Gribenes ~ Roast Chicken Skin

Gribenes, salty and perfectly-crisp roast chicken skin, are an important part of Jewish cuisine and they’re incredibly delish little morsels to boot.

An old roasting pan filled with cooked nuggets of chicken skin

Mmmm. Roast chicken skin. If you’re wondering what relevance this has to you and your life, just think a second. We all know the best part of a properly roast hen is the crisp, crackling, lightly salted, perfectly burnished chicken skin that you just can’t resist snitching and nibbling before sitting down at the table. Except sadly, there never seems to be quite enough to satiate. We know this. You know this. And, thankfully, the authors of this recipe know this.–Renee Schettler

What are gribenes?

Think, for a moment, about the crisp, deep-fried pork skins called chicharrones in Spanish. Consider these roast chicken skins to be chicken chicharrones—or, if you will, an oven riff on gribenes in Yiddish. While gribenes are usually a happy by-product of making schmaltz, or rendered chicken fat—hands-down the loveliest by-product we’ve ever experienced—this recipe celebrates the skin for its own sake. Sprinkle them on salads. Incorporate them into deviled eggs. Or simply nibble them at will.

Gribenes | Roast Chicken Skin

  • Quick Glance
  • (8)
  • 5 M
  • 1 H, 15 M
  • Serves 4
5/5 - 8 reviews
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Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C).

Toss the thyme sprigs in a roasting pan and plop the chicken skins on top. Add the chicken stock, and roast, uncovered, until the skins are nearly crisp, 30 to 40 minutes, stirring or flipping the chicken skins every 10 minutes.

Drain the fat, called schmaltz, and save. It’s great to cook with.

Return the pan to the oven until the chicken skins are crisp, 12 to 20 minutes more. (Note, the chicken skins will be more like the crisp skin on a roast chicken than the puffed skin of pork rinds.) Lavish with salt to taste. Originally published September 16, 2014.

Print RecipeBuy the Pitt Cue Co.: The Cookbook cookbook

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Recipe Testers' Reviews

Who among us doesn't LOVE crisp chicken skin? I say to those who reply in the negative, GREAT! MORE FOR ME! This simple gribenes recipe will have you knocking on the back doors of butcher shops and slipping away with chicken skin by the pound. It's so obvious and yet overlooked.

I preheated the oven to 350°F, tossed a nice bunch of fresh thyme in a preheated cast-iron skillet, added the chicken skin in a single layer, and returned the skillet to the oven. I jostled the skillet every 10 minutes or so to make certain the skins weren't sticking. I think preheating the cast iron assured me that this wouldn't occur. After 40 minutes, the skins were nearly done and almost crisp enough. I drained the fat and slid the skillet back in for an additional 10 minutes.

A bit of sea salt and cracked pepper and we had reached chicken NIRVANA. These were so good that, henceforth, I'll make them on a couple large, rimmed, baking sheets. (Gotta be rimmed. Don't want to lose that chicken fat and smoke up the kitchen.)

These crispy gribenes are AMAZING on deviled eggs and are sure to make any salad shine. The next plan for these wonderful treats is to add them to chicken salad. A simple word of caution: have the dish you are using these with at the ready, or trust me, they will disappear before they reach their destination.

I don't know where to start. Did I ever think I would see a recipe for gribenes on a food blog? And frankly, would anyone really be interested in this traditional treat that replaced bacon in many Jewish households? Nothing is wasted, for certain, including the rendered fat/schmaltz that historically was used as Jewish "mayo" on a great slice of corn rye or pumpernickel bread.

The instructions were very clear, and using the oven as the vehicle for browning/rendering was sure better than the fat spatter over my stove top. My go-to method had always been the trusty cast iron but this worked beautifully.

These delicious crispy bits don't hang around too long. And they are super spiffy with the addition of thyme. Great on a sandwich or salad, and certainly good on a Paleo diet, they are always a treat.


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  1. YUM! I also save the hunks of skin left over when recipes call for thighs to be trimmed.
    Question: Do you drain off the Liquid Gold after 30 minutes (per step 1) or after 40 minutes (per step 2)?

    1. Great suggestion on using those thigh trimmings, Karen! Thanks for catching that in the recipe. You should drain the fat when the skin is nearly crisp, which should take 30 to 40 minutes. I have updated the recipe to make that a bit clearer.

    1. Ann, ah, I see your point. The fat is drained off the gribenes but not discarded. Schmaltz is worth its weight in platinum! I’ve changed the recipe to be clearer.

  2. I grew up in a multi-generational Jewish household where my nana’s gribenes were the happy by-product of her schmaltz-making every Friday. To enjoy a gribene sandwich on Jewish deli rye or pumpernickel spread with schmaltz is to be transported to a time before concerns about cholesterol. The taste memory still lingers. I haven’t tried this recipe, you’ve reminded me of how to make it the old-fashioned way.

    1. Roni, we ALWAYS appreciate being voyeurs into someone else’s taste memories. Thank you so much for sharing your story and for permitting us to tag along with you to yesteryear. We just may have to make ourselves a gribenes sandwich with schmaltz…

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