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. For this you’ll need defrosted meat, if not follow our air fryer frozen chicken thighs timing.
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. Chicken thigh recipes are cheap and so flavorful.
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That is what we started with and now we have a few different machines. Yes it is true. I like to try out different sizes and brands so that I can honestly say whether it works for them all. The only real difference is how many pieces you can fit in at the same time. For this 4-5 is about right for each round.
If you love easy air fryer recipes too, here are some resources to start with:
- My Favorite Air Fryer is a Cosori or for a dual machine, the Foodi.
- You can find more easy air fryer recipes here, we have Ninja Foodi recipes as well; bookmark them both!
Ninja Foodi Chicken Thighs
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.
Chicken thighs Air Fryer No Breading
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.
- 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 an air fryer grill pan too sometimes.
Air Fryer Chicken Thighs Dry Rub
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 chicken 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.
- For baked teriyaki chicken thighs it is closer to 16 minutes for boneless.
Something like a Cornish hen in air fryer takes longer since it is a whole bird, but much smaller. Use this air fryer cook times printable for more info.
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.
How Long to Cook Bone-In Chicken Thighs in Air Fryer
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.
- 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
- This Instant Pot crack chicken pasta 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.
Crispy Chicken Thighs in Air Fryer
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:
- We have the original and first Ninja Cooking system which works just great
- You’ll find more Foodi air fryer recipes here too.
Always ensure your chicken reaches a safe 165 degrees internal temperature before eating. Here are printable instructions as well as how to make air fried fried chicken which include different pieces on the bird.
For air fryer chicken breast recipes you can do the same thing but add more time since those are thicker. We love all the parts and pieces of this bird in our hot air fryer! This is how to reheat chicken in air fryer too.
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 large air fryer with shelves, it’s perfect for large families.
Want to see a few of my favorite things that I am totally obsessed with?? Take a peek and see how many you might already have…twinsies!
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.