These 15-minute air fryer chicken thighs are super juicy with crispy edges and made with boneless and skinless chicken thighs. The perfect weeknight dinner and meal prep. No oil needed!
Best crispy air fryer chicken thighs recipe
As you can probably tell, I love my air fryer! Whether I am making crispy BBQ chicken, turkey meatballs, or air fryer buttermilk biscuits, air frying is a fantastic way to make food crispy and tender without oil.
These air fryer boneless and skinless chicken thighs are so crispy and moist that it’s hard to believe there is no oil in the recipe. They take 15 minutes to cook, which makes them the perfect quick weeknight dinner.
They’re also super flavorful since they’re seasoned with a blend of paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. These crispy chicken thighs practically melt in your mouth and have the most delicious crisp edges.
Whether you’re searching for a fresh addition to your meal prep, a hearty family dinner, or a satisfying lunch, this recipe is the perfect fit. It’s secretly healthy, high protein, low-carb, and super yummy. Pair it with a splash of fresh lemon and sides like sweet potatoes and your preferred roasted vegetables for a well-rounded and wholesome dinner. I can’t wait to hear what you think!
Why you’ll love this recipe:
- Quick and Easy: Ready in 15 minutes and ideal for busy days.
- Flavorful: Seasoned with paprika, garlic, onion, salt, and pepper.
- Healthy: Made with simple ingredients, no oil, and high in protein.
- Crispy Texture: Super crisp exterior without the need for deep frying.
- Minimal Cleanup: Air frying minimizes mess, making post-cooking cleanup quick and easy.
- Serving Flexibility: Adaptable for various meal styles – as a main course, in salads, or wraps and sandwiches.
- No Oil: Air frying removes all oil from this recipe, but the chicken is still super crispy!
- Keto: This recipe is keto and low-carb.
- Try these air fryer BBQ chicken breasts or air fryer chicken meatballs next!
This air fryer chicken thighs recipe requires 4 ingredients plus salt and pepper. You don’t need oil and probably have most of the ingredients in your pantry already. Here is a list of ingredients, so you have everything prepared:
- Chicken Thighs: You need 5 to 6 skinless, boneless chicken thighs. Remember to trim the excess fat off before air frying!
- Spices: Elevate the flavor with smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and black pepper. This blend ensures the perfect taste!
- Lemons: Squeeze fresh lemon juice just before serving to add a delightful tang to your dish.
- Fresh Parsley: For an optional finishing touch, garnish with finely chopped fresh parsley.
Kitchen tools needed:
Here is a simple list of the kitchen utensils you need to make air fryer chicken thighs. Clean up is super easy!
- Knife + Cutting Board
- Mixing Bowl
- Air Fryer
How to make air fryer boneless and skinless chicken thighs
Air-frying chicken thighs is the best way to prepare them! It yields the most tender chicken, with the crispies skin. The best of all, the recipe takes 15 minutes, making it the perfect quick and easy weeknight dinner and meal prep. Here are step-by-step instructions with pictures for visual reference:
First, preheat your air fryer to 380°F and lightly grease the basket with non-stick olive oil spray.
Meanwhile, dry your chicken thighs with a paper towel and combine all your seasonings in a small bowl. Season both sides of the chicken thighs, using your fingers to pat the seasoning mixture onto each gently.
Then, add the chicken thighs smooth side down into the preheated air fryer, ensuring they are NOT overlapping!
Air fry for 10 minutes. Then, flip each chicken piece with tongs and an air fryer for 4 – 5 more until cooked through when the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
Serve immediately with a squeeze of lemon, sprinkle of fresh parsley, and enjoy!
Expert recipe tips:
- No Overlapping: Arrange the chicken thighs in the air fryer without overlapping to ensure even cooking and a consistent crispy texture.
- Flip After 10 Minutes: Flip the chicken thighs with tongs after the initial 10 minutes of cooking for uniform browning on both sides.
- Rub Your Seasonings In: Gently rub the spice blend into the chicken thighs using your fingers. This ensures the seasonings adhere well, enhancing flavor throughout.
- Add Time for Extra Crispiness: If you desire an extra crispy exterior, extend the cooking time by 1 – 2 minutes while keeping a close eye on the chicken’s doneness.
- Substitute Avocado Oil Spray: If you don’t have cooking spray like avocado oil or olive oil spray, I recommend brushing the chicken thighs with a little olive oil and using parchment paper in your air fryer basket.
