Air Fryer Chicken Thighs – SUPER CRISPY and JUICY! (VIDEO)

5 from 111 votes
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My easy Air Fryer Chicken Thighs are going to be your new easy go-to dinner! The meat remains super juicy with a simple technique and my secret ingredient turns the skin shatteringly crispy! The best part is it only takes 25 minutes! Read below for all my key tips and techniques to making the best chicken thighs of your life!

Four crispy and juicy chicken thighs cooked in the air fryer.

Watch the Air Fryer Chicken Thighs Recipe Video Below!

Why use the Air Fryer to make Chicken?

Air Fryers are mini convection ovens that use hot air circulating rapidly to cook – this rapid hot air results in fast evaporation, which means your food cooks fast enough to NOT dry out, while getting a crispy exterior. This is perfect for dishes like Air Fryer Chicken Thighs, Air Fryer Chicken Wings, or Air Fryer Chicken Tenders because it means the chicken will be JUICY while the exterior gets SUPER CRISPY! The best part is – it cooks in less than half the time it would normally take in an oven!

What to Serve with Air Fryer Chicken Thighs

Air Fryer Chicken Thighs are such a simple and delicious way to enjoy chicken – I like to serve it with comfort vegetable sides like Creamy Mashed Potatoes, Roasted Brussels Sprouts, or Honey Roasted Carrots for a delicious dinner for the entire family! You can also never go wrong with Crispy Smashed Potatoes (or Chili Oil Smashed Potatoes for a spicy kick)! I personally love eating it with my Roasted Green Beans with Bacon or Garlic Bok Choy.

It’s one of those comforting home cooked meals, just like my Braised Beef Short Ribs or Crispy Chicken Parmesan! Make sure to complete the meal with some freshly baked Milk Bread rolls!

What Ingredients do I need for Air Fryer Chicken Thighs?

The best part about making Air Fryer Chicken Thighs is that it requires a handful of ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry!

Raw ingredients for Air Fryer Chicken thighs on a table.
  • 3 lbs bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs – I like to use bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs for several reasons:
    • The skin protects the meat of the chicken during the cooking process, locking in moisture.
    • The chicken skin gets SUPER CRISPY in the air fryer, which is one of my favorites parts to eat!
    • The bone adds extra flavor to the chicken meat.
    • Bone-in chicken is harder to dry out or overcook. It also takes longer than boneless chicken, which in this case is a good thing when trying to achieve a crispier skin.
  • 1 tsp kosher salt, divided
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp dried herbs, rosemary, thyme or herbs de province
    • The beauty of this recipe is that you can swap out the herbs and customize to your preference! I included some ideas below in the “Expert Tips” portion of this post.
  • ¼ tsp baking powder – This is my secret ingredient to the crispiest chicken skin! Simply put: baking powder increases the ph level of the chicken skin, which allows the bonds in the skin to break out more easily, leading to a crispier skin when cooked!
  • 1 tablespoon neutral oil

Refer to the recipe card for the full list of ingredients and measurements!

Air Fryer Chicken Thighs: Step-By-Step Recipe Instructions

1. Dry Brine the Chicken Thighs

Place your raw bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs in a mixing bowl or tray. Sprinkle kosher salt generously on the MEAT side of the chicken. Set aside and let rest for at least 15 minutes. The purpose here is to allow the salt to absorb INTO the meat, seasoning it throughout and locking in moisture.

Bone-in chicken thighs skin side down on a tray seasoned with kosher salt on the meat side.

2. Season the Chicken

Combine your spices in a small bowl. Add to your raw chicken in a mixing bowl along with a tablespoon of neutral oil and mix to combine well.

If you are not using skin-on chicken, skip this next step.

Once combined, flip each piece of chicken skin side up. Sprinkle a pinch of baking powder (1/4 tsp total) onto the skin of each chicken thigh and rub it in well until you don’t see any more baking powder on the chicken skin.

A can of baking powder being held over a bowl of seasoned bone-in chicken thighs.

My Pro Tip

Rub in Baking Powder on the Chicken Skin

Baking powder – don’t skip this step! It’s a foolproof way to get ultra crispy skin. Ensure that the baking powder is rubbed only onto the skin until it’s no longer visible for best results.

3. Air Fry the Chicken

Place skin side down in the air fryer tray and air fry at 400F for 12 minutes.

Chicken thighs skin side down in an air fryer basket.

After 12 minutes, flip each chicken thigh so the skin is facing up. Pat the skin dry with a paper towel to remove any excess moisture – this will further help the skin crisp up in the air fryer. Don’t worry if the skin looks a little raw still – this second air fry will allow them to crisp up beautifully!

Chicken thighs being flipped skin side up in the air fryer.

Air fry again for 12-14 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and skin looks golden crispy. Let cool for a few minutes before digging in!

PRO TIPS

Expert Tips for Making The BEST Air Fryer Chicken Thighs at Home!

