Honey Garlic Chicken Thighs – Pieces of chicken thighs are air fried until tender and juicy, then tossed in a creamy mayo sauce made with honey, aromatics, bacon, cayenne pepper, lemon juice, and more! These quick and easy flavorful chicken thighs are going to become one of your new favorite recipes to make during the busy week. Serve with a side of rice and sliced avocado and dinner is served!
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These honey garlic chicken thighs put a spin on the idea that honey garlic chicken thighs can only be made with a glaze. In this recipe, it’s so much more!
Not only are we not baking them, but we’re taking air fried chicken thighs and smothering them in a creamy, tangy, and spicy honey garlic sauce that includes sautéed onions, garlic, and crispy bacon!
This simple recipe delivers massive amounts of flavor and because we’re air frying the chicken on its own, it is tender and juicy even before being tossed in this amazing sauce.
I use 4 thighs because that’s how many people I’m serving, but the beauty of this recipe is that you can double or triple this recipe to feed a larger crowd.
Whether you want a new and exciting recipe for the chicken thighs you’ve got in the fridge or you need a way to serve your guests, this air fryer honey garlic chicken thighs recipe is what you’ve been waiting for!
Ingredients for Garlic Honey Chicken Thighs
- Chicken Thighs: You can choose to use boneless skinless chicken thighs or bone-in skin-on chicken thighs. It’s up to you. Just keep in mind that bone-in meat will take longer to cook.
- Bacon: These strips will be cooked separately and then added to the saucy mixture giving them a nice smoky, salty, textural component.
- Shallots and Garlic: Aromatics that are cooked down until soft and caramelized adding so much flavor to the sauce.
- Parsley: Fresh herbs are always a great addition to a creamy sauce to help liven it up!
- Lemon juice: Freshly squeezed lemon juice adds a bit of tang and zest to the sauce giving it a bit of a zippy flavor. Also a great way to cut through the creamy mayo.
- Honey: Puts the honey in honey garlic!
- Seasoning: Ground mustard, a pinch of cayenne, salt and pepper. Added seasoning for an extra kick!
- Mayonnaise: Gives the sauce its creaminess. The thickness of the sauce helps it stick to the surface of the meat so that it gets coated evenly.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Thins out the mayo bringing the sauce mixture together.
How to Make Honey Garlic Chicken Thighs
Step 1: Add the chopped bacon to a large skillet and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring few times. After add shallots and garlic, saute for 5 minutes, stirring few times.
Step 2: Use a slotted spoon to transfer them to a plate and discard the bacon fat. Or keep it in a cup and use it in place of oil and butter in another recipe!
Step 3: Pat chicken thighs dry with a paper towel. Season with salt and pepper and add them to the air fryer basket, spray with oil. Make sure to leave room between each one for the heat to circulate.
Step 4: Air fry the chicken thighs for 20 minutes, flipping halfway.
Step 5: In a large bowl, combine the mayo, lemon juice, mustard powder, cayenne pepper, honey, and olive oil. Whisk to combine.
Step 7: Transfer the thighs to the bowl with the sauce and toss the chicken thighs until they are completely coated.
Tips for Making Garlic Honey Chicken Thighs
- Use a digital thermometer to check for doneness. When inserted into the thickest part of the thigh, the internal temperature should read 165 degrees F.
- Adjust the spice level to your liking. If you want it a bit spicier, you can add in more than just a pinch of cayenne.
- If you don’t have cayenne, red pepper flakes work too.
- You can certainly use this recipe for chicken breasts and drumsticks too!
What to serve with honey chicken thighs?
These honey garlic lemon pepper chicken thighs are so flavorful and so hearty that all they need are some simple side dishes.
You could also pair chicken thighs with mashed potatoes. That’s always a classic choice!
How to store leftover chicken thighs?
Keep them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Do I need to add oil to the chicken before air frying them?
It’s a good idea to spray the air fryer basket before placing the chicken in as well as spraying the chicken. This helps to prevent sticking but also makes them nice and brown. But no, you don’t need to brush the thighs with oil!
Honey Garlic Chicken Thighs
- 4 chicken thighs boneless skinless, pat dry with paper towel
- 8 bacon slices, sliced into pieces
- 2 shallots chopped
- 3 clvoes garlic finely chopped
- 1/4 cup parsley finely chopped
- 1 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 tablespoons mayo
- 1 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon ground mustard
- salt & pepper to taste
- pinch cayenne pepper
- avocado oil spray
- Into the skillet add bacon and cook for 5 minutes, stirring few times. After add shallots and garlic, cook for 5 minutes, stirring few times.
- Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper, spray with oil spray. Air fry at 400F for 20 minutes, flip onto the other side after 10 minutes.
- Using a large bowl add mayo, lemon juice, parsley, honey, mustard powder, cayenne pepper, and olive oil whisk until everything is combined. Add sautéed bacon to the sauce mix again.
- Toss in chicken thighs in the sauce. Slice and enjoy!
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