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Frozen Chicken Thighs in the Air Fryer

Need a quick dinner? Throw some frozen chicken thighs in the air fryer, add lemon pepper seasoning halfway through, and have a delicious meal ready in about 30 minutes!

Frozen chicken thighs with lemon pepper seasoning in air fryer

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Have you ever wondered the best way to add seasoning when you cook frozen chicken thighs in the air fryer? My friend, I have your answer—and it’s probably even easier than you think!

If you buy packaged chicken thighs to keep in the freezer like I do, you know it’s a pain to open the package, season the thighs, then reseal them. Good news: with this recipe, you don’t have to do any of that!

Instead, we’ll use the air fryer to thaw the thighs, add the seasoning partway through, then place the thighs back in the air fryer to finish crisping them up and cooking them all the way through. The result is crispy, delicious chicken thighs with the perfect punch of flavor!

And, if you love lemon pepper seasoning, try it on these Air Fryer Lemon Pepper Chicken Wings and Air Fryer Lemon Pepper Shrimp too!

piece of lemon pepper chicken thigh on fork

Here’s what I’m going to teach you in this post:

  • How to make the best frozen chicken thighs in the air fryer
  • How long you can store frozen chicken thighs in the freezer
  • What to serve with lemon pepper chicken thighs

For an easy dinner that turns out juicy, crispy, and delicious, it doesn’t get any easier than making lemon pepper chicken thighs in the air fryer. Best of all, this simple dish is just as perfect for a busy weeknight as it is for a family gathering!

I made this recipe using the 5.8 QT Cosori Air Fryer. Its square basket makes it the perfect size for our family of 4.

prepared ingredients for frozen chicken thighs in air fryer

How to Make Air Fryer Frozen Chicken Thighs

A full printable version of this recipe with ingredient measurements is available at the bottom of this post.

STEP ONE: Preheat your air fryer to 380 degrees F.

STEP TWO: Place separated frozen chicken thighs in the air fryer and cook for 15 minutes until just thawed. 

lightly thaw frozen chicken thighs in air fryer

STEP THREE: Remove the chicken from the basket. Spray each thigh with cooking oil using an oil mister, then sprinkle on the lemon pepper seasoning evenly on both sides. 

You can read more about using oil in the air fryer here.

season chicken thighs and cook in air fryer

STEP FOUR: Return the chicken to the basket and cook for 12-15 additional minutes, flipping once halfway through. They are done once the chicken reads 165 degrees internally using an Instant-Read Meat Thermometer.

STEP FIVE: Remove the chicken thighs from the air fryer and enjoy with your favorite sides.

zoom in on cooked and seasoned chicken thigh in air fryer

Love chicken thighs? Try our other chicken thigh recipes!

Can I Cook This Recipe With Thawed Chicken Thighs?

Yes! Just follow these simple directions to make raw chicken thighs in the air fryer.

  1. Preheat your air fryer to 380 degrees.
  2. Coat the chicken thighs even with the Lemon Pepper seasoning then place the chicken thighs in the air fryer.
  3. Cook for 12 to 15 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.

How to Store Leftover Chicken Thighs

The best part about making a big batch of lemon pepper thighs in the air fryer is getting to enjoy them later in the week! If you’re lucky enough to have leftovers, place them in a shallow airtight container and store them in the fridge for up to four days.

You could also freeze your leftover thighs for longer storage. Place them in a freezer-safe container or gallon bag, then freeze for up to six months. When you’re ready to enjoy, I recommend placing the thighs in the refrigerator overnight to thaw.

chicken thighs on plate with greens and lemon wedges

How Long are Frozen Chicken Thighs Good For?

Boneless, skinless chicken thighs can be frozen for years without any safety concerns. However, the taste will start to deteriorate over time, which is why you want to eat frozen thighs within six to nine months.

The same will be true for thighs with the skin on, wings, breasts, or any other pieces of chicken. If you freeze a whole chicken, the timeframe extends a bit and will be the best quality if you eat it within a year.

Do I Need to Preheat My Air Fryer?

Yes! Preheating the air fryer not only helps you save time but also gives you the crispiest, most delicious results. In general, thick cuts and frozen meats benefit the most from preheating. So when you’re making frozen chicken thighs in the air fryer, you definitely don’t want to skip this step.

Want to learn more about the benefits of preheating and the best way to do it? Check out my article on How to Preheat an Air Fryer!

seasoned chicken thighs on plate

What to Serve with Air Fryer Chicken Thighs

You can also check out all of these delicious air fryer vegetable ideas too!

How to Reheat Chicken Thighs in the Air Fryer

  1. Preheat the air fryer to 350 degrees F.
  2. Place the leftover chicken thighs in the air fryer.
  3. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes until heated through.
seasoned chicken thighs on plate with greens and lemon wedges

Other Air Fryer Chicken Recipes You’ll Love:

And check out our full list of 40+ air fryer chicken recipes to try!

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Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Frozen Chicken Thighs in the Air Fryer

Frozen chicken thighs with lemon pepper seasoning in air fryer

For a quick dinner, cook frozen chicken thighs in the air fryer! Lemon pepper seasoning adds just the right punch of flavor.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Preheat your air fryer to 380 degrees F.
  2. Place separated frozen chicken thighs in the air fryer and cook for 15 minutes until the chicken is just thawed.
  3. Remove the chicken from the basket.
  4. Spray each thigh with cooking oil, then sprinkle on the lemon pepper seasoning evenly.
  5. Return the chicken to the basket and cook for 12-15 additional minutes, flipping once halfway through.
  6. Remove the chicken thighs from the air fryer and enjoy with your favorite sides.

Notes

How to Reheat Chicken Thighs in the Air Fryer

  1. Preheat the air fryer to 350 degrees F.
  2. Place the leftover chicken thighs in the air fryer.
  3. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes until heated through.

How to Cook Thawed Chicken Thighs in the Air Fryer:

1. Preheat your air fryer to 380 degrees.

2. Coat the chicken thighs evenly with Lemon Pepper seasoning then place in the air fryer in a single layer.

3. Cook for 12 to 15 minutes until chicken reaches 165 degrees.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 326Total Fat: 21gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 194mgSodium: 712mgCarbohydrates: 1gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 36g

This nutrition information is based on the exact products I used in this recipe. Brands and sizes of products could alter exact nutrition and should always be calculated independently.

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samantha

About Samantha

I’ve always had a love of cooking and creating new recipes, so it only made sense to create a food blog so I could share those recipes with you. This site is designed to provide easy and flavorful recipes with as little ingredients as possible. That means you still get great flavor combinations without all that extra time and effort. Read more...

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