Air Fryer Firecracker Chicken Bites
These Air Fryer Firecracker Chicken Bites take less than 30 minutes to make and are so tasty! The chicken pieces are cooked in the air fryer until crispy and then smothered in a spicy sauce that is tangy, sweet and sticky too. These air fryer chicken bites are Whole30, Paleo, Grain Free, Gluten Free, Dairy Free and Specific Carbohydrate Diet Legal too.
WHY YOU ARE GOING TO LOVE THIS FIRECRACKER CHICKEN
- These Firecracker Chicken Bites are crispy and crunchy and taste like they are fried but are so much healthier thanks to the air fryer
- They take less than 30 minutes to make!
- The sauce is sweet and spicy and packs a big punch of flavour. If you are a fan of buffalo wings or anything with sweet chili sauce than you will love this sauce!
- There is no breading needed to make this chicken crispy! Leaving the skin on each piece of chicken and cooking it in the airfryer results in deliciously crunchy bites.
- These air fryer chicken bites can be eaten for lunch, dinner or even served as an appetizer or game day snack for a crowd.
WHAT’S IN THE FIRECRACKER SAUCE
This firecracker sauce takes just minutes to make and is so tasty! All you need is ghee or butter, garlic, hot sauce, apple cider vinegar and honey (or maple syrup or dates). Stir everything together in a saucepan on medium high heat and then leave it to boil and reduce for approximately 8-10 minutes. The sauce should become sticky and glaze a spoon.
WHAT TYPE OF HOT SAUCE SHOULD I USE
There are a variety of “clean” Buffalo Hot Sauces that you can use in this recipe if you are Paleo or doing a Whole30. Frank’s Redhot sauce is Whole30 and Paleo and contains just cayenne peppers, vinegar, salt and garlic powder. Other Whole30 and Paleo hot sauces which can be used in this recipe include Tessemae’s Hot Buffalo Sauce, Primal Kitchen Buffalo Sauce and Siete Hot Sauce.
CAN I USE SKINLESS THIGHS OR BREASTS?
You can but the end result won’t be nearly as good. Once cooked the skin becomes crunchy and so good! It really makes the dish and should no be left off.
HOW TO DEBONE THE CHICKEN THIGHS
Deboning chicken thighs is incredibly easy to do and takes just minutes. If you aren’t a fan of cutting up chicken then you can try asking your butcher to debone the thighs for you, or they might even already have boneless skin on thighs available to buy. Don’t stress if you have to do it yourself though, it’s really simple to do, just follow these steps:
- Place the chicken skin side down on a cutting board.
- Run a knife down both sides of the bone, cutting it from the rest of the meat. Cut the meat away from the bone until it is completely detached.
- Run your hands over the chicken to feel for any sharp pieces of bone or cartilage that might have been left and cut them out. Repeat with remaining chicken thighs.
HOW TO MAKE THIS FIRECRACKER CHICKEN WHOLE30
Using honey in the sauce makes it deliciously sticky but unfortunately not Whole30. To make these air fryer chicken bites Whole30, soak 2 medjool dates in hot water for 10 minutes before draining and adding them to a blender with the hot sauce and vinegar. Blend until the dates have completely blended into the sauce and then pour everything into the pan with the melted ghee/butter and garlic. Depending on how tangy or sweet you like your sauce, you can add more or less dates.
HOW TO MAKE THIS FIRECRACKER CHICKEN SPECIFIC CARBOHYDRATE DIET LEGAL
For anyone on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet I recommend making your own hot sauce to ensure that it is legal. This recipe for hot sauce is easy to make and will last a few weeks in the fridge or can be frozen too. Garlic powder and onion powder often contain a caking agent so be sure to read labels before using it. If you are unable to find garlic and onion powder that is SCD legal you can leave it out of the recipe.
DON’T HAVE AN AIR FRYER?
If you don’t have an air fryer you can bake the chicken in the oven instead. Lay the chicken pieces skin side up on a greased sheet pan ensuring they don’t overlap. Bake the chicken at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and golden in colour. If the skin isn’t crisp enough, turn the oven to broil and broil for a few minutes.
CAN I MAKE THIS FIRECRACKER CHICKEN IN ADVANCE
The sauce can be made up to 2 days in advance and quickly warmed in the microwave or in a pot on medium heat on the stove before pouring over the chicken. You can debone the chicken and cut it into small cubes a few days in advance, which would reduce hands on prep before eating to just placing the chicken pieces in the airfryer.
WHAT ABOUT LEFTOVERS
Leftovers will last for up to 3 days in the fridge and are best reheated in the microwave or in a skillet on medium heat. Unfortunately the skin of the chicken won’t be as crispy when eaten as leftovers, but it will still be very tasty!
WHAT SHOULD I SERVE WITH THIS FIRECRACKER CHICKEN?
You can serve these crispy firecracker chicken bites with cauliflower rice to absorb all of the excess sauce. My favourite side is a big Caesar Salad or Creamy Coleslaw, I think the combination of spicy chicken and creamy salad go really well together.
Her are other recipes using chicken thighs that you might enjoy…
- Seared Chicken Thighs in Garlic Herb Sauce
- Honey Garlic Chicken Thighs
- Garlic Mushroom & Bacon Chicken
- Spicy Orange Chicken
- Szechuan Chicken Thighs
- Sheet Pan Chicken Piccata
If you make this recipe let me know in the comment section below, I would love to hear what you think or take a photo and tag me (@everylastbite_) on Instagram, I love seeing your photos!
Air Fryer Firecracker Chicken Bites
- 6 Skin On Chicken Thighs
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- cooking spray oil
- 1 tbsp butter or ghee
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1/4 cup hot sauce (such as Franks Original or Primal Kitchen)
- 1 1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp honey (or for Whole30 use 2 medjool dates soaked in hot water for 10 minutes)
- 1 tsp red chili flakes
- 1 tbsp chopped scallions for garnish
- To prep the chicken, lay the thighs on a cutting board, skin side down. Run a knife down both sides of the bone and then pull the bone up with your fingers and cut the meat away from the bone until it is completely detached. Run your hands over the chicken to feel for any sharp pieces of bone that might have been left and cut them out. Repeat with the remaining thighs.
- Cut the deboned chicken thighs into small bite sized pieces ensuring that the skin stays attached to eat piece.
- In a bowl toss the chicken pieces with olive oil, salt, garlic powder and onion powder.
- Lightly spray the basket of the air fryer with cooking spray and then place the chicken pieces skin side up in a single layer in the air fryer basket. Air fry at 390 degrees Fahrenheit for 18 minutes.
- While the chicken is cooking make the sauce. Melt the butter/ghee in a saucepan on medium high heat. Add in the garlic and saute for 1 minute before stirring in the hot sauce, honey, apple cider vinegar and chili flakes. If using dates, place the soaked dates in a blender with the hot sauce and apple cider vinegar and blend until smooth before pouring in the skillet with garlic.
- Leave the sauce to simmer on medium heat for 8 minutes until it has begun to thicken and coats the back of a spoon.
- When the chicken is done in the air fryer, transfer it to a bowl and toss it in the sauce. Garnish with scallions before serving.
- If you do not have an airfryer, preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and lightly spray a baking sheet with oil. Lay the chicken pieces out evenly skin side up on the baking sheet and bake in the oven for 15 minutes. If the skin isn’t crisp enough once done, turn the oven to broil and broil for a few minutes.