Air Fryer Roasted Chicken Thighs

4 Servings
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes

Air Fryer Roasted Chicken Thighs are a crispy meal with a sweet and slightly spicy flavor. Easy to make and ready in about a half hour!

The air fryer cooking method is a great way to cook your favorite crispy foods fast. You can get the same crispy perfection that you expect from fried food but without the excess of unhealthy oil. Because the food is contained in such a tightly sealed and small space, the cooking time is also faster, and it cooks all the meat more evenly. 

I’ve already posted a recipe for Juicy Air Fryer Chicken Breasts. Now you have this option, so you can also make a quick and easy Weeknight Dinner with crispy chicken thighs! 

Sabrina’s Air Fryer Roasted Chicken Thighs Recipe

Air fryer recipes have really changed the game for easy meals with chicken. Just throw your meat inside and let it fry with less than a 20 minute cook time. Once it’s done, you’ll have perfectly Air Roasted Chicken Thighs. The best part is you get mouthwatering crispy skin without having to fry the chicken in oil, for a tasty easy dinner that is healthy too!

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  • 4 Chicken Thighs: The bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs make the perfect protein for so many delicious weeknight meals. Cooking them in the air fryer forms a crisp, flavorful layer outside while the inner meat remains tender and juicy. 
  • 2 tablespoons Vegetable Oil: Because of the air fryer, you need a lot less oil than you would for deep frying chicken, but you get the same delicious crispy skin. Just coat the chicken in 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, and spray a little oil on the basket so that the chicken thighs don’t stick. 
  • Spice Mixture: You only need a few simple ingredients to flavor the chicken. Mix garlic powder, kosher salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper in with the oil. Depending on how spicy you want the chicken, you can use more or less cayenne pepper. You can also use your own blend of spices. See the Variations section below for some good ideas!
  • 1 teaspoon Brown Sugar: Adding brown sugar to the coating is an excellent way to bring a little bit of sweetness to the common spices flavoring the chicken. The recipe only uses 1 teaspoon, so it’s not overpowering, but it gives the Air Fryer Chicken a rich flavor. 
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Kitchen Tools & Equipment

  • Air Fryer: There are a lot of air fryers on the market and any one of them would be great with this recipe. Depending on how big the air fryer basket is, you may need to work in batches. Ideally you want to make them all at the same time, but you don’t want to crowd the air fryer or they won’t cook properly.
  • Paper Towel: These are essential for drying the chicken which will help it to cook better and get crispier. The paper towels can easily be thrown away after use.
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How to Make Chicken Thighs

Time needed: 25 minutes.

  1. Preheat and Pat Chicken Thighs Dry

    Start by preheating the air fryer temperature to 400 degrees, and prepare the air fryer basket by spraying it with canned cooking spray. Then use paper towels to pat chicken dry. marinade for chicken

  2. Add Brown Sugar Coating

    Add the vegetable oil, brown sugar, garlic powder, kosher salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper to a large mixing bowl. Then whisk dry ingredients into the oil. Add the pieces of chicken to the bowl, and coat the chicken skin well. raw chicken in bowl covered with marinade

  3. Air Fry

    Place the chicken thighs skin-side down in a single layer over the air fryer basket. Then set the cooking time to 20 minutes. raw marinaded chicken in air fryer basket

  4. Serve

    When done, carefully remove the air-fried chicken thighs and serve warm. Enjoy your juicy chicken thighs!cooked marinaded chicken in air fryer basket

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Can This Be Made Ahead?

Yes, absolutely! You can make it a day in advance if for a party, but it will last in the fridge for up to 4 days. Freezing these for meal prep is just a matter of storing them with the other meal ingredients for up to 3 months.

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Nutritional Facts

Nutrition Facts
Air Fryer Roasted Chicken Thighs
Amount Per Serving
Calories 384 Calories from Fat 279
% Daily Value*
Fat 31g48%
Saturated Fat 8g50%
Trans Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 9g
Monounsaturated Fat 12g
Cholesterol 142mg47%
Sodium 403mg18%
Potassium 312mg9%
Carbohydrates 2g1%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 24g48%
Vitamin A 166IU3%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
Calcium 14mg1%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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Tips for Air Frying Chicken

Use a Meat Thermometer to Check for Doneness

After the cooking process, use an instant-read thermometer or a meat thermometer at the thickest part of the meat to check that the internal temperature has reached 165 degrees. If it hasn’t reached that temperature air fry the chicken for a couple of minutes extra until it reaches that safety temperature.

