Perfect Baked Chicken Thighs
I bet we can all think of a time when experienced the most amazing baked chicken thighs of our lives.
Chicken with crispy, almost brittle golden skin, yet with moist silky meat underneath… And with the kind of rustic herb flavor that feeds our best nostalgic memories. Most likely, we enjoyed this seemingly simple, yet utterly unforgettable, chicken at a restaurant.
Why at a restaurant?
Because most home-cooks feel insecure about cooking meat, especially poultry.
They worry about:
- Touching raw meat and spreading germs.
- Over seasoning or under seasoning meat.
- Soggy skin on bone-in chicken.
- Overcooking meat, then throwing out expensive groceries.
- Yet most of all, they worry about undercooking meat and getting sick. So they tend cook meat until it’s so tough it feels like chewing on wood… Which is the reason for the previous worry.
Take a deep breath; I’m here to help.
Today I’m going to show you how to make the simplest, most tantalizing, restaurant-style chicken thighs that will wipe away your fears and make you feel like Martha Stewart… Or Ina Garten, whichever you prefer.
This Perfect Baked Chicken Thighs Recipe is so ridiculously delicious it’s going to become your new go-to dish for dinner parties, date nights in, and pretty much anytime you’re just craving a good piece of chicken.
Ready to get started?
Baked Chicken Thighs Recipe
Let me address the prior concerns with our list of 6 main ingredients, plus salt and pepper.
- Chicken Thighs – Thighs offer the most robust chicken flavor, yet are extremely forgiving. Since chicken thighs are higher in fat than breasts, you can cook them longer (dare I say overcook them) while retaining a juicy interior texture. That means if you go to take a shower while your chicken is in the oven, and the timer beeps an extra 3-5 minutes, it’s not a big deal.
- Lemon Slices and Fresh Herb Sprigs – Using fresh herbs is a quality control method, that allows you to season the chicken generously, then take some flavor away later. You can always take away a few rosemary sprigs after you cook your chicken. However, if you sprinkle dried herbs over the entire surface of the chicken, and decide it’s too much, you are sort of stuck with it.
- Salt and Pepper – When you are dealing with poultry covered in skin, it’s kind of hard to mess it up. Feel free to sprinkle away!
- Tongs – So you don’t have to touch the chicken.
- Oil And A Very Hot Cast Iron Skillet – And that soggy skin issue? Oh, we are going to take care of that with oil and cast iron.
How To Cook Perfect Chicken Thighs
- Start by preheating the oven to 450 degrees F. The best crispy baked chicken thighs always starts on the stovetop and ends in the oven.
- Set a 12-14 inch cast iron skillet on the stovetop over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil.
- Pat the skin of the chicken thighs dry with paper towels. To get the best color and texture, the skin needs to be very dry and the pan needs to be very hot.
- Sprinkle the chicken thighs with garlic powder, salt, and ground black pepper. Place the thighs in the skillet, skin side down. Sear until the skin in golden-brown.
- Flip the chicken thighs over with tongs and add fresh thyme and rosemary sprigs, and some lemon slices.
- Finally, place the entire skillet in the oven and roast for 15-18 minutes.
See? You can do this!
How Long To Bake Chicken Thighs
I can sense the questions coming… Most having to do with oven temperature.
I’ve heard from many of you over the years that you don’t like to cook at such high oven temperatures, because your oven is old and unreliable, or it heats up your house too much.
You will be happy to know, you can certainly cook this recipe at a lower oven temperature.
Because we’ve crisped the skin on the stovetop, it will stay that way at 350, 400, or 425 degrees F. I just like to get things done in a hurry, when it doesn’t effect the outcome. That’s why I chose to roast my chicken thighs at 450.
How long does it take to cook chicken thighs in the oven?
Anywhere from 15 minutes to 30 minutes, depending on the temperature.
How long do you cook chicken thighs in the oven at 350 degrees?
How long do you roast chicken thighs in the oven at 400 degrees?
How long does it take to bake chicken thighs at 425 degrees?
Chicken Thighs Q&A
Here are some questions found in the comments below! I hope this helps those who posted them and those who have the same questions.
Can you use other fresh herbs in this baked chicken thigh recipe?
Of course, anything you like!
Can you skip the lemon slices?
Of course! Although the balance of flavors in greatly enhanced by the pop of citrus.
Simple, adjustable, elegant, this Perfect Herb Roasted Chicken Thighs is truly the best!
And did I mention it’s healthy? This recipe is paleo, ketogenic, gluten free, and protein-packed.
Serve It With…
- Provencal Style Potato Salad
- Perfect Southern Collard Greens
- Fresh Peach Basil Salad
- Southern Tomato Tart
- Haricot Vert and Baby Potatoes
- Wilted Honey Butter Kale
See The Recipe Card Below For How To Make Perfect Baked Chicken Thighs. Enjoy!
More Chicken Recipes!
- Baked Chicken Drumstick Recipe
- Instant Pot Sweet Soy Chicken Thighs
- Paleo Firecracker Chicken
- Jamaican Jerk Chicken Thighs
- Honey Soy Chicken Thighs from She Wears Many Hats
Perfect Baked Chicken Thighs
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Set a 12- to 14-inch cast iron skillet on the stove top over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil.
- Pat the skin on the chicken thighs dry with paper towels. Sprinkle the thighs with garlic powder. Then sprinkle generously with salt and ground black pepper.
- Once the oil is smoking hot, place the thighs in the skillet, skin side down. Sear for 5-7 minutes until the skin in golden-brown.
- Flip the chicken thighs over and add the fresh herb sprigs and the lemon slices.
- Place the entire skillet in the oven and roast for 15-18 minutes. Serve warm.
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