My boneless skinless chicken thighs air fryer recipe is an easy weeknight dinner idea that takes less than 30 minutes to make. It’s tasty, low carb, and high in protein. You can add it to your main dish, serve it as a side, or make it a healthy snack. This air fryer chicken recipe is a smart idea when you’re short on time.

This air fryer recipe gives you crisp chicken on the outside and juicy meat on the inside. All you need to do is carefully choose the cut of chicken, the seasonings, and technique used, and I will show you how.

After you see how easy this recipe is, you’ll make it over and over again. This easy recipe is reliable and versatile and a good choice for busy families.

air fryer boneless skinless chicken thighs recipe dry rub
Air fryer boneless skinless chicken thigh with pasta

Chicken thighs vs breast

Chicken thighs are dark meat. They are high in healthy monounsaturated fats. It’s much more flavorful than chicken breast because it’s a fattier cut of meat. This makes it more satisfying and keeps you full longer. And if the fatty pieces are too much for you, you’re always welcome to cut out and discard these flavorful bits.

Chicken thighs are one of the most versatile protein sources. A serving of chicken thighs is packed with nutrients and healthy fats. I have heard people losing weight by eating chicken thighs once a week.* Depending on your fitness and lifestyle goals, the right chicken thighs recipe can have you excited about meal prepping.

One chicken thigh is closer to the recommended 3-4 oz serving of protein, compared to a chicken breast serving.

Thighs have 70% more zinc than breasts. Zinc is good for metabolism, immunity, and nerve function. Chicken thighs are more affordable than chicken breasts.

Lastly, air fryer chicken breasts tend to be a little dryer prepared the same way. If you want to try this, I recommend you brine the breasts to keep it moist and juicy after air frying.

The air fryer

The air fryer can cook meat well. This is the secret to making a healthy, good tasting skinless fried chicken.

The air fryer uses a convection technique which uses hot air to bake the chicken, rather than submerging it in hot oil. The end result is a brown crisp on the outside, while retaining moisture and juiciness of the chicken inside. The air fryer is an easy way to fry some crispy chicken thighs, without actually deep frying.

Nonstick spray

Nonstick spray – This is a very important ingredient if you want the chicken to be crispy on the outside. You can use typical nonstick spray, though I tend to prefer either olive oil spray or avocado oil spray.

I like to use avocado oil, vegetable oil, or canola oil for this recipe. It is easiest if you have a spray bottle of oil, although you could also brush the oil on with a pastry brush.

In most air fryers it is not a great idea to use the aerosol cooking spray that you can buy at the grocery store. The chemicals in the oil can damage the nonstick finish that coats most air fryer baskets.

So the easiest thing to do is buy a small, inexpensive mister bottle and add your own oil to it. Then you can spray at things in your air fryer basket without worrying about the finish.

Dry vs. wet prep

Air fryer chicken recipes are all over the internet. The two most popular means of preparation are dry and wet rub. For my recipe, I use an easy chicken thighs dry rub, which is simply a mix of a spice blend that is then rubbed into the chicken. Compared to a wet marinade, there is no waiting time before cooking the chicken. You just rub the seasoning into the chicken and go.

Dry rub recipe

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
Air fryer boneless skinless chicken thigh dry rub
Dry rub ingredients

Personalize the rub

To make this seasoning blend special for your family, you can add any of the following:

  • Onion powder (½ teaspoon)
  • Cayenne pepper (½ teaspoon) for spice
  • Soy sauce (½ teaspoon) with 1 teaspoon of brown sugar for sweetness

Other ideas for sauces and seasoning

  • Italian seasoning
  • Bbq sauce
  • Buffalo sauce
  • Lemon pepper seasoning, with a dash of sea salt and fresh lemon juice after it’s done cooking
  • More seasoning mix ideas

What you need

How to make

Pat chicken thighs dry with a paper towel, then transfer to a large bowl.

Combine all the seasonings together in a small bowl, then pour them into the bowl with the chicken and use your hands to coat the chicken with the spices. 

For best results, preheat your air fryer to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (mine took 3 minutes to preheat). Then, place chicken thighs smooth side down into the air fryer basket, spray with nonstick spray/olive oil spray, and cook at 380 degrees Fahrenheit for 12 minutes. NOTE: every air fryer is different, so cook times may vary.

Once the air fryer beeps, use kitchen tongs to flip the chicken over, and cook for an additional 6-8 minutes on the second side, or until chicken is cooked through.

Do in 2 batches to make sure there’s breathing room. 

Feel free to cook the chicken for 2 additional minutes if you want to get more crispy skin, but be careful not to over-cook it; otherwise, the chicken might be too dry

Expert tips

  • Pat chicken dry!
  • A dry rub makes the outside crisper than a marinade! 
  • Arrange chicken in a single layer in the air fryer basket. Do not overcrowd the basket. Cook in batches if needed.
  • Preheat the air fryer to 375 degrees Fahrenheit for the crispiest chicken
  • Use kitchen tongs to easily flip the chicken after 10 min for nice browning
  • If you don’t have nonstick/olive oil/avocado oil spray, you can brush the chicken with a little bit of olive oil instead
  • The cooking time may vary from air fryer to air fryer. Check internal temperature of the chicken with a meat thermometer to 165 degrees Fahrenheit . Otherwise check the meat for doneness by cutting it at the thickest part. It should be white and juice should run clear and not red.
  • Meal prepping easy with this recipe.

