Marinated chicken thighs in air fryer doesn’t get better than this. Using my lemon pepper chicken thigh marinade takes this dinner time chicken side dish to another level. It’s easy, quick and flavorful.
Guess what?, there’s more. It gets ready in less than 20 mins as soon as it gets into the air fryer. Serve this chicken recipe with your favorite sides like rice, potatoes or veggies to make a complete meal.
Air fryer marinated chicken thighs recipe.
This healthy Marinated chicken thighs recipe is a winner in my book. The lemon pepper seasoning gives it a flavorful upgrade.
Marinated chicken thighs cook so well in the air fryer that this would soon become your favorite way to grill chicken and for good reason too. These are absolutely delish and is perfectly done every time.
Why this recipe works.
Easy: My no 1 answer to why you should try a recipe is the level of difficulty. These are super easy to make, fool proof and is absolutely beginner friendly.
Number of ingredients: When trying a new recipe, the amount of ingredients can be a deterrent to making that recipe. This lemon pepper chicken thighs is one of those recipes that requires a few ingredients.
Family friendly: This one of those recipes everyone loves. Easy but delicious.
- Boneless skinless chicken thighs
- Lemon pepper seasoning
- Garlic powder
- Butter for lemon pepper butter
Lemon Pepper Seasoning
You can use store bought lemon pepper seasoning or make a homemade version. I used the McCormick brand to make this recipe. If you can’t find any in store you can use the recipe below to make yours. All you need are,
- 4 Tablespoons dry lemon zest,
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 ½ Tablespoons black pepper
- 1 ½ teaspoons onion powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder
Mix all the ingredients together to make your homemade lemon pepper seasoning.
Lemon pepper butter sauce
Lemon butter sauce compliments lemon pepper chicken. It’s easy to make and requires a few ingredients. Melted butter or clarified butter, lemon pepper seasoning and sometimes paprika. Mix all ingredients together and brush it on the chicken.
Easy Lemon Pepper Chicken Marinade
This is an easy marinade that comes together quickly and tastes amazing. It’s made with easily accessible ingredients and you’d be glad you can use it for any cut if chicken. It tastes amazing on wings and chicken breasts and drumsticks.
A little bit of oil, lemon pepper and and garlic will make the best lemon pepper Marinade and probably the only one you need. A dash of lemon juice if you want it more lemony.
How long can you marinate chicken?
The ideal time frame to marinade chicken ranges from 30 minutes to 24 hours a recommended maximum is 48 hours. The principle is that the longer the chicken stays in the marinade the tastier it becomes.
However, depending on the ingredients in the marinade, staying too long in marinade can make the meat fibers begin to disintegrate leading to chicken that’s too soft or mushy after cooking.
How to make lemon pepper marinated chicken thighs in the air fryer
Gather your ingredients and let’s get started.
Pat chicken dry. Add oil, lemon pepper and garlic powder to the chicken. Toss to till Chicken is well coated in the marinade. Cover with cling film and let chicken marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to 24 hours.
When the marinating time is up. Place the marinated chicken thighs in the air fryer and bake at 400°F / 200°C for 15 to 18 mins. The internal temperature should be at least 165°F / 74°C
Melt some butter and mix it with the lemon pepper seasoning and brush it on the chicken before serving.
Lemon pepper chicken sides
The options are endless when it comes to the best side dishes for this recipe. Below are some of our favorites.
- Ham Fried rice
- Mashed potatoes
- Steak potatoes or Potato wedges
- French fries
- Sweet potato fries
- Parmentier potatoes
- Butternut squash fries
- Roasted potatoes
- Easy cucumber Salad
- Mac and cheese
How to store
Leftovers can be stored in an air tight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Alternatively freeze for up to a month in an air tight container or freezer bag.
This lemon pepper marinated chicken thighs can be reheated in the microwave or air fryer.
Microwave: Microwave on high power at 1 minute intervals till warmed through.
Air fryer: Reheat in the air fryer at 400°F / 200°C for 5 to 8 minutes or until warmed through.
- No need to preheat the air fryer
- Flip the chicken halfway through cooking time.
- The internal temperature of meat is the best guide to knowing when meat is fully cooked and safe for consumption. I like to cook my chicken beyond the FDA recommendation internal temperature of 165°F / 74°C which is my personal preference. Be sure that the internal temperature of any chicken you cook in the air fryer is at least 165°F / 74°C.
- You can season the chicken and freeze it raw. If you do this, there’s no need to thaw before cooking. The air fryer cooks frozen foods perfectly.
Frequently asked questions
How long is too long to marinate chicken thighs?
For best results it’s better to marinate chicken thighs for from 30 mins up to 24 hrs. After 48 hrs the chicken begins to get too and may turn out a bit mushy when cooked.
Which is better dry rub or marinade?
It’s a matter of personal preference and how much time you have on your hands.
Do you rinse marinade off chicken before cooking?
You shouldn’t rinse marinade off chicken before cooking. Simply pick out the chicken from the marinade and discard the excess if any then go ahead and grill, bake or air fry the chicken.
More Air fryer Chicken thigh recipes
- Air fryer boneless chicken thighs
- Greek souvlaki chicken skewers in the air fryer
- How to air fry boiled chicken thighs
- Air fryer bbq chicken thighs
- Frozen chicken thighs in the air fryer.
- All our air fryer chicken recipes
Check out all our >>>Air fryer Recipes!
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Air fryer lemon pepper marinated chicken thighs recipe
- Cosori Air Fryer 5.8qt
- Kitchen tongs
- Pastry brush
- Mixing bowl
- Cling film
- 1.2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 1 Tablespoon Olive oil (or cooking oil of choice)
- 2½ teaspoons Lemon pepper seasoning (divided 2 ½ for marinade and 1 ½ for optional butter glaze)
- 1½ teaspoon Garlic powder
Lemon pepper butter sauce
- 2 Tablespoon Butter (melted)
- 1½ teaspoons Lemon pepper seasoning
Marinate the chicken
- Pat chicken thighs dry with paper towel, then place chicken thighs in a bowl, add oil, 2 ½ teaspoons of lemon pepper seasoning blend and garlic
- Toss chicken in seasoning till well coated with marinade, cover with cling film and let it marinade for 30 mins to overnight in the refrigerator. If you are in a pinch with time, marinade for at least 10 mins
Air fry the chicken
- When ready to cook , place marinated chicken thighs in the air fryer and air fry at 400°F / 200°C for 15 to 18 mins. Flipping halfway through. Chicken is cooked through when internal temperature reaches 165°F / 74°C
Make the Lemon butter sauce
- Mix the butter and the remaining 1 ½ teaspoons of lemon pepper seasoning.
- Brush butter and lemon pepper mix all over chicken and serve with lemon slices and your favorite side dish
- There is no need to spray the basket since the chicken marinade has oil. If you are concerned about sticking, use perforated parchment paper.
- Do not overcrowd the basket. Cool in batches if needed.
- The size and weight of the chicken thighs will determine how long it will take to cook.
- The use of a meat thermometer is highly recommended when cooking meats. If you don’t have one, check the meat for doneness by cutting it at the thickest part. It should be white and juice should run clear and not red.
- This recipe was made in a non preheated air fryer. However if cooking in batches, subsequent batches may cook quicker since the air fryer got preheated during the first batch.
- If you don’t want to make a butter glaze. Use up all the lemon pepper seasoning for the marinade.
Nutritional information is an estimate and may change based on products used. Please read full nutrition disclaimer here.