Finger-Lickin’ Air Fryer BBQ Chicken Thighs in Under 30 Minutes

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Fire up your air fryer and get ready for some finger-licking goodness! These Air Fryer BBQ Chicken Thighs will have you craving seconds. With a perfect balance of smoky, tangy flavors and juicy, tender meat, this recipe is, without a doubt, a winner. 

Air fried bbq chicken thighs, served on a white plate

Notes: We are currently in the development and testing stage for this air fryer bbq chicken thighs recipe. Stay tuned for more updates. If you have any tips on making this dish even better, please leave us a comment below. We appreciate your input!

Happy frying!

Air fryer bbq chicken thighs, recipe bite shot, served on a white plate

Ingredients for Air Fryer BBQ Chicken Thighs

  • Chicken thighs
  • Barbecue sauce
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Salt and pepper

You can find the exact measurements of the recipe ingredients and customize the serving size in the recipe card after the detailed step-by-step instructions section.

Tailoring your BBQ chicken thighs air fryer to perfection is a breeze! Depending on your BBQ sauce’s flavor, you can skip the dry rub seasoning (including salt) if it already packs a punch. This’ll make the recipe even more straightforward.

Here’s the thing:

I used bone-in chicken thighs for this recipe, requiring longer cooking than boneless ones. But don’t fret—I’ve covered both air fryer settings in the recipe card below.

If you prefer that delightful crunch, cook at a higher temperature (400ºF/204ºC) and try a dry BBQ seasoning instead. Alternatively, you can cook the chicken thighs without the sauce, then add it after cooking, serving immediately to maintain that perfect crispiness.

Recipe Video

Here’s a video of a similar recipe that we’re going for.

How to Cook BBQ Chicken Thighs in Air Fryer?

Step 1: Preheat your air fryer to 400ºF (204ºC).

Preating Instant Pot Vortex Plus Air Fryer to 400°F (204°C).

If your air fryer doesn’t have a preheating option, set your desired temperature then let it cook for 5 minutes without food.

🚨 Important: Reduce the cooking temperature to 380°F (193°C) if you’re using a 4-quart air fryer or smaller. They are hotter due to the heating element being closer to the food.

Step 2: Prepare the ingredients.

To make a basic dry rub, combine garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper in a small bowl.

Step 3: Season the chicken thighs.

Use paper towels to pat dry the chicken thighs to remove extra moisture. 

Sprinkle the dry rub seasoning evenly over both sides of the chicken thighs, pressing gently to ensure the seasoning sticks.

Step 4: Air fry the seasoned chicken thighs for 16 – 22 minutes at 400ºF (204ºC).

Place the chicken thighs in the air fryer, ensuring they’re in a single layer and not touching. Then, brush the barbecue sauce on the chicken thighs.

To cook chicken thighs in your air fryer, set the temperature to 400ºF (204ºC) and cook for 16-22 minutes. Ensure the chicken thighs reach an internal temperature of 165ºF (74ºC) before serving.

Halfway through cooking, carefully flip the chicken thighs. Recoat the flipped side with another layer of BBQ sauce. 

Step 5: Serve and enjoy!

Resting the Air Fried BBQ Chicken Thighs

Once done, let the chicken thighs rest for 5 minutes before serving.

That’s how you make an air fried BBQ chicken thighs, quick and easy!

Enjoy the irresistible combination of juicy chicken thighs, smoky flavors, and tangy sauce. It’s time to take your taste buds on a flavorful journey without hassle. 

What to Serve with Air Fryer BBQ Chicken Thighs?

Freezing & Storage

Freezing: You can freeze any leftover cooked chicken thighs in an airtight container for up to 3 months. If you need to reheat these, thaw them in the refrigerator overnight. Then, place them in the air fryer at 375ºF (190ºC) for 7 – 10 minutes or until thoroughly heated and cooked.

Fridge: The air fryer barbecue chicken thighs will stay fresh for 3-4 days if stored in the refrigerator. Reheat in the air fryer or enjoy cold in salads or sandwiches.

Frequently Asked Questions

To ensure that BBQ chicken thighs are fully cooked, they should reach an internal temperature of 165ºF (74ºC). This ensures that the chicken is safe to eat and cooked to the proper doneness.

Reheat BBQ Chicken Thighs in the air fryer at 375ºF (190ºC) for 7 – 10 minutes or until cooked through. Remember to flip halfway. Before serving, make sure the internal temperature of the food reaches 165ºF (74ºC) by using a food thermometer.

prep time5 minutes
cooking time22 minutes
total cooking time27 minutes

Air Fryer BBQ Chicken Thighs

courseDinner, Lunch
cuisineAmerican
These Air Fryer BBQ Chicken Thighs will have you craving seconds. With a perfect balance of smoky, tangy flavors and juicy, tender meat, this recipe is, without a doubt, a winner.
Air fried bbq chicken thighs, served on a white plate
5 from 1 vote
number of servings2

This ingredients checklist is interactive; you can use it as your grocery list.

Ingredients
 

  • 4 bone-in chicken thighs
  • 1/2 cup barbecue sauce store-bought
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Instructions
 

  • Preheat your air fryer to 400ºF (204ºC) for about 5 minutes.
  • Prepare the Dry Rub. To create a dry rub seasoning, combine garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and black pepper in a small bowl.
  • Pat dry the chicken thighs with paper towels.
  • Sprinkle the dry rub seasoning evenly over both sides of the chicken thighs, pressing gently to help the seasoning adhere to the meat.
  • Transfer to the air fryer and brush with barbecue sauce.
  • Air fry the chicken thighs for 9 – 12 minutes at 400ºF (204ºC).
  • Flip the BBQ chicken thighs and recoat with more barbecue sauce.
  • Cook for another 7-10 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165ºF (74ºC).
  • Once cooked, remove it from the air fryer and let the air fried chicken thighs rest for 5 minutes.
  • Serve and enjoy! Pair your air fried bbq chicken thighs with your favorite sides like coleslaw, corn on the cob, or potato salad for a delicious and satisfying meal.

Notes

  • Adjust the cooking time to 14 – 20 minutes when opting for air fryer bbq boneless chicken thighs.
  • Remember that cooking durations may differ depending on the chicken’s thickness and your air fryer’s size and model. Before eating your chicken, ensure it has been cooked to a safe internal temperature of 165ºF (74ºC).
  • If your air fryer doesn’t have a preheating option, you can set the temperature to 380°F (193°C) and then let it cook for 4-5 minutes without food.
  • You can skip preheating by adding 2-4 minutes to your cooking time. Increment gradually to prevent burning the Air Fryer BBQ Chicken Thighs.
  • I used a 6-quart (air fryer) to test the barbecue chicken thighs. Cooking time and temperature may vary depending on your air fryer and the number of servings you are making. For optimal results, begin with the lower end of the suggested cooking time.
  • Add ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper and the dry rub for a spicy BBQ Chicken Thighs variation.

Nutrition

Calories: 401kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 44g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.04g | Cholesterol: 215mg | Sodium: 1521mg | Potassium: 751mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 24g | Vitamin A: 216IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 50mg | Iron: 2mg
Keywords: air fryer barbecue chicken thighs, Air Fryer BBQ Chicken Thighs, bbq chicken thighs in air fryer

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