Give leftover chicken thighs a second chance to taste amazing! Learn how to reheat chicken thighs in an air fryer for the juiciest leftovers with perfectly crispy chicken skin in less than 10 minutes. Great for a quick dinner lunch at home, just add a side or two of vegetables to make it a meal!
❤️ Why this is the best way to reheat chicken thighs
- Easy: All you have to do is place the chicken thighs in a preheated air fryer and cook them! So simple.
- Quick: These chicken thighs take less than 10 minutes to reheat in the air fryer. The air fryer is one of my favorite ways to reheat food because it’s so fast!
- Works for any kind of chicken thighs: This method reheats leftover fried chicken thighs, boneless skinless chicken thighs, or bone-in skin-on chicken thighs (my favorite!).
- Crispy skin: The best part: no more soggy chicken! Reheating chicken thighs always leaves you with floppy chicken skin or batter that is really unappetizing. Reheating chicken thighs in an air fryer crisps the skin or batter right back up again. It’s so delicious!
- Doesn’t dry out: The dark meat in the thighs doesn’t dry out and stays moist and juicy.
- Cooks well: When I’ve tried reheating chicken thighs using other ways like the microwave, oven, or frying pan, either the skin turns soggy (which is particularly unappetizing) or it doesn’t really heat up all the way through. The air fryer is like a mini oven that cooks cold chicken quickly at a high temperature by moving hot air around the appliance with a fan. You get oven results (i.e. crispy skin and heated through), in much less time.
- Economical: As the air fryer is much a smaller appliance than an oven, it doesn’t cost as much to heat and use.
- No oil: You don’t need to add any extra oil to the leftovers when you’re reheating them like you would if you were to reheat cold fried chicken in a deep fryer.
- Less to clean: All you’ll need to clean is the air fryer basket. My air fryer basket is dishwasher friendly, but I usually wash it by hand as it’s non-stick. It cleans so easily! Much easier than a wire rack, baking dish, or baking sheet.
🥣 How do you reheat chicken thighs in an air fryer?
It’s even easier than cooking them the first time!
1. Preheat the air fryer: Begin by preheating the air fryer to 180 degrees c/ 356 degrees f.
2. Cook the chicken: When the air fryer is ready, place the leftover chicken pieces in the air fryer basket in a single layer, skin side up. Reheat the chicken for 8 minutes. The cooking time can take a little longer depending on the thickness and size of the chicken, and whether it’s breaded, boneless and skinless, or bone-in and skin-on.
3. Check the temperature: Check the internal temperature of the chicken with a meat thermometer. When the temperature reaches 74°C/165°F, it’s ready. If it needs quite a bit of extra cooking time (for larger chicken thighs) add on 3-5 minutes and check again. If the thighs need just a little more time, heat the thighs in 30-second intervals. No thermometer? That’s okay! Just slice the chicken at the thickest part and see if it’s heated through.
🪄 Helpful Tips
- Take it out of the fridge early: If you remove the chicken leftovers from the fridge and sit them at room temperature for an hour or so before reheating, they’ll reheat even quicker.
- Cook time: The cooking time will vary between the size of the chicken, plus whether it has breading or bones. Smaller pieces will take a shorter time to cook, and larger pieces take a little longer. Always check that the chicken is heated all the way through before eating it. An easy way to do this is with an instant-read thermometer, but you can also slice the thickest part of the chicken to check the temperature.
- Air fryer model: Different air fryer models give different results so I recommend checking your chicken after about 5 minutes to see how it’s doing and get a gauge on how much longer you’ll need to reheat it. For reference, I’m using a 4.3l Tower Air Fryer.
- Single layer: Don’t over-crowd the air fryer basket by piling the chicken thighs up. This takes the chicken longer to reheat and may result in the thighs sticking together. Your best bet is to place them in a single layer. I can usually fit 4-6 chicken thighs in my air fryer at the same time.
❓ What kinds of chicken thighs can I reheat in the air fryer?
Here are the different types of chicken thighs I’ve reheated with this method:
- Air Fryer Frozen Chicken Thighs
- Fried chicken thighs (like KFC)
- Thighs from a leftover rotisserie chicken
🤔 How many times can you reheat chicken?
Technically, you can reheat chicken as many times as you want to, as long as it gets reheated to the right temperature. However, the chicken may start to get dry and tough after reheating it once, and may not taste very good. The Food Standards Agency (FSA) recommends only reheating food once, so it’s a great idea to stick to this whenever you can.
🍗 What’s a good chicken thighs recipe?
My easy and delicious Air Fryer Chicken Thighs Recipe is perfect to cook with fresh or frozen skin-on-bone-in thighs, or even boneless chicken thighs. This easy chicken recipe is seasoned with a dry rub that has salt, ground black pepper, sweet paprika, garlic powder, and chili powder, plus a little olive oil to help the seasonings stick to the chicken. The flavor is phenomenal and they’re ready in around 30 minutes total.
😋 My favorite air fryer chicken recipes
- How to reheat chicken legs in an air fryer
- Air Fryer Chicken Tenders (with no breading)
- Air Fryer Chicken Breast
- Air Fryer Chicken Legs
- Air Fryer Chicken Wings (coming soon!)
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How to Reheat Chicken Thighs in an Air Fryer
- 4-6 leftover chicken thighs boneless-skinless, bone-in-skin-on, or fried chicken
- Parsley to garnish optional
- Begin by preheating the air fryer to 180 degrees c/ 356 degrees f.
- When the air fryer is ready, place the leftover chicken pieces in the air fryer basket in a single layer, skin side up. Reheat the chicken for 8 minutes. The cooking time can take a little longer depending on the thickness and size of the chicken, and whether it's breaded, boneless and skinless (less time), or bone-in and skin-on.
- Check the internal temperature of the chicken with a meat thermometer. When the temperature reaches 74°C/165°F, it's ready. If it needs quite a bit of extra cooking time (for larger chicken thighs) add on 3-5 minutes and check again. If it needs just a little more time, heat the thighs in 30-second intervals.