How to: Frozen Chicken Thighs in Air Fryer

Published Categorized as Journal Tagged ,

Let’s face it…Buying an air fryer opens up way more possibilities when it comes to cooking. And suddenly, you’re feeling like a pro chef. But what about frozen chicken thighs in air fryer? Can frozen chicken pieces be cooked in an air fryer, too? Surprisingly they can! Stick around and learn how to make delicious crispy, juicy, and flavorful chicken thighs in the air fryer in as little as 30 minutes.

Hey there! This site is reader-supported and I earn commissions if you purchase products from retailers after clicking on a link from this site.

Table of Contents

Frozen Chicken Thighs In Air Fryer

Can You Cook Chicken Thighs From Frozen?

Yes, you can cook chicken thighs from frozen. This can be done in an air fryer, or by simply baking your chicken in the oven.

Whatever you do, don’t put frozen chicken in hot oil to be fried or seared as this will cause oil to splatter. Same logic as cooking boiled chicken thighs. This then may cause a fire to ignite if the oil comes in contact with your heating element.

With all of that said, it is relatively easy to cook chicken thighs from frozen. There are a few things, however, that you’ll need to watch for when attempting this to ensure that your chicken comes out juicy and delicious.

First and foremost, avoid battering your frozen chicken when using an air fryer. The batter won’t stick well to the chicken and the moisture from the frozen chicken will prohibit the batter from crisping up properly. The end result will be a soggy and unappetizing mess… and who wants that?

Next, you’ll want to ensure that you fully cook your chicken thigh pieces especially given their frozen state. To do this, you’ll need to increase the cooking times on your chicken and invest in a meat thermometer (if you can) to ensure that your chicken has reached the correct internal temperature before it is ready to consume.

Lastly, you’ll want to ensure that your chicken is coated in oil or butter before applying your seasonings. Though you could technically get away with adding your seasonings halfway through baking or frying (or even leaving the chicken with no seasoning at all) we recommend that you coat the chicken with oil before sprinkling your seasonings (not batter!) over the chicken’s oiled surface to ensure that the seasoning sticks to your chicken in its frozen condition.

Once you’ve figured out all of these factors, it is time to get down to the science of air frying frozen chicken thighs. And we promise you– this part is ridiculously easy!

Frozen Chicken Thighs In Air Fryer

How to Cook Frozen Chicken Thighs in Air Fryer

Wondering how to go about cooking frozen chicken thighs in the air fryer? Wonder no more! Today, we are giving you our best expert tips on how to get the juiciest, most flavorful chicken thighs in the air fryer using only a handful of spices in under 30 minutes.


  • 1 small pack of chicken thighs (about 4 total)
  • Juice of 1 small lemon
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • ¼ tsp of cumin (optional, for smokier flavor)
  • 1 tsp granulated garlic (garlic powder)
  • 1 tsp granulated onion powder
  • 1 tsp of dried parsley


Air Fryer Chicken Thighs Recipe 

Marinade chicken

Take the juice of one small lemon and add to it your olive oil and spices. Place the chicken thighs in the marinade and let it sit for at least 30 minutes (but no longer than 24 hours). 

Preheat air fryer

When ready to air fry your chicken, preheat your air fryer to 360 degrees Fahrenheit.

Place chicken

Once marinated, use tongs to place your frozen chicken thighs into the air fryer basket. 


Cook your frozen chicken thighs for 23-25 minutes at 360 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cook more

Bump the heat up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit to make the skin more crispy (about 5 additional minutes). 

If you decided to leave your chicken in the marinade for longer than 30 minutes, your chicken may have begun to thaw. If your chicken is completely thawed, cook the chicken in the air fryer for only 18 minutes at 360 degrees Fahrenheit before allowing the skin to crisp up for 5 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

How to Cook Frozen Boneless Chicken Thighs in Air Fryer


  • 2 pounds boneless chicken thighs
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, canola oil, or vegetable oil, divided
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • 2 teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ teaspoon of garlic salt
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper


  1. Slather the chicken thighs with 2 tablespoons of the oil of your choice. Then, season the chicken thighs with half of a teaspoon of your salt.
  2. Preheat your air fryer to 385F. Place the chicken in the air fryer basket and fry them at this temperature for around 8-9 minutes.
  3. As the chicken thighs are cooking, use the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to mix with the rest of your salt, Worcestershire sauce, garlic salt, paprika, thyme, onion powder, and black pepper in a bowl.
  4. After 8-9 minutes have passed, flip the chicken over and baste the chicken with the previously prepared sauce. Cook for an extra 6-7 minutes.
  5. Halfway through cooking, you’ll need to flip the chicken again in order to baste the other side.
  6. Once both sides have been cooked in the sauce, your air fryer chicken thighs are ready to be served.
Frozen Chicken Thighs In Air Fryer

How Long Does It Take to Cook Frozen Chicken Thighs in an Air Fryer?

