Frozen chicken thighs in air fryer with barbecue sauce are killer! Tender meat with crispy skins and tons of flavor. Cooking frozen chicken thighs to tender can create a healthy delicious dinner right out of the freezer.
BBQ frozen air fryer chicken thighs are the perfect meal for your whole family. Low carb, keto, high in protein bites of goodness that can be served with all sorts of sides. One of many easy air fryer recipes we love. (affiliate links present)
Air Fryer Frozen Chicken Thighs
I think this cut gets a bad rap. If you have veered away from them and only cook chicken breast recipes get ready for more flavor and cheaper prices with these babies!
To be honest, I was the same way until I got into my 40’s. I couldn’t resist a huge package that was so cheap and figured I’d at least give them a whirl. They were so good I kinda’ never went back, which brings us here to cooking frozen meat today.
FIRST – You should sign up for my free newsletter so you get new posts emailed to you twice a week and never miss out on anything! If you love 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 Frozen Chicken Thighs
I started off figuring out how to cook air fryer frozen chicken wings. They were killer even though they were rock hard at the start. Then moved on to air fryer frozen chicken breasts and you couldn’t tell the difference.
Yes, you guessed it…I am forgetful. I don’t always remember to take out the main dish in the morning so it thaws out. BUT it doesn’t even matter anymore with these tips!
You’re welcome, you can thank me later when you make the same mistake. Now you can save dinner and nobody will ever know you had a “mommy moment” I call them. 😉 Just one of many quick chicken thighs recipes we love.
Air Fryer Chicken Thighs Frozen
These were rock solid. Water was run over them so that they weren’t in one solid block. You really need them broken apart, but not thawed. It also helps to poke the top with a fork like you see here.
- Frozen chicken thighs that aren’t defrosted
- bone in skin on chicken thighs are best if you ask me
- if they are fresh I’ll share a link to timing for those below
- My favorite bbq sauce is great on top to give it tons of flavor and get crispy chicken skin
You could alternatively just brush the top with a bit of olive oil and sprinkle salt and pepper on top at the end. Then add a few more minutes once the insides are at the correct internal temperature and serve.
It depends on the size but 20-22 minutes is usually typical to get it to the correct temp. internally.
Frozen Bone In Chicken Thighs in Air Fryer
You’ll want to put them in with the skin side facing up so it can become the best consistency. If you need to run them under water to break them apart, just pat dry with paper towels before laying them inside.
- Place bone in skin on frozen chicken in air fryer basket with the skin side facing up. If they are stuck together run water over the top so they separate.
- Poke top with a fork once.
- Set to 350 F for 20 minutes cooking time (timing will depend on size, these were on the smaller size, very large may take up to 30 minutes)
- Check internal temp. to insure they are 165 F in the thickest part.
- If you want to add bbq sauce brush this on and cook an additional 2 minutes or until browned as much as you desire.
See how yummy these look??!! OH MY the flavor was great. I chose a bit of a spicy and sweet sauce. You can add more before serving too.
Can you cook frozen chicken thighs from frozen?
Yes, I hope we answered that question for you today! You can also cook Instant Pot frozen chicken thighs if you want to. OR you can pressure cook them and then crisp the skin in your Foodi at the end with some sauce.
Either way you make them they’re low in saturated fat and calories especially if you take the skin off. I don’t always eat that part, well maybe a bite if they are super crunchy.
Let me tell you that air frying chicken thighs is a game changer. It gives them the perfect texture all the way around.
Frozen BBQ Chicken Thighs Air Fryer
What if yours are defrosted? You can make air fryer chicken thighs that are not icy too if you remember to take them out, no problemo!! I kid you not if you made a batch of each with the same bbq on top you may be surprised.
Do it some night with your family. See if they can tell the difference between the two and then you’ll know you won’t have to worry in the future. If you use boneless you could take a few minutes off for the most part.
Skinless isn’t really recommended though, I’ll tell you why. You want it (even if you don’t eat it) to keep the meat nice and moist when it is cooking. That added layer on the top will drip a bit over the protein and make it absolutely perfect. Believe me, I have tried it both ways.
And that is really it, super easy overall and doesn’t take much time from start to finish. A great way to save dinner when you forgot to defrost your meat the night before. Other chicken thigh recipes are on the way here too my friends, I have made a lot of them over the past few years….
- Traeger smoked chicken thighs are killer. Use apple chips or pellets for added flavor, great for summertime grilling with the fam bam.
- I use any leftovers I have to make crack chicken pasta, usually the night after. I hate to waste food so….
- If they aren’t frozen you can dice them up and turn them into air fryer teriyaki chicken served over white rice.
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!
Frozen Chicken Thighs in Air Fryer
- Place frozen chicken thighs in air fryer basket with skin side facing up. (if stuck together run water over the top so they separate). Poke top with a fork 1-2 times. Set to 350 F for 20 minutes (timing will depend on size, these were on the smaller size)
- Check internal temp. to insure they are 165 F in the thickest part. If you want to add bbq sauce brush this on and cook an additional 2 minutes or until browned as much as you desire.