When we need a chicken dinner on the fly, oven-roasted chicken thighs are what we turn to most. They’re more flavorful than lean breasts, meatier than drumsticks, and, thanks to their uniform size and thickness, less prone to overcooking than either of the above, which eliminates any need for brining or salting. The only catch? The fat underneath the skin that helps keep the meat moist during cooking often leads to flabby skin. We wanted to come up with a quick recipe for thighs sheathed in crackling skin—without sacrificing the succulent, tender meat.–America’s Test Kitchen
LC A Little Chicken Bling Note
So, um, the authors of this oven-roasted chicken thighs recipe—that is, the venerable folks at Cook’s Illustrated—suggest the chicken be served plain. And there’s nothing wrong with that. After all, they’re more flavorful than breasts, meatier than drumsticks, and crisper-skinned yet juicier than perhaps any other thighs you’ve encountered. We should, however, note that they did suggest, as an afterthought, a salsa or chutney on the side. Hmmm. We’d like to take things a little further than that in terms of chicken bling. We’re thinking a dribble of barbecue sauce—whether North Carolina ‘cue or Texas-style or spicy bourbon. Maybe some chimichurri. What about coating the thighs with a spice rub instead of just salt and pepper? Or spooning some pico de gallo on top and passing some homemade tortillas on the side? Some Sriracha, perhaps? The options are, quite literally, almost endless. What you decide to do is your business…unless you care to let us know in a comment below.
Oven-Roasted Chicken Thighs Recipe
- Quick Glance
- 5 M
- 45 M
- Serves 4
- 8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (6 to 8 ounces each)
- 1 1/4 teaspoons sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Mild olive oil
- 1. Adjust the oven racks to the middle and lowest positions and heat the oven to 450°F (232°C). Place a rimmed baking sheet on the lower oven rack.
- 2. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. For best results, trim all visible fat from the thighs. Using the tip of a paring knife or a metal skewer, poke the skin side of the chicken thighs 10 to 12 times. Lightly rub the chicken thighs on all sides with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
- 3. Place the chicken thighs, skin side down, on the preheated baking sheet. Return the sheet to the lower rack. Roast the chicken thighs until the skin begins to brown and the meat registers 160°F (71°C), 20 to 25 minutes, rotating the sheet once halfway through cooking. Remove the chicken from the oven and heat the broiler. Carefully pour the rendered chicken fat from the baking sheet into a small dish. Let it cool and then cover and refrigerate it for another use or toss it in the trash.
- 4. While the broiler heats, flip the chicken skin side up. Broil the chicken on the upper rack until the skin is crisp and well browned and the meat registers 175°F (79°C), 3 to 5 minutes, rotating the sheet as needed for even browning. Transfer the chicken to a platter or individual plates and let rest for 5 minutes before tucking into the moistest, crispest chicken thighs ever.
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Oven-Roasted Chicken Thighs Recipe © 2014 America’s Test Kitchen. Photo © 2014 Carl Tremblay. All rights reserved.
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