This is the Air Fryer Lemon Chicken Bites that you won’t be able to stop eating! The chicken thighs are marinated in lemon juice until perfectly tender and air fried to golden crispy! No breading, no starch, and totally lemony-delicious! These chicken bites make the perfect air fryer appetizer, lunch, dinner, and even midnight snack!

Air fried chicken thigh bites served with lemons over an oval plate
Lemony, Crispy, Perfect Air Fryer Appetizer!

Food that makes you happy – Lemony Air Fried Chicken Bites!

Perfectly marinated chicken thighs air fried to golden crispy and extra lemony…how can you not stop eating them? As you pull out the fryer basket, you can hear the sizzling sound. The house smells so good and everyone’s waiting to dig-in!

These lemony crispy chicken bites will be gone in a hurry so read on to see how to make the best air fryer lemon chicken bites as I share all my tips and tricks because you want the best, right?

Ingredients for the dish
Simple ingredients and Super Flavorful!

What you need for the lemon chicken bites

  • Skin-on & Bone removed Chicken thighs (see how-to debone section below)
  • Lemon
  • Salt
  • White pepper
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Olive oil (for marinate use)
  • Avocado oil spray (for the air fryer basket)

Can I use black pepper?

Yes you can but white pepper will make this dish taste more Asian! This dish is inspired by my Taiwanese chicken nuggets and Japanese lemon chicken so I recommend using white pepper.

Can I use skinless/boneless chicken thighs?

You can but it won’t be as good! I mean who doesn’t love crispy chicken skin so I think it’s totally worth a little time to remove the bones. Once you learn how to do it, it’s quite straightforward!

How to make chicken bites in air fryer

  1. Debone the skin-on chicken thighs and dice to slightly larger than bite sizes.
  2. Season and marinate overnight with lemon juice.
  3. Air fry with skin-side up until the skin is golden crispy.
  4. Serve with extra lemon on the side and garnish!

How to debone chicken thighs

  1. Use a small but sharp paring knife, with one hand holding the knife and the other hand holding the bone, carefully make a small incision cut along the chicken thigh bone.
  2. Slowly and carefully cut along the bone to separate the leg bone and the meat. Pull the bone in upward and frontward directions a few times to help separate the meat and the bone.
  3. Run the tip of your fingers through the chicken to make sure there are no bones left behind.

The secret to make 100% perfect Air fryer lemon chicken bites

  • Use skin-on chicken thighs so that the chicken bites stay more moist and juicy.
  • Do take a little time to debone the chicken. It’s totally worth it!
  • Marinate the chicken overnight (and up to 24 hours) in the fridge before air fry so the chicken will be extra flavorful.
  • When air fry, place skin side up and in a single layer.
  • Different air fryers have slightly different temperatures. You want the internal temperature to reach 165F (74C) on a meat thermometer.
Serve the chicken bites in an oval plate
Extra lemony juicy chicken bites!

What to serve with Lemony Air Fryer Fried Chicken Bites

More air fryer recipes

So friends! Whether it’s game day, valentine’s day, or New Year’s eve, or anytime you miss that perfectly crisp chicken, give my air fryer chicken bites a try! They are inspired by Japanese chicken karaage (Japanese-style fried chicken) but without the breading and starch. What a fantastic family friendly food that will bring all the happiness and smiles to you!

Enjoy the air fryer chicken bites as an appetizer with forks
Perfect appetizer for game day, holiday, and everyday!
Or sprinkle with chives and furikake over the lemon chicken
5 from 18 votes

Air Fryer Lemon Chicken Bites (no breading, keto, paleo, whole30)

Prep Time: 30 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
Total Time: 50 mins
Servings: 4 people
Author: ChihYu
Air Fryer Lemon Chicken Bites with marinated chicken thighs air fried to golden crispy! No breading and starch and totally lemony delicious!
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Ingredients 

  • 2 lbs. Chicken Thighs, skin-on
  • 1.5 tsp coarse sea salt
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • ¼ tsp white pepper
  • ¼ cup lemon juice, about 1 to 1 ½ whole lemons
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2-3 sprays avocado oil, for the air fryer basket

Serving:

  • 2 tbsp chopped chives
  • Sprinkle Furikake, optional
  • Extra lemon wedges on the side, about quarter to half of one whole lemon

Instructions 

To prep:

  • Debone the chicken thighs and dice them to slightly larger than bite sizes. Please see how to debone chicken thighs in the blog post with photos, if you aren’t sure how to do that. Or check out this web story. Transfer them to a container that’s just big enough to hold all the pieces.
  • Add the seasoning from salt to olive oil. Gently mix them and make sure all the pieces are in touch with lemon juice. Marinate overnight in the fridge and up to 24 hours.

To air fry:

  • Lightly spray the air fryer basket with avocado oil. Place-in the chicken skin-side up. Try not to let the pieces touch each other too much (a little snuggle is fine just don’t overlap them) so each piece gets crisp up.
  • Air fry at 380F (193C) for 18-20 minutes. The skin should be golden crispy and the chicken should be cooked through but not overly cooked. If you want to be exact, the internal temperature should reach 165F (74C) on a digital meat thermometer.

To serve:

  • Transfer the chicken bites to a medium size serving plate. Sprinkle with chives and furikake, if using, and serve with lemon wedges on the side. Serve hot and immediately.
    a horizontal photo of the lemon chicken bites dish

Notes

Can I use skinless/boneless chicken thighs? You can but it won’t be as good! I mean who doesn’t love crispy chicken skin so I think it’s totally worth a little time to remove the bones. Chicken with skin-on will taste more tender.
Can I use black pepper? Yes you can but white pepper will make this dish taste more Asian! This dish is inspired by my Taiwanese chicken nuggets and Japanese lemon chicken so I recommend using white pepper.
Marinate the chicken overnight (and up to 24 hours) in the fridge before air fry so the chicken will be extra flavorful. This is perfect for make-ahead!
If using oven, preheat the oven to 425F (218C). Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Lightly spray with oil. Place the chicken skin side up and bake for 15 minutes or until the skin is golden brown and the meat is cooked through. Then, set the oven to high broil and broil for 3 minutes to give a nice golden color. The internal temperature should reach 165F (74C) on a digital meat thermometer.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving, Calories: 569kcal, Carbohydrates: 2g, Protein: 37g, Fat: 45g, Saturated Fat: 11g, Cholesterol: 222mg, Sodium: 1047mg, Potassium: 481mg, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 242IU, Vitamin C: 7mg, Calcium: 18mg, Iron: 2mg
Course: Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine: Japanese, Taiwanese
Keyword: air fryer chicken bites, air fryer lemon chicken bites, chicken bites, chicken bites recipe, lemon chicken bites
DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?Tag @iheartumami.ny on Instagram and hashtag it #iheartumami.
Or sprinkle with chives and furikake over the lemon chicken
Best air fried chicken thigh bites!