Lemon Pepper Chicken Thighs In the Air Fryer

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Moist and juicy Lemon Pepper Chicken Thighs In the Air Fryer are easy to make in under 30 minutes! These tender and flavorful chicken thighs are seasoned with lemon pepper, paprika, garlic powder, and a touch of cayenne for some kick. They are perfectly cooked with crispy edges. Served with lemon wedges these air fryer chicken thighs are delicioius served with a side of rice or inside a tortilla for quick lunch or dinner!

Looking for another Boneless chicken thighs recipe? Check out these Pan-Seared Boneless Chicken Thighs with Homemade Pan Gravy. 

Air fryer lemon pepper thighs on a plate with lemon wedges.

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my links, at no extra cost to you. Please read the full disclosure here.

Air fryer recipes are always a lifesaver after a long day of work. Most recipes can be made in under 30 minutes and with minimal time and effort, you can make something super delicious for your family. These lemon pepper chicken thighs in the air fryer check all the boxes. 

  • No need to marinate the chicken before cooking. This recipe is super fast to throw together even if you are running short on time.
  • It’s juicy and tender. No dry chicken over here!
  • There are no complex steps or ingredients – We are using everyday ingredients like lemon pepper seasonings, chicken thighs, and vegetable oil. 
  • Everyone loves it! My family LOVES these chicken thighs in the air fryer and there are rarely any leftovers!

Recipe Ingredients

Lemon pepper thighs ingredients on a counter.
  • Chicken thighs – I used skin-on boneless chicken thighs. I like having the skin on my thighs and by removing the bones the chicken will cook much faster in the air fryer than bone-in. You can use boneless skinless chicken thighs or bone-in chicken thighs if you prefer. I have instructions listed in the tips section for how to cook bone-in thighs and instructions on how to remove the bones yourself!
  • Lemon pepper – I used a lemon pepper spice mix made with lemon peel, black pepper, dried thyme, a tiny bit of sugar and garlic. You could easily use lemon peel instead and include a little bit of dried thyme and extra black pepper instead of using this mix.
  • Seasonings – In addition to the lemon pepper the chicken is seasoned with garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper and cayenne pepper. 
  • Baking powder – This is an optional ingredient that helps the chicken to crisp up in the air fryer. 
  • Vegetable oil – Used to crisp up the chicken and to keep it from becoming dry while it cooks. 
  • Lemon wedges – I served the chicken with lemon after it was cooked but you can add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to the chicken before cooking to increase the lemon flavor!

How to Make Lemon Pepper Chicken Thighs in Ninja Foodi Air Fryer

All ingredients, measurements, and instructions are in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.

  1. Preheat your air fryer to 400 degrees for 5 minutes. 
  2. Rinse and dry your chicken thighs then place them inside a plastic gallon bag or a large bowl alongside all the seasonings, baking powder, and vegetable oil. Seal the bag and shake or use a pair of tongs to completely coat all of the chicken. 
  3. Use a pair of tongs or a fork to transfer a few pieces of chicken to the preheated air fryer basket. Don’t stack or overlap them, leave some room between each one. 
  4. Cook for 16 – 18 minutes making sure to flip halfway through until the chicken is nicely browned and a meat thermometer reads at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Repeat with remaining chicken. (If you want juicer chicken cook for 14 – 16 minutes, just make sure a meat thermometer reads 165 degrees before serving).
  5. Serve with a squeeze of lemon and lemon wedges and enjoy!

What to serve with Air Fryer Lemon Pepper Thighs?

Chicken thighs on a plate with lemon wedges.

How to Debone Chicken Thighs:

If you want to use up a package of bone-in chicken thighs it’s pretty easy to remove the bones yourself. 

  1. Place your chicken thigh on a cutting board or cutting mat. Then take a sharp knife and make a cut on either side of the bone, angling your knife towards the bone. 
  2. Now turn the thigh on its side so that the bone is touching the cutting board and the meat is on the other side. Place your knife as close to the bone as you can then make a cut. It might take a second, but wedge your knife so that you are closer to the bone than anything and you aren’t cutting off too much of the meat. 
  3. Save the bones to make Homemade Chicken Broth in the Instant Pot.

Variations

  • Garlic. Add minced garlic to the chicken thighs.
  • Lemon. Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to the chicken before cooking to increase the lemon flavor of these lemon pepper chicken thighs. 

