Best air fryer chicken thighs ever! Use this dry rub for chicken to make sweet and crispy chicken in an air fryer that’s tender and juicy inside. Yum!
These air fryer chicken thighs were our latest meal. Yes, I have been obsessed with creating easy air fryer recipes lately! For breakfast, lunch and dinner our handy crisping machine comes out great. Using our sweet dry rub, everyone gave it a thumbs up. (originally published 4/19, affiliate links present)
Chicken thighs in air fryer
- Yes you can use your Ninja Foodi pot as well to make these. It doesn’t matter what brand you have, they all basically work the same.
That is what we started with and now we have a few different machines.
If you love air fryer recipes too, here are some resources to start with:
- THIS is my Favorite Air Fryer!
- You can find more Air fryer recipes here, we have Ninja Foodi recipes as well; bookmark them both!
- Grab the best air fryer cookbook here.
- Here’s a printable air fryer cook times chart here for your fridge.
- It has temp. and times for making the best frozen foods for air fryer too.
- Then join our Facebook page where you can share and find more ideas you’ll love. We have a Foodi social media group as well.
Here are a few questions you might have before getting started with this one:
I didn’t do quarters, rather just thighs and separately cooked air fryer chicken legs another time. If you cook together it takes approx. 20 minutes at 350 degrees F.
I prefer to defrost first but you can at 360 degrees F for 25 minutes, then 5 minutes at 400 to crisp skin. Air fryer frozen wings work out quite well though.
Why do we love air fryer chicken thighs??
- Thighs are really cheap
- The meat inside is super moist
- If you use bone-in with the skin on the tops will get deliciously crispy
They’re done start to finish in about 30 minutes which makes for a quick and delicious meal for sure.
This is what we started with here. I bought basic store brand bone-in chicken thighs with the skin on.
They are the cheapest cuts of chicken ever and overlooked a lot I feel. Once they’re done they’ll be packed with flavor, tender on the inside and crispy skins on the outside.
Chicken thighs in air fryer
- 4 chicken thighs – can use more but 4 fit perfectly without overlapping
- We used bone-in with the skin on
- If using boneless minutes would need to be adjusted for less time
- Olive oil
- Use what you normally would use to coat a whole chicken and bake it.
- We also have a recipe below for a sweet brown sugar mixture you can try, or use our marinated chicken air fryer sauce.
I love using this air fryer grill pan too sometimes.
Our dry rub recipe for chicken
Rub thighs with olive oil, then mix:
- Brown sugar – optional
- Garlic powder
- Chili powder
- Black pepper can be added too if you like
Other idea is to use our amazing dry rub you can use on thighs.
Massage chicken thighs with olive oil, then use:
- Salt free seasoning
- Or mix even amounts of salt, pepper, and garlic powder
- Another option is to go simple with a sprinkle of Lawry’s seasoning
- Marinating is great too. We did this with our sheet pan chicken thighs.
Soak your thighs in your favorite type overnight in the fridge.
If making our brown sugar chicken rub the top skin will get dark brown because the sugar is going to caramelize. Not to worry.
We did 10 minutes time once the skin was facing up and everyone in the house agreed that they were amazing!!
What temperature do you cook chicken in an air fryer?
It depends but this one is perfect set to 375 degrees. Other chicken recipes may be set to a bit lower or higher depending on whether the pieces are breaded or not and how thick they are.
- Total cook time for our chicken thigh recipe was 25 minutes. Timing will vary slightly depending on how large each piece is. Our total weight for 4 pcs. was 2.3 lbs.
You’ll cook chicken thighs in the air fryer basket you have.
- Always ensure the internal temperature of your piece of chicken is at least 165. Similar to air fryer chicken leg quarters. A great choice if you want larger pieces.
- The air fryer cooks fried chicken without oil which we love!
It is important to flip them halfway through so you get a nice golden brown on both sides.
Here is a quick rundown of how to air fry thighs easily. I have a printable version at the bottom of this post as well.
Time needed: 23 minutes.
Air Fryer Chicken Thighs
Mix brown sugar and all spices together well in a bowl. (or if you want to just sprinkle with salt and pepper, skip this step)
Preheat your air fryer to 375 degrees for at least 5 minutes.
Trim any excess fat hanging off the sides of your chicken thighs (ours were bone-in with skin on). Rub olive oil on each thigh.
Rub herbs and spices on top and bottom. Any you’d like. If you want to try our brown sugar mixture, first rub olive oil on outside of each, press meat on to rub so it sticks, do this on both sides.
Place thigh on to trivet that has been sprayed with non stick spray turned upside down, with skin side down. Do this for all 4 thighs. Try not to overlap in the air fryer.
Set to 375 degrees and cook for 15 minutes. Then open lid and flip all chicken thighs over so skin side is now facing up. Cook at 375 degrees for an additional 8-12 minutes.
Check at 8 minutes to see if you want it browner and/or chicken is done inside.
Other ways of cooking chicken thighs
- Our Instant Pot spicy teriyaki chicken thighs seen below are to die for
- This Instant Pot crack chicken casserole uses diced boneless chicken thighs
- As well as our Instant Pot chicken and potatoes.
- Oven baked thighs are great, as well as our Instant Pot frozen chicken thighs.
If you have a smoker I would make our Traeger smoked chicken thighs with a teriyaki marinade for dinner.
Find more ideas on our Ninja Foodi recipes post and air fryer dinner recipes too.
Here are a few more resources if you have a Foodi:
- This is the Ninja Cooking system we got
- You can grab a free recipe book too here. 😉
- You’ll find more Foodi air fryer recipes here too.
Always ensure your chicken reaches a safe 165 degrees internal temperature before eating.
Is air fried chicken healthy?
Absolutely! It requires less oil than if you deep fried the pieces or whole bird. This makes the pieces generally healthier than oil immersed counterparts.
Using an air fryer to cook bone in chicken thighs can cut calories and fat content.
You won’t lose that crispy outside you love though, that is even better than in the oven at 350 degrees yet similar to deep frying.
What are disadvantages of an air fryer?
- I haven’t found many at all myself other than some models have a pretty small basket. I like this large air fryer with shelves, it’s perfect for large families.
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Below is a printable recipe that lists nutritional information as well.
Calories, saturated fat and other amounts will vary depending on the cuts you choose, and size.
Air Fryer Chicken Thighs
- Mix brown sugar and all spices together well in a bowl. (or if you want to just sprinkle with salt and pepper, skip this step)Preheat your air fryer to 375 degrees for at least 5 minutes.
- Trim any excess fat hanging off the sides of your chicken thighs (ours were bone-in with skin on).
- Rub olive oil on each thigh and put herbs and spices on top and bottom. Any you’d like. If you want to try our brown sugar mixture shown above then: Pour spice mixture on to a plate. Rub olive oil on outside of each chicken thigh, top and bottom.
- Press thigh on to plate so spice mixture sticks, do this on both sides. Place thigh on to trivet that has been sprayed with non stick spray turned upside down, with skin side down.
- Do this for all 4 thighs. Try not to overlap in the air fryer.
- Set to 375 degrees again and cook for 15 minutes. Then open lid and flip all chicken thighs over so skin side is now facing up. Cook at 375 degrees for an additional 8-12 minutes. Check at 8 minutes to see if you want it browner and/or chicken is done inside.