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Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Thighs


These crispy air fryer chicken thighs are juicy, flavorful, and alert in minutes! With a simple spice rub and very small oil, you can use boneless or bone-in chicken thighs. This recipe is gluten-free and low carb!

The air fryer is such a useful appliance for cooking chicken! We love cooking air fryer chicken breast and chicken tenders, and now I’m showing you our go-to air fryer chicken thighs recipe.

plate with four crispy air fryer chicken thighs

You can use either boneless chicken thighs, or skin-on bone-in chicken thighs for this recipe, and the results are always the same: juicy, flavorful, and quicker than the oven!

These chicken thighs are great served with rice or cauliflower rice, and kale salad.

Reasons you’ll ♡ air fryer chicken thighs

  • they cook quicker than the oven
  • they are juicy, flavorful and kid-friendly
  • you can use boneless or bone-in chicken thighs

Recipe video

Want to see how I cooked these air fryer chicken thighs? Watch the video below to see how easily they arrive together! You can find more of my recipe videos on my YouTube channel, or on Facebook.

bowl with spice rub for chicken with ingredients listed

It all starts with the rub

I’ve adapted my great baked chicken thighs rub swapping out oregano and basil for thyme leaves. We are combining onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, thyme leaves, salt and pepper, and mixing them all together.

Spritz the chicken with spray oil, and press the rub all over the chicken thighs. Pressing it on is essential in helping it stick. This rub adds so much flavor to your chicken, and reminds me of KFC!

You may want to triple (or more) the batch and store in the pantry- it’s good for up to one year.

Use high heat

Most air fryers max out at 390°F/ 200°C, and that’s the temperature we use to cook our air fryer chicken thighs. In my experiments with oven-baked chicken breasts and chicken thighs, I found that a high heat helps cook the chicken to juicy perfection, and it works well in the air fryer as well.

Use a digital thermometer

Chicken thighs arrive in many different shapes and sizes, and while they are less prone to drying out than boneless chicken breasts, they definitely can overcook. I highly recommend investing in a digital thermometer so that you cognize exactly when the chicken thighs are alert to arrive out.

Cook your air fryer chicken thighs until they reach 165°F in the thickest part, then pull them out.

Rest before slicing

Resting your chicken thighs is a crucial step, as this allows the juices to settle in the meat. Slicing into them immediately after cooking would result in the juices running all over your plate.

To rest your chicken thighs, place on a clean plate, and cover with a baking dish for 5 minutes.

collage image showing how to cook boneless chicken thighs in the air fryer

Cooking boneless chicken thighs

To cook boneless chicken thighs in the air fryer, you will:

  1. Stir together the rub.
  2. Spritz chicken thighs with spray oil on both sides.
  3. Rub all over with the rub (and press it on with your hands)
  4. Cook for 4 minutes at 390°F/ 200°C.
  5. Flip, and cook for another 4 minutes.
  6. Check the temperature in the thickest part of the thigh; if it has not reached 165°F, keep cooking.

collage image showing how to cook skin on bone in chicken thighs in the air fryer

Cooking skin-on bone-in chicken thighs

While not quite as crispy as the oven, air fryer chicken thighs cook through much quicker, and the spices crisp up in a delicious way.

  1. Mix up the rub.
  2. Dry off chicken thighs with a paper towel).
  3. Spritz on both sides with spray oil.
  4. Using your hands, press the rub all over the chicken thighs.
  5. (optional) Place bread in the bottom of the air fryer to help absorb fat and reduce smoking.
  6. Place chicken thighs in the air fryer and cook for 15 minutes at 390°F/ 200°C.
  7. Gently flip and cook for another 8-10 minutes.
  8. Check that chicken thighs reach at least 165°F in the thickest part (we cooked ours closer to 190°F).

close up of an air fryer chicken thigh (boneless skinless) on a plate

Recipe tips

  • Flip the chicken–  in order to ensure the chicken cooks through evenly, I highly recommend flipping it halfway through
  • Alternate rubs– you are welcome to switch up the rub (I have 7 rub recipes here), but I’d advise skipping anything with sugar as it can be prone to burning
  • Smoking– skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs release a lot of grease into the bottom of the air fryer which smokes while cooking. I recommend placing the air fryer under a range hood fan on high power. Another trick I’ve learned is to put pieces of bread in the bottom- this seems to reduce the smoking but does not eliminate it.

More air fryer recipes

air fryer chicken thigh on plate cut open with piece on fork

Air Fryer Chicken Thighs

Course: Dinner

Cuisine: American

Keyword: air fryer, chicken, gluten-free, low carb

Calories: 140kcal

Author: Denise Bustard

Servings: 4

Air fryer chicken thighs are juicy, flavorful, and alert in minutes! With a simple spice rub and very small oil, you can use boneless or bone-in chicken thighs. This recipe is gluten-free and low carb!

Prep Time10 mins

Cook Time25 mins

rest time5 mins

Total Time40 mins

Instructions

Boneless skinless chicken thighs

  • Place chicken thighs on a plate. Spray on both sides with spray oil.

  • Stir together the rub, and sprinkle over the chicken thighs. Press it on with your hands (to obtain it to stick properly), flip the chicken thighs, and repeat on the other side.

  • Heat air fryer to 390°F/200°C.

  • Place two of the chicken thighs in the bask of the air fryer (see note 2), making sure they are spread out and not curled up. Cook for 4 minutes.

  • Flip, and cook for 4 more minutes, or until a digital thermometer stuck into the thickest part reads 165°F.

  • Remove the chicken from the air fryer, cover, and rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs

  • Place chicken thighs on a plate. Spray on both sides with spray oil.

  • Stir together the rub, and sprinkle over the chicken thighs. Press it on with your hands (to obtain it to stick properly), flip the chicken thighs, and repeat on the other side.

  • Heat air fryer to 390°F/200°C.

  • (optional) Place 2 pieces of bread, torn, into the bottom of the air fryer, under the basket (see note 3).

  • Place all four chicken thighs into the basket, spreading them out as much as possible. Cook for 15 minutes.

  • Flip the chicken carefully, and cook for another 8-10 minutes, until an internal temperature of at least 165°F is reached (see note 4).

  • Remove from the air fryer, and let chicken rest (uncovered) for 5 minutes before serving.

Notes

1- roughly 1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs, roughly 1.5 lbs bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs. 2- a standard-sized basket air fryer fits two spread out chicken thighs at a time and you will need to work in batches. Larger basket air fryers or oven-style air fryers will fit a full batch. 3- the bread absorbs grease from the chicken thighs, reducing the amount of smoking that occurs while cooking. 4- when cooked to 165°F, we found the top of the chicken was not crispy to our liking, and that the part closest to the bone was still a small under. 185-190 was a better result for us, but feel free to play around to obtain your great chicken thighs! Storage Store cooked chicken thighs in an air tight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Reheat Reheat in the air fryer at 390°F/200°C for 3 minutes (boneless) or 5 minutes (bone-in), until crispy and heated through. *nutritional information is for one 4 oz boneless skinless chicken thigh

Nutrition

Serving: 4oz * | Calories: 140kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 107mg | Sodium: 392mg | Potassium: 286mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 150IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 10mg | Iron: 1mg

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