Tips and Tricks

Mix everything in a plastic gallon bag. I love to mix chicken and seasonings inside of a plastic Ziploc bag because it isn’t as messy/makes fewer dirty dishes, you don’t have to touch raw meat and you can throw it away once you’re done.

If using bone-in chicken thighs. Bone-in chicken thighs will definitely take longer to cook. If you want to use those instead make sure to reduce the temperature to 350F because it will take longer for the meat to cook around the bone. Cook for 20 – 25 minutes or until a meat thermometer reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

Lemon being squeezed onto a plate of chicken thighs.

Frequently Asked Questions  —

Do I have to preheat the air fryer? 

You don’t have to! I like to do it because it speeds up the cooking process a bit and the chicken gets browned faster but you can skip it if you are in a hurry!

Can I use bone-in chicken thighs?

Of course! They will just take longer to cook inside your air fryer. Make sure to reduce the temperature to 350 or 360 then once it’s almost done increase the temperature to 380 to crisp up the skin. 

Will the chicken get crispy?

Yes, because we are using skin-on chicken thighs. If you are using boneless they won’t get crispy. 

Looking For More Chicken Recipes?

Air fryer Lemon Pepper Wings

Air Fryer Buffalo Chicken Wings

Air Fryer BBQ Chicken Wings with Homemade BBQ Sauce

Air Fryer Homemade Chicken Nuggets

Crispy Fried Chicken without Buttermilk

Chicken Tenders without Buttermilk

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Air fryer chicken thighs on a plate with lemon wedges.

Lemon Pepper Chicken Thighs In the Air Fryer

Moist and juicy Lemon Pepper Chicken Thighs In the Air Fryer are easy to make in under 30 minutes! These tender and flavorful chicken thighs are seasoned with lemon pepper, paprika, garlic powder, and a touch of cayenne for some kick. They are perfectly cooked with crispy edges. Served with lemon wedges these air fryer chicken thighs are delicioius served with a side of rice or inside a tortilla for quick lunch or dinner!
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Course: Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 18 minutes
Total Time: 28 minutes
Servings: 6 chicken thighs
Calories: 315kcal
Cost: $10

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 6 chicken thighs boneless
  • 4 teaspoon lemon pepper seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¾ teaspoon ground paprika optional
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Lemon wedges for serving

Instructions 

  • Preheat the air fryer to 400 degrees for 5 minutes.
  • Rinse and pat dry chicken thighs before placing them inside a plastic gallon bag with all the seasonings, baking powder, and vegetable oil. Seal the bag then shake so that all the chicken is well coated in the seasonings and oil. You can add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice as well to increase the lemon flavors.
  • (Alternatively, you could all the ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Mix with clean hands or a pair of tongs until the chicken is well coated).
  • Using a pair of tongs transfer chicken to a preheated air fryer basket. Place as many as will comfortably fit in your air fryer without them touching too much. Set the timer to 16 – 18 minutes, cooking until nicely browned the chicken is juicy and a meat temperature reads at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure to flip the chicken halfway through the cooking process to brown both sides. (If you want juicer chicken cook for 14 – 16 minutes, just make sure a meat thermometer reads 165 degrees before serving).
  • Transfer cooked chicken to a clean plate using a fork or a clean pair of tongs. Serve with a squeeze of lemon or lemon wedges. Enjoy!

Notes

Tips and Tricks
Mix everything in a plastic gallon bag. I love to mix chicken and seasonings inside of a plastic Ziploc bag because it isn’t as messy/fewer dirty dishes, you don’t have to touch raw meat and you can throw it away once you’re done.
If using bone-in chicken thighs. Bone-in chicken thighs will definitely take longer to cook. If you want to use those instead make sure to reduce the temperature to 350F because it will take longer for the meat to cook around the bone. Cook for 20 – 25 minutes or until a meat thermometer reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
How To Store/ Make Ahead
Store in the fridge for up to 3 days stored in an air-tight container. Reheat at 400 degrees in the oven for 10 minutes or until heated through.

Nutrition

Calories: 315kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 8g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 111mg | Sodium: 449mg | Potassium: 269mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 0.1g | Vitamin A: 290IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 57mg | Iron: 1mg

All nutrition information is automatically generated and should be only used as a rough estimate. This recipe card may contain affiliate links.

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