Oven-Roasted Chicken Thighs Recipe

Oven-Roasted Chicken Thighs Recipe

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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Recipe Testers Reviews

Recipe Testers Reviews
Testers Choice
Amy Iacopi

Dec 09, 2014

Why would anyone eat chicken breasts again!? These oven-roasted chicken thighs are delectable and quick to make. I smothered the thighs with my own homemade tomato chutney after baking the thighs and before sliding them under the broiler, and 4 minutes later we were wolfing down the moistest chicken with the crispest skin we've ever had. I can't wait to experiment with more chutneys, sauces, and spice rubs. This oven-roasted chicken thighs recipe will easily join the weekly rotation since all the ingredients, aside from the chicken, should be in the pantry.

Testers Choice
Karen Taylor

Dec 09, 2014

A super easy, low-maintenance, ideal weeknight recipe. The minimal use of oil was great for ensuring crisp skin on the chicken while limiting the caloric impact. The skin on my oven-roasted chicken thighs was a bit loose and I was worried that it would stick to the foil after the first 25 minutes, so I cut up half an onion into rings and placed the chicken on top. Worked like a charm—and I had onions cooked in chicken drippings as a bonus. When it was time to flip, I first basted the meat side generously with my favorite BBQ sauce, then broiled the chicken skin-side up. After 25 minutes the chicken thighs registered 196°F, so I probably could have taken them out about 6 to 8 minutes earlier. The chicken thighs I had weren't very large though; with some of the huge chicken thighs that you can get out there, I'm sure it would take the whole 25 minutes. I finished with a little barbecue sauce to glaze the skin during the last minute of broiling. It was perfect. While the chicken was resting, I used the broiler to roast some asparagus spears tossed in olive oil, salt, and pepper, then served both with some rice I had started while the chicken was roasting. Dinner was ready in about 40 minutes, and I even had time to make an apple tart!

Testers Choice
Alexander Cowan

Dec 09, 2014

Perfection. I don't think you can roast chicken thighs much more perfectly than with the technique used in this recipe. Seriously crispy-crackly-caramelized skin and tender-juicy meat that's incredibly flavorful. The layers of flavor and texture were pretty stunning and only took 45 minutes from start to finish. This oven-roasted chicken thighs recipe is perfect for a weeknight meal when you're short on time—or anytime really. Do not be afraid to use a heavy hand when applying salt and pepper; believe me, the chicken can take it. I'd say 1 1/4 teaspoons salt is a minimum. After poking holes in the chicken using a paring knife (I don't own a metal skewer), I put the chicken thighs into a large bowl. Into that I applied the salt, pepper, and a generous pour (about 2 tablespoons) extra-virgin olive oil and mixed everything together with my hands until well coated. This is genius, it's like putting the chicken in a hot skillet. No wonder the chicken was so well-browned. The timing was spot-on. (I will point out, though, that the recipe never mentions which broiler setting to use. Many newer ovens have adjustable broilers so that should be taken into account. For mine I used the "high" setting on my broiler.) I didn't think 5 minutes was quite long enough to brown and crisp the skin so I added another 3 minutes, which was just right. Seriously, the skin was a perfect deep golden brown with skin that literally cracked when you bit into it. One other observation—the chicken juice that renders and surrounds while cooking reduces into this thick rich fond under the broiler. Immediately scrape it up with a spatula before it sticks to your baking sheet. After the scraped-up fond cools a bit and without anyone looking, eat it. It tastes like this crispy piece of chicken candy that you won't want to share. Consider it a reward. I served these amazing oven-roasted chicken thighs on top of a super rich potato puree topped with a slaw of cabbage, green onions, and parsley dressed with chimichurri.

