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Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Thighs

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These air fryer chicken thighs are crispy on the outside and juicy and tender on the inside. One bite, and you’ll want to bump this to the top of your ever-growing list of ways to cook chicken.

Crispy Chicken Recipe

2 pieces of air fryer chicken on a plate

I’ve tried cooking chicken in a variety of ways, hoping to find the perfect crunch. I’ve always enjoyed traditional fried chicken, but a number of years ago I discovered I was sensitive to gluten.

That was a real setback for me because fried chicken has always been one of my favorite foods. I’d even perfected my own recipe that I shared with friends.

So after that discovery about my sensitivity, I set out on a quest for the same crunchy goodness.

I tried a bunch of different types of flour—from almond flour to tapioca flour—and none of them matched up.

However, I did manage to make these delicious oven-fried chicken strips that I actually like better than traditional fried chicken. My husband likes it too.

So now that the pressure was off, I decided to try other methods. Some came close, but they were all quite messy.

Air Fryer to the Rescue

Then I got my air fryer. Wow, what a game changer!

Before I brought it home, I moved some things aside in my appliances cabinet. After all, it needed its own home, right?

Well, that air fryer has its own home, all right. It sits on my kitchen counter, right beside my toaster oven.

I use that thing almost every single day for something. And you’ll probably see a lot of air fryer recipes here very soon.

I currently have my French fries recipe posted. Another one I’ve posted is my zucchini fries. Both of those are delicious, so you can bet there will soon be more.

I highly recommend getting the air fryer with the biggest basket you can afford. Otherwise, you’ll have to cook the food in more batches. I’ll put a link to the one like I have at the bottom of this post.

Benefits of the Air Fryer

Since you’re not technically frying food in an air fryer, it’s a much healthier and lower-calorie way to cook according to the Cleveland Clinic.

Instead of immersing the food in oil, you use a fraction of the amount you’d typically use when you fry food.

It’s also much faster than more traditional cooking methods. You can actually cut your cooking time by as much as half with many foods.

The air fryer is basically a small convection oven with a fan that circulates the hot air around the food. That’s how it stays moist on the inside while crisping up on the outside.

Another thing I appreciate is the fact that food smells don’t linger in the kitchen as long as they would otherwise. The aroma of food as it’s cooking is wonderful. The next day, not so much.

Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Thighs Ingredients

Since this is a chicken recipe, of course you need to start with chicken. I purchased a 6-pack of thighs because I wanted leftovers.

Package of chicken thighs

Other ingredients you’ll need are olive oil, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper. Or you can use a seasoning blend and seasoned salt.

Garlic powder, smoked paprika, onion powder, olive oil, salt, and pepper

I like to mix my own so I can control what goes on the chicken, but it really doesn’t matter. The main thing is to get the flavor like you want it.

If this is your first time making this recipe, I highly recommend following these directions. It gives you a starting point to know what you would do different next time.

For exact measurements of each ingredient and full directions, go to the recipe card at the bottom of the page. You can even print out the card by using the “print” button.

How to Make Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Thighs

Normally, I like to preheat my air fryer before I start preparing the food. However, this time, I wait because I like to let the chicken sit in the seasoning for a little while.

First, put the garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, salt, and pepper in a small bow. Mix it well and set it aside.

Chicken seasoning mixture in a small bowl

Secondly, put the chicken thighs in a medium-size bowl and pour the olive oil over it.

Either with your hands or with tongs, turn the chicken over and over until it’s all coated with oil.

Chicken thighs with olive oil in a bowl

Next, place the chicken on a plate in a single layer and sprinkle the seasoning on top.

If you want more salt or pepper, you can add it now.

Then, turn the chicken over and season the other side. Set the plate aside so the seasoning has a few minutes to settle.

Now, preheat your air fryer to 400 degrees F. It should only take a few minutes to reach the desired temperature.

When I preheat my air fryer, the “on” light comes on.

Air fryer preheating

Once the air fryer lets you know it’s ready (mine beeps), place the chicken in a single layer in the basket.

Cook the chicken for 15 minutes.

Seasoned chicken thighs in the air fryer basket

Next, turn the chicken over and cook an additional 5 minutes.

Both sides should be crispy.

Turning chicken over in the air fryer

If you’re not sure the chicken is done, insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the biggest piece. If it’s 165 degrees F, that means the chicken is done.

Finally, remove the chicken from the basket because it’s done. Serve it with your favorite side dishes and enjoy!

More Recipes

Almost anything you serve on the side goes with these delicious crispy chicken thighs. We always like to include a salad, either before the meal or alongside it.

This creamy coleslaw is the perfect side for any kind of chicken dish. Another one we like is this broccoli slaw.

We also like crispy air fryer French fries or these delicious honey mustard potatoes. The main thing all of these foods have in common is the fact that they’re packed with flavor.

See this recipe shared at Full Plate Thursday, Weekend Potluck, and Meal Plan Monday.

Yield: 6 crispy chicken thighs

Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Thighs

2 air fryer chicken thighs on a plate

If you're looking for a delicious, budget-friendly dinner, you'll love these air fryer chicken thighs.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 6 chicken thighs (bone in, skin on)
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon of onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of pepper

Instructions

    1. Mix the garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, salt and pepper in a small bowl
    2. Place the chicken thighs in a bowl and add the olive oil.
    3. Turn the chicken over to make sure it is well coated all over.
    4. Place the chicken on a plate and sprinkle the seasoning mixture over it. Turn the chicken over and cover the other side.
    5. Preheat your air fryer to 400 degrees F.
    6. As soon as the air fryer reaches the desired temperature, place the chicken in the basket, skin side up. Cook for 15 minutes.
    7. Turn the chicken over and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
    8. Remove the chicken from the fryer and enjoy!

Notes

If you’re not sure if the chicken is done, insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the largest piece of chicken. If it reads 165 degrees F, it’s done.

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Nutrition Information

Yield

6

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 303Total Fat 20gSaturated Fat 6gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 14gCholesterol 166mgSodium 403mgCarbohydrates 1gFiber 0gSugar 0gProtein 31g

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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RICHARD

Wednesday 2nd of September 2020

I have some boneless, skinless chicken thighs in the fridge now. Have you tried it with skinless?

southernhomeexpress

Wednesday 2nd of September 2020

Hi Richard. I wish I knew the answer to this, but I'm not sure. If you decide to try it, maybe if you spray them with olive oil and sprinkle some of your favorite savory seasonings on them, you'll get some crispness. Please let me know how it turns out if you decide to try it.

Billie

Wednesday 2nd of September 2020

I did use your recipe, loved ,loved loved it. Will be using it on other chicken parts also.

southernhomeexpress

Wednesday 2nd of September 2020

Hi Billie! I'm so glad you enjoyed it! I haven't had my air fryer long, but I've cooked dozens of foods in it! Please let me know how other chicken parts turn out! I bet they're wonderful!

Miz Helen

Tuesday 1st of September 2020

Your Air Fryer Chicken Thighs look awesome! Thanks so much for sharing with us at Full Plate Thursday,499 and hope you have a great week! Miz Helen

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