Best Crispy Baked Chicken Thighs

best-crispy-baked-chicken-thighs

In this post, we are chatting all things chicken thigh recipes. We’ll share how to make chicken thighs in a variety of different methods, teach you how to make our signature baked crispy chicken thighs, plus we’re rounding up all of the best chicken thigh recipes on Fit Foodie Finds.

Cutting through a chicken thigh on a plate.

Best Chicken Thigh Recipe!

We’re big chicken thigh fans over here on Fit Foodie Finds. Not only is this cut of chicken super flavorful, but it’s also super versatile and can be prepared in so many delicious ways.

Our Creamy Tuscan Chicken and Gnocchi is a reader favorite and Sheet Pan Chicken Thighs and Veggies are perfect any night of the week.

This particular chicken thigh recipe is basic in the cooking method, yet elevated when it comes to the outcome. Let’s get started with making crispy on the outside, ender on the inside baked chicken thighs!

chicken thighs nutrition

Chicken thighs sometimes have a bad rap because instead of being ultra-lean like chicken breast, they are dark meat with a bit more fat (and flavor) on them. Per 4-oz. bone-in chicken thigh:

  • 270 calories
  • 18g fat
  • 0g carbs
  • 0g fiber
  • 0g sugar
  • 18g protein

Chicken Thighs vs. Chicken Breasts

Both chicken thighs and breasts are great sources of lean protein, but they differ in both the type of meat and the location in which it comes from in the chicken itself.

Chicken thighs come from the thigh of the chicken and are a dark cut of poultry. Because of this, it is a fattier cut of meat but still packs great protein. For a 3.5 oz. chicken thigh: 209 calories.

Chicken breasts come from the breast of the chicken and are a white cut of meat. Because white meat is leaner than dark meat, you’ll find that chicken breasts have less fat and calories than the same size chicken thigh. For a 3.5 oz. chicken breast: 165 calories.

Removing moisture from the chicken thighs with a paper towel.

What You Need

These crispy baked chicken thighs come together in a shortlist of easy ingredients:

Chicken Thighs: For this recipe, we’re using bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs. Why? Skin-on chicken thighs will crisp nicely when cooked due to the higher fat skin that is still intact.

Garlic Powder: Garlic powder gives these chicken thighs a delicious garlicky flavor that complements nicely with the honey.

Honey: We love a little sweetener with chicken! Honey not only provides great flavor, but also helps the chicken skin crisp up when baked.

Olive Oil: Oiling the chicken thighs nicely helps them stay juicy when baking.

Salt & Pepper: A classic seasoning! Salt and pepper complement the garlic powder in this recipe.

Recommended Kitchen Tools

Check out our recommended kitchen tools for whipping up your favorite chicken thigh recipes!

Raw chicken thighs with seasonings.

How to Cook Chicken Thighs in the Oven – Step by Step

Preheat & Season

Preheat the oven to 400ºF and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place a metal cooling rack on top of the aluminum foil. This will allow the chicken thighs to drain excess fat, and crisp to perfection.

Add the granulated garlic, salt, and pepper into a small bowl, and set aside. 

Trim Chicken Thighs

Next, prep chicken thighs by using kitchen shears to trim any excess skin. Next, draw out moisture from the chicken thighs by patting them with a paper towel. Having dry chicken will allow the thighs to fully absorb the dry rub ingredients.

Sprinkle the spices on the chicken thighs and use your hands to massage the spices into the chicken. Be sure the chicken thighs are covered with spices, and then let the chicken sit for 10-15 minutes in the dry rub. 

Drizzle & Bake

Place the chicken thighs on top of the metal rack. 

In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil and honey together and drizzle the mixture over the chicken thighs. 

Then place the chicken in the oven and bake the chicken thighs for 30-35 minutes or until they reach 160ºF. When you allow the chicken thighs to rest after baking, the internal temperature will continue to rise to a safe 165ºF.

How long to bake chicken thighs?

Bake chicken thighs at 400ºF for around 30 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165ºF. Bake time varies based on the size of your thighs.

meat thermometer

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Let Rest & Enjoy

Remove the chicken from the oven, and let rest for at least 5 minutes. Serve with your favorite sides (we share some of our favorite serving suggestions below!), and ENJOY!

#1 tip for Crispy baked chicken thighs!

There are lots of baked chicken thigh recipes on the internet, but not all of them use this VERY important step to get ultra-crispy, super tender chicken thighs.

A wire rack

A wire rack you ask? Do not skip this part. I repeat, do not skip this part! A wire rack is going to help crisp up your chicken thighs on all sides. Because chicken thighs are dark meat, they carry more fat and juices. By using a wire rack, you lift the chicken thighs up so they don’t bake in those juices resulting in a crispy, yet still juicy chicken thigh.

Chicken thighs on a baking sheet with seasonings.

Does this recipe work with boneless skinless chicken thighs?

This recipe absolutely works with boneless skinless chicken thighs. We recommend reducing the bake time to around 20-30 minutes depending on the size of the chicken thigh.

Can I Make this Recipe with Chicken Breasts?

If you’re looking to use chicken breasts, we recommend making this Slow Cooker Honey Garlic Chicken instead as this recipe is timed and seasoned specifically for chicken thighs.

More Ways to Cook Chicken Thighs

There are many ways to cook chicken thighs! And the great news? We have recipes for each method of cooking here on Fit Foodie Finds!

chicken thigh size matters!

