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Air Fryer Chicken Thighs In 12 Minutes

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Air Fryer Chicken Thighs In 12 Minutes


These air fryer chicken thighs are perfectly crispy on the outside and ridiculously juicy in the middle! Ready in just 12 minutes, it’s easy to customize and perfect for dinner.

air fryer chicken thighs

When I’m low in time but want something filling, healthy, and protein-rich, I often cook up something in the air fryer.

We have a few favorites on hand, and these include chicken breast, salmon, pork chops, and when we are being a little cheeky, chicken wings. Our recent favorite, though, has been air frying chicken thighs!

Why you’ll love this recipe

  • Ready in under 15 minutes. From prep to plate, these chicken thighs need less than 12 minutes to cook! 
  • No marinating needed. Unlike other ways of cooking thicken thighs, these don’t need any marination time. 
  • Crispy and juicy. A secret trick guarantees the chicken is crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. 
  • Easy to customize. Use your favorite oil, seasonings, spices, and sauces.

What I love about this dish is just how simple and delicious it is. Like other chicken thigh recipes, barely any effort is required for juicy and tender poultry.

boneless air fryer chicken thighs

Ingredients needed

You’ll love the extremely basic ingredient list for this recipe. Besides some seasonings, you are ready to go! Here is what you’ll need:

  • Chicken thighs- Get bone-in chicken thighs with skin, as they turn out juicy when cooked.
  • Olive oil- A flavorful and robust oil that gives the chicken a lovely flavor. Other oils will also work. 
  • Seasonings- salt, pepper, garlic powder, smoked paprika, and Italian seasonings. 

How to make air fryer chicken thighs 

Simple is an understatement for this recipe. With less than a minute of hands-on time, the air fryer takes care of all the hard work! Ready to cook up some thighs?

Step 1- Preheat the air fryer

Start by preheating the air fryer to 375F/190C. Ensure there are no crumbs or bits and pieces in the air fryer vents.

Step 2- Prep the chicken

Next, use a paper towel to soak up any excess moisture. Rub the oil on the chicken, followed by the seasonings. 

Step 3- Air fry the chicken thighs

Now, add the chicken thighs to the air fryer and air fry for 12-14 minutes, flipping halfway through. Once the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165F, it is ready to serve.  

how to make air fryer chicken thighs

How long to cook chicken thighs in an air fryer? 

For 6 oz chicken thighs, they will typically take around 12-14 minutes to be completely cooked. Larger or smaller thighs would have different cooking times. 

What is the temperature of cooked chicken thighs?

The best way to find out when chicken thighs are completely cooked is to use a thermometer to measure the internal temperature which should be 165 Fahrenheit. Measure the temperature of the thickest part of the chicken thighs. 

Tips to make the best recipe

  • Always pat dry the chicken before seasoning it. This guarantees a crispy exterior and keeps all the juices inside.
  • You must flip the chicken halfway through so that both sides are cooked evenly.
  • Do not overcrowd the air fryer basket, or else the chicken will take longer to cook and risk becoming gummy in the middle.
  • Try to choose equal-sized chicken thighs so they cook at the same time.

Flavor variations

The beauty of such a simple recipe is just how easy it is to customize. Here are some ideas:

  • Use other cuts of chicken thighs. Sliced chicken thighs, skinless chicken thighs, or boneless AND skinless chicken thighs. 
  • Add a spicy kick. Add some red pepper flakes, smoked paprika, and chilli powder. 
  • Cover it in sauces. Rub some teriyaki sauce, honey mustard, or bbq sauce over the chicken before air frying it. 
  • Skip the oil completely. For a healthier twist, skip the oil and air fry it as it is. 

What to serve with chicken thighs? 

These air fried chicken thighs are a blank canvas, and are perfect to pair with simple sides, fancier side dishes, or cover it in creamy sauces. While there are tons of side dishes to choose from, here are our favorites-

For a lighter dinner, nothing beats a fresh garden salad or coleslaw. If you want something heartier, try a cauliflower potato salad. Some heartier side dishes include keto mashed potatoes and let’s not forget the creamy sauces to drizzle on top- Alfredo sauce or cheese sauce

Storage instructions

  • To Store: Leftovers can be stored in an air tight container for up to five days. 
  • To Freeze: Place the cooked and cooled chicken in a ziplock bag and store it in the freezer for up to three months. 
  • Reheating: Thaw the frozen air fryer chicken thighs overnight before reheating in the air fryer, oven, or even microwave. 
chicken thighs in air fryer

More air fryer recipes to try

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you stack chicken thighs in the air fryer?

No, you can’t stack chicken in the air fryer. Leave some gaps between the chicken pieces to allow the air to circulate and cook the chicken. 

Can you put raw chicken in the air fryer?

Unless you are reheating chicken, it’s always best to only use raw chicken.

Can you put foil in the air fryer?

Yes, you can put foil in the air fryer, but use it at the bottom of the air fryer basket, not the air fryer itself. 

Frozen chicken thighs- Can you air fry them?

Fresh or frozen chicken thighs can be cooked in the air fryer.

chicken thighs in air fryer
  • 4 large bone-in chicken thighs
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasonings
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Preheat the air fryer to 190C/375F. 

  • In a bowl, add the chicken and oil and mix together. Add the salt, pepper, and spices and mix well.

  • Place chicken, skin side up, in an air fryer basket. Cook for 13-17 minutes, or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165F. Be sure to flip halfway through.

  • Remove the chicken thighs from the air fryer and let them sit for five minutes before serving.

TO STORE: Leftovers can be stored in an air tight container for up to five days. 
TO FREEZE: Place the cooked and cooled chicken in a ziplock bag and store it in the freezer for up to three months. 
TO REHEAT: Thaw the frozen air fryer chicken thighs overnight before reheating in the air fryer, oven, or even microwave. 

Serving: 1chicken thigh | Calories: 249kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 13g | Sodium: 402mg | Potassium: 313mg | Fiber: 1g | Vitamin A: 241IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 18mg | Iron: 1mg