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Crispy Mediterranean Air Fryer Chicken Thighs

Crispy Mediterranean Air Fryer Chicken recipe cooked to tender perfection! A generous amount of spices makes the chicken marinade positively dreamy. Very similar to Chicken Shawarma, these Mediterranean chicken thighs are blasted with zesty flavor and warm spices.

Top down plate of Mediterranean chicken sprinkled with green onions and slices of lemon on a rustic wooden background.

If you’ve made my Easy Chicken Shawarma recipe, you already know what we’re getting into today.

Warm spices, lemon juice, lemon zest and garlic infuse boneless skinless chicken thighs with an abundance of flavor, and they get cooked to crispy perfection in the air fryer.

This simple recipe requires hardly any prep or time to prepare. The best part is the boneless thighs have tons of flavor in spite of the minimal prep that goes into them.

That means you can easily toss it in the air fryer on any busy weeknight and be guaranteed an absolutely delicious main dish.

Simply serve the chicken with your choice of side dishes and enjoy!

My Lemon Garlic Rosemary Rice, Air Fryer Curry Cauliflower, Air Fryer Garlic Butter Brussel Sprouts or Crowd-Pleasing Roasted Vegetables are great options for serving.

Mediterranean chicken in an air fryer, ready to eat.

Let’s discuss the simple ingredients for Chicken Shawarma.

Ingredients for Air Fryer Mediterranean Chicken Thighs:

Boneless Chicken Thighs: Use 1.5 to 2 pounds of boneless chicken thighs for this delicious Mediterranean style chicken recipe. Skinless chicken thighs still become crispy in spite of having no skin due to the fat content. For the crispiest chicken thighs, use bone-in skin-on chicken thighs which will yield extra crispy skin. 

You can also use boneless chicken breasts if you prefer, but adjust the cooking temperature and cook time accordingly (instructions below).

Olive Oil: Used to marinate the chicken and protect it during the air frying process, olive oil adds rich buttery flavor. You can also use avocado oil instead.

Lemon Zest and Lemon Juice: Lemon zest and lemon juice bring that citrus tang that goes so well with chicken.

Seasonings: Sumac, ground cumin, paprika, garlic powder, ground cinnamon, allspice and salt.  This combination of ingredients makes for an amazing dry rub for any type of chicken, pork, beef, fish, etc. All of these spices can be found at most grocery stores.

If you’ve never tried Sumac, it is a spice commonly used in Middle Eastern food that provides a zingy tang, similar to fresh lemon or ginger. It also has a subtle sweetness. If you can’t find one or two of these spices, don’t fret.

You can easily make substitutions using similar spices or omit one or two without sacrificing flavor.

If you love the flavor of Italian seasoning or chili powder, add 1 to 2 teaspoons to the marinade. Add black pepper to your personal taste.

How to Make Crispy Mediterranean Air Fryer Chicken:

Combine all of the spices in a small bowl (sumac, ground cumin, paprika, ground cinnamon, allspice and sea salt) and stir until incorporated.

Mediterranean seasonings in a white bowl on a wooden backdrop to make Chicken Shawarma

Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel and place chicken thighs (or breasts) in a large zip lock bag (or freezer bag) and add the olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, and the spice blend. Seal the bag and shake everything around until all of the thighs are well-coated in the marinade.

Chicken thighs, lemon juice, lemon zest, oil, and seasonings in a zip lock bag to be marinated.

Either refrigerate for 15 minutes (up to 24 hours) to marinate, or cook the chicken immediately. For the best results, marinate the chicken for at least 15 minutes.

If you don’t have time to marinate the chicken, you can toss all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl and toss it all together using your hands.

Sealed bag of marinated chicken, ready to cook.

Lightly spray the air fryer basket with cooking spray. Preheat the air fryer to 375 degrees for a few minutes.

Place the chicken thighs in the air fryer with the rounded side down in a single layer (do this in two batches if your air fryer is too small to fit the thighs in one layer). Air fry for 14 minutes.

Chicken thighs in an air fryer, ready to air fry.

Flip the chicken and air fry for an additional 4 to 6 minutes, until the thighs are crispy and cooked through.

