Craving a delicious and easy dinner option you can make in the air fryer? Look no further than this mouth-watering recipe for Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Thighs. With a base seasoning recipe, as well as four additional flavor options, such as classic lemon pepper and savory teriyaki sauce, this recipe is perfect for everyone. Experiment with different flavor options and enjoy a new taste every time you make it.
An air fryer is a handy kitchen appliance that cooks food using hot air circulating around the food. This method of cooking is perfect for chicken thighs as it gives them a crispy, golden brown exterior while keeping the inside juicy and tender. It’s also much quicker to preheat than an oven, uses less energy, and the compact size means it doesn’t take up too much space in your kitchen.
The seasoning options are endless, and you can use the base recipe and adjust the seasoning to your liking. You can also marinate the chicken beforehand for an extra boost of flavor. The recipe uses bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, which will give you the best crispy skin, but it can also be made with skinless chicken thighs.
Using Skinless Chicken Thighs
If you prefer to use skinless chicken thighs, you can still use all of the same ingredients, including the oil, you’d just rub it directly onto the meat rather than the skin. With skin, people either love it or hate it and there are pros and cons to both. Cooking skinless chicken thighs will result in a slightly different texture but it will still be delicious and flavorful. It’s also a great option for those looking for a leaner protein source. Simply follow the recipe as directed, but rub your oil and spices directly on the meat, rather than the skin.
Tips for Success
- Make sure to preheat the air fryer for at least 5 minutes before adding the chicken. Use a meat thermometer to ensure that the chicken reaches the safe internal temperature of 165-175 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Experiment with different temperatures and timing: Different air fryers can vary in temperature and timing, so you may need to adjust the recipe accordingly. Keep an eye on the chicken as it cooks and adjust the temperature and timing as needed.
- Season the chicken generously: Make sure to use enough seasoning to give the chicken plenty of flavor. You can adjust the seasoning to your liking, or use the additional flavor options provided in the recipe.
- Use parchment paper or a silicone mat: If you want to avoid sticking and make cleanup a breeze, use parchment paper or a silicone mat to line the air fryer basket.
- Don’t overcrowd the basket: To ensure that the chicken cooks evenly and gets that perfect crispy texture, make sure to not overcrowd the basket. Cook the chicken in batches if necessary.
- Let the chicken rest before serving: Once the chicken is done cooking, let it rest for a few minutes before serving. This will allow the juices to redistribute and make the chicken even more juicy and flavorful.
Frequently Asked Questions
The cooking time for chicken thighs in an air fryer will vary depending on the thickness of the chicken and the desired level of doneness. Generally, for bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, you should cook them at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 10-12 minutes per side, or until the internal temperature reaches 165-175 degrees Fahrenheit.
Yes, you can marinate the chicken before cooking. Marinating the chicken will add extra flavor and tenderness to the meat. You can use any marinade you like and let the chicken sit in it for 2-3 hours before cooking.
The best way to ensure that the chicken is cooked through is to use a meat thermometer. The internal temperature of the chicken should reach 165-175 degrees Fahrenheit.
This recipe is best served fresh, but leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To reheat, place the chicken in the air fryer at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 3-5 minutes or until heated through. You can also reheat it in the microwave for 1-2 minutes, but be careful not to overheat and dry out the chicken.
If you like this recipe, you may be interested in these other delicious chicken air fryer recipes:
Air Fryer Chicken Thighs (Plus Variations!)
- 6 bone-in skin-on chicken thighs
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons ground paprika
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- Preheat your air fryer to 400 degrees Fahrenheit for at least 5 minutes.
- Trim any excess fat or skin from the chicken thighs and place them in a large dish, skin side up.
- Drizzle the chicken skin with olive oil and rub it to coat evenly.
- In a small bowl, mix together the paprika, basil, oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper.
- Sprinkle the seasoning mixture evenly on top of the chicken thighs, making sure to work some of the seasoning underneath the skin.
- Air fry the chicken at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 10-12 minutes per side, or until the internal temperature reaches 165-175 degrees Fahrenheit.
Sauce and Seasoning Variations
- In a medium bowl, mix together 1/3 cup brown sugar, 2 tablespoons cornstarch, and 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger.
- Stir in 1 cup water, 1/4 cup soy sauce, 1 tablespoon honey, and 1 minced garlic clove.
- Marinate the chicken thighs in the mixture for 2-3 hours before cooking in the air fryer as directed.
Simple BBQ Sauce:
- In a medium saucepan, whisk together 1/4 cup brown sugar, 2 teaspoons cornstarch, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon smoked paprika.
- Whisk in 1 cup tomato sauce, 1/4 cup molasses, 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, 1 tablespoon hot sauce, and 3 minced garlic cloves.
- Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, and let simmer for 15 minutes.
- Lightly salt and pepper the chicken thighs and baste with barbecue sauce before cooking them in the air fryer as directed.
Salt and Vinegar
- In a large mixing bowl, stir together 2 cups distilled white vinegar, 1 cup water, 3 tablespoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper until dissolved.
- Add the raw chicken thighs and make sure they are completely submerged.
- Let soak in the refrigerator for 2 hours. Pat dry and sprinkle lightly with salt before cooking in the air fryer as directed.
- In a small bowl, mix 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil and 1 tablespoon lemon pepper.
- Coat the chicken thighs with the mixture before cooking in the air fryer as directed.