Oven Baked Chicken Thighs Recipe

These flavor exploding Crispy Baked Chicken Thighs will become a beloved dinnertime staple your family will request again and again!  The skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs trap in the juiciness of the rich, succulent meat (without a marinade!), while the skin crisps to a beautiful paprika, garlic, onion infused crust. This recipe takes just minutes of prep with a sprinkling of pantry friendly seasonings with only one pan to wash and is prep ahead friendly!

top view of serving baked chicken thighs on a platter garnished by parsley


 

Watch How to Make oven baked chicken thighs

  • QUICK AND EASY: Whisk seasonings together, pat onto chicken and bake!
  • CRISPY: A drizzle of olive oil, a pinch of baking powder and a baking rack help create a crispy crust of flavor.
  • JUICY: Bone-in-chicken thighs, insulated by skin, are the juiciest chicken around when cooked perfectly (thanks to my tips)!
  • FLAVORFUL: The baked chicken thighs are stand-alone scrumptious!
  • PANTRY FRIENDLY.  Stock chicken thighs in your freezer to whip this recipe up at a moment’s notice!
baked chicken thighs recipe on a baking sheet showing how crispy it is
  • Chicken: Bone-in chicken thighs are ideal for this recipe because they are deeply flavorful, juicy, difficult to overcook and the bone keeps them extra tender.  The skin traps in the moisture and provides excellent grip for the seasonings to stick to and bakes up crispy!
  • Olive oil: Just a drizzle helps insulate the chicken, crisp up the skin and “glue” the seasonings in place.
  • Baking powder: This magic ingredient aids in moisture absorption and promotes browning and crispiness.  I promise you won’t be able to taste it!
  • Brown sugar: The hint of sweetness balances the robust seasonings.
  • Seasonings: A blend of paprika, garlic powder, chili powder, onion powder, dried oregano, dried basil, dried thyme, salt and pepper create a crust of aromatic, earthy, herbaceous YUM!
showing baked chicken thighs ingredients by adding spices to a bowl
  • Paprika substitute: substitute with smoked paprika for a smokier, more Cajun flavoring.
  • Chili powder: may be omitted completely, swapped with ancho chili powder, ½ teaspoon chipotle chili pepper or a pinch of cayenne.
  • Dried oregano substitute: substitute with an equal amount of dried rosemary (slightly crush by hand).
  • Add ground coriander: it’s mild, slightly sweet, with hints of citrus.
  • Add ground mustard: for pungent, slightly spicy, tangy notes.
  • Add heat: Add cayenne pepper or chipotle chili pepper.
  • Use your favorite spice mix: Choose from any store-bought or homemade spice mix such as blackening seasoning, Cajun, Italian, Tex-Mex, Montreal, etc.
top view of serving baked chicken thighs bone in on a plate with mashed potatoes and salad
  • 1. Prep pan:  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil for easy cleanup. Top a baking sheet with baking rack and lightly spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  • 2. Bring to room temperature:  Remove the chicken thighs from their packaging and squeeze them dry with paper towels. Arrange the chicken thighs on prepared baking sheet and let them rest for 20 minutes to come to room temperature.
showing how to bake chicken thighs by adding chicken to a baking rack placed on a baking sheet
  • 3. Make spice rub: Meanwhile, mix the seasonings together in a medium bowl.
showing how to bake chicken thighs by whisking all of the seasonings together in a bowl to create a chicken rub
  • 4. Add olive oil:  After 20 minutes, drizzle chicken thighs lightly with olive oil, then rub the oil all over of each thigh (top and bottom).
  • 5. Add rub:  Sprinkle half of the rub over the chicken and pat in (don’t rub or it will clump).  Flip the chicken so it’s skin-side up, sprinkle with remaining spice rub and pat in.   
showing how to bake chicken thighs by adding the spice rub to both sides of the chicken
  • 6. Bake chicken:  Roast chicken thighs without flipping until cooked through and the skin is crispy.
showing how to make crispy oven baked chicken thighs by baking until the skin is crispy in the oven
  • Use uniform chicken. Try and select evenly sized chicken thighs so they finish cooking at the same time.
  • Don’t rinse the chicken. The FDA cautions against rinsing chicken as this can spread bacterial. Additionally, this will water log the skin so it won’t become crispy.
  • Pat the chicken dry. Pick up each chicken thigh and squeeze it in between paper towels to remove all excess moisture. The drier the skin, the crispier the chicken!
  • Let the chicken come to room temperature. Room temperature protein is juicier and cooks more evenly because it takes less time to cook, so less moisture is released while cooking.  It also relaxes the cold muscle fibers so they release natural moisture while resting, which is then reabsorbed into the muscle for juicier results (otherwise the moisture stays trapped in the fibers).
  • Roast on a rack. This allows circulation around the chicken for even browning and dries out the skin for that coveted crispy crust.
  • Pat the spices in. Avoid rubbing the seasoning because this causes clumps, and unevenly seasoned areas. Instead, pat the spices so they stick to the chicken.
  • Use a meat thermometer. Always use a meat thermometer to check for doneness so you don’t undercook or overcook your chicken.  A meat thermometer means perfectly cooked, tender, juicy chicken ever time! This one is my fav.
  • Check individual temperatures. If the chicken thighs are different sizes, check the smaller thighs for doneness first. You may need to remove the thighs from the oven at different times.
showing how to serve oven chicken thighs by adding to a plate and garnishing with parsley

Baked Bone In Chicken Thighs FAQs

Should chicken thighs be baked skin side up or down?

Chicken thighs should always be baked skin-side-up. This allows the moisture in the skin to evaporate so it becomes brown and crispy. Additionally, cooking skin-side-up helps protect the meat from drying out as the fat from the skin bastes the chicken as it melts, keeping it extra moist.