Tongs flipping chicken thighs in an air fryer.

For chicken breasts, air fry at 350 for 9 minutes per side. For bone-in chicken thighs, air fry at 375 for 10 minutes per side. 

Chicken is considered fully cooked once it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.

To verify the temperature, insert an instant read thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh (I choose the largest thigh to test) and wait until the numbers stop moving to get an accurate read. A meat thermometer is the best way of ensuring the chicken thighs turn out perfectly cooked for a delicious meal.

Cooked chicken thighs in an air fryer.

Serve Crispy Mediterranean Chicken with your choice of side dishes and enjoy!

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Plate of Mediterranean chicken thighs on a white background, ready to serve.

These Crispy Air Fryer Mediterranean Chicken Thighs are easy enough to toss together any night of the week and impressive enough to serve guests. Make them for meal prep, or any special occasion.

If you love air fryer chicken recipes, also try my Lemon Garlic Air Fryer Chicken Thighs recipe!

Close up plate of chicken thighs on a plate with green onions and lemon slices.

If you’re looking for more delicious healthy air fryer recipes, also check these out.

More Air Fryer Recipes:

The next time you’re looking for an easy recipe to enjoy for dinner, make these air fry chicken thighs! The whole family will love these juicy chicken thighs!

Close up plate of chicken thighs on a plate with green onions and lemon slices.

Crispy Mediterranean Air Fryer Chicken Thighs

Yield: 6 to 8 Servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

Crispy, tender Air Fryer Mediterranean Chicken Thighs are seasoned to perfection with warm spiced, lemon juice and zest, and garlic. This easy dinner recipe is easy to toss together any night of the week!

Ingredients

  • 1.5 to 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs (6 to 8 chicken thighs)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp Sumac
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp kosher salt

Instructions

    1. Combine all of the spices in a small bowl (sumac, ground cumin, paprika, ground cinnamon, allspice and sea salt) and stir until incorporated.

    Mediterranean seasonings in a white bowl on a wooden backdrop to make Chicken Shawarma

    2. Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel and place chicken thighs (or breasts) in a large zip lock bag (or freezer bag) and add the olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, and the spice blend. Seal the bag and shake everything around until all of the thighs are well-coated in the marinade.

    Chicken thighs, lemon juice, lemon zest, oil, and seasonings in a zip lock bag to be marinated.

    3. Either refrigerate for 15 minutes (up to 24 hours) to marinate, or cook the chicken immediately. For the best results, marinate the chicken for at least 15 minutes. If you don't have time to marinate the chicken, you can toss all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl and toss it all together using your hands.

    Sealed bag of marinated chicken, ready to cook.

    4. Lightly spray the air fryer basket with cooking spray. Preheat the air fryer to 375 degrees for a few minutes.

    Chicken thighs in an air fryer, ready to air fry.

    5. Place the chicken thighs in the air fryer with the rounded side down in a single layer (do this in two batches if your air fryer is too small to fit the thighs in one layer). Air fry for 14 minutes.

    Chicken thighs in an air fryer, ready to air fry.

    6. Flip the chicken and air fry for an additional 4 to 6 minutes, until the thighs are crispy and cooked through.

    Tongs flipping chicken thighs in an air fryer.

    Cooked chicken thighs in an air fryer.

    For chicken breasts, air fry at 350 for 9 minutes per side. For bone-in chicken thighs, air fry at 375 for 10 minutes per side. 

    Chicken is considered fully cooked once it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. To verify the temperature, insert an instant read thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh (I choose the largest thigh to test) and wait until the numbers stop moving to get an accurate read. A meat thermometer is the best way of ensuring the chicken thighs turn out perfectly cooked for a delicious meal.

    7. Serve Crispy Mediterranean Chicken with your choice of side dishes and enjoy!

    Mediterranean chicken in an air fryer, ready to eat.

Notes

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Nutrition Information
Serving Size 1 Thigh
Amount Per Serving Calories 305Total Fat 20gSaturated Fat 5gUnsaturated Fat 9gCholesterol 276mgSodium 428mgCarbohydrates 1gNet Carbohydrates 1gFiber 0gSugar 0gProtein 27g

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