Chicken thighs are my go-to cut of chicken because they’re juicier and more flavorful than chicken breast. The biggest win? They turn out amazing in the air fryer too!
I love chicken thighs. They’re so much juicier and more flavorful than chicken breasts. And ever since the grocery stores have started selling boneless, skinless thighs, I’ve found myself turning to them more and more. Because of that, I’m always looking for new ways to cook them. Enter my new love: The Air Fryer!
If I want to cook a whole bunch of chicken thighs quickly, I do it in my instant pot like in this recipe. You get a more stewed or poached texture, which is fine for a lot of purposes. But if I only have 6-8 to cook, they’ll fit in my air fryer. Then they have the texture of more traditional baked/roasted chicken, which I prefer for most things.
How to Cook Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs in the Air Fryer:
To start, coat the chicken in a little bit of oil. I use olive oil in an oil sprayer like this one. I love it because I can fill it with my own olive oil, making it much cheaper and more convenient than buying cooking spray. Also, the sprayer works great. I’ve had mine for years!
Next, season the chicken with salt and whatever other seasonings you’d like. I keep it basic with black pepper and garlic powder.
Put the chicken thighs in the air fryer basket. I tend to put them rounded side down to start so that after I flip them partway through cooking, the nicer side is up and gets the final bit of browning.
Cook them for 10 minutes and then flip them. My air fryer has a non-stick basket so I use tools that are non-metal and thus won’t scratch and ruin the surface. I turn to these kinds of silicone-coated tongs for this. After flipping them, you’re going to cook them until they reach 165 degrees Fahrenheit inside, as read on an instant read thermometer. It will take between 5-7 minutes.
Finally, you take the chicken thighs out of the basket (use those silicone tongs again) and let them rest for 2 minutes before serving or slicing for future use. You can store them in the fridge in a sealed container for up to 3 days.
How to Cook Bone-In Chicken Thighs in the Air Fryer:
If you have chicken thighs with the bone (with or without skin) see the note at the bottom of the recipe for a minor modification. Basically, all that is going to happen is that you’re going to increase the cooking time.
Oil and season them as instructed, but bone-in chicken thighs need longer to cook than boneless ones. So when you first put the bone-in thighs into the air fryer, you’ll cook them for 15 minutes before flipping. Then you cook them until they reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit, as read on an instant read thermometer, which will take about 10-15 minutes.
How to Cook Chicken Thighs with Skin in the Air Fryer:
In general, whether the chicken thigh has skin or not does not affect the recipe.
If you have boneless chicken thighs that have skin, the recipe below without any modifcations will work perfectly. So you’ll be cooking your thighs for 10 minutes on one side (skin-side-down) first and then flip them and cook them for another 5-7 minutes, or until they reach 165 degrees Fahrenheit on an instant read thermometer.
If you have bone-in chicken thighs that have skin, you’ll use the bone-in method above. You’ll cook them skin-side-down for 15 minutes and then skin-side-up for another 10-15 minutes, or until they reach 165 degree Fahrenheit on an instant read thermometer.
How to Remove Skin from Chicken Thighs?
If your thighs have skin but you don’t want it on there, you have two options.
Option 1: Remove the skin before cooking. With thighs, the skin often will just pull right off. If it’s stuck somewhere, I find that clean kitchen shears (these are essentially just sharp scissors) work to snip away any spots where the skin is attached to the meat.
Option 2: Cook the chicken as instructed for with-skin. Then let it rest for 2 minutes before using your fingers to pull off the skin. It will come off super easily. If it happens to be stuck somewhere, go in with those kitchen shears as above. Just make sure the shears are clean and have not had contact with raw chicken.
How do you choose between option 1 and 2? I prefer option 2 for two reasons. First, it’s easier. Second, you get the flavor and some juice from the skin dripping onto the chicken meat as it cooks. This adds moisture and flavor but doesn’t add much in the way of fat.
Ok, I think that’s all of my advice. Now you can go try making chicken thighs in the air fryer. I can’t wait to hear what you think!Print
- 1 and 3/4 lbs. (about 6) boneless, skinless chicken thighs*
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil (or use olive oil sprayer)
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper
- 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
- Remove chicken thighs from refrigerator.
- Preheat air fryer to 400°F.
- Coat chicken on all sides with olive oil.
- Sprinkle on all sides with salt, pepper and garlic powder.
- Put chicken in air fryer basket, rounder-side-down. Cook 10 minutes.
- Flip chicken and cook until 165°F. on an instant read thermometer, 5-7 more minutes.
- Remove from basket and let rest at least 2 minutes before serving.
For bone-in thighs, with or without skin, follow the instructions above exactly except after you first put the thighs into the air fryer, cook them for 15 minutes. Then flip and cook until the interior is 165°F as read on an instant read thermometer, which will take another 10-15 minutes.