Chicken thighs can vary greatly in size and thickness. The goal is to get the internal temperature of the chicken to be 165ºF. So, if you have larger thighs, you may need to cook a bit longer to reach a safe temperature.

Serving Suggestions

Make your crispy chicken thighs a complete meal by serving it with a grain and your favorite veggie. Here are some ideas:

Fried Rice: Whip up our Instant Pot Fried Rice for a veggie-packed side.

Coconut Rice: Coconut rice is sweet and sticky and would be a perfect grain for this chicken.

Quinoa: Keep things basic with Instant Pot Quinoa so that you get all the flavors from the honey garlic chicken!

Veggies: Serve these crispy chicken thighs next to your favorite steamed or sautéed veggies such as broccoli, green beans, peppers, onions, etc.

Pouring oil on top of chicken thighs.

Storage

Let the chicken thighs cool completely. Then, store crispy chicken thighs in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-5 days.

Freezer Instructions

After Cooked: Let crispy chicken thighs cool completely. Then, transfer them to a freezer-safe gallon-size bag and remove as much air as possible. Seal and freeze for up to 3 months.

Before Cooked: Place all raw ingredients into a freezer-safe gallon-size bag. Remove as much air as possible and seal. Freeze for up to 3 months.

When you are ready for cooking, allow the frozen chicken thighs to thaw fully before baking.

Baked chicken thighs on a plate.

Q&A

How do you make chicken skin crispy?

To make your chicken skin crispy, make sure to bake it on a wire rack so that all of the fat drippings drop off the chicken and the skin gets extra crispy!

Can chicken thighs be a little pink?

The best way to know if your chicken is fully cooked on the inside is to use a meat thermometer. The internal temperature of chicken must be at least 165ºF to be safely consumed. (source: USDA)

Why are chicken thighs bad?

Chicken thighs are thought to be bad because they are “dark meat.” Dark meat has more fat than white meat, but they’re also more tender and flavorful.

Why are chicken thighs so cheap?

Chicken thighs are so cheap because they are dark meat. Dark meat tends to be cheaper than white meat because of the higher fat content.

What is better bone-in or boneless chicken thighs?

It all comes down to preference. We’ve found that bone-in thighs are more juicy, but boneless thighs cook more evenly.

Chicken thighs on a plate.

Crispy Oven Baked Chicken Thighs

Looking for chicken thigh recipes? Our crispy baked chicken thighs have perfect golden brown skin and the juiciest inside.  It’s truly the best chicken thigh recipe and you can’t go wrong with this meal any day of the week. 

Prep: 20 minutesCook: 35 minutesTotal: 55 minutes

Fat 37 Carbs 5 Protein 30

Yield 4 1x

Ingredients

  • 1.5lb. – 2 lbs. bone-in and skin-on chicken thighs (~4 large chicken thighs)
  • 1.5 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place a metal cooling rack on top of the aluminum foil.  
  2. Add the granulated garlic, salt, and pepper into a small bowl. Set aside. 
  3. Next, prep chicken thighs by using kitchen shears to trim any excess skin. Next, draw out moisture from the chicken thighs by patting them with a paper towel. 
  4. Sprinkle the spices on the chicken thighs and use your hands to massage the spices into the chicken. Be sure the chicken thighs are covered with spices. Let the chicken sit for 10-15 minutes in the dry rub. 
  5. Place the chicken thighs on top of the metal rack. 
  6. In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil and honey together and drizzle the mixture over the chicken thighs. 
  7. Place the chicken in the oven and bake the chicken thighs for 30-35 minutes or until they reach 160ºF. 
  8. Remove the chicken from the oven and let the chicken rest for at least 5 minutes. 

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 1/4 Calories: 455 Sugar: 4 Fat: 37 Carbohydrates: 5 Fiber: 0 Protein: 30

Author: Linley RichterCategory: DinnerMethod: OvenCuisine: AmericanDiet: Gluten Free

Keywords: baked chicken thighs, chicken thigh recipes

Best Chicken Thigh Recipes

We really do have some of the BEST chicken thigh recipes on the internet. Everything from sous vide chicken thighs, to Instant Pot chicken thighs to one pot meals with chicken thighs. Check out some of our faves:

Instant Pot Chicken Thighs with Sticky Honey Garlic Sauce

Ready for the most delicious Instant Pot Chicken Thighs recipe on the internet? Say hello to these sticky, sweet Instant Pot Honey Garlic Chicken Thighs.

Chicken thighs in a bowl with sesame seeds on top.

Best Grilled Chicken Thighs

These are the best grilled chicken thighs because the skin gets nice and crispy on the outside while the inside is tender and juicy.

Chicken thighs on plate

Skillet Chicken and Potatoes

This Skillet Chicken and Potatoes is the perfect easy weeknight meal! With savory fall veggies and deliciously seasoned chicken thighs, this recipe will quickly become a staple in your kitchen!

skillet chicken and potatoes in a cast iron skillet

Sheet Pan Chicken and Veggies

This sheet pan chicken and veggie dinner is an easy dinner that anyone can make. You throw sweet potatoes, cauliflower, and chicken thighs on a baking sheet, season them all and bake them to perfection!

Chicken, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, onion, and garlic on a baking sheet.

Roasted Balsamic Chicken Pasta

This roasted balsamic chicken pasta is flavorful, packed with veggies, and ready in under an hour! Make it this perfect weeknight dinner for the family!

Balsamic roasted chicken pasta on a plate

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