Ever wondered if you can cook frozen chicken thighs in your air fryer? Yes, you can and it is very easy to do as well. Today, I am going to show you how to cook bone-in skin on frozen chicken thighs in air fryer like a pro. The result is surprising, flavourful, tender, and juicy chicken with crispy skin like you cook it from fresh.
Serve with parmesan orzo, sauteed cabbage, creamy pasta salad, and many more.
Air fryer frozen chicken thighs recipe
Cooking frozen chicken thighs in the air fryer is easy and quick especially if the thighs were frozen individually as the is will cut about 5 minutes off your prep time. You will not need to run the chicken under cold water to separate or partially cook it in order to separate them.
Clean up is easy as you can do all prep in the air fryer basket, all you have to do is place the raw frozen chicken thighs in the air fryer basket, add a little bit of oil, season with any spices or herbs of choice, and air fry until fully cooked and the internal temperature reaches 165F/74C.
Air fryer frozen chicken thighs produce a moist, tender, and juicy result with crispy skin without any hassle. No worries about moisture loss or the chicken coming out tough, this is where chicken thighs can be forgiving.
Unlike chicken breast that you can not afford to overcook, if you don't want to be chewing on rubber, chicken thighs or chicken drumsticks are completely the opposite, you can slightly overcook chicken thighs and it would still be tender and delicious especially if it is bone-in.
That said, I am not advocating that you overcook your meat intentionally but you get my gist. This recipe uses raw frozen bone-in chicken thighs, however, you can use cooked or breaded thighs the same way.
Why you will love it
- It is easy and quick with less cleanup.
- You can use any seasoning of choice, I used my homemade all-purpose seasoning, and boy it is delicious!
- There is no need to preheat the air fryer
- No need to thaw or defrost the chicken, you just cook directly in the air fryer from frozen.
- This recipe is family-friendly, economical, it is healthy, low carb, keto-friendly, and gluten-free.
Air fryer: I used my Cosori 5.5L XL for this recipe and I am able to cook about 6 chicken pieces at once.
Frozen raw bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
All-purpose seasoning: my homemade all-purpose spice blend consists of onion granules, garlic granules, black pepper, smoked paprika, dried parsley, and oregano
Salt and black pepper
Cooking oil spray
How to cook frozen chicken thighs in air fryer
Place the frozen chicken thighs in the air fryer basket skin side up, spray the top of the chicken with cooking oil then season with salt and black pepper, sprinkle the all-purpose seasoning on the chicken. Flip the chicken using a kitchen tong then repeat the seasoning process.
Cook the frozen chicken thighs for a total of 20-30 minutes at 180C/360F depending on the size and thickness flipping it halfway through the cooking time. If you are not sure that the chicken is cooked, check with an instant meat thermometer and the internal temperature should register 165F/74C.
If after the cooking time, the skin is not as crispy as you want then you can increase the temperature of the air fryer to 190C/380F for another 3-5 minutes.
NB: the cooking time of the chicken would vary if they are not the same sizes, this should be fine. The most important thing is that the chicken is fully cooked to the bone, the juice runs clear without any blood insight.
How to store
Leftover cooked chicken can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container and consumed within 3 days and it can be frozen for up to 3 months.
Simple chicken seasoning you should try
Watch how to make it
How long to cook frozen chicken thighs in the air fryer
This will depend on the size and the thickness of the frozen chicken thighs and if it is bone-in or boneless. Chicken with bone and skin on would cook longer than boneless skinless chicken thighs.
Medium-sized chicken thighs would take about 25-35 minutes and big-sized thighs may cook between 30-40 minutes.
Can I cook frozen breaded chicken thighs in air fryer
Yes, you can cook breaded chicken thighs in the air fryer, just as you would with plain ones. Cook at 180C/365F for 25-35 minutes or until golden brown and completely cooked through.
How many frozen chicken pieces to cook in the air fryer
This depends solely on the size and the shape of your air fryer basket. Also, the size of the chicken would determine how much you can fit in the air fryer basket. If using a square basket then you might be able to fit between 4-7 pieces at once. Chicken breast would take up more space in the air fryer basket, so you might only be able to fit 2-4 at a given time.
Can I cook frozen boneless skinless chicken thighs in the air fryer
Yes, you can, the chicken comes out moist, tender, and juicy every time.
Can I cook frozen chicken thighs in my ninja air fryer
Yes, you can cook frozen chicken thighs in a Ninja air fryer or any other air fryer brand. Note that not all air fryers are created the same, so cooking time and temperature output would vary.
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Did you try this easy air fryer chicken recipe? Don’t forget to leave me feedback. Tag me @thedinnerbite on
Frozen Chicken Thighs In Air Fryer
- 6 frozen chicken thighs (bone-in skin-on)
- 1 Tablespoons all-purpose seasoning
- Salt and black pepper
- Cooking oil spray
- Place the frozen chicken thighs in the air fryer basket skin side up, spray the top of the chicken with cooking oil. Season with salt and black pepper and sprinkle the all-purpose seasoning on the chicken. Flip the chicken using a kitchen tong then repeat the seasoning process.
- Cook the frozen chicken thighs for a total of 20-30 minutes at 180C/360F depending on the size and thickness flipping it halfway through the cooking time. If you are not sure that the chicken is cooked, check with an instant meat thermometer and the internal temperature should register 165F/74C.If after the cooking time, the skin is not as crispy as you want then you can increase the temperature of the air fryer to 190C/380F for another 3-5 minutes.
Nutritional data: Please note that the nutrition label provided is an estimate based on an online nutrition calculator. It will vary based on the specific ingredients and brands you use. Under no circumstances will thedinnerbite.com be responsible for any loss or damage resulting for your reliance on nutritional information.
I made this the other night and the family loved it! I let it cook a little longer and used Kinder’s steak blend. It came out with the tooth-crunch of fried chicken but without the mess or guilt 😁
This will go into our forgot-to-thaw-dinner rotation. Thanks!
Thank you, Georgia, I am so glad you all enjoyed it.
I did not think I needed an air fryer and was a little skeptical when my friend gave this to me for my birthday. But this recipe made it all worth it! I've not been great at making fried chicken in the past but this recipe is a keeper.
Sallie Powers says
Can you use thawed thighs in this recipe
Yes, however you will need to reduce the cooking time. Here is an air fryer cilantro lime chicken thigh recipe for reference https://www.thedinnerbite.com/air-fryer-cilantro-lime-chicken/
Julie Hall says
I am new to using an air fryer, and your recipe instructions were so clear and detailed that I selected them for my first attempt at cooking frozen bone-in chicken thighs. My chicken pieces were rather large and had been in a deep freeze set quite a bit colder than the average freezer attached to a standard refrigerator. I checked their interior temperature after 30 minutes cooking (15 on first side and then 15 on second side) and decided that another 10 minutes with the air fryer temperature raised slightly hotter would finish them perfectly, and it did. They were crispy but juicy and I enjoyed every bite. It is mid-July with a heatwave in progress so I appreciated how the air fryer did its job without overheating the kitchen the way my oven would have done. I bookmarked this page as my default for air fryer chicken thighs from now on. Thank you for providing this information.
That was easier than ramen! Thanks so much.
hahaha, thanks Tommy!
Thank you so much for the recipe!! I never knew you could do frozen thighs in the air fryer 🙂
Lynda Opocensky says
Made these for a last minute supper tonight and thought they were really good. I have not cooked chicken (fresh or frozen) in my air fryer and I am not a convert. Thank you so much for the recipe.
Aw, thank you, Lynda, for giving it a go. I am glad it worked out for you and thank you so much for taking out the time to feedback!