The Gay Globetrotter

Air Fryer Chicken Thighs

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Air fryer chicken thighs are perfectly seasoned with super crispy skin, and juicy, tender meat. They’re ready in 22 minutes, and make the perfect weeknight meal!

We love serving air fryer fried chicken thighs next to crispy parmesan roasted potatoes, air fryer corn on the cob, and caesar salad for a delicious and guilt free dinner!

An air fryer basket filled with cooked crispy chicken thighs.

We love the air fryer for everything from air fryer pickles to air fryer zucchini fries!

The two secrets to perfectly crispy air fryer chicken thighs: preheating the air fryer, and starting the thighs skin side down.

Preheating first means that the chicken thighs start with searing, and starting with the skin down gives it a chance to crisp up perfectly.

How To Trim Chicken Thighs

To ensure air fryer chicken thighs crisp up perfectly, trimming the extra fat on them is super important. To trim chicken thighs:

  1. Using a sharp knife or kitchen scissors, locate the extra fat that isn’t covering meat.
  2. Trim this section off. 

How To Make Air Fryer Chicken Thighs

To make air fryer chicken thighs: 

  1. Preheat air fryer at 380°F for 5 minutes.
  2. Create the spice rub. Pat chicken thighs dry with paper towel, then brush with olive oil and rub generously with seasoning mixture.
  3. Place chicken thighs skin side down in preheated air fryer basket, and cook for 12 minutes.
  4. Flip thighs over, and cook for an additional 10 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165°F. 
  5. Rest thighs for 5 minutes before serving with your favorite sides.

Uncooked chicken thighs seasoned in the air fryer basket.


How Long To Cook Air Fryer Chicken Thighs

Air fryer chicken thighs take about 22 minutes, but this depends on how many thighs are in the air fryer, if they’re frozen, and how thick they are.

If you’re cooking chicken thighs from frozen in the air fryer, add a few minutes. Also, never crowd the air fryer. It works by circulating air, so keeping things spaced out really allows the hot air to cook the meat perfectly!

A meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh (without touching bone) should read 165°F.

Frozen Air Fryer Chicken Thighs

Cooking chicken thighs in the air fryer from frozen is a great option if you need a quick weeknight meal. We love buying chicken thighs on sale and using them for weeknight dinners like air fryer chicken thighs and cilantro lime chicken

  1. To make frozen chicken thighs in the air fryer, preheat the oven to 380°F. 
  2. Rub with spice rub as normal, then place skin side down in preheated basket. 
  3. Cook for 14 minutes, then flip, cooking for an additional 13-14 minutes or until the temperature reaches 165°F.

A plate of air fryer chicken thighs garnished with fresh parsley.


Tips and Substitutions For Perfect Air Fryer Chicken Thighs

  • If cooking from frozen, adjust the cooking time accordingly.
  • The spice rub can be adjusted to taste. If you’d like a kick, try adding some cayenne pepper. 
  • Salt in the spice rub helps to draw excess moisture out of the skin, creating the crispy exterior.
  • Don’t crowd the air fryer basket. It’s always better to work in batches if needed. Air fryers work with a convection fan, so crowding it will minimize the surface area and affect the way the chicken thighs crisp up.
  • Rest the chicken for about 5 minutes before serving it. This allows the juices to redistribute into the meat, making sure it comes out tender and juicy!
  • Try making a simple chicken gravy from the drippings! Add 2 tablespoons cornstarch to a saucepan with about ⅓ cup of the drippings. Slowly whisk in 2 cups of chicken broth, or turkey stock

More Air Fryer Recipes

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4.39 from 49 votes

Air Fryer Chicken Thighs

Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 22 mins
Total Time: 27 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Bailey
Air fryer chicken thighs are perfectly seasoned with super crispy skin, and juicy, tender meat.
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  • 6 chicken thighs bone in, skin on
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley chopped, garnish

Spice Rub

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon salt and pepper each
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper optional


  • Preheat air fryer to 380°F for 5 minutes.
  • Pat chicken thighs dry with paper towel. Brush with olive oil.
  • Combine spice rub ingredients in a small bowl. Coat chicken thighs.
  • Place chicken thighs skin side down into preheated air fryer basket. Air fry for 12 minutes. Flip chicken thighs, and cook an additional 10 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165°F.
  • Rest for 5 minutes before serving, garnished with parsley.
Calories: 378kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 166mg | Sodium: 423mg | Potassium: 379mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 599IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 24mg | Iron: 2mg

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Chicken thighs in an air fryer garnished with parsley.