Should I bake chicken thighs on top or bottom rack?

Chicken thighs should be baked in the middle rack of the oven. This allows for even cooking and browning of the chicken. Once the chicken is cooked, you can broil the chicken without moving the rack, for even crispier skin.

How do you not overcook chicken thighs?

I highly recommend investing in a meat thermometer, otherwise there is no accurate way to know when your chicken thigh recipe is cooked without slicing the chicken open and loosing valuable juices.  You can pick up an inexpensive instant read thermometer at any grocery store or Amazon, or I’m obsessed with my digital meat probe thermometer.  You stick the probe in the chicken (or any protein) set an alert for the desired temperature, walk away and it will beep when ready!  You’ll never overcook chicken again!  

How do you make chicken skin super crispy?

To make the chicken skin super crispy:

1. Pat the chicken thighs very dry to eliminate excess moisture.
2. Drizzle the skin with olive oil so the skin immediately begins to crisp up with the thigh heat, instead of steam.
3. Add baking powder to the spice rub because it absorbs excess moisture, promoting browning and crispiness.   
4. Bake the chicken on a baking rack so the high heat can evenly circulate around the chicken, drying the skin out, instead of the chicken sitting in any moisture.
5. Bake at 400 degree F to help dry out the skin, then broil to desired crispiness.

What is the best temperature to bake chicken thighs?

400 degrees Fahrenheit is the best temperature to bake chicken thighs. It ensures the chicken cooks quickly so less moisture is evaporated while cooking, keeping the chicken extra juicy. At the same time, it crisps up the skin without burning it.

Are baked chicken thighs healthy?

Baked chicken thighs can be a healthy option when prepared and consumed as part of a balanced diet. They are a good source of protein, essential vitamins (such as B vitamins) and minerals (like iron and zinc). They also contain healthy fats, including monounsaturated fats. Baking the chicken thighs instead of frying also avoids excess fats.

How do I prevent chicken thighs from drying out while baking?

The secret to the juiciest chicken thighs is to not overcook! Use an instant-read thermometer and bake chicken thighs to 170 degrees F, then allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing. The resting time allows for the juices to redistribute and be absorbed back into the chicken.

baked chicken thighs in oven being served on a plate with mashed potatoes

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Oven Baked Chicken Thighs (Bone In)

These flavor exploding Crispy Baked Chicken Thighs will become a beloved dinnertime staple your family will request again and again!  The skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs trap in the juiciness of the rich, succulent meat (without a marinade!), while the skin crisps to a beautiful paprika, garlic, onion infused crust. This recipe takes just minutes of prep with a sprinkling of pantry friendly seasonings with only one pan to wash and is prep ahead friendly! Serve it with mashed potatoes, honey roasted carrots and dinner rolls for the win!
Servings: 8 chicken thighs
Total Time: 1 hour
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes

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Ingredients

CHICKEN

  • 8 bone-in chicken thighs, skin on
  • olive oil for drizzling

SPICE RUB

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 2 tsps EACH paprika, garlic powder
  • 1 ½ tsps EACH chili powder, onion powder, salt, brown sugar
  • 1 tsp EACH dried oregano, dried basil, pepper
  • 1/2 tsp EACH dried thyme, ground cumin

Instructions

  • Prep pan: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil (for easy cleanup) and top with a baking rack. Lightly spray the rack with nonstick cooking spray.
  • Bring chicken to room temperature: Remove the chicken thighs from their packaging and squeeze them dry with paper towels. Arrange the chicken thighs on prepared baking sheet, skin-side-up, and let them rest for 20 minutes to come to room temperature. Meanwhile:
  • Make spice rub: In a medium bowl, whisk the Spice Rub ingredients together; set aside.
  • Add olive oil: After 20 minutes, drizzle chicken thighs lightly with olive oil, then rub the oil all over of each thigh (top and bottom). Place the chicken skin-side-down.
  • Add rub: Sprinkle half of the rub over the chicken and pat in (don’t rub or it will clump). Flip the chicken over so it’s skin-side up, sprinkle with remaining Spice Rub and pat in.
  • Bake chicken: Roast chicken thighs in the preheated oven at 400 degrees F (without flipping), until they register 170 degrees F on an instant read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken without touching the bone. This will take 35-45 minutes depending on the size of the chicken thighs. (I suggest a digital meat thermometer that bakes with the chicken – this is the one I use as seen in the video).
  • Optional: Turn on the broiler and broil for 1 to 2 minutes to add extra crispiness to the skin. Make sure to watch closely so the chicken doesn’t burn!

Video

Notes

  • Boneless chicken thighs:  These may be used, however, bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs will be juicier.  Bake boneless chicken thighs for 17-22 minutes, or until the chicken reaches 170 degrees F on an instant read thermometer.
  • Meal prep: Prep up to the point of baking, then let the chicken air dry in the refrigerator until ready to bake. Before baking, let the chicken come to room temperature for 30 minutes.
  • To store: Store chicken thighs in an airtight container for 4-5 days.
  • To freeze: Place the cooked chicken thighs in a single layer on a baking sheet and flash freeze the tray in the freezer for 1-2 hours, or until the chicken is solid. Transfer the chicken to a freezer safe plastic bag. Thaw individual pieces of chicken or multiple pieces in a single layer in the fridge for 24 hours before reheating.
  • To reheat: The best option is to reheat in the air fryer at 375 degrees F until heated through, about 5-7 minutes. Alternatively, bake on a baking rack placed in a baking pan at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, or until heated through. Broil at the end for extra crispiness.  Please note using the microwave will heat the chicken but the skin will be soft.

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