Sometimes, I don’t have the energy to make dinner. Especially after spending the day standing over a stove working on recipes. Going to a restaurant is usually out of the question for two reasons: 1.) We live in a culinary wasteland here in northwestern Connecticut, and 2.) Everything is so expensive.

Cue these breaded oven-fried chicken thighs. They’re extremely easy to make. The recipe calls for just six ingredients you’re sure to have on hand, requires only 5 minutes of hands-on time, and is on the table 30 minutes later.

And the taste? Simple and simply fantastic. The thighs have a marvelous crunch with a lemony-pepper flavor.

I often zhuzh these up with dried herbs such as thyme or rosemary, cheese like parmesan, or even Doritos or potato chips instead of breadcrumbs. I mean, come on! How cool is that?

david caricature

Why Our Testers Loved This

The testers were delighted that this oven-fried chicken recipe was so quick and easy to make with simple pantry staples, yet it was incredibly flavorful. Patty Fabian was delighted that it made “moist and tender chicken with a golden brown crust.”

Recipe Ingredients

Bowls with chicken thighs, oil, bread crumbs, flour, eggs, and a lemon.
  • Bread crumbs–I like to use a 50/50 mix of panko and regular, finer-textured bread crumbs. It assures a truly crispy bite. You can use homemade or store-bought dried bread crumbs for this recipe. Don’t use fresh bread crumbs, though, as they won’t get crispy. If you use unseasoned bread crumbs, add a pinch of salt to the bread crumbs before coating the chicken.
  • Chicken thighs–Boneless, skinless chicken thighs work best for this recipe. You can make it with chicken breasts, or bone-in chicken, however, the cooking time will be longer.

How to Make Oven Fried Chicken Thighs

A wire rack on a parchment lined baking sheet; plates and bowls set up for a breading station.
  1. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set a wire rack inside.
  2. Mix the flour and salt in a plate. Whisk the eggs in a bowl and dump the bread crumbs on a second plate. Coat each chicken thigh first in the flour, then dip in the egg, and, finally, coat with the bread crumbs.
Five uncooked breaded chicken thighs on a rack on a parchment-lined baking sheet; five cooked breaded chicken thighs on a rack on a baking sheet.
  1. Arrange the chicken thighs on the rack and drizzle with olive oil.
  2. Bake in a 350°F oven, turning the thighs once, until crisped, golden, and cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F.
Three breaded chicken thighs on a plate with slices of roasted lemon.

Common Questions

Can you bread chicken with skin on?

You can, but I think this recipe is better using skinless chicken thighs. The reason is the skin won’t have enough time in the oven to crisp up. Save skin-on chicken thighs for when they can be seared in a sizzling-hot skillet and have a chance to turn crazy crisp, like in this crispy chicken with lemon and capers dish.

How can I zhuzh up these baked breaded chicken thighs?

If you want to glam up your chicken thighs with a little more bling (or simply need to adapt them to whatever you happen to have on hand!), you can easily add a generous pinch of dried or fresh herbs–rosemary thyme, marjoram, you name it. A good sprinkle of garlic powder, onion powder, and freshly ground pepper work wonders. A handful of finely grated Parmesan is marvelous.

No bread crumbs? No worries. Instead, crush some Doritos, potato or tortilla chips into fine crumbs or simply use the crumbs lurking at the bottom of your bag of chips. If you have some of those trendy gluten-free Inca-style corn nuts, you can crush them into a powder and they’ll work just dandy, too.

Can I make this with chicken breasts?

Yes. You can make this with whole boneless chicken breast or smaller chicken cutlets. If using whole boneless breasts, you’ll need to increase the cooking time to cook the chicken to an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C).

Is it better to fry or bake chicken thighs?

This is a matter of personal preference, of course. Fried chicken thighs are wicked flavorful and juicy but can be messy to make, while oven-baked thighs are easier to cook, contain less fat, and require little cleanup. Both have their place in your cooking repertoire. I make baked chicken thighs when I’m rushing to get dinner on the table, and I pull out my favorite fried chicken recipes when I have the luxury of time (and The One volunteers for cleanup duty).

