These Air Fryer Boneless Chicken Thighs are SO tasty. Perfect for busy weeknights, this recipe makes beautifully caramelized, juicy chicken thighs.
We all need those go-to recipes that are both dead easy and super satisfying. That’s where this air fryer boneless chicken thighs recipe comes in.
It’s a no-fuss dish that delivers big on flavor.
Perfect for busy weekday lunches or a casual dinner, it’s sure to become a regular in your meal rotation.
Let’s get cooking!
What You Need for this Simple Air Fryer Chicken Thighs Recipe
Ingredients for Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Thighs
For this recipe, every simple ingredient plays a key role:
- Boneless Chicken Thighs: The star of the dish, providing a juicy and tender base.
- Paprika: Adds a sweet and smoky depth.
- Garlic Powder: A teaspoon garlic powder brings a savory and aromatic touch.
- Salt: Enhances all the other flavors.
- Black Pepper: Gives a slight heat and complexity.
- Olive Oil: Helps in marinating and ensures even cooking.
- Cayenne Pepper: Offers a spicy kick.
- Brown Sugar: Balances the spice with a hint of sweetness.
Variations and Substitutions
This recipe is versatile, and you can tweak it to suit your tastes:
- Different Spices: Feel free to add your favorite spices like, onion powder, smoked paprika, cumin or chili powder. You could alternatively use a teriyaki chicken marinade using this honey teriyaki glaze for salmon. It uses garlic and soy sauce. Add a little ginger, if you like.
- Sweetener Options: If you’re not into brown sugar, try honey or maple syrup.
- Oil Variations: Any neutral oil, like avocado or vegetable oil, works well.
- Less Spicy: Reduce or skip the cayenne pepper for less heat.
- Herb Add-ins: Add herbs like oregano or thyme for an herby twist. Finish with a little fresh parsley.
- Skin-On Chicken Thighs: You’ll have to cook bone-in chicken thighs for up to 10 minutes longer and flip half-way through for even cooking.
Grab these Tools
A few basic kitchen tools will help you make this dish effortlessly:
- Air Fryer: Essential for cooking the chicken to perfection.
- Mixing Bowl: For preparing the spice mix.
- Measuring Spoons: To accurately measure your spices and oil.
- Tongs: Handy for flipping the chicken thighs in the air fryer.
- Instant-read Thermometer: Ensures your chicken is cooked safely to the right temperature.
How to Make Air Fryer Boneless Chicken Thighs: An Easy Guide
Let’s dive into making Air Fryer Boneless Chicken Thighs. It’s a straightforward process that yields delicious results.
Prepping Your Chicken
Begin by preparing the chicken and making the seasoning mixture. Mix paprika, garlic powder, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and brown sugar in a bowl. Stir in olive oil to form a paste. (You could alternatively use avocado or olive oil spray)
Coat the chicken thighs evenly with this mixture, ensuring each piece is well covered.
Air Frying the Chicken
Next, cook the chicken:
- Preheat your air fryer to 390 degrees F.
- Place chicken thighs in the basket, avoiding overcrowding. Cook them for about 18 minutes.
- Remember to flip the thighs halfway through to ensure they cook evenly on both sides.
Checking for Doneness
It’s important to check that the chicken is cooked perfectly. Use an instant-read thermometer to confirm the internal temperature has reached 165°F (74°C).
The chicken should also have a nice, crispy exterior.
Serving Your Dish
Once your chicken is cooked, let it rest for a few minutes. This helps the juices redistribute, making the chicken more flavorful and juicy. Now, your Simple Spiced Chicken Thighs are ready to be served and enjoyed!
How to Serve This Air Fryer Boneless Chicken Thighs Recipe
I love to cook a batch of chicken thighs as meal prep for weekday lunches Here are some great ways to enjoy them:
- As a Main Dish: Serve these chicken thighs as the star of the meal. Pair them with side dishes like mashed potatoes, roasted vegetables, a fresh salad, or a simple pasta dish.
- In Sandwiches or Wraps: Slice the chicken thighs and tuck them into sandwiches or wraps. Add lettuce, tomato, and your favorite sauce for a quick and delicious lunch.
- In Salads: Chop the chicken and add it to a couscous salad with lemon dressing for a protein-packed lunch or dinner.
- In Grain Bowls: Slice or shred the chicken and add it to a bowl with grains like rice or quinoa, along with vegetables and a tasty dressing.
I personally make them as a meal prep lunch option. I slice the cooked chicken thighs, freeze them in individual portions, and microwave to reheat. I serve it on top of a big salad for quick weekday meals.
Make Ahead and Storage
Air Fryer Boneless Chicken Thighs can be easily made ahead of time and stored for convenience. Here’s how you can keep them fresh and delicious:
- Making Ahead: You can marinate the chicken thighs in the spice mixture and store them in the refrigerator overnight. This enhances the flavors and saves you prep time on busy days.
- Refrigerating: Cooked chicken thighs can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Ensure they are cooled to room temperature before storing.
