How Long to Cook Boneless Chicken Thighs in an Air Fryer?

Air fryers have become a kitchen staple for those looking to enjoy the taste of fried foods without the added fats and calories. One protein that lends itself well to this cooking method is the chicken thigh—particularly the boneless variety. The result is a quick and delicious dish that mimics the deep-fried texture we all love without the guilt. This article aims to give you a comprehensive guide on cooking boneless chicken thighs in an air fryer, taking inspiration from The Recipe Rebel’s wonderful rendition.

What You’ll Need:


  • Boneless chicken thighs (as many as your air fryer can accommodate)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Optional herbs and spices like garlic powder, paprika, or your choice of seasoning blend


  • Air fryer
  • Kitchen thermometer
  • Tongs
  • Paper towels
  • Mixing bowl
  • Measuring spoons

Preparing the Chicken Thighs

Step 1: Thawing

If your boneless chicken thighs are frozen, you’ll need to thaw them fully. You can leave them in the fridge overnight or use the defrost setting on your microwave.

Step 2: Drying

Once your chicken thighs are completely thawed, pat them dry using paper towels. This step ensures that your seasoning sticks well to the chicken and that the thighs get a nice, crispy texture.

Step 3: Seasoning

Place your dried chicken thighs into a mixing bowl. Drizzle them with olive oil and your choice of seasonings. Make sure each piece is well-coated.

Cooking Instructions


Before cooking, preheat your air fryer to 375°F (190°C). Preheating ensures that your chicken cooks evenly.

Placing the Chicken in the Air Fryer

Arrange your seasoned chicken thighs in a single layer in the air fryer basket. Do not overcrowd the basket; you might have to cook in batches if you have more chicken.

Cooking Time

Cook the chicken thighs at 375°F (190°C) for 10 minutes. Then, flip them and cook for another 8-10 minutes. The total cooking time can vary depending on the size of the thighs and the specific air fryer model you’re using.

Checking for Doneness

To ensure that the chicken is cooked through, use a kitchen thermometer. The internal temperature should reach at least 165°F (74°C). If the chicken hasn’t reached this temperature, continue cooking for another 2-3 minutes and check again.

Optional Step: Extra Crispiness

If you desire a more crispy skin, increase the air fryer temperature to 400°F (204°C) for the final 2-3 minutes of cooking.

Tips and Tricks

  • Size Matters: Smaller thighs will cook faster than larger ones. Adjust your cooking times accordingly.
  • Marination: For added flavor, you can marinate your chicken thighs beforehand.
  • No Overcrowding: Overcrowding the air fryer basket can lead to unevenly cooked chicken.
  • Flavor Variations: Feel free to experiment with various herbs, spices, and marinades for flavor profiles.
  • Resting Time: Let the cooked chicken rest for a couple of minutes before serving; this helps the juices redistribute throughout the meat.

Health Benefits

Using an air fryer for cooking chicken thighs is healthier than traditional frying methods. The air fryer uses hot air to cook the meat, thus eliminating the need for excess oil. This results in a dish that is lower in fat and calories.

Bottom Line

Cooking boneless chicken thighs in an air fryer is a quick, easy, and healthier alternative to traditional frying. The key steps involve adequately prepping your chicken by thawing, drying, and seasoning it. You’ll then cook the thighs at 375°F (190°C) for 18-20 minutes, flipping halfway through. Always ensure the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C) for safety. With these guidelines, you can customize your chicken thighs to suit your tastes and dietary needs while enjoying the crispy texture and juicy interior that air fryers are celebrated for.

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