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Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Thighs
I know there are more white meat lovers than dark meat enthusiasts out there but I’m in the firm belief those dark meat haters haven’t been privy to succulent bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs. With irrisiitibly crispy skin on the outside and tender, juicy meat on the inside, the chicken thigh on its own is a treat. However if you make OUR Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Thighs, you’re really in for a delicious meal.
We dust bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs with a flavorful mixture of kosher salt, garlic, onion and cumin and pop them into our Oster® RapidCrisp™ Air Fryer Oven. Not only do does the skin get cracker-like crispy and the inside stays tender and juicy, but it takes a fraction of the amount of time it would take to cook in the oven.
While the chicken does its thing, we whip up a really easy chimichurri peppered with bits of calabrian chili for a little bit of heat. The spicy herb-forward chimichurri paired with the salty spice-crusted chicken is a true winner in the realm of chicken dinners.
Chicken thighs. To get that super crispy exterior, we like to use skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs. Keeping the chicken skin does add a good amount of fat and calories, but it’s so worth it! I like to buy organic chicken thighs as they tend to be more manageable in size but whatever fits it your budget or what your grocery store carries is great.
When you keep the bone inside the chicken during the cooking process, it helps to keep the meat tender and juicy.
Spices. We use a combination of granulated garlic, onion powder, and cumin for a little smoke factor.
Olive oil spray. Spraying each chicken thigh with cooking oil will help the skin crisp up nicely.
Shallot. Whenever I have raw onion in a recipe, I like to use a shallot since it offers a sweeter, milder onion flavor.
Garlic. A good chimichurri has lots of garlic so use one very large clove or two medium.
Acid. The main component in a chimichurri is acid. Typically you see red wine vinegar, but I like to use a combination of red wine vinegar and lemon juice for a bit of citrus. I think an aged sherry vinegar would also be really nice.
Capers. I love the salty briny bite capers have and they do really well in a chimichurri. You can find them in the condiment section of the grocery store near the pickles and mustards.
Herbs. A lot of chimichurri recipes use only parsley, but I use a combo of cilantro and flat-leaf parsley. Make sure to purchase flat-leaf as it has more flavor.
Chilis. Calabrian chilis aren’t typical in a classic chimichurri but I love the burst of spice they add – don’t skip them if you like a little heat!
Let’s Make Air Fryer Chicken Thighs!
First, let’s talk about HOW we’re going to cook them. Normally when you cook chicken thighs and you want the skin super crispy, you first sear them on the stove and then roast them in the oven. The whole process from start to finish usually takes about 40 minutes. To eliminate the two steps and the excess cooking time, we use our Oster® RapidCrisp™ Air Fryer Oven.
While the Air Fryer Oven offers nine different functions (air fryer, convection oven, broiler, toaster oven, dehydrator, and more) we’re using the air fryer setting today. Not only does the air circulating in the oven make the chicken skin ultra crispy, but it cooks the chicken thighs in about 25 minutes depending on the size of your thigh.
It also uses 50% less energy than conventional ovens which makes me very happy in a world where I’m consciously trying to make better decisions for our planet and my kiddo’s future.
Prep the chicken
Mix the spices. Add the salt, garlic, onion powder and cumin to a small bowl. Mix to combine.
Season the chicken. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Sprinkle the seasoning evenly on all the chicken thighs. Place the chicken thighs on the air fryer rack. Spray the tops with olive oil.
Slide the tray in the oven, shut the door, set the timer and you’re done!
Make the chimichurri
Add the shallot, garlic and red wine vinegar to a small bowl. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes to soften the shallot and garlic. Add the mustard, honey, capers, herbs and chilis. Whisk to combine. Slowly whisk in the olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Check the temperature of the chicken
While our recipe says too cook the chicken for 25 minutes, the exact time will depend on the size of your chicken thigh. I like to start to checking them around 20 minutes. Pop an instant-read thermometer in the middle closes to the bone. If it reads anywhere from 162 degrees-165 degrees pull them out.
You may have to cook them a bit longer or shorter than 25 minutes. Luckily if you overcook them by a few degrees, chicken thighs are much more forgiving than breasts and tend to stay juicy and moist.
When they are done cooking, let them rest for five minutes.
Spoon the chicmichurri on top and around. Enjoy!
Can I make Air Fryer Chicken Thighs in Advance?
If you want to retain the crispy skin, here’s what I’d suggest to make meal prep super easy:
- Mix the spice rub. Store in an airtight container.
- Make the chimichurri. Store in an air-tight container.
- Cook the chicken right before eating.
You could also make the chicken in advance and simply pop the chicken back in the air fryer and use the broil function to reheat the chicken and crisp up the skin again.
Substitutions and Tips and Tricks for Recipe Success
- If you are worried about fat and calories, you can get skinless chicken thighs.
- Swap out the red wine vinegar for sherry vinegar.
- Add chili powder to the spice rub.
- An instant read thermometer is your best friend when it comes to cooking chicken. This will ensure your chicken is neither underdone nor overcooked.
Other favorite easy chicken dinners you’ll love
Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Thighs
Air Fryer Chicken Thighs are a true winner in the realm of delicious, easy chicken dinners. We dust bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs with garlic, onion, and cumin then cook them inn the air fryer until the skin is irresistibly crispy and the inside is tender and moist. We drizzle it all with a fiiery chimichurri and dig in!
- 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 6 medium bone-in chicken thighs
- 2 tbsp shallot
- 1 large garlic clove, minced
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp chopped parsley
- 2 tbsp finely chopped cilantro
- 1 tbsp capers
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 2 calabrian chilis
Set the chicken out while you make the seasoning. Add 1 teaspoon kosher salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and cumin to a small bowl. Mix to combine.
Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Sprinkle the rub evenly over the chicken thighs. Rub in. Place the chicken thighs on the air fryer tray. Spray with olive oil spray.
Place the chicken in the oven and shut the door. Set the timer for 25 minutes at 375 degrees. Press start.
While the chicken cooks, make the chimichurri. Add the shallot, garlic, lemon juice, red wine vinegar and 1/4 teaspoon salt to the same small bowl you mixed the rub in. Mix to combine. Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes. This would be a good time to chop the cilantro and parlsey. Add the capers, dijon, honey and herbs to the red wine mixture. Whisk to combine. Slowly whisk in olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
After the chicken has cooked for 20 minutes, check the internal temperature with an instant read thermometer. The chicken is done when the thickest part of the chicken next to the bone has reached 165 degrees. Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes before serving.
Spoon chimichurri on top.