Chicken is a staple when it comes to easy family-friendly meals in our house. My air fryer is another staple as I can whip up meals and snacks in it. Air Fryer Chicken Thighs have become a popular dinner in my family because they pack flavor and pair well with pretty much any side dish I come up with!
Scroll down to get a printable version of what I think is the best air fryer chicken thigh recipe or keep reading to get details and tips for making crispy air fried chicken thighs!
AIR FRYER CHICKEN THIGHS
When I started cooking chicken in the air fryer, I started with frozen chicken strips because they’re a staple for my picky kid. He loves how they crisp up and I love the time I save over preheating the oven and baking them.
Since we eat a lot of chicken, it only made sense that I started trying other versions of our favorite protein in the air fryer. I’ve made Air Fryer Chicken Legs because they’re an affordable and easy meal option for families. And we also make Air Fryer Chicken Wings to replace the wings we used to go out and pick up on the weekends (especially when we planned to watch football).
I love both of those recipes so it only made sense to try making air fried chicken thighs next. Chicken thighs are another affordable option when you’re looking to prepare meals for your family.
Read on for how I make our chicken thighs so they pack delicious flavor and crispy skin that you’re sure to love!
AIR FRY BONE-IN CHICKEN THIGHS OR BONELESS CHICKEN THIGHS?
The first decision you’ll need to make when you make these crispy air fryer chicken thighs is whether to use bone-in or boneless chicken thighs. You can make this recipe with either. I usually pick up bone-in thighs because when I make them I’m looking for a fairly cheap dinner and I can usually get a good price on thighs.
If you use boneless chicken thighs, they may take less time to cook. I would cook them for about 7 minutes, flip them over and cook them for an additional 7 minutes. You may need more time than that depending on your air fryer, but it’s a good place to start.
You want the chicken to reach an internal temperature of 165°F whether you use boneless or bone-in chicken thighs.
CAN YOU STACK CHICKEN IN AN AIR FRYER?
I highly recommend that you don’t stack chicken in the air fryer when cooking in. You want to place the chicken in a single layer with some space between the pieces so the air can circulate around the chicken.
If you do this, you’ll get the delicious crispy skin that will taste like it was deep-fried!
HOW MANY CALORIES ARE IN AIR FRIED CHICKEN THIGHS?
While the number of calories in your chicken thighs made in the air fryer will vary depending on the specific ingredients you use to make them, the average air fried chicken thigh using this recipe has about 130 calories.
By using the air fryer you save a lot of calories that you get when you make fried chicken!
AIR FRYER CHICKEN THIGHS TIME AND TEMPERATURE
For quick reference, I cook my chicken thighs in the air fryer at 400°F for a total of about 20 minutes. I flip them halfway through and check the temperature so I know they’re done. You want the chicken to reach an internal temperature of 165°F.
AIR FRYER CHICKEN THIGH RECIPE INGREDIENTS
To make this air fryer recipe, you’ll need olive oil, apple cider vinegar, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, pepper, a lemon, and chicken thighs.
You can leave out the red pepper flakes if you would prefer to keep the marinade more mild. It will still give the skin a delicious flavor!
HOW TO COOK CHICKEN THIGHS IN AN AIR FRYER
This recipe takes about 35 minutes to prepare (this includes time to marinate the chicken) and about 20 minutes of cook time. It feeds 2-4 people depending on how many thighs each person eats.
Start by mixing together all of the ingredients except the chicken thighs in a small bowl. This will be your marinade.
Then place the chicken thighs in a gallon-size resealable bag and pour the marinade mixture in the bag.
Seal the bag and move the chicken around to hey it well-coated with marinade.
Place the bag in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. You can marinate the chicken overnight if desired.
To make clean up easier, put a liner or rack in your air fryer basket (depending on the model of your fryer).
Place the chicken thighs in a single layer in the basket, making sure they don’t touch each other or the sides of the basket.
Depending on the number of thighs you’re making and the size of your air fryer, you may need to cook them in batches.
Cook the chicken thighs at 400°F for 10 minutes. When the cooking time is up, flip the thighs over and cook for an additional 10 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
Serve with your favorite side dish!
Some of the side dishes we love to pair with chicken are Air Fryer Carrots (if you’re wanting to only use the air fryer) and Crockpot Cheesy Potatoes. Using my Crockpot and Air Fryer together is one of my secrets to super easy dinners!
Air Fryer Chicken Thighs
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons honey
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- juice of one lemon
- 1.5 pounds chicken thighs ((about 4 chicken thighs))
- In a small bowl, mix together the olive oil, apple cider vinegar, honey, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, pepper, and lemon juice.
- Place the chicken thighs in a gallon size zip-top bag. Pour the olive oil mixture over the chicken thighs and seal the bag.
- Move the thighs around in the bag to coat with marinade, then place the bag in the refrigerator to marinade for at least 30 minutes or up to overnight.
- Prepare the air fryer basket by adding a liner or rack to the basket.
- Place the chicken thighs on top, making sure the thighs don’t touch each other or the sides of the basket to prevent sticking. (Depending on how many you're making, the chicken thighs may need to be cooked in batches.)
- Set the air fryer to cook at 400°F for 10 minutes. When the cook time is up, flip the thighs and cook for an additional 10 minutes. (Chicken is done when the internal temperature reaches 165°F.)
- Remove chicken thighs from the air fryer so they don't continue to cook. Serve with your favorite side dish!
This was FANTASTIC and spot on! I brushed on a little BBQ sauce for the last couple of minutes. So tender and juicy!!
Judy Pendleton says
Sorry but I was disappointed in this recipe. I followed the directions exactly, but my chicken was burned black. Under the skin was moist though. It was first recipe using my new air fryer so maybe I just need to get used to it. I have a Ninja Max and used the air fryer setting. Thoughts?