These air fryer chicken thighs are the closest thing to low-carb fried chicken I've made yet! They're juicy, crispy and flavorful with zero breading (and deep frying) required. Instead, we're turning to a delicious and simple seasoning blend that combines a mix of bold spices. Extra crispy, tender with a mildly spicy chipotle flavor? It's possibly the best way to enjoy skin-on chicken thighs.
This air fryer chicken thighs recipe is:
- super easy and fool-proof
- a simple recipe to customize with your favorite seasoning mixture
- another reason to love your air fryer (along with these healthy chicken wings and air fryer chicken meatballs)
Note: This recipe was first posted in Sept. 2020 and has since been updated with new photos and a few minor improvements to bring you the very best content.
why this recipe works
These keto air fryer chicken thighs will not disappoint. The seasoning adds a zing of flavor to the crispy chicken skin and the meat turns out tender and juicy.
Since getting an air fryer a couple of years ago, I've been air frying EVERYTHING. I love the quick cook time of air fryer recipes and how it's often an easier/quicker option than heating up an entire oven.
Air fryer chicken recipes are probably my favorite when it comes to this appliance (see air fryer chicken wings or these sticky sesame air fryer chicken wings), which is why I'm so excited to now share this recipe with you.
It makes for an awesome, crispy, keto air fried chicken I'm sure you will love!
Serve them with my spicy keto coleslaw or a classic keto Cobb salad . Make a small batch of this five-minute keto ranch dressing or this easy keto ketchup for dipping action. How about creating a Southern-style-inspired, chicken and biscuits meal with these keto buttermilk biscuits?
Basically, air fryer chicken thighs are a great way to get deliciously crispy chicken thighs that are cooked to perfection and full of flavor. Keto air fryer fried chicken is a dinner win any night of the week!
ingredients for air fryer chicken thighs
These chipotle air fryer chicken thighs are simple to prep and the air fryer does the rest of the work. It's a pretty great process that I'm all about. The makings of weekday dinner magic.
Here are the ingredients you will need for this keto air fryer chicken thighs recipe:
- bone-in chicken thighs with skin (boneless skinless chicken thighs will not crisp in the same way)
- baking powder (gluten-free and aluminum-free like this one from Bob's Red Mill)
- chipotle powder
- garlic powder
- smoked paprika
- fine sea salt
- garlic powder
You will of course need an air fryer and air fryer rack. I have a Gourmia air fryer which has an air fryer basket, but keep in mind that you may need to adjust the cook time based on the type of air fryer you have.
Regardless, you'll find that this low carb air fryer chicken thighs recipe is an easy way to get perfect results for cooking chicken: extra crispy skin, tender, juicy meat and the best flavor thanks to a simple dry rub.
how to make air fryer chicken thighs
If the chicken thighs you're using are previously frozen, make sure they are completely thawed out prior to preparing them for the air fryer.
There are three crucial steps to getting suuuuuuper crispy air fryer chicken thighs (the BEST kind which resembles crisp fried chicken):
- use chicken thighs that have skin (it will crisp up as it cooks, plus it overall has more fat and flavor which we always say yes to, right?)
- try and eliminate any excess moisture by patting the chicken dry with a paper towel
- make sure to mix baking powder into the seasonings because it helps dry out the skin and makes these even crispier!
Here's a quick look at the process (you can also watch it come together here) but be sure to check out the recipe card for the full instructions and ingredient amounts.
Preheat your air fryer to 360°F and rub a bit of coconut oil, olive oil or avocado oil onto the air fryer rack.
In a small bowl, mix the baking powder and seasonings. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and place them on a clean, dry plate.
Season the chicken thighs all over, either on a plate or in a large Ziploc bag (or toss it altogether in a large bowl).
Place chicken thighs on the rack, skin side down, in a single layer. Air fry chicken thighs for about 15 minutes at 360°F, then flip the chicken so it's skin side up. Turn the temperature up to 390°F and air fry for another 5-10 minutes.
