Air Fryer Panko Chicken Thighs are crispy on the outside, tender and juicy on the inside. This simple main dish is ready in under 30 minutes and can be served with almost any side dish to make it a complete meal.
We're a busy family, and I am always on the hunt for simple main dish entrees that I can pair with my favorite side dishes. Air fryer panko chicken thighs are always a hit because they taste great, are filling and have the flavor and crunch that satisfies your senses after a busy day.
I also love that chicken thighs are so economical. Pound for pound, they are cheaper than other cuts of chicken, but the flavor and juiciness make them one of my favorites. I stock up on them when they are on sale and keep them in the freezer so I can make crispy air fryer panko chicken thighs whenever we crave them.
Every family needs a delicious meal that's simple to prepare, easy on the wallet and tastes great. This great recipe checks all the boxes. And if you like air fryer recipes, next time, you may also want to check out my air fryer chicken wings, or my air fryer chicken legs. Both are delicious air fryer chicken recipes that the whole family will love and perfect for busy weeknights.
- Chicken – Bone-in chicken thighs are my preference, but you could use boneless thighs or chicken breast also.
- Eggs – Bring your eggs to room temperature, and they will beat smoother.
- Seasoning – Use salt, ground black pepper and paprika.
- Bread Crumbs – Panko breadcrumbs have a delicious crunch and make for crispy breading. You can use regular breadcrumbs if preferred, but the chicken will not be as crispy.
- Ranch Seasoning – Look for powdered ranch seasoning in the salad dressing aisle.
See recipe card for exact quantities and instructions.
- Beat two eggs with salt and pepper and coat each chicken thigh in a shallow bowl.
2. Dredge the chicken pieces in the panko mixture of bread crumbs, ranch seasoning and paprika.
3. Lightly oil the air fryer basket or rack or spray with cooking spray. Arrange the chicken in a single layer, leaving space between each thigh.
4. Cook air fryer panko chicken for 23-30 minutes at 400 degrees F.
Hint: Cooking times can vary based on the size of your chicken and the make and model of your air fryer. Cook the chicken thighs until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F when tested with a meat thermometer.
- Smoky Air Fryer Chicken Thighs - For a smoky flavor, use smoked paprika instead of regular paprika. You can also add a bit of liquid smoke to the egg mixture.
- Spicy – Season the breadcrumb mixture with cayenne pepper or crushed red pepper flakes and some garlic powder or onion powder.
- Gluten Free - Substitute the panko with a gluten free panko to make a gluten free version.
- Swap The Chicken – Use boneless skinless chicken thighs, chicken breast or chicken tenders instead of bone-in chicken thighs. Adjust the air fryeing cooking times as needed.
Chicken is one of my favorite meals because it goes with almost anything. I can always go to my fridge or freezer and grab something that pairs perfectly with juicy chicken. Here are a few of our favorite sides to serve with this easy air fryer chicken recipe:
- Air Fryer Bang Bang Brussels Sprouts
- 5-ingredient Stove Top Mac and Cheese
- Oven Roasted Baby Potatoes
- Braised Collard Greens with Turkey Bacon
- Cranberry Pecan Salad with Blue Cheese
- Air Fryer Biscuits from Grumpy's Honey Bunch
Compared to an oven, air fryers cook chicken more quickly and efficiently, meaning you can get dinner on the table fast. Compared to deep frying, this air-fried chicken gets a crispy coating without using less oil, so it's a healthy option when you crave fried chicken.
There are a variety of air fryer models available, so you will need to determine which type is best for your family. Basket-style air fryers are popular, but the cooking space is limited compared to toaster oven style air fryers with cooking racks.
Leftovers should be stored in an airtight container or freezer bag in the fridge for up to 3 or 4 days. I love making a double batch and slicing the leftovers to use in salads and sandwiches all week.
While you can freeze air fryer panko chicken for up to 3 months, the coating will not be very crispy when thawed and reheated.
Set up the egg wash and panko bread crumbs dredging stations in two bowls. As you dip and dredge, use one hand for wet and one for dry. This will prevent the bread crumb mixture from clumping onto your hands.
Chicken should always be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees F at the thickest part of the chicken when checked with a meat thermometer. You can open the air fryer during the cooking process to check the temperature. Chicken thighs can handle being cooked to a slightly higher temperature but especially with chicken breasts, you want to avoid overcooking.
Bread crumbs and other dry coatings work well in the air fryer. After dipping the chicken and egg and dredging in bread crumbs, you can gently press the bread crumbs into the chicken to make sure they stick well.
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Crispy Air Fryer Panko Chicken Thighs
- 6 large bone-in chicken thighs (about 2 lbs)
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 1 teaspoon salt, plus to taste
- ½ teaspoon black pepper, plus to taste
- 1 ½ cups panko bread crumbs
- 1 tablespoon ranch seasoning
- 1 taspoon paprika
- Trim any extra fat from the chicken thighs. Beat together the eggs with the salt and pepper in one shallow bowl. Mix together the bread crumbs, ranch seasoning and parika in another shallow bowl.
- Dip each piece of chicken in the egg wash then the panko bread crumb mixture until all are well coated. Discard any extra bread crumbs or egg mixture.
- Spray your air fryer basket or rack with cooking spray and arrange chicken in a single layer. Place in the air fryer at 400 degrees and cook for 25 - 30 minutes depending on how big the chicken pieces are. Chicken will be done when juices run clear and have an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
- Season with extra salt and pepper if necessary.
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