Learn the best tips and tricks how to perfectly cook crispy boneless skinless chicken thighs in air fryer.
- What is the best way to cook skinless chicken thighs?
- How do you make a good crust on boneless and skinless chicken?
- Crispy boneless skinless chicken thighs in the air fryer
- How to cook frozen boneless skinless chicken thighs in the air fryer
- Serving ideas
- Make ahead
- Frequently asked questions
- Other air fryer chicken recipes
- 📖 Recipe
- 💬 Comments
What is the best way to cook skinless chicken thighs?
In my experience, air frying and baking are the best ways to cook skinless chicken thighs. Frying is not as healthy, and boiling will make them look unappetizing (unless you are cooking them solely for shredding).
When the thighs are de-boned, they can often lose their original shape and become flattened. To fold them back into their original shape, start by placing the chicken thigh skin-side down on a cutting board. Gently pull the edges of the meat toward the center, folding the meat into its original shape. Flip them back facing the skin side up. Now, you can season and cook them. Regardless of their shape, boneless skinless chicken thighs are a popular cut of meat due to their tenderness, juiciness, and versatility and the best way to cook them is at high temperatures.
An oven is a great option, but if you have an air fryer - try this recipe once, and you will for sure make it again. The thighs come out juicy in the inside and crispy on the outside, while the total cooking time is only about 25 minutes. It is a fast, convenient, and for sure healthier way to prepare this popular cut of meat.
How do you make a good crust on boneless and skinless chicken?
You can still make a golden-brown crust on the boneless and skinless chicken. The Air fryer is the best method to cook crispy skinless thighs. Of course, it will not be the same as skin-on-meat, but a few of my tips below can help you to achieve great results:
- Start with dry chicken - pat dry the meat well with a paper towel before seasoning and cooking. This will help the seasoning to stick to the chicken and create a better crust.
- Season well - use a generous amount of seasoning. If you do not like spicy meat, stick to paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder. Paprika will add red-brownish color to the meat (similar to the crispy skin) while the grainy texture of all dried spices creates a nice crust.
- Rub with oil - only a little bit of oil for better color and crispiness.
- Use a high-heat cooking method - bake it in the preheated to 425°F oven or even better - cook it in the air fryer. Air Fryer circulates hot air around the food to cook it quickly and evenly, while also creating a very crispy exterior.
- Do not overcrowd the air fryer - leave some room between the chicken thighs and always arrange them in a single layer without overlapping.
Do not forget to check the ingredients quantities in the recipe card located at the bottom of this post.
Chicken boneless thighs - I buy already de-boned, skin-removed chicken thighs.
Seasonings - you can use any of your favorite seasoning combinations or a store-bought poultry dry rub. But for the best crust with a mild flavor, I use paprika, garlic powder onion powder, chili powder, black pepper, and salt.
Oil - I used a little bit of extra virgin olive oil to rub onto the meat for better color and crust. You can use avocado, vegetable, or canola oil.
Crispy boneless skinless chicken thighs in the air fryer
Step 1 - Remove the chicken from the package and pat it dry with a paper towel. Fold the chicken thighs back into their original shape. Let it sit at room temperature for at least 10-15 minutes.
Step 2 - In a small bowl, mix salt, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and chili powder.
Step 3 - Brush or rub the chicken with a little bit of oil. Now, rub a generous amount of seasoning onto the folded chicken thighs.
Step 4 - Preheat the air fryer for about 5 minutes at 375°F. For best results, spray the basket with cooking spray. Place chicken thighs in the air fryer basket without overcrowding it.
Step 5 - Cook at 375 degrees F for 13 minutes on one side, flip the thighs, and cook them for another 5-7 minutes or until the internal temperature reached 165°F and the desired crispiness is achieved. The cooking time may vary depending on the air fryer and the size of the thighs.
Note: you do not have to flip them, but I think cooking them on both sides made them look more browned.
How to cook frozen boneless skinless chicken thighs in the air fryer
If you have frozen chicken thighs, you can cook them in the air fryer without thawing.
Follow the same directions and add about 10 minutes of cooking time.
If you have frozen bone-in chicken thighs, add about 15 minutes of cooking time.
Always use the instant meat thermometer to ensure the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
Here are some of our favorite ways to serve these crispy chicken thighs:
Shredded - for making tacos, casseroles, or enchiladas.
Cold - you can use cold chicken thighs to make a sandwich or a salad.
With sauce - chicken thighs can be served with a sauce, such as gravy, bbq sauce, or buffalo sauce.
Meal prepping - similar to chicken breasts, you can use the thighs to add to your meal prep container.
Cooked chicken thighs will last up to 3-5 days in the fridge. Store them in an airtight container.
Food Safety Tip: I like to label the container with the date it was prepared
You can reheat the meat in the air fryer, oven, or in microwave.
Frequently asked questions
es, you can easily substitute chicken breasts for chicken thighs. Keep in mind, chicken breasts are leaner and may need a different cooking time.
According to the USDA, The safe minimum temperature for boneless chicken meat is 165°F.
Yes, you can freeze cooked chicken thighs for up to 3 months. Do not forget to label them with a date.
Other air fryer chicken recipes
With its convenience and ability to cook with less oil, the air fryer is a game-changer for healthy and flavorful chicken. Try our other easy ways to cook chicken in your air fryer:
- Frozen chicken breasts in air fryer
- Air fryer chicken wings
- Air fryer lemon-pepper drumsticks
- Air fryer breaded cutlets
- Air fryer chicken bites
Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs in Air Fryer
- 1 Air fryer I used Ninja
- measuring spoons
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon salt or more by taste
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon chily powder
- Pat dry chicken with some paper towels. Fold it back into the original shape. Rub or brush each chicken thigh with oil.
- In a small bowl, mix ¼ teaspoon salt. Rub the spice mix generously onto the chicken.
- Preheat the air fryer for 5 minutes. Spray the bottom of the basket with some cooking spray. Arrange the chicken into single layer. Cook at 375°F for 13 minutes, flip it on the other side and cook for another 7 minutes or until the internal temperature is at least 165°F. Cook it in batches if needed.
- Pat dry the meat and let it rest at room temperature for about 15 minutes.
- Season generously for crispy meat.
- Use meat thermometer to ensure it is fully cooked.
- All nutrition information is only estimate and calculated using the calorie counting application.