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Crispy and Juicy Air Fryer Chicken Thighs

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Easy air fryer chicken thighs are seasoned with simple spices and air fried. They are both crispy and juicy and are ready in 30 minutes.
closeup of crispy chicken thigh in air fryer basket

Ditch that boring chicken dinner! These air fryer chicken thighs are seasoned with a blend of simple spices and quickly air fried. They come out both crispy and juicy with a fabulous flavor and are ready in 30 minutes!

I love to make chicken in the air fryer. It cooks super fast and is always tender and delicious. And it is simple to change up the spices so that a healthy, homemade chicken dinner isn’t dull and monotonous.

When you need a family-friendly meal for a busy weeknight dinner, you can’t go wrong with this easy air fryer chicken recipe.

cooked chicken thighs in the air fryer basket

Love chicken? Check out my Air Fryer Fried Chicken and Air Fryer Whole Chicken recipes!

Key Ingredients

For exact amounts needed see the recipe card below

Chicken thighs – I use bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs because I want the crispy skin, but you can remove the chicken skin if you prefer. Boneless, skinless thighs will also work, although they will need less cooking time.

Oil – While air frying uses less fat than many other cooking methods, for truly crispy thighs, you need some oil.

Seasoning – I use a simple mixture of common spices – paprika, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper – in these photos. Using smoked paprika will give the meat a smoky flavor. See below for suggested seasoning variations.

labeled photo of ingredients for air fryer chicken thighs

How to Make Juicy Air Fryer Chicken

1. Prep

Pat the chicken thighs dry with paper towels to get rid of excess moisture. Then put the thighs in a medium bowl.

adding spices to the chicken

Drizzle the oil over the top and add the seasoning mixture. Stir with a large spoon to coat chicken in the seasoning.

2. Air Fry

I don’t find preheating the air fryer necessary for this recipe. Put the chicken thighs skin side down in the air fryer basket. Make sure not to crowd the meat and keep them in a single layer.

I can fit 4 thighs in my 5.8-quart Cosori air fryer. If you have a smaller air fryer or a larger family, you might need to cook the chicken in batches.

thighs in air fryer basket with the skin side down

Air fry the chicken at 400 degrees F for 10 minutes. Then pull the basket out and flip them over, with the skin side up. Air fry for another 10 minutes at 400 F. Bigger thighs will take longer to cook, so you might need to adjust the cook time.

Once the cooking time is done, check the internal temperature of the chicken and make sure it has reached 165 degrees F.

Always use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature, don’t try to cook based just on time. A thermometer is not expensive and the peace of mind they give you is priceless. Food poisoning is not fun! This is my favorite inexpensive meat thermometer, which you can buy on Amazon.

3. Serving

Use tongs to remove the chicken from the air fryer. Place it on a serving platter and let it rest for 5 minutes. This helps make it extra juicy inside.

Garnish it with fresh herbs and serve with lemon wedges.

squeezing lemon over the chicken

Air Fryer Chicken Thighs Seasoning Variations

Try some of these chicken seasoning ideas to spice up dinner!

  • Add parmesan cheese to coat the chicken.
  • Add bold flavors using chili powder or cayenne pepper in the seasoning.
  • Use Italian seasoning instead of paprika.
  • Use lemon pepper seasoning instead of paprika for a deliciously lemony meal.
  • Try your favorite BBQ spice mix or rub.

What to Serve with Air Fryer Chicken Thighs

These thighs are versatile and go with many side dishes. I love to make them with mashed potatoes because the crispy chicken goes great with creamy potatoes.

Other great choices are corn on the cob, coleslaw, or baked sweet potatoes. Simple vegetables such as roasted broccoli or green beans can round out the meal.

Storage Tips

Cooked chicken thighs will keep well in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. You can also freeze it for 2-3 months. If the chicken is frozen, thaw it in the fridge overnight.

To reheat the chicken pieces put them back in the air fryer at 350 degrees F for about 5 minutes. Or take the meat off the bone and use it for salads or a leftover dinner like air fryer chicken enchiladas.

closeup of crispy chicken thigh in air fryer basket

Top Tips for Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Thighs

Be sure to check out the step by step instructions

  • Pat the them dry before air frying for the crispiest chicken thighs.
  • Don’t skip using oil. A little bit of oil helps make the chicken crispy.
  • Start cooking them with the skin side down, so the fat renders into the skin. But make sure to flip them over, so both sides brown.
  • Don’t overcrowd the basket, and keep the chicken in a single layer.
  • Marinated chicken is delicious but not as crispy. Stick with dry spices when you want crispy chicken.

FAQ

Can I use boneless skinless chicken thighs in the air fryer?

Yes, boneless thighs cook well in the air fryer. Reduce the cooking time to 15 minutes.

Can I marinate my thighs?

Yes, check out my recipe for Marinated Chicken Thighs. If you use a marinade, the chicken will be juicy and delicious but not as crisp as in this recipe using oil and a dry rub.

Can I use chicken breasts or drumsticks?

Yes, this recipe works fine with both. The cooking time will need to be adjusted to 17 minutes total for drumsticks and 20-30 minutes for chicken breasts, depending on their size. Make sure to use a thermometer to determine when the chicken is done.

Is air fried chicken healthier?

Whether air-fried chicken is healthier depends on what you are comparing it to. It is definitely healthier than deep-fried chicken, though. Boiled chicken might be a little lower in calories but not nearly as tasty! 

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closeup of crispy chicken thigh in air fryer basket
5 from 1 vote

Air Fryer Chicken Thighs Recipe

Easy air fryer chicken thighs are seasoned with simple spices and air fried. They are both crispy and juicy and are ready in 30 minutes.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Resting Time5 mins
Total Time30 mins
Servings: 4
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Ingredients
 

  • 4 bone-in chicken thighs
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • Garnish – fresh herbs and lemon wedges

Instructions

  • Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel. Then put the chicken pieces in a large bowl.
  • Drizzle them with the oil. Add the paprika, salt, garlic powder, and black pepper. Toss them to coat the chicken with the spices.
  • Put them in the air fryer basket, with the skin side down. Air fry at 400 degrees F for 10 minutes.
  • Flip the thighs over and air fry for another 10 minutes, until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F.
  • Let them rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Notes

Always use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature, don’t just rely on cooking time.
Use different spices for seasoning if desired. Italian seasoning, lemon pepper seasoning or a BBQ rub are all tasty options.

Tips for the Crispiest Thighs

  • Pat them dry before air frying.
  • Don’t skip using oil.
  • Start cooking them with the skin side down, so the fat renders into the skin. But make sure to flip them over, so both sides are brown.
  • Don’t overcrowd the basket, and keep the chicken in a single layer.
  • Marinated chicken is delicious but not as crispy. Stick with dry spices when you want crispy chicken.

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 355kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 13g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 142mg | Sodium: 694mg | Potassium: 349mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 976IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 18mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition facts are estimates.

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chicken thighs with lemon wedges and fresh herbs
By on May 27th, 2022

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