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Air Fryer Garlic Lemon Chicken Thighs

These air fryer garlic lemon chicken thighs give you all the deliciousness you want, yet they’re super easy to make. There are only a few ingredients. But all the different flavors come together in a way that will send you back for seconds. Serve it with some delicious corn, rice, pasta, or a hash brown casserole, and you’ll make everyone at the table very happy!

garlic lemon chicken on a plate with a lemon slice

Although this recipe is for boneless skinless chicken thighs, you can also make it with chicken breasts and bone-in chicken. I used to use prefer chicken breasts, but now I prefer thighs because they don’t dry out when you cook them.

Plus I feel like they have a lot more flavor. The cooking time may be different if you use a different cut. So make sure you have a meat thermometer handy.

Air Fryer Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs

I love the versatility of chicken, which is why I stock up on all cuts of meat. One thing I love about chicken thighs is that they have a little more fat, which means they also have more flavor. This is a perfect weeknight dinner that is easy to cook but has the best flavor.

After the preparation, it’s a super quick meal and a great way to get the nutrients to keep your family healthy. Serve it with mac and cheese and a cool, crisp watermelon cucumber salad.

Ingredients

All of the ingredients are easy to find in any grocery store. Or you might even have them in your pantry and fridge.

plate of raw chicken thighs

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
olive oil and lemon lemon
salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika, onion powder, and minced garlic

In order to print this recipe, go to the bottom of this post where you’ll find the printable recipe card.

dried chives and parsley flakes

If you want to garnish it, sprinkle some chopped chives or parsley over the top of the serving platter. You can also scatter a few lemon slices around the plate for extra color.

Alternative Ingredients

If you don’t have some of the ingredients, many of them can be substituted. For example, you can use avocado oil instead of olive oil. Actually, you can use any kid of fat you have. When I don’t have lemons, I’ll use lime juice. It gives it a slightly different flavor, but it’s still good.

You can also use seasoned salt to take the place of onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Another thing I’ve used is a prepared meat rub. Many of the ones on the market have onion, garlic, and salt.

My husband and I enjoy cajun, Mexican, and Italian flavors. So I often swap things out for cajun seasoning, taco seasoning, or Italian seasoning. For some extra heat, add a dash of cayenne pepper.

Although I don’t do this because I have to be gluten free, you can coat the chicken in bread crumbs. Doing this adds texture and crunch to the meat. More delicious ingredients to try:

  • Buffalo sauce
  • Lemon pepper seasoning
  • BBQ sauce
  • Soy sauce
  • Worcestershire sauce

Prepare the Chicken

One of the key steps in making this dish taste so good is in the preparation. Start out by coating all of the chicken pieces with half of the olive oil. 

That helps the remaining ingredients stick to the meat. It also helps deliver crispy chicken thighs. Next, get either a medium or large bowl and combine the remaining olive oil and the rest of the ingredients. You can do a dry rub with just the spices. But I feel that this method is better for the air fryer. In fact, it delivers the most wonderful, juiciest chicken.

So add the lemon juice, minced garlic, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, salt, and black pepper to the last tablespoon of olive oil. Then whisk it until everything is well mixed.

Chicken in a marinade

Put the chicken in the bowl and roll it around in the mixture until it’s completely coated. Then cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Put it in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes. Or even better, get it ready first thing in the morning and let it marinate all day until you’re ready to cook dinner.

plastic wrap over the bowl of chicken

I like to remove the chicken from the refrigerator about half an hour before cooking it. That raises the temperature of the chicken, enabling it to cook more evenly.

How to Cook Garlic Lemon Chicken Thighs in an Air Fryer

First, preheat your air fryer to 380 degrees F. You can coat the basket with olive oil spray. But it’s not necessary since the chicken is coated in oil. Place the raw chicken in a single layer in your air fryer basket. Make sure there’s plenty of room between the pieces of chicken for the air to circulate.

raw marinated chicken in air fryer basket

Air fry the chicken for 12 minutes. Then turn it over and air fry it for another 6-8 minutes. 

turning the chicken over in the air fryer basket

It needs to be cooked all the way through. But you don’t want to overcook it, or it will be dry. I use an instant read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken. It’s done when the internal temperature of the chicken is 165˚ F.

The cook time will be longer or shorter, depending on the size of the thighs. Remove the chicken from the air fryer and allow the juices to settle for about 5 minutes before serving. Don’t worry. It will stay hot for a while.

plate of garlic lemon chicken garnished with chives and lemon slices

For garnish, I like to sprinkle either some chopped chives or parsley over it. You can even add a few lemon slices to the serving platter for extra color.

