These air fryer chicken thighs are super juicy and insanely flavorful.
Thanks to the intense, circulating heat, the skin gets nice and crispy while the meat stays perfectly tender.
Trust me, there’s no better family dinner on a busy weeknight than air fryer chicken thighs.
Air Fryer Chicken Thighs
How are air fryer chicken thighs better than oven-baked? Oh, let me count the ways!
First of all, they’re quick. It takes minutes for this little countertop appliance to heat up. So you can get dinner cooking in record time.
Add to that the minimal clean-up, and this is sure to become your new mid-meal meal.
Air-fried chicken thighs are so well seasoned and juicy, you don’t need any sauces or dips.
Better yet, they pair well with so many things! From air fryer tater tots for the kids to spicy noodles and rice, they’re a hit, no matter what you’re craving.
You only need three main ingredients for this recipe. That said, the “seasonings” section has more than one item.
But don’t worry! You don’t need anything exotic.
- Chicken Thighs – Bone-in, skin-on thighs are the way to go here. They’re juicier and more flavorful boneless, skinless thighs.
- Olive Oil – I know the point of an air fryer is not to use oil. But this is how you get that lovely crispy skin. If you don’t want the skin, skip the oil.
- Seasonings – You’ll need a blend of garlic powder, smoked paprika, onion powder, salt, pepper, and oregano. Hello, flavor!
How To Make Air Fryer Chicken Thighs
Before we look at the steps, I should emphasize one thing:
Don’t skip the drying step. It helps the oil and seasonings stick to the skin for maximum flavor. And it ensures really crispy and delicious skin.
You’ll find more details at the bottom of the post. But here’s the basic method:
1. Preheat the air fryer and prepare the chicken. Set the machine to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and pat the chicken dry with a paper towel.
2. Make the spice paste. Mix the seasonings with the oil, then rub it all over the thighs.
3. Fry the chicken. Place the thighs in a single layer, skin side down. Cook for 10 minutes, flip, and cook for another 10-15 minutes.
4. Enjoy! Remove the chicken from the air fryer and let it rest for 2-3 minutes before serving. Serve it with your favorite sides, and tuck in!
Recipe Variations and Seasonings
I kept this recipe simple because sometimes, simple is best.
After all, these chicken thighs are juicy and covered in crispy skin! They don’t need a lot to shine.
Of course, that doesn’t mean you can’t tweak the recipe. Here’s a few ideas to get you started:
- Use boneless, skinless chicken thighs: Follow the recipe as written, EXCEPT reduce the total fry time to 12-15 minutes. Remember to flip halfway through – about the 6-minute mark.
- Cajun Chicken: Use a smoky, spicy Cajun or blackened seasoning mix. Add it to the existing spices or use it alone.
- Mexi-Lime Chicken: Skip the spice rub and use taco seasoning instead! Also, mix in the juice of 1 lime.
- Barbecue: Follow the recipe as written until the halfway point when you flip the chicken. At this time, baste it with your favorite barbecue sauce. Add more barbecue sauce when it’s ready to serve.
- Garlic Parmesan Chicken: Omit the smoked paprika and add in more garlic powder and freshly grated Parmesan. Cook as directed, then top with more Parmesan for serving.
- Curry Chicken: Add curry powder to the existing spice mixture. It’s delicious!
- Make it spicy. Add cayenne pepper or hot sauce to the spice mixture. Or both!
What to Serve with Air Fryer Chicken Thighs
Air fryer chicken thighs are so versatile, you can serve them with practically anything!
Below are some of my favorite options:
- Potatoes: This one gets its own category because there are so many options! I love these loaded mashed potatoes, oven-roasted baby potatoes, or sweet potato fries. And this cheesy potato casserole goes with everything.
- Other Roasted Veggies: You can’t go wrong with Brussels sprouts, butternut squash, roasted asparagus, or red peppers. Heck, go big and make them all!
- Pasta and Other Grains: Mac and cheese, risotto, fettuccine Alfredo, cilantro rice, and bacon ranch pasta salad all taste fantastic with this chicken.
- Salads: Try your chicken thighs with chickpea salad, antipasto salad, or broccoli raisin salad. A classic side salad is fabulous, too!
How To Store
Air fryer chicken leftovers keep very well. Here’s how to do it.
In the fridge: Store in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
In the freezer: Wrap the leftovers in plastic and foil. Then store in a freezer-safe, airtight container for up to 3 months.
To reheat: Let frozen thighs thaw overnight in the fridge. Then, reheat them in the oven or the air fryer at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 10 minutes.
More Air Fryer Recipes
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