Air Fryer Chicken Thighs (+ Easy Recipe)

Air Fryer Chicken Thighs

A kitchen appliance that can transform chicken thighs into a crispy, flavorful feast with hardly any effort. Over the years, I’ve perfected my air fryer chicken thigh recipe through many happy “experiments” in the kitchen. Today I’m excited to share this easy weeknight solution that my whole family loves. The air fryer delivers all the crispiness of deep frying without using nearly as much oil. And chicken thighs are so forgiving even if you’re short on time, they’ll still turn out juicy and tender. Best of all, cleanup is a breeze when you cook in the air fryer basket.

Recipe ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon each of smoked paprika.
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder.
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder.
  • 1/2 teaspoon each of salt, black pepper, and dried oregano.
  • I like to use 4 bone-in, skin-on thighs weighing about 2 to 2 1/2 pounds total.
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
Air Fryer Chicken Thighs

How to Make This Air Fryer Chicken Thighs Recipe

Preparing the Chicken

To start, we’ll prepare our chicken thighs for the seasoning party. Pat the skin and flesh dry with paper towels. This helps the seasoning stick and the skin get extra crispy later. Then use a sharp knife to lightly score the skin in a crosshatch pattern. This will allow rendered fat to escape and prevent bubbles.

Party Time

Now it’s time to dress the chicken. Massage the olive oil all over the thighs, including under the skin. Then generously sprinkle the blended seasoning mixture evenly over both sides, pressing gently to adhere. Place the thighs skin-side up on a plate and let them marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes. This allows the flavors to absorb.

Fryer Fun

Once marinated, place the thighs skin-side up in the air fryer basket in a single layer. Cook at 400°F for 25-30 minutes, flipping halfway, until skin is crispy and juices run clear.

Serving Instructions

These air fryer chicken thighs make a delicious weeknight meal served with all the classic sides. I like to accompany them with garlic mashed potatoes or buttered noodles to soak up all the flavorful juices. A crisp green salad or sautéed vegetables are also perfect light companions.

Presentation

For a fun presentation, arrange the thighs on a serving platter and garnish with fresh herbs like parsley or thyme. You can also serve with hot sauce or honey mustard on the side for an extra kick. Just be sure to have plenty of napkins handy – things are bound to get messy!

Storage

Leftover chicken thighs will keep nicely in the fridge for 3-4 days. To store, allow to cool completely, then place in an airtight container. Reheat in a 350°F oven until hot and crispy.

Freezing Instructions

You can also freeze the cooked chicken for longer storage. Let cool, then place individual thighs in a freezer bag or container. Freeze for up to 3 months. To enjoy later, thaw overnight in the fridge and reheat using the same oven method. The skin may lose some of its crispness upon reheating, so you can also try re crisping under the broiler for a minute before serving.

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FAQs

Can I use boneless chicken thighs instead of bone-in?

Yes, boneless thighs will work just as well. You may need to reduce the cooking time by 5 minutes or so since boneless thighs tend to cook faster than bone-in.

How long can I marinate the chicken?

The chicken can be marinated anywhere from 30 minutes up to overnight in the refrigerator. Any longer than that and the acidic ingredients could start to break down and toughen the meat.

Can I use other seasonings besides what’s listed?

Feel free to experiment with your favorite herbs and spices. Some other tasty options include garlic powder, cumin, chili powder, or lemon pepper. Just be sure not to overload the seasoning mixture.

Can I cook these in an oven instead of an air fryer?

Yes, you can certainly bake the chicken thighs in a 400°F oven. Watch them closely as ovens can vary and they may cook a bit faster, in 20-25 minutes. The skin may not get quite as crispy without the air fryer’s convection power but they’ll still be delicious.

Can I freeze the leftovers?

Yes, leftovers freeze well for easy meals later. Allow to fully cool, then place in an airtight container or freezer bag. They’ll stay fresh for 2-3 months in the freezer.

Air Fryer Chicken Thighs

Air Fryer Chicken Thighs

I’ve perfected my air fryer chicken thigh recipe through many happy “experiments” in the kitchen. Today I’m excited to share this easy weeknight solution that my whole family loves. The air fryer delivers all the crispiness of deep frying without using nearly as much oil.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 200 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder.
  • ½ tsp  black pepper, 
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp  dried oregano.
  • 4  bone-in, skin-on thighs weighing about 2 to 2 1/2 pounds total.
  • 1 tbsp olive oil.

Instructions
 

  • First we'll get our seasoning squad ready. In a small bowl, whisk together 1 teaspoon each of smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper and dried oregano. Set aside.
  • Next, pat 4 bone-in chicken thighs dry and use a sharp knife to lightly score the skin in a crosshatch pattern. Massage 1 tablespoon olive oil all over the thighs to coat well.
  • Now for the fun part – seasoning the chicken! Sprinkle the blended seasoning mixture generously over both sides of each thigh. Using your hands, rub the seasoning into the skin and flesh so it adheres nicely. Arrange the thighs on a plate and let them sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to absorb flavor.
  • Place the seasoned thighs skin-side up in the air fryer basket. Cook at 400°F for 25 minutes, flipping halfway, until skin is crispy and a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part reads 165°F.
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Hey there! I'm Betty Spangler. I love food, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple.