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This Vietnamese lemongrass chicken recipe uses one of my favorite marinades, making for a tangy, citrusy, minty flavor that is fabulously fresh and light. Cook it up quick in the Air Fryer and dinner will be ready in no time!

lemongrass chicken thighs plated with rice

Lemongrass Chicken Thighs

Whether you are familiar with Vietnamese cuisine or a complete newbie, you’ll love these juicy chicken thighs smothered in a lemongrass chicken marinade. 

Chicken thighs are the best for soaking up all the yummy flavor. Pair it with some veggies, rice noodles, or jasmine rice for a delicious, well-rounded meal.

Why You’ll Love this Air Fryer Chicken Thighs Recipe:

  • Light & Tasty: The flavor of lemongrass pairs so well with chicken, adding a light and lemony touch to your chicken that is so tasty and refreshing!
  • Best Marinade: This lemongrass chicken recipe has the best marinade ingredients. The combo of lemongrass, soy sauce, lime juice, Worcestershire sauce, garlic salt, and lemon pepper is so delicious, that you’ll want to lemongrass everything!
  • Air Fryer Recipe: The convenience of using an air fryer is unmatched. What’s the end result? Crispy and tender chicken that is simply delicious!
Vietnamese lemongrass chicken thighs on a plate
air fryer lemongrass chicken

How to Make Lemongrass Chicken in the Air Fryer

Be sure to see the recipe card below for full ingredients & instructions!

  1. Combine lemongrass marinade ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Pour the marinade in a resealable bag, add the chicken, and let it marinate.
  3. Cook marinated chicken in the Air Fryer, then let it rest.
  4. Plate and serve lemongrass chicken with scallions as a garnish.
how to make lemongrass chicken in an air fryer step by step photo instructions
What is lemongrass?

Lemongrass is a tall herb with a lemony scent produced from the stalk of the lemongrass plant. It has a citrus flavor, similar to a cross between lemon, mint, and ginger.

How do I cook with lemongrass?

Lemongrass can be intimidating if you’ve never used it before. It comes in stalks that are layered, similarly to leeks. In this recipe, I call for lemongrass powder, but you can also use 3 stalks of fresh instead. To prepare it, remove the reedy outer leaves until you reach the tender inner leaves. Then, chop just the white parts (the bottom third of the stalk). You can also often find lemongrass in a tube as a paste. If you use the paste, use 3 tablespoons.

Is lemongrass chicken spicy?

Nope! While lemongrass has a pungent flavor when raw, it mellows out significantly when cooked, and it is not spicy.

What should I do if I can’t find lemongrass?

While lemongrass is often available with the fresh herbs in the produce section of the grocery store, if you’re having trouble finding it, you can try a local Asian grocery store or order the powder online. In a pinch, you can use lemon zest, lime zest, or kaffir lime leaves, but the flavor will not be the same.

Can I bake lemongrass chicken instead of air frying it?

If you don’t have an air fryer available, you can bake your chicken in the oven at 400°F for 30-35 minutes or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165°F and juices run clear.

Recipe Tips and Tricks

For the most part, lemongrass is widely available at most grocery stores in the U.S. and you can usually find it in the refrigerated produce section. 

However, if your grocery store doesn’t happen to sell it, check if they have tubes of fresh lemongrass paste available. If not, they’ll definitely have it at your local Asian market.

Make Ahead Instructions

Be sure to marinate the chicken for 30-60 minutes before you begin cooking!

Storage Instructions

Store leftover lemongrass chicken in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat gently in a 375°F air fryer or 350°F oven for 6-8 minutes, or until 165°F internally.

Freezing Instructions

Freeze lemongrass chicken in an airtight container or Ziplock bag for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

Substitutions

  • Lemongrass Powder: This is one of those ingredients that you will likely have to order online or buy in a health food store. You can also use 3 lemongrass stalks if you have them available instead. Just mince the tender inside leaves of the stalks as small as possible and use them in the marinade instead of the power. Another option is to use about 3 tablespoons of lemongrass paste.
  • Olive Oil: Feel free to use vegetable, canola, or grapeseed oil in the marinade instead.
  • Soy sauce: For a gluten-free alternative, use tamari or coconut aminos.
  • Lime Juice: Lemon juice works as well. You can use either fresh limes or lemons, or juice from concentrate.
  • Chicken Thighs: You can also make this with chicken breasts, but be careful not to overcook them, since they aren’t as forgiving as chicken thighs.

Serving Suggestions

  • Like most chicken, this dish works great with a starchy side, like mashed potatoes, fries, rice, or noodles.
  • You can also add a vegetable side, like a salad, steamed broccoli, creamed corn, etc.
  • To use this lemongrass chicken in other ways, you can shred it (or any leftovers) and add it to a salad, a pasta, a bowl, or any meal that calls for shredded chicken.
  • You can also add sauces and/or spices to this chicken. There are a lot of delicious sauces that this chicken can be dipped into, since it has a rather neutral flavor.
  • You can also add some cayenne pepper or jalapeños to the recipe for some heat.
lemongrass chicken thighs on a plate with white rice

This Air Fryer lemongrass chicken is so crispy, easy, and flavorful. It’s sure to become a new favorite! I hope you enjoy this chicken thighs recipe just as much as my family and I did!

air fryer lemongrass chicken thighs

Lemongrass Chicken Recipe

This air fryer lemongrass chicken recipe uses one of my favorite marinades, giving it a tangy, citrusy, minty flavor that’s fabulously fresh and light. 

Instructions

  • Combine the lemongrass powder, olive oil, soy sauce, lime juice, Worcestershire sauce, garlic salt, and lemon pepper in a small bowl.

    ¼ cup lemongrass powder, ¼ cup olive oil, ¼ cup soy sauce, ¼ cup lime juice, 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, 1 teaspoon garlic salt, 1 teaspoon lemon pepper seasoning

  • Stir until everything is well-mixed and then transfer the sauce to a large Ziplock bag.

  • Add the chicken thighs into the Ziplock bag and then seal the bag, removing as much air as possible.

    4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs

  • Slosh the chicken around in the marinade and then set in the refrigerator to marinate for 30-60 minutes.

  • Preheat the air fryer to 350°F.

  • Once the chicken is done marinating, transfer the chicken skin side down to the air fryer basket and cook in the air fryer for 10 minutes.

  • Flip the chicken over and cook for an additional 7-8 minutes or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165°F.

  • Remove the chicken from the air fryer and let it rest for 5 minutes.

  • Plate and serve the chicken with minced scallions as a garnish, optional.

    Minced scallions

Notes

  • Lemongrass Powder: This is one of those ingredients that you will likely have to order online or buy in a health food store. You can also use 3 lemongrass stalks if you have them available instead. Just mince the tender inside leaves of the stalks as small as possible and use them in the marinade instead of the power. Another option is to use about 3 tablespoons of lemongrass paste.
  • Soy Sauce: For a gluten-free alternative, use tamari or coconut aminos.
  • Feel free to use vegetable, canola, or grapeseed oil in the marinade instead of olive oil.
  • Lemon juice works just as well as lime juice. You can use either fresh limes or lemons, or juice from concentrate. 
  • You can also make this with chicken breasts, but be careful not to overcook them, since they aren’t as forgiving as chicken thighs.
  • Like most chicken, this dish works great with a starchy side, like mashed potatoes, fries, rice, or noodles.
  • You can also add a vegetable side, like a salad, steamed broccoli, creamed corn, etc.
  • To use this lemongrass chicken in other ways, you can shred it (or any leftovers) and add it to a salad, a pasta, a bowl, or any meal that calls for shredded chicken.
  • You can also add sauces and/or spices to this chicken. There are a lot of delicious sauces that this chicken can be dipped into, since it has a rather neutral flavor.
  • You can also add some cayenne pepper or jalapeños to the recipe for some heat.

Storage: Store lemongrass chicken in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Nutrition Facts

Lemongrass Chicken Recipe

Amount Per Serving (1 thigh)

Calories 467
Calories from Fat 342

% Daily Value*

Fat 38g58%

Saturated Fat 8g50%

Trans Fat 0.1g

Polyunsaturated Fat 6g

Monounsaturated Fat 20g

Cholesterol 142mg47%

Sodium 1614mg70%

Potassium 501mg14%

Carbohydrates 7g2%

Fiber 0.3g1%

Sugar 1g1%

Protein 25g50%

Vitamin A 130IU3%

Vitamin C 6mg7%

Calcium 36mg4%

Iron 3mg17%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.



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