- Freezing: For longer storage, freeze the cooked chicken thighs in a sealed container or freezer bag. They can be stored frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before reheating.
- Reheating: Reheat the chicken in the air fryer or oven until thoroughly warmed. This helps retain the texture better than microwaving. If frozen, ensure they are fully thawed before reheating.
These storage tips will help you enjoy your Air Fryer Boneless Chicken Thighs at your convenience while maintaining their taste and quality.
5 Common Mistakes When Making Air Fryer Chicken Recipes
Here are the most frequent mix-ups to avoid when making Air Fryer Boneless Chicken Thighs:
- Overcrowding the Air Fryer: This prevents the chicken from cooking evenly and achieving that desirable crispy texture. Make sure to give the thighs enough space.
- Skipping Preheating: Not preheating your air fryer can lead to uneven cooking. Always preheat for the best results.
- Underseasoning: The right amount of seasoning is crucial. Don’t be shy with the spice mixture to ensure each bite is flavorful.
- Not Flipping the Chicken: Failing to flip the chicken thighs halfway through cooking can result in one side being overcooked or undercooked.
- Ignoring Internal Temperature: The safest way to check if your chicken is done is by using a meat thermometer. Chicken should always reach an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C).
By steering clear of these common mistakes, you’ll ensure your Air Fryer Boneless Chicken Thighs turn out perfectly cooked and delicious every time.
FAQs About Air Fryer Boneless Chicken Thighs
Just skimming through? Here are some quick answers to the commonly-asked questions.
How long does it take to cook thighs in an air fryer?
It typically takes about 18-20 minutes to cook chicken thighs in an air fryer at 380°F (193°C).
Is it better to bake boneless chicken thighs at 350 or 400?
Baking at 400°F often results in juicier chicken, as the higher temperature seals in the moisture quickly.
How do you keep boneless chicken thighs from drying out?
To prevent drying out, avoid overcooking and use a marinade or spice rub to lock in moisture.
At what temperature are boneless chicken thighs fully cooked?
Chicken thighs are fully cooked when their internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C).
How do you keep chicken thighs from drying out?
Marinating or brining the chicken thighs before cooking can help retain moisture.
Why is my chicken thigh so dry?
Dry chicken is often a result of overcooking or not using enough moisture during cooking.
How do I stop my chicken from being dry?
Monitor the cooking time closely and use a meat thermometer to avoid overcooking.
How do you make chicken so it’s not dry?
Cook the chicken at the right temperature and for the appropriate time, and consider using a marinade.
Is it better to bake skinless chicken thighs at 350 or 400?
Baking at 400°F is generally better for a juicier outcome.
How long does it take to cook chicken thighs at 350?
It takes approximately 25-30 minutes to cook chicken thighs at 350°F.
At what temp are chicken thighs most tender?
Chicken thighs become tender and juicy when baked between 350°F and 400°F.
Do you bake chicken at 400 covered or uncovered?
Baking chicken at 400°F is usually done uncovered to achieve a crispy exterior.
What is the best temperature for boneless skinless chicken thighs?
A temperature range of 350°F to 400°F is ideal for boneless skinless chicken thighs.
Do boneless thighs take less time to cook?
Boneless thighs may cook slightly faster than bone-in thighs due to the absence of the bone.
How do you know when boneless skinless chicken thighs are done?
The best way to know is to check that the internal temperature has reached 165°F (74°C) using a meat thermometer.
These answers should help clear up some common queries and ensure your Air Fryer Boneless Chicken Thighs turn out just right.
More Favorite Air Fryer Recipes
Other Popular Chicken Recipes
The Juiciest Air Fryer Boneless Chicken Thighs (Quick + Tasty!)
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp koshersalt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 4 boneless skinless chicken thighs
- Start by mixing paprika, garlic powder, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and brown sugar in a bowl. Add olive oil to the mix to create a paste. Coat the chicken thighs evenly with the spice mixture, ensuring each piece is well covered. Let the chicken marinate for a few minutes for the flavors to meld.
- Preheat your air fryer to 380°F (193°C). Place the chicken thighs in the air fryer basket in a single layer, ensuring they are not overcrowded. Cook the thighs for about 18-20 minutes. Halfway through the cooking time, flip the thighs to ensure even cooking and browning.
- The chicken is done when it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) and has a nice, crispy exterior. Let the chicken rest for a few minutes before serving to allow the juices to redistribute.
- If you’re sensitive to spice, adjust the amount of cayenne pepper to suit your taste.
- The brown sugar adds a subtle sweetness and helps in caramelizing the exterior of the chicken. You can increase or decrease the quantity based on your preference.
- Always check the internal temperature of the chicken to ensure it’s fully cooked.
- This recipe can easily be doubled or halved depending on the number of servings needed.
- Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days and are great for salads, sandwiches, or wraps.
Last Updated on February 27, 2024 by Jennifer Pallian BSc, RD