How long do you cook thighs in an air fryer? Remember that the amount of time that it will take for your chicken to become done all the way through will depend on various factors. Cook times will change according to how many chicken thighs you place in the air fryer basket at once, how thick your chicken thighs are, and at what temperature you air fry the chicken.

Ninja AF101 Air Fryer, 4 Qt, Black/gray

As indicated in previous sections, we suggest that you air fry bone-in chicken thighs at around 360 degrees Fahrenheit. Boneless skinless thighs at 385 degrees Fahrenheit. This means that bone-in chicken thighs will take around 30 minutes to become cooked all the way through. Thinner and easier-to-cook boneless skinless thighs may take as little as 15 minutes.

It really just depends on the type of chicken you are cooking, whether or not the chicken is fresh or frozen, and the temperature that you are cooking it on.

Want to Make Frozen Chicken Thighs in Air Fryer? Lucky For You, It’s Easy!

Though making crispy and delicious chicken thighs in the air fryer may seem intimidating, the truth is that doing so is incredibly easy. And the payoff is well worth it!

Turn drab frozen pieces of chicken into a marvelous restaurant-worthy chicken dish in as little as 30 minutes (or les)s using your air fryer.

Just be sure to follow the directions we’ve detailed in this post to ensure that your chicken is seasoned well and is cooked all the way through before serving yourself (and your guests).

Hopefully, this has helped you…See you next time!


What kind of chicken can be made in the air fryer?

There are all sorts of chicken that can be made in an air fryer. Common chicken types that can be cooked in the air fryer include chicken drumsticks, chicken nuggets, chicken breasts, chicken tenders, and so much more. Just be sure to avoid any type of chicken that has wet batter; dry batter and seasoning should be okay.

Do you wash chicken before placing it in an air fryer?

There has always been a hot debate about whether or not you need to wash chicken before cooking it. Whether you are cooking your chicken in an air fryer or are using another cooking method, you will want to make sure that you dry your chicken first completely (if you choose to wash it) to remove most of the moisture. Neglecting to do so may render your air-fried chicken soggy rather than crispy. 
Having said that, you don’t have to wash your chicken before placing it in the air fryer if you really don’t want to. Whether or not to wash your chicken typically comes down to personal preference. 

What kind of chicken should you not place in an air fryer?

You should always avoid placing any type of chicken with a wet batter into an air fryer, along with any whole chicken. A whole chicken will not cook all the way through in an air fryer the way that it would in a traditional oven. If you are really yearning to make an air-fried whole chicken, try to get a chicken that is three pounds or less but be aware that your chicken may cook unevenly causing potentially unsafe raw spots. 

Is air-frying chicken healthy?

Air frying chicken has been shown to be much healthier than deep frying chicken because of the minimal amount of oil used when air frying food. Having said that, if you are air frying food that is deemed unhealthy to begin with (such as thick slices of savory bacon), then your air fryer won’t magically make these already risky food items a healthy part of your diet. 

How long to cook frozen chicken thighs in air fryer?

Cook times will change according to how many chicken thighs you place in the air fryer basket at once, how thick your chicken thighs are, and at what temperature you air fry the chicken.

By Anna

Hey, I’m Anna; writer, editor and amateur cook extraordinaire! Food has been my life and my passion for the most of my life – it’s crazy to think I didn’t pursue a career in cooking. I’m obsessed! However, keeping cooking as an obsessive hobby has worked for me – my passion grows as the years pass by – maybe I wouldn’t say the same if it was also my day job! I hope you find cooking inspiration, entertainment and “stop and think interesting tid-bits” throughout my writing – and I’d love to hear from you if you’ve got anything you want to share. Food feeds the soul – so get eating! Author Pinterest Facebook Twitter Instagram YouTube Tumblr Reddit Quora

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *