Air fryer chicken: Crispy skin, juicy meat, and so easy to make. My new favorite way to cook chicken is in the air fryer.
Air Fryer Chicken Thighs are healthy, hearty and full of flavor, but require almost zero prep work, and are super versatile. You can put a new spin on them with a fun sauce. Eat them as is for a crispy skin “fried chicken” experience, or debone and use in salads, tacos, etc. Suitable for Keto, Gluten-Free and Low Carb diets.
We also really love air fryer chicken wings, air fryer chicken breast, air fryer chicken drumsticks… you name it, we love it!
I love this air fryer fried chicken. It is such a simple recipe of just chicken with some salt and pepper to season it. Then you cook it in the air fryer and let the flavors of the chicken really shine through. But what is so great about air fryer chicken recipes is that the chicken is moist (I know you hate that word), and juicy. And most important–versatile.
This chicken is so perfectly cooked it becomes a go-to staple for making dishes with chicken in them. And like these oven baked chicken wings, it is a great vehicle for hosting your favorite sauces. Of course, you could add more seasonings, but if I am going to add a sauce I keep to salt and pepper.
- Want BBQ chicken? Great, add BBQ sauce.
- Want an Asian sauce? Great, how about an oyster sauce or Hoison based sauce?
- Want to use the chicken in a wrap? Debone it and add your favorite extra ingredients.
- Or try using some paprika, garlic, and brown sugar in the rub, and eat a Mesquite chicken.
What is an Air Fryer?
An air fryer is basically a small convection oven. Check them out here on Amazon or in stores selling small appliances. It uses the same technology for circulating air, and evaporating the moisture from the exterior of food to fry said food. The fan in the unit pushes hot air around the food, and it creates a crisp exterior, much like as if it were fried in oil. Only it is healthier because you can skip the oil.
Because it is such a compact space, with most air fryers being 5 qts of less, it facilitates faster, more even cooking.
Basically, it is a counter top fryer without oil. And it is so much fun to use. The biggest down side is the smaller capacity, but there are models that have a larger capacity.
Honestly, I bought two because I want to be able to make this chicken, along with fries too!
I love that I can make fried chicken without all the added calories from the frying oil.
How Long do you Air Fry Chicken?
How long you air fry chicken depends on a few factors:
- Bone in or out
- Skin on or off
- What heat you cook at
Generally speaking, air frying chicken at 350 degrees F takes roughly 20 minutes. But you always want to check the temperature of the chicken to make sure it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
How do you Make Crispy Chicken in an Air Fryer?
Using the air fryer is going to help you get a nice crispy skinned chicken without too much effort. But there are a few things to keep in mind.
- Flip half way through. If you want an even crispiness, flip the chicken over part way through the cooking time. I like to start cooking mine skin side down, then flip it over to finish it with the skin up.
- Pat the skin dry before air frying. While the technology in the air fryer will circulate the air and help evaporate the moisture on the skin, you will get a crispier skin if you take time to remove some of that moisture yourself. Pat it dry with a paper towel before air frying.
- Salt the skin of the chicken. For a great crispy, crunchy skin on your air fryer chicken, add a little salt. In this recipe, I kept it super simple with just salt and pepper, but you could add paprika, garlic, even a little brown sugar, parsley, oregano, or any of your favorite spices. I rubbed some down with curry powder a while ago and it was delicious. For this recipe, however, I kept it simple so the chicken could be dressed with a sauce after cooking.
If you are going to add a sauce after cooking, one thing to keep in mind is that sometimes the best sauces are the ones that are sticky and shiny, because the sugars in the sauce melt and are crystallized. To achieve this with your air fryer chicken, simple pop the chicken back into the air fryer after saucing it, and cook for 2-3 minutes to allow the sauce to caramelize. Think of it like broiling it.
What Should I Serve with Air Fryer Chicken?
Oven baked steak fries are my favorite, and you could even pop these in an air fryer too for a crispy exterior and pillowy soft interior.
A beautiful easy kale salad is always a welcome addition to a crispy skinned, juicy chicken thigh.
Classic wedge salad is also really delicious with this air fryer chicken recipe.
More Recipes to Serve With Air Fried Chicken
- Sauteed Brussel Sprouts
- Crispy Zucchini Fries (oven baked)
- Baked Asparagus Fries with Lemon Aioli
- Crispy Oven Fries
- Green Bean Fries
Air Fryer Chicken Thighs
- 4 chicken thighs with bones and skin
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- Pat chicken thighs dry with a paper towel, then sprinkle with salt and pepper
- Set air fryer to 350 degrees.
- Place the chicken thighs in the air fryer basket, making sure there is room between them.
Put basket into the air fryer, and close it. Then start the air fryer. Cook in air fryer for 18-22 minutes.
- Flip chicken thighs at 10 minutes, and cook for additional 8 minutes.
- Use a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken, cook until it reaches 165 degrees F.
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.)
Do yourself a favor and make this totally versatile, and absolutely delicious air fryer chicken thigh recipe and see for yourself how easy it is to customize and personalize.