I’ll be honest, I wasn’t completely sold on air fryers UNTIL I made these air fryer chicken thighs. When I tell you that these chicken thighs are the most juicy chicken thighs I’ve ever had in my life, I wouldn’t be exaggerating. Add to that a deliciously crispy skin and the fact that they cook in about half the time as in the oven, and I’m SOLD. Air fryer chicken thighs are my new easy dinner go-to.
Why Cook Chicken in An Air Fryer?
If you haven’t hopped on the air fryer train yet, let me explain what makes this little machine special. Air fryers are mini convection ovens that cook using rapidly circulating hot hair. This constant flow of hot air increases evaporation and gives food a deliciously crispy exterior while cooking fast enough that the interior doesn’t dry out. And that, my friends, is exactly what you need to create super juicy chicken thighs!
What kind of Air Fryer to Use
You can cook chicken thighs in pretty much any type of air fryer. You’ll just need to make sure that the air fryer basket is large enough to cook the number of chicken thighs you’d like to make. We cooked four large chicken thighs in a 5-quart Air Fryer. The chicken thighs should have enough room around them for air to flow freely, keeping in mind that they will shrink some as they cook.
Ingredients for Air Fryer Chicken Thighs
Air fryer chicken thighs couldn’t be more simple. You only need a few ingredients and you can swap out the seasonings to suit your mood. Here’s what you’ll need for these air fryer chicken thighs:
- Bone-in skin-on chicken thighs: using bone-in thighs will create the juiciest most flavorful thighs. Boneless chicken thighs will cook much faster but will be less juicy. Skinless chicken will tend to dry out faster and not have that nice crispy exterior.
- Seasonings: You can use any seasoning mix you’d like, but today we used a simple mix of smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, oregano, salt, and pepper.
- Cornstarch: This helps the skin get extra nice and crispy!
- Cooking oil: Just a little bit goes a long way with the air fryer! The oil helps the seasoning coat the chicken evenly and helps create that crispy skin.
More Seasoning Ideas
If you want to change up the flavor of your air fryer chicken thighs, try using some of these other seasoning blends:
What to Serve with Air Fryer Chicken Thighs
Since air fryer chicken thighs are such a fast and easy dinner staple, I suggest keeping the side dishes easy as well. You’ll want to serve the chicken thighs with something that you can prepare in the amount of time that it takes the chicken thighs to cook in the air fryer, so I’d serve them with something like three bean salad, mushroom rice, homemade mac and cheese, a simple side salad, or steamed green beans.
Air Fryer Chicken Thighs
- In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, cayenne, salt, and pepper.
- Preheat the air fryer to 400ºF. Pat the chicken thighs dry with a paper towel.
- Place the chicken thighs in a bowl and drizzle the cooking oil over top, then add the cornstarch and seasoning mixture. Toss the chicken thighs until they are well coated in oil and spices.
- Place the chicken thighs in the air fryer basket, skin side up, and cook for 10 minutes. Flip the chicken thighs and cook for 8 minutes more.
- Flip one last time so the skin side is up and cook for two minutes. Use a meat thermometer to nake sure the internal temperature has reached 165ºF, and if not, cook for 1-2 minutes longer. Serve the chicken thighs hot with your favorite simple sides!
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How to Make Air Fryer Chicken Thighs – Step by Step Photos
Combine the seasonings and cornstarch in a bowl. The seasoning mix we used today was 1 tsp smoked paprika, ½ tsp garlic powder, ¼ tsp onion powder, ⅛ tsp cayenne pepper, ¼ tsp dried oregano, ½ tsp salt, ¼ tsp pepper, and 1 Tbsp cornstarch.
Preheat the air fryer to 400ºF. Pat four (about 2.25 lbs. total) bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs dry with a paper towel.
Add the chicken thighs to a bowl and drizzle with 1 Tbsp cooking oil, then sprinkle the seasoning mix over top. Toss the chicken thighs until they are evenly coated in oil and spices.
Place the chicken thighs in the air fryer basket, skin side up, making sure there’s at least a little room around each for the air to circulate. The chicken thighs will shrink a bit as they cook, too, allowing for more air flow.
Cook the chicken thighs for 10 minutes, then flip and cook for about 8 minutes more. I like to flip them one last time and cook with the skin side up for the final two minutes to make sure that skin is extra crispy! Make sure to test the chicken with a meat thermometer to make sure the internal temperature reaches 165ºF.
Serve those juicy air fryer chicken thighs and all of their crispy skin goodness with your favorite sides!
Seriously, the juiciest chicken EVER. 🤤