This is the best breaded chicken thigh recipe out there. There’s just enough panko to give it a satisfying crunch and cooking them in the air fryer makes them perfectly crispy.
Chicken thighs are one of my favorite proteins. I make them a few times a week because they’re easy, flavorful and cheap. And this air fryer chicken thighs recipe is my go-to way of making them. They’re always a huge hit because they’re so darn good.
With a seasoned coating made with a panko breadcrumb mixture, these skin-on thighs get wonderfully crispy outside, with that tender meat inside. It’s so delicious and a go-to air fryer recipe.
Scroll down to read more about how it all comes together or click here to jump straight down to the recipe.
How To Get Crispy Chicken Thighs In The Air Fryer
First off, use bone-in chicken thighs with the skin on. Is there anything better than super crispy chicken skin? It gets so crispy in the air fryer, gives the chicken tons of flavor, and helps seal in the juices, keeping it really moist and juicy.
Second is a sprinkling of panko breadcrumbs – just enough to give these chicken thighs even more crunch. It helps give these thighs a subtle fried chicken vibe, but it isn’t heavily breaded at all. If you want to actually fry chicken, you can try this Panko Fried Chicken recipe made with chicken breasts.
How Long To Air Fry Chicken Thighs?
The air fryer is a really efficient way to cook these bone-in chicken thighs. They usually take around 20-25 minutes at 400°F. You’ll know it’s ready when the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F when checked with an instant read meat thermometer.
If you have boneless skinless chicken thighs, follow the timing in this Air Fryer Chicken Thighs recipe. They take closer to 15 minutes.
Serving Breaded Air Fryer Chicken Thighs
We love these crispy breaded chicken thighs hot from the fryer, but they’re also great served chilled which makes them awesome for picnics. The panko breading on the top keeps them crispy even after they’ve been refrigerated. Enjoy them plain or drizzle them with a little hot honey for an extra special treat.
- 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
- 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1/4 tsp. celery salt
- 1/4 tsp. Italian seasoning
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper
- 1/8 tsp. paprika
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- Remove chicken thighs from the refrigerator and arrange skin-side up on a plate or cutting board. Use a pair of kitchen shears to trim away any excess skin.
- Preheat your air fryer to 400°F.
- In a small bowl, combine the panko, celery salt, Italian seasoning, pepper, and paprika. Mix well.
- Pour the panko over the chicken; gently pat down on the breading to help it stick.
- Drizzle the chicken with olive oil.
- Put chicken in the air fryer basket, skin-side up. Cook 20-25 minutes or until 165°F on an instant read thermometer.
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This post originally appeared in August 2020 and was revised and republished in August 2023.