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Air-Fried Chicken Thighs (KFC Style)

Air Fryer fried chicken thighs is a copycat recipe of Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) but more healthily because it doesn’t have deep-fried elements, and if you love KFC fried chicken then you’re probably gonna love these air fryer chicken thighs too.

The Air fryer fried chicken thighs have a crunchy and crispy layer outside while the inside is moist and flavorful with lightly seasoned BBQ sauce on top.

Are you ready to learn this amazing recipe for Fried Chicken Thighs? So let’s start.

The crispy and crunchy air fried chicken.
The crispy and crunchy air-fried chicken.

How To Make Air Fryer Fried Chicken Thighs?

For this recipe, I used skinless, boneless chicken thighs. Even though they do cost a little more, I prefer these the most. Bone-in requires more time to cook and is more difficult to consume (especially with kids).

Simply spend a few dollars more and purchase them without bones. Although, if you’re not a huge lover of chicken skin, get them without it.

Just make sure to dry the outside with paper towels in both cases. Otherwise, it won’t become as crispy.

Ingredients

• 8 Fresh Chicken Thighs – I used boneless skinless thigh chicken but you can use it with bones too which may alter the cooking time.

1 Egg

• ½ cup All-purpose flour – This would work as the breading.

• Seasoning – Raw or roasted garlic with onion powder will give it a bomb flavor.

• 1.5 tsp Paprika – It is a must ingredient in this recipe.

1 tsp Oregano

• 1 tsp Celery Salt – It is the secret ingredient of this recipe, which is very underrated.

1 tsp Dry Mustard Powder

A pinch of salt and pepper in the flour will add flavor to the coating. When serving, you may want a little bit on top as well.

Instructions

Make an assembly line with the dry ingredients in one and your egg in another. Flour, egg, and flour are the way to go, with a spray of olive oil at the end to moisten the outside so it chips.

If you’re making a larger batch, don’t put them all in at once. They must be in one layer so that air can circulate freely.

•Combine flour, garlic powder, paprika, oregano, celery salt, dry mustard, salt, and pepper in a mixing bowl.

•In a separate deep dish, beat the egg. Dip 1 thigh at a time into the flour, then into the egg, and then back into the flour.

•Coat each side of the chicken thigh thoroughly each time. Allow the excess to fall away.

•Spray the basket with nonstick olive oil cooking spray. At a time, place about 4 chicken thighs in the air fryer basket. Lightly spray the tops of the chicken thighs with olive oil.

•Air fry for 18 minutes at 370 °F.

For best results, turn them halfway through cooking time and spray the tops again. Remove when the internal temperature reaches 165 °F and the outsides are as brown as you like.

For more guidelines, check out the following video.

Air Fryer Fried Chicken Thighs.

Recipe Tips

  1. Avoid overcrowding the air fryer basket. Chicken thighs should be arranged in a single layer. You want air to circulate the pieces so that the skin chips as it cooks. If needed, cook the chicken thighs in batches in the air fryer.
  2. Smaller thighs will cook faster than larger thighs if your chicken pieces are not all the same size. If some thighs are done before others, transfer them to a clean plate while the others finish cooking
  3. If your air fryer has extra space, you can air fry a vegetable alongside the chicken, as long as everything fits in a single layer.
Air Fried Chicken served with ketchup.
Air Fried Chicken can be served with ketchup.

Nutritional Information

Calories387
Fat26g
Cholesterol 175 mg
Sodium 515 mg
Potassium364 mg
Carbohydrates 10g
Protein27g
Calcium26 mg
Air Fryer Fried Chicken Thighs Nutritional Information.

How Can You Store Air Fryer Fried Chicken Thighs?

Isn’t that the million-dollar question? True, it never seems as good as the first day, but if you have leftovers, put them in a freezer bag and suck all the air out of it.

Refrigerate and reheat within the next 2 days.

Warm in the microwave for about 1 minute to get the center hot. After preheating for 5 minutes, air fry at 400 °F for about 4 minutes to crisp up the skin again. I swear by the best two-part method I’ve discovered.

Try it for yourself and see if you’re a believer now!

What Can Be Served With Air Fryer Fried Chicken Thighs?

Traditionally, side dishes such as mashed potatoes, macaroni salad, and various sauces would be served. If you’re bringing these to a potluck, you can ask others to bring a salad and bread to round out the meal. These are a given, but you can go with other options as well.

Here are some of our favorite chicken side dishes:

  • Smoked bread or you can make your air fryer bread.
  • You can pair it up with some vegetables like carrot fries or cauliflower salad.

How Long Does It Take To Cook Chicken Thighs In Air Fryer?

The cooking time will vary depending on the size of the chicken pieces, whether they have a bone and your air fryer model.

The cooking time is just estimated. An instant-read thermometer is the best way to tell if your chicken is done. Cook the chicken to 165° F in the thickest part, not touching the bone.

  • Air fry bone-in chicken thighs for 12 minutes at 400° F, then flip and cook for 7-12 minutes more.
  • Air fry boneless chicken thighs for 11-15 minutes at 400° F. It is not necessary to flip them during the cooking process
Air fried chicken pieces served on green leaf.
Air-fried chicken pieces served on a green leaf.

Conclusion

In summary,

  • Air fryer fried chicken thighs is a copycat recipe of KFC style fried chicken but will have less fat and calories
  • If you’re cooking chicken thighs for a large family, then try to cook it in batches instead of overcrowding the basket because the chicken wouldn’t come out crispy if overcrowded.
  • It is important to spray some olive oil in the air fryer basket so that thigh pieces don’t get stuck to the air fryer basket.
  • The cooking time of boneless and bone chicken thighs is different.

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