Testers Choice
M.K. Morgan

Dec 09, 2014

So easy. So absolutely logical. So tasty! We prefer the thighs to any other part of the chicken, so this oven-roasted chicken thighs recipe was perfect. It took only a few minutes to prep, and yes, with just olive oil and plain old salt and pepper. The cooking time worked, and the meat turned out cooked but nice and juicy with crisp skin. Simple and perfect with the Butternut Gratin, by the way!

Testers Choice
Gene C.

Dec 09, 2014

Chicken thighs are one of my favorite parts of a chicken, and I prepare them many different ways. This oven-roasted chicken thighs recipe deserves a chance. It's so simple, and the oven does all the work. I used boneless thighs because that's what I had. It's necessary in this preparation to trim the excess fat or the recipe will not produce the desired results. The thighs come out just about the same as if you cooked them on the grill. I smothered them in my own rub, but there are several spice rubs on the site that are very good. I stuck the thighs in the oven at 375°F instead of 450°F because after 15 minutes in the oven, I coated them with some barbecue sauce and let them get juicy. I would recommend putting foil on the pan for easy cleanump. This recipe is a great, especially if you can't grill. It has a lot of room to play if you're an experienced cook and is easy to follow if you're a novice, so you can't go wrong. As written, this is a recipe for a home cook with a home oven. But don't listen to mama, go ahead and play with your food.

Testers Choice
Karen Lynch

Dec 09, 2014

This oven-roasted chicken thighs recipe is easy to slide in the oven, and the thighs come out with crisp skin. I love that the skin is poked and allows the seasoning to seep into the meat. Broiling for the last 5 minutes is a nice touch to ensure the skin gets that nice, crisp finish. The cooking time for thighs is less than roasting a whole chicken. Sides can be simple or more elaborate.

Testers Choice
Jackie G.

Dec 09, 2014

This oven-roasted chicken thighs recipe is an easy way to cook the protein. I used olive oil to rub the chicken thighs. One of the problems I had was that the some of the chicken skin stuck to the sheet pan and ripped when I tried to turn the thighs. I scraped the skin off the baking sheet and laid it over the chicken thighs while they continued to cook. After 20 minutes, the thighs were indeed done. I had used only salt and pepper on my thighs because I wanted to try out just the cooking method, and the chicken was in need of more seasoning. I would like to experiment and use, perhaps, a rub or some curry paste. I cut the meat up and we added it to a tortilla soup that I had made.

  1. Nicole says:

    We dress up chicken thighs often around here. My current favorite is to eat them with a drizzle of Canal House’s cranberry port gelee.

  2. I roast chicken thighs all the time but have never roasted then broiled them so will definitely be trying this method, especially based on all the enthusiastic comments above, but I will still be salting them a little in advance.

    We always eat lingonberries with any kind of roast chicken. I will probably also serve my new obsession—grits mounted with butter and cream.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      Love salting chicken in advance, Victoria. Such a world of difference it makes. Kindly let us know your thoughts after trying this! As for the grits, a worthy obsession, indeed.

  3. Christina says:

    I love chicken thighs–they are just as easy to prep as breasts, but just so much better all around. I love making roasted thighs with a pan sauce–adding some white wine, butter, and chives to the pan drippings. Gets me every time.

    • David Leite says:

      Christina, I prefer them to chicken breast. I used to be a white meat fiend, but The One has taught me to appreciate the flavor and texture of legs and thighs.

  4. sam says:

    finally made this..superb tender chicken and crispy skin…only deterrent to making again is the smoke factor. And there was lots…..I don’t have exhaust…but ty for sharing.

  5. Cynthia says:

    Since chicken thighs now come in six-packs I had four left over from making 40 cloves of garlic chicken and decided to try this method with them. So sad I only four because they were so delicious. I only set the smoke alarm off once but it was more than worth it. Thanks for providing such wonderful recipes. ~Cynthia

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      Cynthia, you’re welcome and thank you for taking the time to let us know how well this recipe worked for you. It’s reactions like yours that are the reason we do what we do. Looking forward to hearing which recipe on the site you try next…

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