- Trim Excess Fat Off: Before cooking, trim any excess fat from the chicken thighs to promote a leaner and healthier outcome.
What to serve with chicken thighs:
Chicken thighs are great as a main course, in salads, or cute up inside wraps and sandwiches. Here is a comprehensive list of the best things to serve with chicken thighs!
- Roasted Vegetables: Try roasted cauliflower, parmesan zucchini, broccoli, roasted carrots, or go crazy with these hot honey brussel sprouts.
- Mashed Potatoes: go for classic mashed potatoes or try these sweet potato mash.
- Cauliflower Rice: For a low-carb option.
- Salad: Serve your chicken thighs on top of this crunchy kale salad, this orzo pesto salad, or this leafy green strawberry goat cheese salad.
- Quinoa or Rice Pilaf or Herb-Infused Couscous
- Grilled Asparagus
- Garlic Bread or Dinner Rolls: try this easy garlic bread recipe.
- Pasta or Noodles: Some favorites are this creamy lemon caper pasta and this roasted butternut squash pasta.
- Sautéed Spinach
- Corn on the Cob
- Soup: Chicken thighs are the perfect protein addition to classic tomato soup, cauliflower leek potato soup, and butternut squash soup.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I peel off the skin if I buy chicken thighs with skin?
Yes, you can peel off the skin from chicken thighs if you purchase them with the skin on. Gently separate the skin from the meat using a sharp knife or your fingers. This can be done before or after cooking, depending on your preference for a skinless option.
What’s the difference between chicken breast and chicken thigh?
Chicken breast is white meat, while chicken thigh is considered dark meat. Both are high in protein and delicious; chicken thighs have more fat, making them much more moister than chicken breasts.
Is this recipe healthy?
Yes, I consider this recipe to be healthy for a few reasons. First, it is high in protein. Second, there is no additional oil. Third, it is gluten-free, grain-free, and dairy-free. Air fryer boneless and skinless chicken thighs are a healthy and balanced meal.
How to tell if chicken thighs are cooked through?
Air fryer chicken thighs are cooked through when the internal temperature of the thickest part reads 165°F.
Can I use frozen chicken thighs in the air fryer?
You can use frozen chicken thighs, but you must thaw them before air-frying them. I left instructions on the recipe card.
Can I use bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs in the air fryer with this recipe?
Yes, but adjust the cooking time accordingly. Bone-in, skin-on thighs generally require a longer cooking time than boneless, skinless ones. I recommend adding 4 minutes and making sure the skin is upright so it gets crispy!
Do chicken thighs need to rest after cooking?
Chicken thighs should rest for about 5 minutes after cooking so the juices get locked in, and the chicken is super moist.
What’s the best way to thaw frozen chicken thighs?
Thaw chicken thighs by refrigerating for 24 hours or using the microwave’s defrost setting. For a faster method, seal the thighs in a leak-proof bag and submerge in cold water, changing it every 30 minutes until thawed, ensuring no cross-contamination.
How to store and reheat chicken thighs:
Storing: Store leftover air fryer chicken thighs in airtight containers in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Reheating: Reheat in the microwave for 45 – 90 seconds until warm. You can also reheat in the air fryer at 350°F for 4 – 6 minutes until warm.
If you loved this recipe, try these next!
- Air Fryer BBQ Chicken Breast
- Air Fryer Teriyaki Chicken
- Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Cutlets
- Air Fryer Italian Turkey Meatballs
Did you make this recipe?
If you make this recipe, be sure to comment and rate it down below. Also, don’t forget to tag me @healthfulblondie on Instagram and use the hashtag #healthfulblondie so I can see your delicious creation and share it with my followers!
Air Fryer Chicken Thighs (Boneless & Skinless)
- 5 – 6 boneless and skinless chicken thighs, excess fat trimmed off
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 1 – 2 lemons, for serving
- Fresh parsley, finely chopped, for serving
- Preheat air fryer to 380°F and lightly grease the basket with non-stick olive oil spray.
- Meanwhile, pat your chicken thighs dry with a paper towel and combine all your seasonings into a small bowl.
- Season both sides of the chicken thighs, using your fingers to gently pat the seasoning mixture onto each.
- Then, add the chicken thighs smooth side down into the preheated air fryer, ensuring they are NOT overlapping!
- Air fry for 10 minutes. Then, flip each chicken piece with tongs and an air fryer for 4 – 5 more until cooked through when the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
- Serve immediately with a squeeze of lemon, sprinkle of fresh parsley, and enjoy!
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