The Best Chicken Thighs

This is the best 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.

4 chicken thighs breaded with panko on white plate sitting on medium blue colored cloth; bottom of air fryer and handle in background

We’ve already shared how to cook chicken thighs in an air fryer, but if you’re looking to really kick things up a notch you need to give this recipe for the best chicken thighs a try!

Chicken thighs are one of my favorite proteins. I make them a few times a week because they’re easy, flavorful and cheap. And these air fryer chicken thighs are my go-to way of making them. They’re always a huge hit because they’re so darn good.

What makes these the best chicken thighs ever?

First off, the skin. 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. For maximum flavor, I season the breadcrumbs with celery salt, Italian seasoning, and paprika for a shake and bake type flavor. It’s seriously so good.

How long does it take to cook?

The air fryer is a really efficient way to cook chicken thighs. They usually take around 20-25 minutes. You’ll know it’s ready when the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F when checked with an instant read meat thermometer.

The Best Way to Serve Them

We love these 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.

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The Best Chicken Thighs

4 chicken thighs breaded with panko on white plate sitting on medium blue colored cloth; bottom of air fryer and handle in background

This is the best 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.

  • Author: Lauren Keating
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. Preheat your air fryer to 400°F.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the panko, celery salt, Italian seasoning, pepper, and paprika. Mix well.
  4. Pour the panko over the chicken; gently pat down on the breading to help it stick.
  5. Drizzle the chicken with olive oil.
  6. Put chicken in the air fryer basket, skin-side up. Cook 20-25 minutes or until 165°F on an instant read thermometer.

The Best Chicken Thighs
The Best Chicken Thighs

Lauren Keating

Lauren has been cooking for as long as she can remember and shares her recipes at Healthy-Delicious.com, where she features on easy weeknight meals with an emphasis on fresh, seasonal ingredients. She completed the professional plant-based cooking certification from Rouxbe cooking school and enjoys using plant-based cooking techniques to incorporate more fruits, vegetables, and grains into traditional recipes in unique ways. Food-obsessed from a young age, her first words included “cookie” and “eat meat!”