Why areN’t my chicken thighs crispy?

There are a few possible reasons:

1. You’re using fresh bread crumbs. Soft, fresh bread crumbs will be soggy.

2. Your oven may be running cool. Double check the oven temperature by using an oven thermometer. If your oven temp is too low, the bread crumbs won’t crisp up during cooking.

3. You’re not using enough oil. Give those thighs a good drizzle before popping them in the oven. If you want an even coating of oil, consider using cooking spray or pick up an inexpensive non-aerosol oil sprayer. I use mine all the time.

What flour is best for fried chicken?

Generally, all-purpose flour works best for making fried chicken. If you’re making traditional fried chicken, you can add some cornstarch to the flour, which helps the coating stick better and turns out crisper chicken.

Should I brine my chicken thighs?

You can, but for this recipe, it’s not necessary. These chicken thighs cook quickly, so there is little risk of them drying out.

Helpful Tips

  • To check the internal temperature of the chicken thighs, insert the thermometer into the side of the thigh, parallel to the cooking rack.
  • To make gluten-free oven-fried chicken thighs, use gluten-free all-purpose flour and gluten-free bread crumbs.

Variations

  • Add 1/2 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese to the breading.
  • For an herby take, add two tablespoons of minced fresh parsley, rosemary, thyme, or sage to the crumb coating.

Storage & Reheating Instructions

Store leftover chicken thighs in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat in a 300°F oven or air fryer until warmed through and the bread-crumb coating is crisped.

What to Serve with This Recipe

You can turn this into a comfort meal by serving it with classic sides, such as creamy mashed potatoes, potato gratin, tangy coleslaw, or stovetop mac and cheese. Or you can glam up the meal and serve it with an elegant salad, like this roasted beet and feta number.

Three breaded chicken thighs on a plate with slices of roasted lemon.

More Great Boneless Chicken Thigh Recipes

Write a Review

If you make this recipe, or any dish on LC, consider leaving a review, a star rating, and your best photo in the comments below. I love hearing from you.–David

It’s always great to come across a “no frills” chicken recipe that delivers. With no time or effort invested, you can have a delicious dinner on the table in less than an hour.

Sadie
Three breaded chicken thighs on a plate with slices of roasted lemon.

Breaded Oven Fried Chicken Thighs

4.53 / 17 votes
These breaded oven fried chicken thighs come together quickly with just a handful of pantry ingredients. They have all the crispy goodness of fried chicken, without the mess and hassle of deep frying.
David Leite
CourseMains
CuisineAmerican
Servings4 servings
Calories493 kcal
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time25 minutes
Total Time35 minutes

Ingredients 

  • 2 3/4 ounces (heaping 1/2 cup) all-purpose flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup plain or seasoned bread crumbs, (or a 50/50 mix of panko and bread crumbs), plus more if needed
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, fat trimmed
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Lemon wedges, to serve

Instructions 

  • Crank the oven to 350°F (176°C).
  • Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Set a rack inside.
    A wire rack set on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  • Combine the flour and salt in a shallow plate. Whisk the eggs in a medium bowl. Scatter the bread crumbs on a second plate.

    ☞ TESTER TIP: If you’re using unseasoned bread crumbs, add an extra pinch of salt to the flour mixture.

    Bowls of flour, breadcrumbs, and beaten egg set up for a breading station.
  • Season each piece of chicken with salt and pepper and then dip it first in the flour, shaking off any excess, then in the egg wash (allowing any excess egg to drip off), and then coat the thighs on both sides with the breadcrumbs and place on the lined baking sheet. Add extra bread crumbs to the plate, if needed.
    Bowls of flour, breadcrumbs, and beaten egg set up for a breading station with some chicken thighs being coated.
  • Drizzle the coated thighs with olive oil, turning to coat both sides as evenly as possible.
    Five uncooked breaded chicken thighs on a wire rack on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  • Bake for 10 minutes. Turn and bake until the bread crumbs are golden and crisp and the chicken is cooked through with an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C), 10 to 15 minutes more.

