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.
I’ve cooked boneless, skinless chicken breast in the air fryer, and it’s good. However, there’s something wonderful about the flavor, texture, and juiciness of skin-on chicken with the bone still in.
Crispy Chicken Recipe
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Next, turn the chicken over and cook an additional 5 minutes.
Both sides should be crispy.
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!
While you’re cooking chicken, make enough to use in this delicious chicken pot pie recipe.
Can You Cook Frozen Chicken in an Air Fryer?
A lot of people wonder about using your air fryer to take chicken from the freezer to the table.
The answer is yes, you can cook frozen chicken in an air fryer, but make sure the thickest part of the chicken is 165 degrees F. Otherwise, it might not be safe to eat.
Can You Reheat Chicken in an Air Fryer?
That’s another yes! It only takes a couple of minutes to heat up chicken in your air fryer, and it comes out much better than microwave-heated chicken. Plus, it’s quick and super easy.
Whether you heat precooked frozen chicken tenders or leftovers from the night before, try reheating your chicken in your air fryer. You’ll be amazed by how much better it is. In fact, it tastes as fresh as if you’d just made it.
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.
- 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
- Mix the garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, salt and pepper in a small bowl
- Place the chicken thighs in a bowl and add the olive oil.
- Turn the chicken over to make sure it is well coated all over.
- Place the chicken on a plate and sprinkle the seasoning mixture over it. Turn the chicken over and cover the other side.
- Preheat your air fryer to 400 degrees F.
- As soon as the air fryer reaches the desired temperature, place the chicken in the basket, skin side up. Cook for 15 minutes.
- Turn the chicken over and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
- Remove the chicken from the fryer and enjoy!
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.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
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.