Tips for Making the Best Garlic Lemon Chicken

This recipe is super easy and delicious if you follow the directions. Here are some more tips to make it as good as it can get:

  • Always use fresh chicken.
  • Marinate the chicken a little bit longer than the recipe calls for to add more flavor.
  • Don’t overcook the chicken. Thighs are usually pretty juicy, but even they will dry out if you cook them too long.
  • Use fresh ingredients for the seasonings if you can find them.
  • Don’t forget to garnish the chicken after it’s cooked. The visual appearance is really important to make the food look appetizing.
  • Pair the chicken with a simple salad or your favorite vegetables.
  • Don’t be afraid to experiment with additional flavors. A small drizzle of honey can take this dish to next-level goodness.

What to Do with Leftover Garlic Lemon Chicken

Chances are, you won’t have much chicken left after everyone tastes it. However, if you do, put it in an airtight container and put it in the refrigerator. It should be good for at least 2 or 3 days.

garlic lemon chicken on a serving plater and on a plate with chives and lemon slices

You can also freeze garlic lemon chicken. Cool it to room temperature and put it in either a freezer bag or airtight container.

Label it with what is inside and the date. It should be good for up to 3 months. Thaw frozen cooked chicken in the refrigerator. Please don’t leave it out on the counter because you risk bacteria growth that could make you sick.

How to Eat Leftover Chicken

My favorite way to eat leftover chicken is to cut it into bite-size pieces and place it on a bed of lettuce. It makes a great salad. Another thing you can do is make this yummy chicken salad.

The lemon and garlic add depth to the flavor and make it extra good! Use chopped leftover garlic lemon chicken in any type of chicken casserole. The seasonings that you originally cooked it with add another dimension to the dish.

garlic lemon chicken in an air fryer and on a plate

Delicious Side Dishes to Go with Garlic Lemon Chicken

My first piece of advice about what to serve with these air fryer garlic lemon chicken thighs is to go with whatever you like. But don’t forget about including sides during meal prepping.

Here are some sides that we like:

Buttermilk Garlic Mashed Potatoes – Add this to your plate for a whole lot of extra flavor!

Mama’s Potato Salad – This traditional southern style potato salad recipe is always the first to disappear.

Deluxe Green Bean Casserole – Even if you’ve had a green bean casserole, check this one out. A simple addition to the list of ingredients takes it from good to amazing!

Zucchini Parmesan Chips – Add some crunch to the meal with these delicious zucchini chips. Dip is optional.

Creamed Spinach – Everyone will love this delightfully creamy side dish, and you’ll feel good knowing they’re eating their veggies. 

Honey Roasted Carrots and Brussels Sprouts – This delicious side dish from Miz Helen’s Country Cottage is something everyone will ask for over and over!

Broccoli Slaw – One of our favorite salads, this broccoli slaw adds flavor, crunch, color, nutrition, and a whole lot of goodness to any meal.

Balsamic Glazed Zucchini – If you enjoy lots of delicious savory flavors on the same plate, this balsamic glazed zucchini will make you very happy. It’s absolutely delicious and a side dish you’ll want to make often.

Yield: 4 servings

Air Fryer Garlic Lemon Chicken Thighs

plate of garlic lemon chicken

When you're in the mood for a delicious but quick and easy dinner, make these air fryer garlic lemon chicken thighs!

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat the air fryer to 380˚ F.
  2. Rub half of the olive oil all over the chicken, making sure all of it is coated.
  3. Combine all of the remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk until well mixed.
  4. Place the chicken in the bowl and coat with the mixture.
  5. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow the chicken to rest in the mixture for about 15 minutes.
  6. Place chicken thighs in a single layer in the preheated air fryer basket and air fry it for 12 minutes.
  7. Turn the chicken thighs over and air fry for another 8 minutes. Check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer. When it reaches 165˚ F at the thickest part, the chicken is done.
  8. Remove from the air fryer and garnish with chopped chives or parsley.
  9. Serve hot with your favorite side dishes.

Notes

Garnish with chopped chives, parsley flakes, or lemon slices.

Nutrition Information

Yield

4

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 289Total Fat 16gSaturated Fat 4gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 12gCholesterol 137mgSodium 382mgCarbohydrates 12gFiber 1gSugar 8gProtein 28g

The nutrition information is a product of online calculators. I try to provide true and accurate information, but these numbers are estimates.

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