Using the air fryer to cook chicken thighs is a bit different from baking them in the oven. You won’t need to marinate them at all, and it requires so little effort that you will want to make chicken thighs in air fryer every time.
What’s great about learning how to cook chicken thighs in air fryer is that you’ll be making them in a way that everybody loves. The end result is pieces of chicken that are tastefully fried but much healthier than deep frying them, and kids and adults should both really enjoy the flavor and texture.
How Long to Cook Chicken Thigh in Air Fryer?
If you’re cooking bone in chicken thighs in the air fryer, it’s going to take you about 16 to 20 minutes to cook them. That’s assuming you’re cooking them at 400 degrees Fahrenheit, which is the recommended temperature. This gives them a nice crispy outside and ensures that they cooked all the way through. If you modify the temperature, you’re going to have to change the cooking time as well.
How long to cook boneless chicken thigh in air fryer? Should the cooking time or temperature you need to use change if you have boneless chicken thighs? You should cook based on how much food you’re putting in the air fryer. Boneless chicken thighs take up less space and weigh less, so they cook faster. They are a little less dense, but that doesn’t really affect the cooking time in any significant way.
The cooking time directions I’ve given you above are for about two and a half pounds of chicken thighs. If you’re using a smaller portion than that, whether it’s boneless or bone in thighs, the cooking time will need to decrease a little bit.
How to Cook Chicken Thighs in the Air Fryer
I’ve given you directions on how long to cook your chicken thighs, now let’s look at the cooking method you should be using. You can season your chicken thighs before you put them into the air fryer and while the fryer is heating up. Remember to heat the fryer to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. It should only take a few minutes for the fryer to heat up all the way.
I like to season my chicken thighs with a little salt, black pepper, paprika, and garlic powder, but there are all sorts of seasoning combinations you can use. For something really simple, especially if you want to appeal to children, just use some salt and black pepper. That helps bring out the flavor of the thighs really well without overpowering them with complicated seasonings.
So, mix your seasonings together in a bowl and then dredge your chicken thighs in that seasoning mixture. Pat the thighs dry before cooking them with seasoning. Once the air fryer is heated up, you can add the chicken thighs to the fryer with the skin side facing down. You don’t want the thighs to overlap. If they’re crowded, you may need to cook them in smaller batches.
You should cook your chicken thighs for about 16 to 22 minutes, giving them a flip about halfway through the cooking time. Once they’re done cooking, you can pull them out of the fryer with tongs and check the internal temperature. It should read about 155 to 165 degrees Fahrenheit. After you allow the thighs to rest for a few minutes, the internal temperature will rise a little bit more, which is why you may get 155 degrees at first.
How Long to Cook Frozen Chicken Thigh in Air Fryer?
If you’re working with frozen chicken thighs, that can change the cooking time just a little bit. You’ll need to add a minute or two to make sure they cook all the way through. Just check your chicken thighs when they’re done cooking according to the directions above to ensure that they have the right internal temperature.
The frozen thighs will thaw out in the air fryer, so you don’t need to defrost them ahead of time. Just keep in mind that they may need an extra couple of minutes to cook completely from frozen.
Benefits of Cooking Chicken Thigh in the Air Fryer
I definitely recommend cooking chicken thighs in the air fryer rather than deep frying then. I would even recommend it over baking, and there are a few good reasons for that.
I already mentioned that the flavor and texture should be really appealing to your entire family. Who doesn’t love fried food? Of course, fried food often comes with a lot of guilt because it usually comes with a lot of calories too. This is a low-calorie method for cooking chicken thighs, particularly because you’re not using a lot of oil to cook with. Compared to deep frying them, you’re consuming a lot fewer calories. If you’re looking for a way to trim some fat out of your diet meat healthier, air frying foods like chicken thighs is definitely a good option.
Another reason I choose air frying chicken thighs over other cooking methods is because it’s really simple. There’s no mess to clean up, and it saves you a lot of time. You don’t have to marinate the chicken ahead of time. You don’t need to put a sauce over the chicken either. You can use a dipping sauce after they come out of the fryer, but there’s no need to sauce the chicken before they go in to cook. It cuts down your cooking time as well when compared to baking, which can take 40 minutes or more for chicken thighs.
If you’re wanting a quick way to cook up chicken for dinner during the week, when you may not have a lot of free time to work with, this is a really good option. You can just season them up, toss in the air fryer, and forget about them until they’re done cooking. Remember to flip them halfway through, but that’s all there is to it. You can be cooking other things while they’re frying and not have to worry whether they’ll come out perfectly or not.