These amazing Cajun Air Fryer Chicken Thighs are super juicy, tender, and ready in just 20 minutes! Easy, inexpensive, gluten-free, keto, and perfect for a busy weeknight.
When you want a super flavorful, super easy dinner, these Air Fryer Cajun Chicken Thighs are for you! Enjoy unbelievably juicy dark chicken meat with tasty, crispy skin in just 20 minutes. This quick weeknight recipe requires very little work and will be on the table in no time.
All you need is your favorite Cajun seasoning (or you can use mine below), a little spray of oil, and your air fryer for these low-carb chicken thighs. In just 14 minutes of cooking, simple thighs become gloriously succulent pieces of meat bursting with flavor!
Ingredients for Cajun Chicken Thighs
Here’s a quick overview of what you’ll need. For exact measurements, keep scrolling down to the printable recipe card below.
- Chicken Thighs – For this method, skin-on and bone-in work best. The skin gets perfectly crispy while the meat gets unbelievably tender. The fat content in chicken thighs melts beautifully in the air fryer!
- Cajun seasoning – I used this recipe that calls for smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, oregano, thyme, and basil. You can use your preferred Cajun seasoning blend or an all-purpose seasoning mix you love.
- Avocado oil – Any cooking oil with a neutral flavor and a high smoke point will work perfectly in the air fryer.
How to make Air Fryer Chicken Thighs
This process is very easy, but here are step-by-step photos to help ensure your chicken thighs turn out crispy, juicy, and tender.
First, pat your chicken thighs completely dry and trim up any loose bits or extra skin. Making sure there’s no water on the skin of the chicken will help it crisp up instead of turning soggy. Lightly spray or brush the chicken thighs with oil, sprinkle on seasoning, then rub it with your hands to make sure every nook and cranny is covered in tasty seasoning.
Preheat the air fryer to 400 degrees for 3 minutes to ensure even cooking, then place thighs in the basket. Leave space between the thighs for air flow (that’s needed for even cooking and crispy skin). Cook for 7 minutes.
After 7 minutes, open the air fryer and flip the chicken thighs over. This is yet another step to ensure your thighs are cooked evenly throughout. Continue cooking 7-8 more minutes until a meat thermometer reads 165 degrees F in the center of the largest chicken thigh.
If crispy skin is the best part of your meal, flip the chicken thighs over and broil the skin for 1-2 minutes. If your air fryer has an air broil option, this should work fine. Alternatively, you can just transfer the chicken to an oven and broil it that way. This is entirely optional–I find the chicken is crispy enough just with the normal air frying time.
Serve cooked crispy Cajun chicken thighs immediately, preferably with a sprinkle of fresh herbs to brighten the flavor. Creamy Mashed Cauliflower or Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes, some Cheesy Roasted Asparagus, and some Cheddar Garlic Keto Biscuits would all be perfect on a plate with Cajun chicken.
Cajun chicken thighs will store well in the fridge in an airtight container up to 3-4 days. These are great for tossing into pastas, wraps, breakfast burritos and more.
For longer term meal prepping, freeze your cooked and cooled air fryer Cajun chicken thighs! Once completely cooled, freeze in an airtight container, pressing out or sucking up as much air from the container as possible.
If you’re concerned about freezer burn, wrap each thigh in 3 layers of plastic wrap before storing in a freezer bag. This protects the meat while also making it easy to pull out just what you need when you need. Chicken thighs can be frozen whole, cut into slices for wraps, or already shredded for salads.
You can reheat Cajun chicken in the microwave, air fryer, or oven. If using the microwave, it’s best to cook in 1 minute intervals at 50% power to prevent it from becoming overcooked. For the air fryer, try 350 degrees F for just 2-4 minutes. The oven might be the most reliable way — Preheat to 375 degrees, place chicken in a small baking dish with a teaspoon of water, cover, and heat for 8-15 minutes or until warmed throughout.
If you love this air fryer chicken recipe, you’ll love these others:
- Easy Air Fryer Chicken Breasts – Boneless, skinless chicken breasts cook super quickly in the air fryer. These are perfect for prepping salads and wraps for the week.
- Air Fryer Chicken Tenders – Breaded in almond flour, parmesan, and Cajun seasoning for a tasty, crispy recipe the whole family will love.
- Keto Air Fryer Chicken Wings – Low carb and smothered with tasty buffalo sauce! Beautifully crispy exterior perfect for a great game day meal.
- Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets – These easy chicken nuggets are perfect for kids. They’re gluten-free, low carb, keto friendly, and easy to make and freeze for later!
- Air Fryer Chicken Legs – These drumsticks sit for hours in an Asian flavored marinade, giving them tons of flavor and making them super tender.
FAQ’s about Air Fryer Chicken Thighs
Cajun seasoning is usually spicy, so probably! However, you can adjust the spice level of your homemade Cajun seasoning by reducing the amount of cayenne pepper included. You can easily make these chicken thighs mild rather than spicy.
Chicken thighs are high in protein and fat and low in carbs, making them perfect for a keto diet! The high fat content (especially when eating the skin as well) does mean that chicken thighs have quite a few calories, but they are still healthy. A leaner option would be chicken breasts instead.
Chicken thighs need about 14-16 minutes of cooking time, depending on the size. If you are cooking boneless, skinless thighs, these would need less time but may be less flavorful.
- 3 small chicken thighs (1 pound; bone in, skin on)
- 1 teaspoon avocado oil
- 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
- Pat chicken thighs dry and trim any loose skin or pieces. Preheat air fryer to 400 degrees for 3 minutes.
- Lightly spray chicken with oil and spread with your hands. Sprinkle on Cajun seasoning and rub into all nooks and crannies.
- Cook chicken 7 minutes, flip and continue cooking another 7-8 minutes or until chicken is cooked throughout.
- If you prefer super crispy skin, flip and broil for a minute.
If you prefer super crispy skin, end the cook with 1 minute under the broiler, skin-side up.
Serving Size:1 chicken thigh
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 445Total Fat: 33.7gCholesterol: 189.1mgSodium: 544.9mgCarbohydrates: 1.5gNet Carbohydrates: 1.1gFiber: 0.4gSugar: 0.1gProtein: 32.1g