Oven Roasted Chicken Thighs (With really crispy skin!)

Chicken and I have been on a bit of a hiatus. Growing up I ate a lot of chicken but now that I make my own dinner decisions I often opt for more decadent meats. Rack of lamb! Skirt steak! Pork chops! and the like are much more exciting options to me than a plain ‘ol chicken breast.

Then, out of the blue I started craving chicken. Maybe it’s all the rich wintery foods I have been eating, but I didn’t want plain rice or steamed vegetables, so I think perhaps I had ignored chicken for long enough. And of course I didn’t want just any chicken. I wanted the bone-in skin-on chicken thighs the way my mom used to make them: juicy in the center with really crispy skin on the tops. Hers take half a day and use an electric skillet, which was out of the question for me, so I started doing a little research on how I could make crispy chicken thighs without the tools or the time.

I had decided that I wanted to use the oven instead of a skillet, but neither baking nor broiling worked on its own.  A solid blast from the broiler took care of the skin, but did little to cook the meat, making the skin char before the meat gets to the right temperature.  Baking the chicken at a high temperature cooked the meat, but did not render the skin fast enough to crisp. If you bake it long enough, the skin will eventually crisp, but you risk overcooking and drying out the meat. The bit of fat that lies right underneath the skin keeps the chicken moist, but also keeps the skin moist, which was the source of my problems.

After a little research, I found a solution: try a bit of both! The crispy skin and fully cooked meat can be achieved by roasting the thighs skin side down on a pre-heated baking sheet to bring the meat up temperature. Then, by flipping them over and giving the tops a brief blast with the broiler, the skin crisps up nicely. The best part? It only takes 30 minutes.

Oven Roasted Chicken Thighs
Technique from Cooks Illustrated Dec 2011

Serves 2

For best results, trim all visible fat from the thighs. Use a heavy-duty baking sheet and fully preheat the oven and baking sheet before adding the chicken.

Ingredients

4 bone-in chicken thighs , trimmed
3/4 teaspoon salt
Pepper
Vegetable oil spray

Instructions

Adjust oven racks to middle and lowest positions, place rimmed baking sheet on lower rack, and heat oven to 450 degrees.

Using the tip of a small knife, poke skin side of chicken thighs 10 to 12 times. (This helps the moistening layer of fat render faster) Season both sides of thighs with salt and pepper; spray skin lightly with vegetable oil spray so that they don’t stick to the baking sheet. Place thighs skin side down on preheated baking sheet. Return baking sheet to bottom rack.

Roast chicken until skin side is beginning to brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove chicken from oven and heat broiler.

While broiler heats, flip chicken skin side up. Broil chicken on middle rack until skin is crisp and well browned, about 5 minutes, rotating pan as needed for even browning. Transfer chicken to platter and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

14 thoughts on “Oven Roasted Chicken Thighs (With really crispy skin!)

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  4. We were tired of Chicken breast, so i said hey lets try thighs. Now i’ve never cooked chicken thighs before so the hunt was on for a suitable recipe. Didn’t want to marinate, and didn’t have time for complicated. So i tried this recipe, i added a few herbs and spices to the meat and it was a hit in my house. Thank you so much for this recipe.

  5. I never leave comments but this turned out so amazing I owed it to Linzertortes to say thank you for making this mom’s life a little easier. With toddlers running around I cannot fry foods and all the so called “oven fried” foods, which can be delicious, that I have attempted do not taste anything like their pan fried version. But this recipe actual does look and taste as if I pan fried the chicken; the skin gets perfectly crispy while the meat remains moist. I only made two small adjustments. I seasoned the raw chicken with salt, pepper, and Johnny’s Garlic Spread & Seasoning (an amazing seasoning I buy from Costco that like butter just makes everything better). I also added freshly made browned butter; the last 5 minutes of cooking skin side down I added a good sized spoon full of the browned butter to each piece of chicken, and I added an additional spoonful to skin side of each piece right before broiling them. I do believe that this recipe would be great as is, but I always enjoy putting a little spin on everything I attempt to make in the kitchen. Give this recipe a try; I promise you will not regret it. It’s so inexpensive, easy, and, most importantly, delicious! It’s definitely a dinner I’ll be asked to make again and again!

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