    ☞ TESTER TIP: If you're using a thermometer to check the temperature of the chicken, hold it parallel to the baking sheet and insert it through the side and into the center of the thigh. Do not try to do this while the baking sheet is still in the oven! Take it out and check it on the stove.

    Five cooked breaded chicken thighs on a wire rack on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  • Serve the chicken thighs immediately with lemon wedges on the side for squeezing.

Notes

  1.  Make it gluten-free–To make gluten-free oven-fried chicken thighs, use gluten-free all-purpose flour and gluten-free bread crumbs.
  2.  Storage–Store leftover chicken thighs in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
  3.  Reheating–Reheat in a 300°F oven or air fryer until warmed through and the bread-crumb coating is crisped.
The Plan Buy Cook Book

Adapted From

The Plan Buy Cook Book

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Nutrition

Serving: 1 portionCalories: 493 kcalCarbohydrates: 28 gProtein: 40 gFat: 24 gSaturated Fat: 5 gMonounsaturated Fat: 13 gTrans Fat: 0.04 gCholesterol: 255 mgSodium: 307 mgFiber: 2 gSugar: 2 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2020 Jen Petrovic. Photos © 2024 David Leite. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

Four breaded oven fried chicken thighs on a red plate.

This crispy breaded chicken thigh recipe is the perfect quick, easy, and delicious dinner. It has simple ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry.

The only prep work for the chicken thighs is opening the package. It takes no more than 10 minutes to prepare this dish and then only 20 minutes to bake it. The result renders delicious and juicy breaded oven-fried chicken thighs.

Although I did use thighs, I am sure this would be fantastic with breasts, too. I will do a combination the next time I make it.

I used seasoned bread crumbs on some of the thighs and plain on the others as I wanted to compare the two. I preferred the seasoned over the plain, but my husband preferred the plain. Bottom line: They’re both great, and it is just a matter of personal preference.

This easy recipe for breaded and oven-fried chicken thighs did produce very moist and tender chicken with a golden crispy crust. And we loved the fresh squeeze of lemon when serving!

The bread crumbs adhered to the chicken with no problems. I didn’t lose any bread crumbs as I drizzled both sides of the chicken with olive oil.

As instructed, I flipped the chicken after 10 minutes in the oven, and it took 15 minutes on the second side for the chicken to develop its golden crust, a total of 25 minutes. The drizzle of olive oil did create an even, crispy coating on the chicken.

This was a very quick and easy recipe to make! These lemon-spritzed oven-fried thighs were served with roasted zucchini, since I had the oven on already, and steamed fresh broccoli.

This is a great recipe to keep in your back pocket for those days when you don’t know what to make for dinner and have very little time to do so. It takes about 15 minutes of prep time and then, depending on the size of your breaded chicken pieces and your particular oven, the dish will be fully cooked with a nice, crispy coating in 20 to 25 minutes. The fresh lemon juice adds a nice touch to the dish at the end.

I kept it simple and served the dish with pan-fried green beans and French fries.

The recipe was easy to make—not time-consuming—and resulted in moist and simple breaded oven-fried chicken thighs.

I used seasoned bread crumbs with Parmesan.




About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.


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Recipe Rating




21 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    One of my favorite go to chicken recipe. Very tasty. I make it as is and it’s always perfect. Husband loves it!

  2. 5 stars
    It’s always great to come across a “no frills” recipe that delivers. With no time or effort invested you can have a delicious dinner on the table in less than an hour. I used skin-on chicken drumsticks and seasoned them with a dry rub a few hours ahead. They were perfectly crisp and moist in 25 minutes.

    1. Wonderful, Sadie! We’re delighted that it turned out so well. Please let us know what you try next.

  3. 4 stars
    Great method for preparing boneless skinless thighs! I added a bit of smoked paprika and celery salt to the breadcrumbs for some extra flavour. This was easy and I was so pleased with how crispy these turned out – I may never pan-fry chicken again!