Air Fryer Chicken Thighs are a crispy, juicy family favorite! These have all the flavor you love in fried chicken, but without the grease. Just marinate, season and pop in your air fryer. Dinner’s ready!
Who doesn’t love crispy piping hot chicken? Everyone needs a few good chicken thighs recipes up their sleeve.
Air Fryer recipes are some of my family’s favorites. I love how easy air fryer cooking is. And they love the delicious results. It’s a win-win. There are always rave reviews when I make air fryer pork tenderloin or air fryer cheeseburgers.
Why this Recipe Works
Wondering why air fryer chicken works so well? The hot air circulates evenly over the surface of the chicken thighs creating juicy, tender chicken with a crispy skin.
No oil needed!
- Simple ingredients. We make air fryer chicken with a few pantry staples.
- Quick cooking time. After marinating, the chicken cooks in about 25 minutes.
- No mess. No more splattering oil on the stove top when you switch to air frying.
- No heating up your oven. Perfect for hot summer days.
- Kid approved. Everyone gobbles these chicken thighs up without complaint.
How to Cook Air Fryer Chicken Thighs
Ingredients For Air Fryer Chicken Thighs
Ingredients for discussion purposes, full printable recipe found below.
This recipe is not heavily battered like southern style fried chicken. Instead, we us a chicken thigh marinade made with milk and lemon juice.
- Whole milk: This whole milk and lemon juice concoction acts similar to buttermilk, so if you have buttermilk, you can just use that instead of the milk and lemon juice.
- Lemon juice: The lemon juice can be substituted with lime juice. it can be fresh or from concentrate.
- Chicken thighs: For the juiciest chicken, you want to use bone in with the skin on. If you would like to use boneless, skinless chicken thigh, you can do that as well.
- All-purpose flour: If you are eating gluten free, your favorite gluten free flour will likely work.
- Spices and Seasonings: Onion powder, garlic powder, salt, cumin and dried basil. If your family enjoys other herbs and spices, feel free to get creative and use those in place of or in addition to the spices in this recipe.
- Non-stick cooking spray
- Air Fryer
- Large zipper baggie
- Shallow bowl for dipping chicken
- Measuring tools
- Bag Holder – not required, but they are so handy!
- Meat Thermometer – this is a go to for me when cooking any chicken or meat.
Steps To Cook Chicken Thighs In An Air Fryer
After marinating, the bone in chicken thighs get a light coating of flour and seasonings. Pop those marinated seasoned thighs in the air fryer and they’re ready to eat in no time.
If you love this chicken recipe, give our Air Fryer Cheeseburgers a try next!
Tips & tricks for making chicken thighs in air fryer
- Preheat the air fryer before cooking.
- Cook in a single layer. Four chicken thighs fits comfortably in my air fryer basket. There should be no overlapping or stacking of chicken.
- Place aluminum foil under the basket. This will collect any excess flour and make clean up a breeze.
- Spray with cooking spray. Give the chicken a spritz with cooking spray a few times as they cook. This helps the flour coating stick to the chicken and makes them extra crispy.
- Use a meat thermometer to check for done-ness. All air fryers are a bit different and cooking times may vary. The chicken needs to cook until its internal temperature reaches 165 F.
- Thighs should be bone-in and skin-on for this recipe.
How long to cook chicken thighs in the air fryer?
In my air fryer, these take about 17 minutes on one side and an additional 6 minutes on the other side. Exact time will vary depending on your air fryer and the size of the chicken thighs.
What can I serve with this air fryer chicken?
Turn these crispy chicken thighs into a full meal with a side of mashed potatoes and coleslaw. A basket of dinner rolls or cheddar bay biscuits would be perfect too! While not easy to cook at the same time, I often cook my Air Fryer Baked Potato beforehand, then heat up in the microwave when it’s time for dinner.
How can I make this more like deep fried chicken?
For a more crunchy deep fried feel, coat the chicken with a beaten egg after adding the flour coating. Then cover with breadcrumbs and air fry as directed.
How do I store leftover air fryer chicken thighs?
Keep these in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. You can also freeze this chicken for up to 1 month. Thaw and reheat in the air fryer for a few minutes to crisp them back up again before serving.
How can I best use the air fryer for this recipe?
For this particular recipe, here are a few things to remember when making this recipe.
First, make sure the air fryer is preheated.
Second, all air fryers are a little different, so using a meat thermometer to check and make sure your chicken gets up to 165 degrees F will be helpful to know if it’s cooked through completely. Placing aluminum foil in the outer basket will help with clean up, since you will likely lose some of the flour.
Also, opening the basket at least once during cooking to spray the chicken thighs with cooking spray and flip them will help get rid of the excess flour spots and achieve great crispiness on all sides.
More Recipes You’ll Love
- Old Fashioned Macaroni Salad
- Crock Pot Baked Beans
- Breaded Chicken Parmesan
- Homemade Chicken Pot Pie
- Creamy Lemon Pepper Chicken
- Old Fashioned Potato Salad
Check out all of my Air Fryer Recipes!
Air Fryer Chicken Thighs
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 1/2 tsp salt divided
- 1 tsp lemon juice about half a lemon
- 4 chicken thighs bone in, skin on
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/4 tsp dried basil
- cooking spray
- Place the chicken thighs in a large Ziploc bag.
- Pour in the whole milk, 1 teaspoon salt, and lemon juice over top the chicken. Shake the bag to incorporate the ingredients.
- Let all the chicken thighs marinate in the milk mixture for 30-45 minutes in the refrigerator.
- Combine the all-purpose flour, garlic powder, onion powder, ½ teaspoon salt, cumin, and dried basil into a large bowl. Mix well.
- Spray the air fryer basket with cooking spray and preheat it to 360 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Shake excess milk mixture off each thigh before coating it in the flour mixture.Once all thighs are coated, place them in the basket on an even layer. Do not stack chicken thighs. If your air fryer is not large enough to fit the thighs in an even layer, you can cook in batches.
- Spray each thigh with cooking spray.
- Cook for 17 minutes. Flip the chicken thighs and cook for an additional 6 minutes or until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. Best served warm.