  • Depending on your air fryer, cooking times may vary. If the chicken is not as crispy as you’d like after the 14 minute mark in step in step 3, increase the cooking time for intervals of 3 minutes until the desired crispiness is achieved. Thankfully, chicken thighs are very forgiving when cooking, so they will still be juicy even with the extra time!
  • Using boneless skinless chicken thighs?
    • Reduce the cooking time to 6 minutes for the first side.
    • Flip the chicken and cook for only 8-10 minutes on the second side.
  • Baking Powder is the secret ingredient! – Do not skip this step! Using Baking Powder is a foolproof way to get ultra crispy skin. It raises the ph level, which helps break down the bonds during cooking, resulting in extra crispy skin (the best part)!
  • Mix Up the Herbs! You can customize your Air Fryer Chicken Thighs to use different herbs based on your own preference – here are some ideas:
    • Parmesan Air Fryer Chicken Thighs – you can add 2 tablespoons of freshly grated parmesan cheese (yum!)
    • Lemon or Lemon Pepper Air Fryer Chicken Thighs – add zest of 1 lemon to the spice mixture. You can also swap with 1 tbsp of lemon pepper seasoning. NOTE – if your lemon pepper seasoning has salt in it, omit the salt from your spice mix.
    • Spicy Air Fryer Chicken Thighs – add 1/4 teaspoon of your favorite spicy pepper to the spice mixture. It can be anything from cayenne pepper to ground sichuan peppercorns!
A crispy cooked chicken thigh in the air fryer.

Storage, Reheating, and Make Ahead Tips

If you’re want to prepare Air Fryer Chicken Thighs ahead of time:

  • Season the raw chicken (steps 1-2) and cover in the refrigerator until ready to cook. NOTE: I would only do this 1-2 days in advance.
  • Once ready to cook, resume step 3.

Storage once the Air Fryer Chicken Thighs are already cooked:

  • Refrigerate cooked Air Fryer Chicken Thighs in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. NOTE: the skin will not remain crispy once refrigerated.
  • Freeze cooked Air Fryer Chicken Thighs in an airtight container for up to 1 month. When ready to reheat, first thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

Reheating Instructions for Air Fryer Chicken Thighs:

  • To reheat, place the cold chicken thighs skin side up in the air fryer and reheat at 350F for 6-8 minutes until the skin becomes crispy and meat is warmed through.

If you tried this Air Fryer Chicken Thighs Recipe or any other recipe on my website, please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how it went in the comments below!

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5 from 111 votes

Air Fryer Chicken Thighs – SUPER CRISPY and JUICY!

Servings: 4
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Four crispy and juicy chicken thighs cooked in the air fryer.
These fool-proof Air Fryer Chicken Thighs come out perfectly crispy and juicy in the air fryer every time! My SECRET ingredient (a touch of baking powder rubbed onto the skin) gives these bone-in chicken thighs an ultra crispy skin while the dry brining and seasoning keeps the meat so juicy!

Equipment

Ingredients 

Instructions 

  • In a large mixing bowl or tray, place chicken thighs meat side up. Sprinkle salt on the meat side of the chicken thighs and let sit for 15 minutes.
  • Combine all spices in a small bowl. Pour the spice mixture over the chicken thighs along with the oil in a bowl and mix to combine well. Once combined, turn the thighs skin side up and sprinkle a pinch of baking powder onto the skin and rub it in until the baking powder is no longer visible.
  • Place skin side down in the air fryer tray and air fry at 400F for 12 minutes. Flip each chicken thigh so skin side is up. Pat the skin dry with a paper towel. Air fry again for 12-14 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and skin is golden crispy.

Notes

Depending on your air fryer, cooking times may vary. If the chicken is not as crispy as you’d like after the 14 minute mark in step in step 3, increase the cooking time for intervals of 3 minutes until the desired crispiness is achieved. Thankfully, chicken thighs are very forgiving when cooking, so they will still be juicy even with the extra time!
For boneless chicken thighs, reduce the time on the first side to 6 minutes on the first side, and 8-10 minutes on the second side.
Baking powder – don’t skip this step! It’s a foolproof way to get ultra crispy skin. Ensure the baking powder is rubbed only on the skin until it’s no longer visible!

Prepare Ahead, Storage, and Reheating Tips

If you’re want to prepare Air Fryer Chicken Thighs ahead of time:
    • Season the raw chicken (steps 1-2) and cover in the refrigerator until ready to cook. NOTE: I would only do this 1-2 days in advance.
    • Once ready to cook, resume step 3.
Storage once the Air Fryer Chicken Thighs are already cooked:
    • Refrigerate cooked Air Fryer Chicken Thighs in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. NOTE: the skin will not remain crispy once refrigerated.
    • Freeze cooked Air Fryer Chicken Thighs in an airtight container for up to 1 month. When ready to reheat, first thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
 
To reheat, place the cold chicken thighs skin side up in the air fryer and reheat at 350F for 6-8 minutes until the skin becomes crispy and meat is warmed through.

Nutrition

Calories: 638kcalCarbohydrates: 2gProtein: 47gFat: 48gSaturated Fat: 13gPolyunsaturated Fat: 10gMonounsaturated Fat: 20gTrans Fat: 0.2gCholesterol: 283mgSodium: 831mgPotassium: 612mgFiber: 0.3gSugar: 0.05gVitamin A: 355IUVitamin C: 0.1mgCalcium: 43mgIron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @cj.eats_ or tag #cjeatsrecipes!

About CJ

I’m a third generation Chinese-American home cook who has always loved cooking & eating! Welcome to my food blog, where you can find trusted, tested, easy & approachable recipes for the everyday home cook that taste delicious! I am so glad you're here!

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Recipe Rating




87 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    The baking powder tip, so helpful. The air fryer is a workhorse and the timing cadence on the recipe is super helpful. @ jknc09

  2. 5 stars
    Just tried out this recipe last night and we absolutely loved it! Chicken turned out so well seasoned and juicy!

    @sharonwon

  3. 5 stars
    This came out perfectly! I also love that you can pop it in the air fryer and walk away. The chicken came out perfectly crispy, but still juicy and tender on the inside. The seasoning combo was delicious. I’ll definitely be coming back to this recipe, thank you so much.

  4. 5 stars
    I did not change a thing. It was absolutely delicious and the kids loved it! Will be making this again.