Check the chicken after 5 minutes of air frying at the higher temp. If needed, return it to the air fryer and cook a little bit longer.
tips for the best air fryer chicken thighs
- Since all air fryers cook a little differently, make sure the chicken is fully cooked through. The internal temperature should read at least 165° degrees with a meat thermometer. If the skin isn't as golden as you'd like and it needs to cook longer, continue cooking, adding increments of four minutes at a time. This will also vary based on the size of your chicken thighs. If they're extra large, the cooking time will likely be 20 minutes (at 360°F). Always check the internal temperature by inserting an instant read thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh.
- Customize the seasoning blend as you wish for a variety of flavors!
- You can place the bone-in thighs directly into the basket without the rack, but I find that the air fryer rack helps ensure the hot air circulates around the chicken and results in extra crisp skin all around.
- Store any leftover air fryer chicken thighs in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
These are the best air fryer chicken thighs!
They're super simple with easy cleanup and result in the most flavorful, crispiest chicken thighs ever. Serve them up with your favorite side dishes for a quick weeknight dinner the whole family will rave about.
you might also love...
- Air fryer Brussels sprouts with miso glaze
- The BEST air fryer chicken wings recipe
- Air fryer zucchini tots
- Whole chicken in the air fryer
- This roundup of keto chicken thigh recipes
Did you make this recipe? I'd love to hear what you thought! You can leave a star rating or a comment below, or tag me on Instagram, @stemandspoon. Thanks so much for your feedback!
- 6 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
- 2 teaspoons baking powder (gluten-free and aluminum-free)
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½-1 teaspoon fine sea salt (use ½ teaspoon if you are more sensitive to salt)
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½-1 teaspoon chipotle powder (use 1 teaspoon for a medium spice level)
- 1 teaspoon coconut oil, olive oil, or avocado oil
- Preheat your air fryer to 360°F (make sure to remove the air fryer rack before preheating). Place the chicken pieces on a plate lined with paper towels and pat them dry completely (don't skip this step- you want to eliminate as much moisture as possible from the chicken so it can get crispy). Place the dry chicken on a clean, dry plate.
- In a small dish, mix the baking powder and seasonings. Generously sprinkle four pieces of the chicken with about 1 to 1-½ tablespoons of the seasoning mix, turning it over to season both sides. (Alternatively, you can shake the chicken in a large Ziploc bag to coat it with the seasoning).
- Rub a bit of oil onto the removable air fryer rack to prevent the chicken from sticking. Place four of the chicken thighs on the rack, skin side down. Air fry for 15 minutes at 360° (if the thighs are extra large, go for 20 minutes), then remove the air fryer basket.
- Flip the chicken so it is now skin side up and place the basket back inside the air fryer. Turn the temperature up to 390°F and air fry for another 5-10 minutes, or until the skin is golden brown and the chicken is done (check it after 5 minutes). It will have an internal temp of 160°F.
- Remove the chicken and set on a plate tented with foil. Repeat the process with the remaining two chicken thighs and the rest of the seasoning mix.
The baking powder mixed into the spice blend will help draw out moisture from the chicken skin and make it more crispy.
All air fryers cook a little differently so the best way to tell if the chicken is cooked is to use a meat thermometer. It should read 160°F. The residual heat will bring the temperature up to 165°F during the rest time.
If the chicken needs to cook longer, add increments of 4 minutes at a time. The air fry time will vary based on the size of your chicken thighs. If they're extra large, the initial cook time will likely be 20 minutes (at 360°F).
You do not have to use an air fryer rack but I find it helps ensure the chicken is extra crisp all around.
This recipe was originally written for 4 chicken thighs but the seasoning will give you enough to make 6. If you prefer to make 4, make sure to use only ½ teaspoon of salt and chipotle powder.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 146Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 42mgSodium: 971mgCarbohydrates: 2gNet Carbohydrates: 2gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 8g
This nutritional information is approximate and is provided for convenience as a courtesy.