This recipe combines boneless skinless chicken thighs with a simple homemade buffalo seasoning to make juicy, tender chicken in about 20 minutes. Pair these buffalo chicken thighs with crispy ranch potato wedges or your favorite veggie sides for a quick and healthy meal on the fly.
You can use an air fryer or oven to make this recipe, and I’ll cover all the tips and tricks you need to know below. If you’re feeling confident, hit the jump to recipe button above to skip to the recipe card.
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Homemade Buffalo Seasoning
My first tip would be to make this seasoning blend in bulk. You could use it for these buffalo chicken thighs or make recipes like my air fryer chicken nuggets, buffalo chicken bites, or pan fried chicken tenders. Here’s everything you’ll need:
- salt and pepper
- onion powder
- garlic powder
- chili powder
- smoked paprika
- dry mustard
- cayenne pepper
Tips for Making the Buffalo Seasoning in Bulk
If you decide to make it in bulk, I recommend multiplying everything by 3, 6, or 9. Since there are 3 teaspoons in a tablespoon, this makes it easier to keep track. And the easiest way to know how much to use when cooking would be to weigh or measure the entire batch and divide by what you multiplied by. A single serving will season around 1 pound of chicken. If that’s confusing, my breakfast sausage seasoning recipe may make a bit more sense.
Chicken Thighs vs Chicken Breast
So this recipe obviously calls for chicken thighs, but I know I was once a chicken breast only guy. Chicken thighs do have a bit more fat than chicken breast, but that makes them more tender and flavorful as well. But if you’d like to save the extra calories or just prefer chicken breast, you can easily tweak this recipe to work with chicken breast.
Boneless skinless chicken thighs are typically quite a bit thinner than chicken breast. For example, the recipe calls for 3 chicken thighs that weigh about 5 ounces each. Comparatively, 3 chicken breasts might weigh closer to 8-10 ounces each and be much thicker in the center.
That means they’ll take longer to cook and you’ll have less flavor in the center of the chicken. You could either cut the chicken breast in half, making chicken cutlets, or pound them into thinner pieces for a similar cook time and flavor level. Or if you’d like to just try seasoning the chicken and cooking, extend the time by 2-3 minutes and be sure to let the chicken rest for a few minutes after cooking.
Cooking Your Buffalo Chicken Thighs
I used an air fryer to cook my buffalo chicken thighs, but an oven will work nearly just as well. Using my spicy baked chicken thighs as a reference, I’ve given time and temperature recommendations in the recipe card below. The baked version uses about a half pound more chicken thighs than the air fryer version here, so you could easily double the buffalo seasoning and chicken to make a larger batch. You could also add in the ranch potato wedges from that recipe!
For air frying, I used an 8-quart Instant Pot Duo Crisp. If you’re using a different air fryer, particularly an air fryer that’s larger or smaller, you may need to slightly adjust the cook time.
Also, if you’re in the market for an air fryer, you can use my affiliate code ‘mason’ to save 10% on the Instant Pot website. The Duo Crisp is a game changer for protein prep. Check out my Instant Pot BBQ Chicken and Shredded Mexican Chicken Thighs recipes for examples of what you can do.
That’s a wrap. Need some ideas for side dishes? Check out my crinkle cut fries, roasted carrots and potatoes, or air fryer sweet potatoes. And if you have a recipe question I missed, leave a comment at the bottom of the post. Otherwise, enjoy your buffalo chicken thighs!
- 3 Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs, about 5 ounces each after trimming excess fat*
- 1/2 Tbsp (8g) Olive Oil
- 1 tsp Smoked Paprika
- 1 tsp Chili Powder
- 1 tsp Onion Powder
- 1 tsp Garlic Powder
- 1 tsp Dry Mustard
- 1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper
- 1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
- 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
- Trim away any excess fat from the chicken thighs before coating the thighs in the olive oil.
- Mix the dry spices in a separate bowl before sprinkling over the chicken. Use a rubber spatula to evenly coat the chicken in the spices.
- Air fry for 12-14 minutes at 375ºF or bake for 16-20 minutes at 400ºF or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165ºF.
*For chicken breast, you can use cutlets or pound to an even thickness before seasoning and cooking. If you leave them as-is, you'll probably want to extend the cook time.
Each buffalo chicken thigh has 4 WW SmartPoints (blue).
Nutrition Information:Yield: 3 Chicken Thighs Serving Size: 1 Chicken Thigh
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 220Total Fat: 12gCarbohydrates: 0gProtein: 27g