What should I serve this with?

You can serve this chicken alone, chop it into cubes and throw it in your pasta, or put it in a container to make it a healthy snack.

Or, you can serve it with some ready-made sides (like macaroni and cheese or green beans) for a quick meal, or add it to a salad or your favorite carb-y dish. It’s an excellent source of protein.

This recipe makes a great main dish, but you can also serve it on the side with other dishes. It pairs well with rice, mac and cheese, air fryer veggies, broccoli, potatoes and salads. Just like chicken breasts, boneless skinless chicken thighs can be used for meal prep. It can be shredded and used in sandwiches, salads, soups, wraps, curries and stews.

These air fryer boneless chicken thighs can be served on its own with any dipping sauce of your choice. Sauces like garlic butter sauce, bbq sauce, peri peri sauce, buffalo sauce etc.

My favorite ways to enjoy chicken are by trying new things. Here’s some specific ideas.

  • Top it with Buttery Black Truffle Mushroom Pasta dish
  • Put it in tacos with Guacamole and Pico De Gallo
  • Green beans
  • Make a spicy chicken sandwich by using two hamburger buns, sriracha aioli, and this chicken!
  • Eat with pasta like this recipe here from canned cream of mushroom. I love having chicken with pasta
  • Chipotle chicken bowl anyone?
  • More side salads…

Similar recipes

A lot of people are asking about boneless skinless chicken thighs for my Copycat Orange Chicken Panda Express recipe.

Air fryer chicken wings or air fryer chicken legs are made the same way but cooked a little longer due to the bone.

You can also make a boneless chicken thighs recipe with the skin on, which will make it even crispier.

Or you can do bone-in chicken thighs, with skin. Just cook it longer and get to that 165 degrees Fahrenheit!

Storing

Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3 days. If you plan on eating it later in the day, put plastic wrap over it and uncover when you microwave.

Reheating

You can reheat chicken thighs in the air fryer or microwave. To reheat in the air fryer for boneless chicken thighs, set temperature to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and air fryer for 4-6 minutes or until heated through.

FAQs

Can you put raw chicken into the air fryer?

Yes, the air fryer cooks raw chicken well. The air fryer makes perfectly cooked juicy tender chicken without skimping on flavor.

Always make sure to check with a meat thermometer to make sure your chicken is fully cooked to at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

Do you have to flip meat in an air fryer?

Yes, it’s best to flip meat when cooking in the air fryer. This will enable the meat to cook and crisp up evenly.

Air fryer recipes are increasingly popular due to ease of use and quality of finished product. Things can always end up crispy and delicious in an air fryer.

Can I do a wet marinade instead of a dry rub?

Yes, use 1 cup buttermilk in addition to the dry rub ingredients. To marinate the chicken: In a large sealable bag, combine the chicken tenders with the remaining marinade ingredients. Seal the bag tightly and massage the chicken until it is evenly coated with buttermilk and seasoning. Place in a bowl and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to 24 hours.

Can I use bone-in chicken thighs with skin instead? 

Yes, Cook for 15 minutes on one side, then 12 minutes on the other.

Every air fryer is different so check with the internal thermometer of the thickest part of the chicken to make sure it’s fully cooked to 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

Frozen thighs?

Wondering if you can air fryer frozen boneless skinless chicken thighs? Yes, you can. Here are tips for cooking chicken thighs that are frozen.

  1. Prepare the chicken: If it’s icy, or stuck together, you can deglaze by running under tap water to get some ice off the exterior and to separate the pieces.
  2. Season the chicken: Rub the dry rub all over the chicken until it soaks.
  3. Air fry: Preheat then cook in the air fryer at 400 degrees F for 20 to 25 minutes. Use a meat thermometer to test for doneness (165 degrees F internally).

*consult with your doctor for professional medical advice

air fryer boneless skinless chicken thighs recipe dry rub

Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs Air Fryer Recipe

denthu
This air fryer chicken thigh recipe takes less than 30 minutes to make. Using a tasty dry rub, it is crisp on the outside and juicy on the inside.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 265 kcal

Equipment

Ingredients
  

  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast (4-6 pieces)
  • non-stick spray (light coating on the chicken)

Dry Rub

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper

Instructions
 

Chicken Prep

  • Clean chicken with salt and water. Remove fatty parts if you don't want it.
  • Pat chicken thighs dry with a paper towel, then transfer to a large bowl.

Dry Rub

  • Combine all the seasonings together in a small bowl. Pour them into the bowl with the chicken and use your hands to coat the chicken with the spices.

Air Frying

  • Preheat air fryer to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, place chicken thighs smooth side down into the air fryer basket, spray with a light coat of nonstick spray, and cook at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 12 minutes.
  • Once the air fryer beeps, use kitchen tongs to flip the chicken over, and cook for an additional 6-8 minutes on the second side, or until chicken is cooked through. Repeat with second batch, if you have more chicken.
  • Feel free to cook the chicken for 2 more minutes if you want to get more crispy skin.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 servingCalories: 265kcalCarbohydrates: 1gProtein: 48gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 145mgSodium: 555mgPotassium: 864mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 319IUVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 18mgIron: 1mg
Keyword air fryer, boneless skinless chicken thighs
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