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Air Fryer Lemon Chicken Thighs

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Cook Time25 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
Cooking Temperature380 degrees Fahrenheit

The exact cook time can vary. Read below for our tips!

If you’re looking for a citrusy twist on your classic chicken dish, you should give these crispy air fryer lemon chicken thighs a try!

Easy to make, they are marinated in a zesty mixture of lemon juice, lemon zest, olive oil, garlic, thyme, salt, and pepper.

The result is tender, juicy chicken thighs with crispy skin that are bursting with flavor.

You can serve them with any side dish you like, such as rice, potatoes, salad, roasted veggies, and more. This recipe is perfect for a quick weeknight dinner or a special occasion.

crispy chicken thighs on plate with silver fork and wedge of lemon beside.
Air fryer lemon chicken thighs – crispy and flavorful.

Ingredients

ingredients to make lemon chicken thighs in bowls with labels on counter.
The necessary lemon chicken thigh ingredients!

Here are the recipe ingredients that you will need to make these lemon chicken thighs in the air fryer.

  • Chicken thighs – Preferably bone-in, skin-on for extra flavor, but you can also use boneless and/or skinless thighs.
  • Lemon zest – Preferably from an organic lemon.
  • Lemon juice – Preferably freshly squeezed, but store-bought also works.
  • Olive oil – Alternatively, you can also use avocado oil, vegetable oil, or canola oil.
  • Salt – To enhance the overall flavor.
  • Black pepper – To add a hint of spice.
  • Dried thyme – Alternatively, you can also use dried rosemary or Italian-style seasoning.
  • Granulated garlic – Or garlic powder.

Recipe Tips

Before you make these lemony chicken thighs, have a read through these tips so that you get the best result.

  • Bone-in, skin-on thighs are great for this recipe, but you can also use boneless, skinless thighs if you prefer. Just reduce the cooking time accordingly, as they will cook faster.
  • For the best results, marinate the chicken in the lemon mixture for about 30 minutes. This will allow the chicken to absorb the citrus flavors.
  • Make sure to not overcrowd the air fryer – the chicken thighs should fit in one even layer. Otherwise, they may not cook and crisp evenly. If your air fryer is small, you may need to cook the chicken in batches.
  • Start by air frying the chicken thighs with the skin-side facing down, and then flip them over. This will ensure that the skin gets nice and crispy.
  • Use a meat thermometer to check the doneness of the chicken. It should reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Avoid overcooking the chicken, as it can become dry.
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Step by Step Instructions

In this section, you will see exactly how to make air fryer lemon chicken thighs.

It’s quite simple, but we’ve included all of the recipe process photos so that you can visually follow along at home and track your progress!

Of course, you can also find the detailed recipe card – with cooking times and temps – at the end of this post.

liquid lemon marinade sitting in white mixing bowl on counter.
Make the marinade.

In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, black pepper, dried thyme, and granulated garlic.

raw chicken thighs in lemon marinade in a white bowl sitting on the counter.
Coat the chicken in the marinade.

Add the chicken thighs to the bowl and toss to coat well. Optionally, you can cover the bowl and refrigerate it for 30 minutes.

This step is not mandatory but is recommended since it allows the chicken to absorb the citrus flavor.

chicken thighs upside down in round black air fryer tray on counter.
Place the raw chicken thighs in the air fryer.

Preheat the air fryer to 380 degrees Fahrenheit for 5 minutes or until it indicates that it is preheated.

Once the air fryer is preheated, place the thighs in a single layer in the air fryer basket, with the skin side facing down. Air fry them at 380 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes.

semi-cooked chicken thighs in round black air fryer basket on counter.
Flip the chicken thighs over.

Then flip the thighs over and air fry them for another 10 minutes or until cooked through and the skin is crispy.

The internal temperature should reach 165 degrees Fahrenheit. The exact cooking time can vary depending on the size of the chicken thighs, whether they have skin, and your air fryer.

crispy lemon chicken thighs in round black air fryer tray sitting on counter.
The skin should be crispy.

Remove the cooked chicken thighs from the air fryer and allow them to rest for a couple of minutes. Then serve them warm.

They go well with garlic sauce or tzatziki sauce. They also pair nicely with rice, quinoa, or baked potatoes, and lots of different vegetables.

Storage Tips

Any leftover lemon chicken thighs should be stored in a sealed container or wrapped in aluminum foil once they have cooled and stored in the fridge. They will last up to 3-4 days in the fridge.

You can reheat these chicken thighs in the air fryer to help them regain a little bit of crisp. We use the “reheat” setting on the air fryer at 280 degrees Fahrenheit for a few minutes until the chicken is heated through.

Be careful not to have the air fryer too hot or cook them too long because the chicken can dry out!

Related Recipes

For more tasty air fryer chicken recipes, check out these recipes you can make right at home!

lemon chicken thighs on plate with lemon wedge and silver fork beside.

Air Fryer Lemon Chicken Thighs

Crispy on the outside and juicy and tender on the inside, these Air Fryer Lemon Chicken Thighs have a delicious citrus flavor and a crispy skin. They give off a bit of the summer (but are delicious any time of year) and go great with lots of different sides.
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Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 3

Ingredients

  • 5 chicken thighs, skin-on bone-in
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme, alternatively dried rosemary or Italian-style seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic

Instructions

  • In a large bowl, whisk together 3 tablespoons olive oil, 3 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 tablespoon lemon zest, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme, and 1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • Add the 5 chicken thighs to the bowl with the marinade and toss thoroughly until each thigh is coated. Optionally, you can cover the bowl and refrigerate it for 30 minutes. This step is not mandatory, but recommended.
  • Preheat the air fryer to 380 degrees Fahrenheit for 5 minutes or until it indicates that it is preheated.
  • Arrange the thighs in a single layer in the air fryer basket, with the skin side facing down. Air fry them at 380 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes.
  • Flip the thighs over and air fry them for another 10 minutes or until cooked through. The internal temperature should reach 165 degrees Fahrenheit. The exact cooking time can vary depending on the size of the chicken thighs, whether they have skin, and your air fryer.
  • Remove the cooked chicken thighs from the air fryer and allow them to rest for a couple of minutes. Then serve them warm. They go well with garlic sauce or tzatziki sauce.

Notes

  • Bone-in, skin-on thighs are great for this recipe, but you can also use boneless, skinless thighs if you prefer. Reduce the cooking time accordingly as they will cook faster.
  • For the best results, marinate the chicken in the lemon mixture for about 30 minutes. This will allow the chicken to absorb the citrus flavors.
  • Don’t overcrowd the air fryer – the chicken thighs should fit in one even layer. Otherwise, they may not cook and crisp evenly. If your air fryer is small, cook in batches.
  • Use a meat thermometer to check the doneness of the chicken. It should reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Avoid overcooking the chicken, as it can become dry.

Nutrition

Calories: 542kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 45g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 8g | Monounsaturated Fat: 23g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 185mg | Sodium: 533mg | Potassium: 411mg | Fiber: 0.4g | Sugar: 0.5g | Vitamin A: 153IU | Vitamin C: 8mg | Calcium: 22mg | Iron: 2mg

This nutritional information has been estimated by an online nutrition calculator. It should only be seen as a rough calculation and not a replacement for professional dietary advice.

Course Dinner
Cuisine American
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This recipe was contributed by
Yuliia is a photographer based in the UK. Having a large family, she was excited to discover the air fryer two years ago. It has been her indispensable assistant ever since! She loves experimenting with air fryer recipes and cooking something new for her family.

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