These air fryer gochujang bbq chicken thighs are super easy to make and takes only 15 minutes! The bbq chicken thighs are juicy, sweet and savory, perfect for a quick, tasty meal over rice or added as a protein to your favorite bowl or salad!
Recently, we've been really into easy gochujang recipes like this gochujang bbq chicken thighs in air fryer and foil baked salmon with gochujang sauce.
Both are super easy and quick to make, which is especially awesome for busy weeknight meals!
What does gochujang chicken thighs taste like?
This gochujang bbq chicken thighs tastes sweet and mildly spicy, a perfect balance between sweet a savory. Because we used chicken thighs, the chicken is super juicy and flavorful.
Also air frying these gochujang chicken thighs caramelized parts of the chicken, giving them really nice char flavor, that supplemented the must have barbecue flavors!
- Skinless boneless chicken thighs - No need for skin and boneless thighs take less time to cook. Plus, the marinade can penetrate more!
- Gochujang - Also known as Korean fermented red pepper paste. This tastes a little sweet, salty, and spicy, but different brands can be sweeter, saltier, or spicier.
- Sugar - Just to give the gochujang marinade an extra boost of sweetness.
- Soy sauce - To give the gochujang marinade a little more saltiness and to thin out the marinade.
- Sesame oil - For flavoring the chicken and also the oil needed for air frying.
- Garlic - You can mince, grate, or use a garlic press.
- Cracked black pepper - Just to add a touch of peppery flavor, but you can omit if you'd like.
These gochujang bbq chicken thighs air fry in 10 minutes and are super easy to prepare.
1. Preheat the air fryer to 400°F.
2. In a mixing bowl, add the gochujang, sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil, minced garlic, and cracked black pepper. Mix to combine.
3. Add the skinless, boneless chicken thighs into the marinade and mix well. Make sure the marinade is rubbed onto the entire chicken thighs.
*At this point, if you have time, we highly suggest marinating for at least 30 minutes for max flavor.*
4. Place a sheet of parchment paper on the bottom of the air fryer basket and arrange the gochujang marinated chicken thighs on the parchment paper. Keep the chicken thighs in one layer, and cook in batches if necessary.
5. Air fry the gochujang chicken thighs at 400°F for 10 minutes. Flip the chicken thighs mid way through cooking.
6. Remove the chicken thighs from the air fryer basket. Slice and serve over steamed rice while hot. Garnish with green onion and sesame seeds if you wish.
Prepare ahead of time
This gochujang bbq chicken thigh recipe is great for making ahead of time! The sauce can be made and stored in the fridge, up to 1 week ahead. You can even pre-marinate the chicken thighs in the gochujang marinade, up to 4 days.
If you have leftover gochujang marinated chicken thighs, feel free to freeze it in an airtight container for up to 1 month. Defrost and cook according to recipe.
Make this gochujang BBQ chicken thighs in the oven
If you don't have an air fryer, or if you're making a larger batch of this gochujang BBQ chicken thighs, you can still make this recipe in the oven!
1. Preheat the oven to 425°F and prepare a sheet pan lined with parchment paper or foil.
2. Prepare and marinate the chicken thighs as instructed in the recipe, and arrange the gochujang marinated chicken onto the prepared sheet pan. Keep the chicken thighs in one layer.
3. Bake the chicken thighs for about 13 to 15 minutes, until the chicken is fully cooked (165°F). Flip the chicken thighs mid way through cooking.
4. (Optional for char) Once the chicken thighs are cooked, broil on high for 30 seconds to 1 minute, until desired amount of char appears.
5. Sliced the gochujang bbq chicken thighs and serve while hot.
What to eat with these air fried gochujang chicken thighs?
These air fried gochujang bbq chicken thighs are flavorful and juicy, which makes them great as a protein add-on for any kind of bowls. We love eating them over a bed of steamed rice for a quick meal. But you can totally add these gochujang chicken thighs to rice bowls, noodles bowls, and even salads!
- Marinate for at least 30 minutes. If you have time, these gochujang bbq chicken thighs would greatly benefit from being marinated. The chicken thighs will be even more flavorful!
- Cook the chicken thighs topside down first. This cooks the bottom side first so that when you flip the chicken over, the top side will char, making presenting better!
- Pour the juice/sauce over the chicken. After the chicken thighs are done cooking, pour the natural juice/sauce leftover the chicken thighs to make the chicken extra juicy and flavorful.
- Arrange the gochujang marinated chicken thighs in a single layer. Keep the chicken thighs in a single layer to promote even cooking.
- Add an additional 3 minutes to the cooking time if the air fryer is not preheated.
Storage and reheating
If you have leftover cooked gochujang bbq chicken thighs, you can slice and store them in an airtight container. Make sure to pour any leftover juices/sauce over the chicken to keep it juicy.
To reheat, you can microwave, heat it on the stovetop, or bake in the air fryer until hot throughout. Make sure to add the juices to the bbq chicken thighs while they're reheated to keep them moist.
It's best to air fry marinated chicken thighs at 400°F. Typically, air fried chicken thighs take about 10 minutes to cook. But every air fryer is different, so to ensure that your chicken thighs are fully cooked, make sure it registers 165°F.
For cooking chicken, it is not necessary to preheat your air fryer. However, it is recommended that you add 3 extra minutes to the cook time to compensate for starting in a cold air fryer.
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Gochujang BBQ Chicken Thighs (Air Fryer)
- 4 piece boneless, skinless chicken thighs trimmed if necessary
- 2 tablespoons gochujang (Korean red pepper paste)
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 2 cloves garlic grated or minced (almost 1 TBSP)
- Few cracks of black pepper
- Green onion sliced (optional for garnish)
- Toasted sesame seed (optional for garnish)
- 2 cups cooked white rice or more (optional for serving)
- Preheat the air fryer:Preheat the air fryer to 400°F.
- For the gochujang marinade:In a mixing bowl, mix together gochujang, sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, and black pepper.
- Marinate the chicken thighs:Add the chicken thighs into the gochujang marinade and mix well. Make sure the entire chicken thighs are coated with the marinade.*If you have time, let the chicken marinate for at least 30 minutes for max flavor.*
- Cook the chicken:Line the bottom of the air fryer basket with a sheet of parchment paper, and arrange the gochujang marinated chicken thighs on the parchment. Air fry the chicken thighs for about 10 minutes, flipping mid way through.*Each air fryer is different, so the cooking time may be different by a few minutes for your air fryer. Keep the chicken thighs in a single layer and cook in batches if necessary.*
- To serve:Remove the chicken thighs from the air fryer basket. Slice each chicken thighs and shingle over a bed of rice. Garnish with green onion and sesame seeds and enjoy!*For extra flavor, carefully remove the parchment paper from the air fryer basket and pour the juices over the chicken.*
- If you do not wish to preheat the air fryer, simply add on 3 extra minutes to the cooking time.
- Each air fryer is different, so check to make sure your chicken is cooked to 165°F. This may require a couple extra minutes of cooking, depending on your air fryer.
- If you wish to make this recipe in the oven, please refer to the post above for details!