Air Fryers Need Dry Air

While easy recipes like this give you a chance to experiment with various seasonings, the one thing you want to remember though is not to add too much liquid. Air frying works in part by rapidly circulating dry heat and too much moisture won’t allow the food to get crispy or cook properly.

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What to Serve with Chicken Thighs

  • Sides: The flavors in the chicken are pretty versatile so you can try them with many different sides. Serve them up with your favorite easy sides like Mashed Potatoes and Green Beans.
  • Desserts: Air Fried Chicken Thigh would be great in the summertime with a sweet dessert like Key Lime Cupcakes or an ice cold Strawberry Milkshake.
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How to Store Chicken Thighs

  • Store: Don’t leave this Air Fryer Chicken Thigh recipe at room temperature for more than 2 hours. If you have leftovers, wait for them to cool down. Then you can put them in an airtight container to store in the fridge for 3-4 days. 
  • Reheat: If you have leftovers from this chicken thigh recipe, you can also reheat them in the air fryer. Just preheat the fryer to 350 degrees. Then place the cold chicken in the basket and cook for 2-3 minutes until warmed through. 
  • Freeze: Seal the chicken and store it for up to 3 months in the freezer. Let the meat thaw in the fridge overnight before you reheat it to serve. 

Ways to Use Leftover Chicken

Though it makes a delicious meal served fresh, you can also use the leftover chicken meat in other recipes. Simply cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces, and you can use the flavorful meat for Chicken Salad or Chicken Noodle Soup

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Frequent Questions

Can I use boneless chicken thighs instead?

This recipe is made with bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs. Bone-in chicken usually turns out slightly more flavorful, and the meat is a little less expensive. However, if you prefer boneless, skinless chicken thighs, you can absolutely make them in the air fryer, and they’ll taste great. Keep in mind that boneless chicken usually cooks a little faster. So, you’ll want to subtract a few minutes from the air frying time. To ensure they’re done, check the internal temperature is at least 165 before serving the boneless thighs. 

Can I double the recipe?

This all depends on the space available in your air fryer. If you’re trying to bake a large batch of chicken thighs, I’d recommend using my oven baked Crispy Rotisserie Chicken Thighs or Slow Cooker Rotisserie Chicken Thighs recipes. This way you’ll be able to cook in bulk!

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Recipe Card

Air Fryer Roasted Chicken Thighs

Air Fryer Roasted Chicken Thighs are a crispy meal with a sweet and slightly spicy flavor. Easy to make and ready in about a half hour!
Yield 4 Servings
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Author Sabrina Snyder


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar , packed
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 4 chicken thighs , bone in, skin on


  • Preheat air fryer to 400 degrees and spray basket with vegetable oil spray.
  • Dry the chicken thighs well with paper towels.
  • In a large bowl stir together the vegetable oil, brown sugar, garlic powder, salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper.
  • Add in chicken thighs and coat well.
  • Put chicken in the air fryer basket skin side up, cook for 20 minutes.


  • Click on the yield amount to slide and change the number of servings and the recipe will automatically update! 
  • Click on times in the instructions to start a kitchen timer while cooking. 
  • To convert measurements to grams, click on the Metric option next to Ingredients in the recipe card.    


Calories: 384kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 9g | Monounsaturated Fat: 12g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 142mg | Sodium: 403mg | Potassium: 312mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 166IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 14mg | Iron: 1mg

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Variations on Chicken Thighs

  • Seasonings: You can use different spices and seasoning blends (like Italian seasoning) in the oil coating to change up the flavor of your Air Fryer Chicken. A little onion powder, paprika, cumin, ground mustard, or coriander would taste wonderful! 
  • Lemon Garlic Chicken Thighs: To make a refreshing lemon-flavored chicken recipe, you can whisk together 3 minced garlic cloves, 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, 1 teaspoon lemon zest, 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, and ¼ cup melted butter. Then spread the lemon mixture over the chicken in place of the typical brown sugar coating. Cook per the instructions
  • Honey Chicken Thighs: An easier way to change up the chicken coating is by using honey instead of brown sugar. It’ll give the Air Fryer Roasted Chicken Thighs a brighter, more floral sweetness. You can also set some of the spice and honey blend to the side while cooking the chicken. Brush the remaining mixture over the thighs before serving. 
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More Air Fryer Favorites

Air Fryer Roasted Chicken Thighs pin

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the cookbook Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients, published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

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