Air Fryer Chicken Thighs are a quick and easy way to make a delicious meal on a busy weeknight for the whole family. With a delicious blackened spice blend, this air fryer chicken thighs recipe is wonderfully juicy on the inside and perfectly crispy on the outside. They are savory, slightly smokey, and have a slight kick to them too!
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Of all the kitchen tools used for cooking, the air fryer is easily my favorite and the one we use the most. It's simple and quick, with easy clean up, and it does a great job of cooking whatever food you are making. It's become a go-to method for me when I want to cook a simple protein like chicken thighs and I don't want to heat up the oven.
Even in the summer, it can get too hot for the grill, so the air fryer definitely comes in handy!
These Air Fryer Chicken Thighs are crispy, spicy, and so delicious! I love cooking chicken thighs in the air fryer because the darker thigh meat cooks up moist and juicy and is less likely to dry out compared to chicken breasts.
This easy chicken recipe will give your chicken thighs tons of flavor as well, but you can easily customize it to suit your flavor or spice level preference, or just use the cooking times shared in the recipe below as a guideline for chicken thighs in the air fryer and use a different rub or seasoning blend instead of the one I'm giving here.
Why We Love This Recipe
- Use any seasoning on these chicken thighs to suit your preference.
- You can use any kind of chicken piece for this recipe, but chicken thighs are particularly suited for the air fryer for a super juicy result.
- Air frying chicken thighs takes less than 20 minutes so it's great for a quick dinner!
What You'll Need
Scroll down to the recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.
- Chicken Thighs - I've used bone-in thighs with the skin on for this recipe.
- Salt & Pepper - Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper will enhance the flavors in the dry rub and can be added to taste after cooking as well.
- Spices - Use smoked paprika for a smokey flavor, as well as chili powder (mild or hot), chipotle powder, and red pepper flakes for a bit of a spicy kick to this dish!
- Herbs - Use onion powder, garlic powder, and dried oregano for a great savory flavor.
- Air Fryer
- Parchment Paper
How to Make Chicken Thighs in the Air Fryer
- Prepare air fryer and seasonings. Preheat the air fryer to 400°F and combine all of the herbs and spices in a small bowl. Using a fork or a whisk, stir to combine them all.
- Combine chicken and seasonings. Add the chicken thighs to a large bowl and sprinkle the spice mixture over the chicken.
- Season chicken. Using your hands, rub the spice mixture over all of the chicken thighs (front and back).
- Put chicken in air fryer. Add the chicken thighs to the Air Fryer basket, skin side down in a single layer, without touching each other. **Optional: Before placing the chicken thighs into the air fryer basket, line the basket with parchment paper. Do not preheat the air fryer with the parchment paper inside without the chicken as the parchment paper can catch fire.
- Cook chicken. Cook the chicken thighs at 400 degrees F for 9 minutes.
- Flip chicken. Flip the chicken over and cook for an additional 9 minutes. Remove the chicken from the air fryer and serve immediately with your favorite side dishes.
The chicken thighs are done when an instant-read thermometer (or meat thermometer) reads 165 degrees F, so you might need to adjust this last cooking time up or down by a few minutes depending on the size of your chicken thighs. It's more important to go off temperature than time when cooking chicken thighs to make sure it's cooked all the way through.
It takes about 18 minutes to cook bone-in chicken thighs in an air fryer, although that timing can be shorter or longer by a few minutes depending on the size of your chicken thighs. Boneless, skinless chicken thighs will cook more quickly.
To make sure your chicken has cooked thoroughly, use an instant read thermometer. Insert it at the thickest part of the thigh (without hitting the bone), and make sure it reads 165 degrees F.
To make sure your chicken comes out crispy, you’ll want to make sure you are not overcrowding your air fryer basket. If your air fryer is overcrowded, the hot air will not be able to circulate properly and cook the chicken from all angles. Also, be sure to pat the skin dry before seasoning.
Store any leftover chicken thighs in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. You can reheat the chicken in the microwave or the air fryer.
Tips for Success
- Make sure to start with the skin side down, then flip halfway through the cooking time. The skin side will crisp up during the second half of cooking.
- The best way to get crispy chicken is to use skin-on thighs. The fat content in the skin is higher than in the meat itself; it'll crisp up nicely and still leave the meat tender and juicy!
- Pat your chicken dry with a paper towel before seasoning it. This will help cook the outside crisp. instead of steaming it in the air fryer.
- I used a 5-quart air fryer and cooked two chicken thighs at a time. The chicken needs to cook in a single layer with room for the air to circulate around it, so the length of time it will take to cook all your chicken will depend on the size of your air fryer and the size of your chicken thighs.
What to Serve With Air Fryer Chicken Thighs
Chicken thighs cook fairly quickly in the air fryer, so here are a few side dish recipes to make it into a complete meal for an easy dinner!
Substitutions and Variations
- Use chicken drumsticks, boneless skinless chicken thighs, chicken wings, or even sliced chicken breasts for this recipe. The cook time may vary for different pieces of chicken, but they can all be done in the air fryer and will all be delicious.
- Change up the spice level by using hot chili powder instead of mild and adding some cayenne pepper to the mix as well. You can add some drops of hot sauce as well, or serve the thighs with hot sauce on the side.
- Use Italian seasoning, Cajun seasoning, all-purpose seasoning, or any other herb and spice combination. The method for cooking will be the same.
- To cut some of the spice and savoriness of this spice blend, you can add a teaspoon of sugar and omit the red pepper flakes.
More Easy Chicken Dinner Recipes
- One Pan Chicken, Green Bean, and Potato Dinner
- Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole
- Creamy Apple Cider Chicken Skillet
- Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo
- Bruschetta Chicken
Did you make this recipe?
Let me know what you thought with a comment and rating below. You can also take a picture and tag me on Instagram @houseofnasheats or share it on the Pinterest pin so I can see.
Air Fryer Chicken Thighs
- 2½ pounds bone-in chicken thighs (about 4 large chicken thighs)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon chipotle powder
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Preheat air fryer to 400°F.
- In a small bowl, combine all of the herbs and spices. Using a fork or a whisk, stir to combine them all.
- Add the chicken thighs to a large bowl and sprinkle the spice mixture over the chicken. Using your hands, rub the spice mixture over all of the chicken thighs, top and bottom.
- **This step is optional for easier clean up. Before placing the chicken thighs into the air fryer basket, line the basket with parchment paper. Do not preheat the air fryer with the parchment paper inside without the chicken, the parchment paper can catch on fire.
- Add the chicken thighs skin side down without touching each other into the air fryer basket.
- Cook the chicken thighs at 400 degrees F for 9 minutes. Flip the chicken over and cook for an additional 7-9 minutes. The chicken thighs are done when an instant-read thermometer (or meat thermometer) reads165 degrees F.
- Remove the chicken from the air fryer and serve with your favorite sides.
- Storage: Store any leftover chicken thighs in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. You can reheat the chicken in the microwave or the air fryer.
- I used a 5 qt air fryer and cooked 2 chicken thighs at a time when testing this recipe.
- To cut some of the spice and savoriness of this spice blend you can add a teaspoon of sugar and omit the red pepper flakes.