Air Fryer Chicken Thighs

Air fryer chicken thighs on a plate

The Spruce / Diana Rattray

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 18 mins
Total: 28 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Yields: 4 pieces

The air fryer cooks deliciously seasoned chicken thighs to crispy, juicy perfection in just 18 minutes. A coating of Parmesan, garlic, and Italian seasoning creates a flavorful, crispy exterior in less than half the time it would take on the stovetop or oven. These chicken thighs are the perfect meal for a busy weeknight, and it's one that you're sure to put on repeat.

Chicken thighs are an excellent choice because they retain their flavor and juiciness, and they're easier on the budget than chicken breasts. As with most meat and poultry, bone-in thighs are more flavorful than boneless, and the crispy, seasoned skin will have you reaching for seconds. Serve with rice or pasta and a side vegetable or salad for a full, satisfying meal in less than 30 minutes.

Ingredients

  • 4 chicken thighs (bone-in, skin-on)
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese (plus more for garnish)
  • 2 cloves garlic (pressed and mashed to form a paste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Optional: 1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil (or olive oil spray)
  • Garnish: chopped fresh parsley

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    ingredients for air fryer chicken thighs
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  2. Pat the chicken thighs dry with paper towels.

    Dry the chicken thighs with paper towels
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  3. Spray the air fryer basket with cooking oil spray.

    Air fryer basket oiled
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  4. Place the chicken thighs on a plate, skin-side up, and sprinkle evenly with the Parmesan, garlic, salt, Italian seasoning, black pepper, and pepper flakes, if using.

    Chicken thighs seasoned with Parmesan cheese and herbs
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  5. Place the seasoned chicken thighs in the air fryer basket, skin-side up, and drizzle with the olive oil or spray with olive oil spray.

    Chicken thighs seasoned in the air fryer basket
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  6. Set the air fryer temperature to 380 F and set the timer for 18 minutes. Remove the basket after about 12 minutes.

    Chicken thighs skin-side up in the air fryer basket
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  7. Turn the chicken thighs over and replace the basket; continue to cook for the remaining 6 minutes. To ensure the chicken is thoroughly cooked, check the largest thighs with an instant-read thermometer; the minimum safe temperature for chicken is 165 F.

    Chicken thighs, skin-side down in the air fryer basket
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  8. Serve the chicken thighs with extra grated Parmesan cheese and a garnish of fresh parsley, if desired.

    Air fryer chicken thighs with a sprinkling of parmesan cheese
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray

Tips

  • The air fryer cooks food by circulating hot air around the pieces, so make sure there is space between the chicken thighs.
  • If you are cooking for heavy meat-eaters or your air fryer basket or tray is small, you might have to cook two or more batches. Transfer the cooked chicken thighs to an oven-safe platter or pan and place them in a 200 F oven to keep warm while making subsequent batches. 

Is Air-Fried Chicken Healthier?

Because air frying uses a fraction of the oil that is needed for deep frying, it dramatically cuts calories and fat and is, therefore, a much healthier way to fry compared to the stovetop method.

Recipe Variations

  • Replace the Italian seasoning blend with another herb seasoning combination, such as fines herbes, herbes de Provence, or a poultry blend. Or use a Cajun or Creole seasoning blend for a little bit of spice. If the seasoning mix contains salt, cut back on the kosher salt in the recipe.
  • Lemon pepper is a tasty alternative to plain black pepper.