Skip to Content

Buffalo Chicken Thighs (Air Fryer)

Sharing is caring!

These crispy Buffalo Chicken Thighs are tender and full of buffalo flavor in a cooking time of less than 30 minutes. Make these as a budget-friendly alternative to chicken wings for your next meal or game day. Plus, get tips and variations to make these air fryer buffalo thighs in the oven, crockpot and Instant Pot.

Buffalo Chicken Thighs with ranch dressing and celery sticks on a plate

Why Make Buffalo Boneless Chicken Thighs

There are so many reasons to love this crispy hot sauce chicken thighs recipe. Some of my top reasons are:

  • Easy recipe: these buffalo thighs use simple ingredients and require to you toss the meat in spices before air frying.
  • Great for meal prep: make these chicken thighs with buttery buffalo sauce ahead of time. Then, pair this main dish with a variety of side dishes throughout the week.

Ingredients Needed

Making crispy buffalo chicken thighs in your air fryer is easy. Besides chicken, you’ll need some spices and my two-ingredient homemade buffalo sauce.

Here’s what you’ll need to gather:

  • Chicken Thighs: I use thawed boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • Smoked Paprika: If you substitute with regular paprika, you’ll miss out on the distinctive flavor.
  • Natural Ancient Sea Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Garlic Powder
  • Onion Powder
  • Olive Oil: or avocado oil to help the spices coat to the chicken

Spicy Buffalo Sauce

  • Hot Sauce: I use Frank’s Red Hot hot sauce since it includes a vinegar based hot pepper sauce as well as spices like garlic powder. Another option is to use Frank’s buffalo wing sauce. But, your favorite buffalo sauce also works.
  • Butter: melted butter helps to turn the hot sauce into buffalo sauce.

Be sure to check out the recipe card at the bottom of the post for the exact amounts and full instructions.

hot wing sauce, smoked paprika, sea salt, black pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder, chicken thighs, oil and butter on separate bowl

How to Make Air Fryer Buffalo Chicken Thighs

These air fried buffalo thighs has simple steps. I’ll outline them below:

Prepare the Chicken Thighs

  1. Add the chicken thighs to a large bowl with the spices and oil. Then, toss the meat in the spice mixture to coat
  2. Add the chicken thighs to your air fryer basket in a single layer. Air Fry the chicken at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

Make the Buffalo Sauce

  1. Mix all of the ingredients for the homemade buffalo sauce by stirring them in a small bowl with a fork (keep mixing until the melted butter is well incorporated).
  2. For best results, toss the crispy chicken thighs in the Buffalo Sauce mixture in a large bowl and serve with a side of Blue Cheese Dressing.
step-by-step instructions for how to make Buffalo Chicken Thighs in the air fryer with Frank's hot sauce

Top Cooking Tips & FAQs

  • Place parchment paper or foil on the bottom of your air fryer basket to reduce clean-up time.
  • Remove the chicken thighs from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before you cook them so that they can come to room temperature and cook more evenly.
  • No need to flip: boneless chicken thighs crisp nicely in your air fryer without the need to flip them. So, feel free to set the timer for 20 minutes and return once the timer stops.
  • Swap the spice mix: swap the spices and salt in this recipe for one tablespoon of ranch seasoning to make Ranch Buffalo Chicken Thighs.


There are different ways to make tender chicken thighs with hot sauce. Here are tips by cooking method:

  • Instant Pot Buffalo Chicken Thighs: you can make buffalo chicken thighs in your instant pot following the steps in my Instant Pot Shredded BBQ Chicken recipe. Simply pour half of the buffalo sauce into the cooking pot with chicken, broth, and spices before pressure cooking.
  • Crockpot Buffalo Chicken Thighs: use my crockpot bbq chicken thighs as a guide to make these in a slow cooker. It’s require you to cook them for about 2.5 hours.
  • Baked Buffalo Chicken Thighs: as mentioned in my Baked BBQ Chicken Thighs recipe this will take about 40 minutes.
  • Skin-on Chicken Thighs: this buffalo chicken thigh recipe uses boneless thighs. If you use skin-on and bone-in chicken thighs, be sure to adjust the cook time. It will take about 5 additional minutes for a meat thermometer to say that the internal temperature of thickest part is 165 degrees.

How to Store Air Fryer Buffalo Chicken Thighs

The best way to store any leftover cooked chicken thighs is in an airtight container for the next day (up to 5 days).

What to Serve with Air Fried Buffalo Thighs

This recipe has about 5 servings. To make this a meal, I pair this with any of these side dishes:

Buffalo Chicken Thighs on a plate with Frank's red hot sauce, ranch dressing, and celery sticks

More Buffalo Chicken Recipes

Buffalo Chicken Thighs with mayo dip and celery on a plate

Buffalo Chicken Thighs (Air Fryer)

Make crispy Buffalo Chicken Thighs in your air fryer in less than 30 minutes using this easy recipe. Includes simple ingredients and homemade buffalo sauce.
5 from 41 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 6
Calories 268 kcal


  • Air Fryer


  • 1.25 lbs Chicken thighs boneless, skinless
  • 1/4 tsp Natural Ancient Sea Salt optional
  • 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Smoked Paprika
  • 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Onion Powder
  • 2 tbsp Avocado Oil or olive oil

Buffalo Sauce

  • 1/3 cup Frank's Red Hot Sauce
  • 1 tbsp Butter unsalted and melted


  • Mix the spices together in a small bowl.
  • Add the chicken thighs to a large mixing bowl with the spices and oil. Toss to coat the chicken evenly.
  • Place the chicken thighs in a single layer on the air fryer basket.
  • Air fry at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.
  • Mix the buffalo sauce ingredients.
  • Toss the cooked chicken in sauce and serve. Leftover sauce can be served with the chicken in a dipping cup.


Calories: 268kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 98mg | Sodium: 731mg | Potassium: 222mg | Fiber: 0.1g | Sugar: 0.2g | Vitamin A: 236IU | Vitamin C: 10mg | Calcium: 11mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Recipe Rating