bbq chicken cooking in an air fryer

Air Fryer BBQ chicken done right. This barbeque chicken recipe is perfect for summer when it’s too hot to grill. BBQ Chicken Thighs Vs the Ninja Foodi Grill! Can the little air fryer make a passable BBQ? Spoiler: I already know the answer. YES! Of course, it’s yes. I’m going to make an awesome wrap with BBQ chicken and a bell pepper slaw.


BBQ Chicken

  • Boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • Your Favorite BBQ sauce
  • Garlic Powder
  • Onion Powder
  • Smoked paprika
  • Liquid Smoke
  • Vegetable Oil

Bell Pepper Slaw

  • Red and Yellow Bell Peppers
  • Green Onions
  • Mayo
  • White Vinegar
  • Celery Seed
  • Sugar
  • Dijon Mustard
  • Salt and Pepper
ingredients for a bell pepper slaw, including seasoning, bell peppers and green onion

Soggy Slaw Should Not Be a Thing

Unfortunately, soggy, drippy slaw exists. It’s because any seasoned slaw dressing is going to cause whatever vegetable its mingling with to release water over time. There is a cure for this plague of sogginess that engulfs the world! It just takes a little time.

This applies to cabbage as well so read on.

It’s the salt and sugar that are pulling the water from the veggies, any dressing worth calling a dressing has at least one of these “hydro attractive” compounds to season it.

All we need to do is preseason it without the dressing. I do this in a colander over a bowl to collect the water.

From one whole pepper chopped up I can pull about 1/4 cup of water in 30 – 40 minutes. Imagine adding an extra 1/4 cup of water to any slaw dressing. That is what is essentially happening when you skip this step.

bell pepper slaw covered in salt to draw out moisture of bell peppers

Don’t worry, this won’t make the veggies salty or over sweet. Most of the salt and sugar wash away with the water that is released. Yes, it takes time, but also, practically zero effort. It’s up to you “To SOG, or not to SOG. That is the question.” What kind of cook are you?

bell pepper slaw in a brown bowl

BBQ Chicken from an Air Fryer

I’m going to give it to you straight. It’s just not as good as BBQ from a grill. There is no “safe” way to replicate the flavor that comes from the juices of the meat you are cooking dripping onto hot coals that in turn produce a flavorful smoke that returns flavor back to the sizzling meat.

With that said, we can get pretty darn close by carefully layering a glaze of tasty BBQ sauce onto some chicken. This is a task my Ninja Foodi is more than up to.

Take your time basting. You don’t want to add more sauce till the previous application has caramelized. Over basting can actually prevent any of that awesome caramelized BBQ flavor from happening at all.

What do I do with all this BBQ Chicken and Slaw?

bbq chicken and bell pepper slaw wrap on a wooden cutting board

Whatever makes you happy! The easy thing to do would be toast a bun and slap a piece of chicken on with some slaw, and stuff your pie hole. In fact if you have people over, this is what I recommend.

I’m making wraps cause I’m cooking for two. Just roll them up and toast them in the air fryer for about 1 minute, then flip, and one more minute in the air fryer.

bell pepper slaw and bbq chicken wraps

Air Fryer BBQ Chicken Thighs with Bell Pepper Slaw

Chef Eric
Air Fryer BBQ chicken done right. This barbeque chicken recipe is perfect for summer when it's too hot to grill. BBQ Chicken Thighs Vs the Ninja Foodi Grill! Can the little air fryer make a passable BBQ?
Prep Time 12 minutes
Cook Time 14 minutes
Course BBQ,, chicken, Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine American, BBQ
Servings 4 people


  • Air Fryer
  • Knife
  • Cutting Board
  • Large Mixing Bowl
  • Small Mixing Bowl
  • colander
  • Basting Brush
  • Small Bowl


BBQ Chicken

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 cup BBQ sauce
  • 4 8" flour tortillas

Wet Rub

  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tbsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 7 drops liquid smoke

Bell Pepper Slaw Veggies

  • 1/2 large red bell pepper chopped into 1-1 1/2-inch-long thin strips or matchsticks.
  • 1/2 large yellow bell pepper chopped into 1-1 1/2-inch-long thin strips or matchsticks.
  • 1/2 cup green onion sliced on the diagonal about 1/2-inch slices.

Slaw Dressing

  • 1/4 cup mayo
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp celery seed
  • 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard


BBQ Chicken

  • Combine all of the 'wet rub' ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Add chicken thighs and combine till thighs are coated.
  • Preheat air fryer to 350 F or 176 C
  • Line basket with tin foil.
    Cook chicken on each side for 4 minutes. (8 minutes total)
  • Turn heat up to 400 or as high as your unit will go.
  • Baste both sides of each thigh with BBQ sauce.
    Continue cooking for one minute.
  • baste top side of thighs and cook for one more minute.
    flip thighs and repeat this step till a nice glaze forms.
  • Be sure chicken is cooked to an internal temperature of 180 F or 82 C

Bell Pepper Summer Slaw

  • Place all chopped veggies into a colander, and add 1/2 tsp each salt and sugar.
  • Mix well and place colander over sink or large bowl to collect excess water. Wait 20 – 30 minutes for water to be extracted from veggies.
  • Combine 'Slaw Dressing" ingredients in a large bowl then add chopped drained veggies and combine.
  • Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 4 days.

BBQ Chicken Wrap

  • Slice BBQ chicken into strips, and place about 3 oz onto a flour tortilla. Top with about 2 oz of slaw. Roll.
  • Toast wraps in air for 2 minutes and serve with a side of BBQ sauce.


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