Are you tired of dry, flavorless chicken thighs? Air fryers have revolutionized the way we cook, offering a healthier alternative to traditional frying. In this post, we’ll guide you through crafting perfectly crispy and juicy air fryer chicken thighs in just 20 minutes.

Let’s get cooking!

Key Takeaways

  • Air fryers cook chicken thighs quickly, usually in 20 minutes or less, and make the skin crispy while keeping the meat juicy.
  • Using an instant – read thermometer is key to ensure chicken thighs reach the safe internal temperature of 165°F before eating.
  • Different seasoning options like classic, Italian, BBQ rub, lemon pepper, herb infusion, spicy paprika, and sweet glaze can add variety to your meals.
  • To store leftovers properly, keep them in an airtight container and reheat using the air fryer to maintain crispiness.
  • Bone – in chicken thighs may take slightly longer to cook but often end up juicier than boneless thighs due to slower cooking process.

Benefits of Cooking Chicken Thighs in an Air Fryer

Shifting gears from our intro, let’s dive into the perks of using an air fryer. Cooking chicken thighs in an air fryer is a game-changer for getting that crispy skin we all love.

The hot air circles around the meat, ensuring every part gets evenly cooked and deliciously browned. You’ll also cut down on saturated fat compared to traditional frying methods, since you use much less oil.

This means juicier chicken thighs with fewer calories.

Air frying cooks chicken fast, often in 20 minutes or less! It’s super convenient for a quick meal. Plus, it keeps your kitchen cooler than using an oven does and cleaning up is a breeze – just wash the air fryer basket and you’re done.

Another bonus: Air fried chicken thighs tend to stay juicy inside because they cook quickly and don’t lose too much moisture during cooking time.

Ingredients for Delicious Air Fryer Chicken Thighs

When making delicious air fryer chicken thighs, it’s important to consider whether to use bone-in or boneless thighs, as well as the various seasoning options available for flavoring.

Each ingredient choice plays a crucial role in creating crispy and juicy chicken thighs in the air fryer.

Bone-in vs. boneless chicken thighs

Bone-in and boneless chicken thighs both offer unique benefits when cooked in an air fryer. Your choice depends on your preference for flavor, texture, and cooking time. Here’s a quick comparison to help you decide:

Bone-in Chicken ThighsBoneless Chicken Thighs
Richer flavor from the bone marrow seeping into the meat during cooking.Quicker to cook since there’s no bone to extend the cooking time.
Require a slightly longer cook time compared to boneless.Easier to eat without having to navigate around the bone.
May retain more moisture due to the slower cooking process, leading to juicier meat.Often come skinless, which could result in less crispy texture compared to bone-in, skin-on thighs.
Ideal for those who enjoy the process of eating meat off the bone.Convenient for recipes that call for chopped or shredded chicken.

Various seasoning options

Cooking chicken thighs in an air fryer lets you play with flavors. You can create a tasty crust using different spices and herbs.

  • Classic Seasoning: Mix salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder for a traditional taste.
  • Italian Flair: Combine Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and a pinch of red pepper flakes to give it a zesty kick.
  • BBQ Rub: Use smoked paprika, brown sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, and a touch of cayenne for some heat.
  • Lemon Pepper: Sprinkle your chicken with lemon zest, cracked black pepper, and garlic powder for a tangy twist.
  • Herb Infusion: Rub the chicken with chopped fresh parsley, thyme, rosemary, and olive oil for an aromatic experience.
  • Spicy Paprika: Sweet paprika pairs well with a bit of chili powder and cumin to spice things up.
  • Sweet Glaze: Brush honey or maple syrup on the chicken towards the end of cooking for sweetness with crunch.

How to Make Perfect Air Fryer Chicken Thighs in 20 Minutes

Prepare the chicken thighs by seasoning them with your preferred seasonings, then place them in the air fryer and cook for 20 minutes until they are crispy and juicy. Using an instant-read meat thermometer to check for doneness is a crucial step to ensure perfectly cooked chicken thighs every time.

Step-by-step instructions

  1. Preheat the air fryer to 400°F.
  2. Pat the chicken thighs dry with paper towels and place them in a bowl.
  3. Drizzle the chicken thighs with olive oil and season them generously with your favorite seasoning mixture or spice rub, ensuring both sides are well-coated.
  4. Place the seasoned chicken thighs in the air fryer basket, skin side down.
  5. Cook for 10 minutes, then flip the chicken thighs and cook for an additional 10 minutes or until they reach an internal temperature of 165°F when checked with a meat thermometer.
  6. Once cooked, let the chicken rest for a few minutes before serving to lock in the juices.
  7. Serve your perfectly crispy and juicy air fryer chicken thighs immediately.

Important tool for cooking meat

The instant-read thermometer is an essential tool for cooking meat, including chicken thighs in the air fryer. It ensures that the internal temperature reaches a safe level and prevents undercooking or overcooking.

Use it to check for doneness, with a safe internal temperature of 165°F for chicken thighs, guaranteeing juicy and perfectly cooked results every time.

When using the instant-read thermometer, insert it into the thickest part of the chicken thigh without touching bone or fat. Wait for a few seconds until the reading stabilizes, and if it reaches 165°F, your chicken thighs are ready to be enjoyed.

Tips for Storage and Serving Air Fryer Chicken Thighs

Store leftover air fryer chicken thighs in an airtight container to keep them fresh. When reheating, use the air fryer for a few minutes until warmed through. Serve with a zesty lemon rice dish or pair with your favorite sides for an easy dinner.

Enjoy crispy skin and juicy meat by flipping halfway during cooking and using an instant-read thermometer to ensure they’re fully cooked.


In just 20 minutes, you can enjoy perfect air fryer chicken thighscrispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. No need for deep frying or excess oil; the air fryer does it all.

From seasoning to serving, this easy recipe will have your family asking for seconds. Try it out and taste the delicious difference!

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