This Air Fryer Bacon Wrapped Chicken Thighs recipe showcases simply seasoned chicken thighs bundled in bacon and cooked to perfection in the air fryer. As a result, the bacon gets crispy, and the chicken stays extra juicy and tender. Perfect for keto, carnivore, paleo, and Whole30.
I think it’s fair to say most food is better wrapped in bacon and chicken thighs are no exception. These step-by-step instructions will show you how to make chicken thighs wrapped in bacon and cook them in the air fryer in less than 30 minutes.
Aside from the thighs and bacon, all you need to make this meaty main course is salt, pepper, and garlic powder which is just enough seasoning to accentuate the mild and moist thigh meat and succulent, salty bacon.
The simplicity of air fryer bacon wrapped chicken thighs makes them suitable for various meal plans. You can prepare a couple of simple sides while the bacon-wrapped thighs are in the air fryer, and just like that -you’ll have a quick and delicious keto, carnivore, paleo, and Whole30 meal in minutes!
❤ Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- The ease. It comes together with five ingredients in 30 minutes with minimal clean-up.
- The flavor. Juicy bacon-wrapped thighs are a keto, carnivore, paleo, and Whole30 family favorite.
- The cost. Chicken thighs are less expensive than chicken breasts and are a great way to feed a crowd.
- The side dish options. As for sides to serve with bacon-wrapped chicken thighs, anything goes!
🥓 Ingredients You’ll Need
- Chicken thighs – You will need six boneless, skinless chicken thighs. You can use chicken breasts if you prefer, but with minor modifications. See FAQ for helpful tips.
- Bacon strips – Thin-cut bacon is best as a thicker cut will take longer to cook and is tricky to get crispy. For paleo and Whole30 purposes, be sure to use nitrate and sugar-free compliant bacon.
- Seasonings – Sea salt, black pepper, and garlic powder enhance the natural meaty flavors.
📖 How To Make Air Fryer Bacon Wrapped Chicken Thighs
1️⃣ Trim and thin chicken thighs. Start by placing the chicken thighs on a clean cutting board and trimming off the excess fat with a sharp knife. Then, use a meat mallet (or heavy object) to pound the thighs, thinning them into an even thickness.
2️⃣ Season chicken thighs. Pat the thighs dry with a paper towel on both sides, and season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
3️⃣ Preheat the air fryer and wrap the thighs. Set the air fryer to 400°F and let it preheat for 3-5 minutes. Meanwhile, roll the thighs into logs, starting at the bottom of each piece and rolling upwards. Then, wrap the bacon slices around each “log” securely, ensuring both ends of the bacon strip are seam-side down.
4️⃣ Cook and serve hot. Place the bacon-wrapped thighs in the preheated air fryer basket and set the timer for 20 minutes. After 10 minutes, use tongs to flip each piece and continue cooking for the remaining 10 minutes (or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F). Remove with tongs and serve hot with your favorite side dishes!
👩🏻🍳 Recipe Tips
- If you’re working with larger chicken thighs, you may need to use two slices of bacon to package the thighs properly.
- Be sure to wrap the chicken thighs, so both ends of the bacon strip are on the bottom. Overlap the edges slightly, so the bacon doesn’t shrink and fall off while cooking.
- Cook the thighs in a single layer, leaving space in between. Depending on your air fryer’s size, you may cook in batches.
- The precise time it takes to cook bacon-wrapped chicken thighs in the air fryer will depend on the size of the thighs and the functionality of your air fryer. So keep an eye on them and adjust the timing as needed.
- For the best results, use a meat thermometer to ensure that the safe internal temperature for chicken (165F) is reached.
- After about 20 minutes, the bacon will be pretty crispy, but feel free to add 2-3 minutes to the cooking time for extra crispy bacon.
Let’s talk STUFFED chicken thighs wrapped in bacon! You can spread a thin layer of one of the “stuffing” options listed below in the center of the pounded chicken thigh before rolling it up and wrapping it in bacon.
- Buffalo Dip & Blue Cheese Crumbles
- BBQ Sauce & Shredded Cheddar
- Spinach Dip & Grated Parmesan
- Jalapeno Slices & Sweeet Potato Queso
🧊 Storing & Freezing
Storing: If you have any leftovers, let them cool and then store them in a shallow air-tight container in the fridge for 2 to 3 days. To reheat, return the thighs to the air fryer and heat at 350F until the bacon is crisp and the chicken is warmed through.
Freezing: To store chicken wrapped in bacon, let cool to room temperature, then place the pieces on a baking sheet and set it in the freezer until the meat is firm. Transfer to a freezer-safe bag, and keep frozen for 2-3 months—Thaw in the fridge before reheating.
The precise time it takes will depend on the size of your chicken thighs and the functionality of your air fryer. However, 20 minutes at 400F (flipping halfway through) is a good place to start.
Yes! I recommend cooking bacon-wrapped chicken breasts at 400F for the first 10 minutes, then lowering the heat to 350F and cooking for 10-15 more minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165F.
😋 More Air Fryer Chicken Recipes
- Chicken Meatballs
- Shake and Bake Chicken
- Hibachi Chicken & Vegetables
- Honey BBQ Popcorn Chicken
- Seasoned Steakhouse Wings
- Boneless BBQ Wings
- Homemade Popcorn Chicken
Air Fryer Bacon Wrapped Chicken Thighs
- air fryer
- cutting board and sharp knife
- meat mallet or heavy object
- 6 chicken thighs boneless, skinless
- 4 ounces bacon 6 strips
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- Place the chicken thighs on a clean cutting board and trim off the excess fat with a sharp knife. Then, pound the thighs with a meat mallet or heavy object to thin them into an even thickness.
- Pat the thighs dry with a paper towel on both sides, and season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
- Set the air fryer to 400°F and let it preheat for 3-5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, roll the thighs into secure logs, starting at the bottom of each piece and rolling upwards. Then, wrap the bacon slices around each "log" evenly, making sure the bacon ends are seam-side down.
- Place the bacon-wrapped chicken thighs in the preheated air fryer basket, and set the timer for 20 minutes. After 10 minutes, use tongs to flip each piece and continue cooking for the remaining 10 minutes (or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F).
- Remove the bacon-wrapped thighs with tongs and serve hot with your favorite side dishes.