These Air Fryer Chicken Thighs are SO incredibly juicy and perfectly seasoned. Delicious, flavorful, and healthy, these make the perfect quick and easy dinner.
I’ve never been a chicken thigh girl — always chicken breasts. Don’t ask me why, because boy-oh-boy have I been missing out. These air fryer chicken thighs are insanely tender and juicy!
- Warm Water and Salt – make up the brine for the chicken to add moisture and flavor.
- Chicken Thighs – use 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs. You can use chicken breasts, but they may not be as juicy and may take longer to cook since chicken breasts tend to be thicker than thighs.
- Salt, Pepper, Onion Powder, Smoked Paprika, and Garlic Powder – a simple seasoning blend. I bet you already have all these spices on hand!
- Olive Oil – adds moisture to the chicken and prevents sticking to the air fryer.
How to make
- Mix warm water and 1/4 cup salt in a large bowl then add in chicken thighs. Let sit for 15 minutes.
- Mix together seasonings in a small bowl, then stir to combine.
- Remove the chicken from the salt water brine, rinse, pat dry, and place in a baking dish.
- Drizzle with oil and coat with spices.
- Preheat the air fryer to 350ºF and air fry for 15 minutes, flipping halfway through.
- Serve and enjoy!
Can you stack chicken thighs in an air fryer?
No! You want the air to reach all sides of the chicken thigh to cook and crisp the outside fully. If the thighs are overlapping, they will cook unevenly.
How to make chicken thighs crispy
My intention for this recipe wasn’t to make super crispy thighs, but really tender, moist chicken! If you’re looking for crispy chicken, I’d recommend checking out my other air fryer chicken recipes.
There are a couple things you can do to make sure these air fryer chicken thighs are as crispy as possible!
- Pat dry the chicken. Make sure you fully dry the chicken thighs after you remove them from the brine to get rid of any excess moisture. If they’re soggy, they won’t crisp up well as they fry.
- Don’t overlap the thighs. If the thighs are touching in the air fryer, the air won’t be able to reach every part of the chicken and they will be uneven.
- Add a breading. After the thighs have been seasoned and oiled, try adding the breading from this air fryer chicken nuggets recipe.
What to serve with air fryer chicken thighs
These chicken thighs are the perfect main to any sides! Here are some of my favorites!
- Rice, quinoa, or cauliflower rice
- Roasted Vegetables
- Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes
How to store
Store leftover chicken thighs in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months.
To reheat, place your chicken back in the air fryer or oven and cook at 350ºF until warm.
Air Fryer Chicken Thighs
Equipment for this recipe
- 4 cups warm water
- 1/4 cup salt
- 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs about 1 1/2 - 1 3/4 pounds total
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Fill a large bowl with 4 cups of warm water.
- Pour in 1/4 cup salt and stir until most of the salt has absorbed.
- Stir in the chicken thighs.
- Let sit for 15 minutes at room temperature to brine.
- Place 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, onion powder, smoked paprika, and garlic powder in a small bowl, then stir to combine. Set aside.
- Remove the thighs from brine, rinse with cold water, pat dry, then place them into a 9x13 inch baking dish.
- Drizzle thighs with oil, then evenly sprinkle with spices - use your hands to ensure that the oil and spices have coated each thigh completely.
- Preheat air fryer to 350 degrees F.
- Air fry 2 thighs at a time for 15 minutes, or until the thighs are cooked through, flipping halfway through.
- Repeat with remaining thighs, serve, and enjoy!
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*Note: Nutrition information is estimated and varies based on products used.