add flavor to the chicken thighs. Some suggestions:
- Barbecue rub: this blend of dark brown sugar, salt, pepper, chili powder, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, ground mustard, celery seed, and cayenne pepper adds so much flavor.
- Taco seasoning: make your own with chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, oregano, and paprika.
- Curry powder: Season the chicken with curry and add it to rice and stir fry vegetables.
- Use your favorite seasoning blend. Just plain seasoned salt is good or make it as spicy as you like it with pepper.
- Prefer chicken drumsticks? Try Air Fryer Chicken Drumsticks. Maybe you prefer chicken wings. Try Air Fryer Chicken Wings or Air Fryer BBQ Chicken Wings.
- Or do you prefer white meat? Try boneless skinless Air Fryer Chicken Breasts or Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets.
- Add a sauce of your choice to the chicken after it’s cooked: barbecue sauce, chili sauce, salsa, hoisin or plum sauce, Thai peanut sauce, whatever you like.
Storage & Reheating Tips
Leftover chicken, wrapped well, will last up to four days in the fridge or you can freeze it to use later. For best results, thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
To reheat, heat gently in the microwave or use it in a recipe.
More Air Fryer Magic!
It’s amazing how well everything seems to turn out in the air fryer! Try a few of my favorites:
- Air Fryer Salmon (this may be my favorite way to make salmon!)
- Air Fryer Mushrooms with Garlic and Shallots
- Air Fryer Tortilla Chips – so crispy!
- Breaded Air Fryer Pork Chops (so juicy and tender)
- Air Fryer French Fries
- Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets
- Air Fryer Mozzarella Sticks
- Air Fryer French Toast Sticks
- Air Fryer Buffalo Cauliflower Bites
Did you make this? Be sure to leave a review below and tag me @rachelcooksblog on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest!
- 4-6 bone-in skin-on chicken thighs, approx. 2 lbs. (see note)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
- Preheat air fryer to 400ºF. In a small bowl, mix paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper.
- Trim excess fat and skin from chicken thighs using kitchen shears. If desired, skin can be removed completely.
- Rub oil on both sides of chicken. Sprinkle on seasoning and rub it into the chicken.
- Place chicken on rack in air fryer in a single layer. It's okay if the pieces are touching or even overlapping a bit. They shrink as they cook. If necessary, cook the chicken in batches.
- Cook for 10 minutes, turn thighs over, and cook for another 10 minutes, or until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165ºF.
- If desired, use boneless, skinless chicken thighs.
- Approx. serving size: boneless skinless chicken thighs: ½ lb.; bone in skin on: ¾ lb.
- Serve chicken as is for a delicious main course. The meat can be cut into pieces or shredded to use for other recipes, too.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.
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