When we need a chicken dinner on the fly, 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, 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

HOW CAN I TELL WHEN CHICKEN THIGHS ARE DONE WITHOUT A MEAT THERMOMETER?

This recipe for chicken thighs blasts them in a 450ºF oven, which might seem hot. But that’s the price for the incredibly crisp skin that makes this dinner extraordinary. And it makes them cook pretty fast–like 25 minutes fast. Thes best indicator of chicken that’s ready to devour is if the juices run clear when you pierce the meat. Cooked chicken should be firm to the touch with a bit of resistance and spring.

☞ Looking for more chicken thigh recipes? Try these:

A metal sheet pan covered with 8 golden and crisp chicken thighs.

Oven-Roasted Chicken Thighs

4.88 / 8 votes
This oven roasted chicken thighs so ingenious is the technique. Bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs are baked until cooked through and then broiled to crisp the skin. The result? Juicy, flavorful chicken. Marvelously crisp skin.
David Leite
CourseMains
CuisineAmerican
Servings4 servings
Calories704 kcal
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time45 minutes

Ingredients 

  • Eight (6- to 8-ounce) bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • Olive oil
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Instructions 

  • Crank the oven to 450°F (232°C) and adjust the oven racks to the middle and lowest positions. Place a rimmed baking sheet on the lower oven rack.
  • Pat the chicken thighs 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 of each chicken thigh 10 to 12 times. Lightly rub the chicken thighs on all sides with a little oil and season with salt and pepper.
  • 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 baking sheet with the thighs from the oven and heat the broiler. Carefully tip the baking sheet so the rendered chicken fat pours into a small dish. Let it cool and then cover and refrigerate it for another use or toss it in the trash.
  • While the broiler heats, use a thin metal spatula loosen the chicken skin and flip the chicken thighs skin side up. Slide the baking sheet with the chicken thighs onto 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.
  • Arrange the chicken on a platter or plates and let it rest for 5 minutes before tucking into the moistest, crispest chicken thighs ever.

Notes

*What to serve with these Oven Roasted Chicken Thighs

Now that you have the perfect technique for juicy meat and crisp skin, if you’d like to take things a little further in terms of chicken bling, we’re thinking a dribble of barbecue sauce—whether North Carolina ‘cue or Texas-style or spiked with bourbon. Maybe some chimichurri.
What about coating the thighs with a spice rub instead of just salt and pepper? Or shredding the meat and 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, of course, you care to let us know in a comment below.
Cook's Illustrated Meat Book Cookbook

Adapted From

Cook’s Illustrated Meat Book

Buy On Amazon

Nutrition

Serving: 2 thighsCalories: 704 kcalCarbohydrates: 1 gProtein: 52 gFat: 53 gSaturated Fat: 14 gPolyunsaturated Fat: 11 gMonounsaturated Fat: 22 gTrans Fat: 1 gCholesterol: 315 mgSodium: 974 mgPotassium: 659 mgVitamin A: 251 IUCalcium: 26 mgIron: 2 mg

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

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Recipe © 2014 America’s Test Kitchen. Photo © 2014 America’s Test Kitchen. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

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. Seriously, the skin was a perfect deep golden brown with skin that literally cracked when you bit into it. This is genius, it’s like putting the chicken in a hot skillet. No wonder the chicken was so well-browned. 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. Don’t 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.

The timing was spot-on. (I’ll 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.

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.

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.

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!

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!

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 for 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 cleanup. This recipe is 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.

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. Sides can be simple or more elaborate.

This oven-roasted chicken thighs recipe is an easy way to cook the protein. I used olive oil to rub the chicken thighs.

After 20 minutes, the thighs were indeed done. One of the problems I had was that 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.

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.




About David Leite

David Leite has received three James Beard Awards for his writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. His work has 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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20 Comments

  1. Made this last night and husband and I both enjoyed! The bake time did take longer than the recipe (8+min) but we kept checking with the thermometer to ensure right temp. Still juicy and not dry! We did use Sriracha season salt on half the thighs, delicious. Paired with baked cauliflower. Will hang on to this recipe.