How to bake chicken thighs (2023)

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Find out how to bake chicken thighs that are bone-in and skin-on and for how long to come out juicy and tender, just like our oven baked chicken breast. Our baked bone in chicken thighs require 5 ingredients and are seasoned with a flavorful Mexican spice rub. It makes an easy dinner idea, and you can even freeze some for later.

How to bake chicken thighs (1)

Are you tired of dry and bland baked chicken thighs? Well, our recipe and method are foolproof and will grant you the best results, so that you can have flavorful, juicy, and tender chicken thighs that your entire family will love.

It requires only very basic skills such as brushing the chicken thighs with olive oil, seasoning well, and baking at 425° F for up to 35 minutes, depending on the weight of the breast.

And there you’ll have the best chicken thighs recipes ever: juicy and tender inside, with a tasty and golden exterior. It’s perfection!

You can find many more easy, minimum ingredient recipes like this one in my book, The Complete 5-Ingredient Cookbook.

INGREDIENTS AND SUBSTITUTIONS

All you need in order to cook chicken thighs in the oven are 5 ingredients:

  • Chicken thighs –our recipe is for bone-in and skin-on chicken thighs. But you can use boneless, skinless chicken thighs instead. Just keep in mind that you’ll have to adjust the cooking time. Boneless chicken thighs usually cook in half of the time required to bake chicken thighs in the oven.
  • Olive oil–you can use any vegetable oil, but stick with those that have more neutral flavors and a high smoking point.
  • Taco seasoning–although I use a pre-packaged seasoning blend, you can make your own at home by mixing 4 teaspoon of paprika, 2 teaspoon of garlic powder, 1 teaspoon of brown sugar (skip the sugar if you are on a keto diet, or sub with dried herbs such as oregano or thyme), 2 teaspoon of onion powder, 1 teaspoon of salt, ½ teaspoon of ground cumin, and 1 teaspoon of black pepper. If you enjoy spicy food, mix in ½ teaspoon chili powder or cayenne. You may also use any dry rub of your choice-- about 3 tablespoon for 4 medium/large thighs.
  • Salt and pepper -- skip salt if your taco seasoning already contains this ingredient. Freshly ground black pepper will make the thighs tastier!
  • Honey -- It is optional but it will help caramelize the chicken skin while baking. Skip it if you are on a keto diet, or you can use sugar-free honey instead.
  • Lemon -- It will bring up all the flavors together!
  • Parsley -- You may use cilantro, other herb of choice, or skip this ingredient.

HOW LONG TO BAKE CHICKEN THIGHS AT 425°F

The time will depend on the weight/size of your chicken thighs, as well as the temperature that you bake it in the oven.

High temperatures work best to seal the juices in and give it a ‘seared’, golden exterior. I would say that 400-450 F temperatures work the best!

I often bake chicken thighs at425° F degrees (220°C). It has produced some of the juiciest thighs ever!

At 425° F degrees (220°C), the baking time will depend on the size/weight as follows:

  • Small chicken thighs (3 to 4 oz) -- 30 minutes
  • Medium chicken thighs (about 5 to 6 oz) -- 35 minutes
  • Large chicken thighs (about 8 oz) -- 40 minutes.

How Long To Bake Chicken Thighs (Different Temperatures)

There are 3 main factors that affect how long you bake chicken thighs for:

  • Whether they are bone in or boneless (Bone in thighs bake in double the time required for boneless thighs),
  • The weight/size of the thighs (smaller thighs bake faster than larger ones),
  • The temperature you bake the chicken thighs in the oven (they will bake faster in higher temps and longer in lower temps).

The oven temperatures and baking times below are for bone-in and skin-on chicken thighs.

350°F (175°C)45 to 55 minutes
375°F (190°C)40 to 50 minutes
400°F (205°C)35 to 45 minutes
425°F (218°C)30 to 40 minutes

Notice there is a 5-minute range between small, medium, and large size chicken thighs. E.g.: At 400°F (205°C), small chicken thighs bake in 35 minutes, medium ones in 40 minutes, and large ones in 45 minutes.

The same time differential may apply to other oven temperatures and size/weight of the chicken thighs.

But as always, for a more accurate result, check the internal temperature, which should be at least 160°F (71°C) when coming out of the oven. After resting for 3-5 minutes, the temperature will rise about 5 degrees F, or close to 3 degrees C, reaching the desired temperature of 165°F or 74°C needed for safety purposes according to the FDA.

Make sure to cook chicken thighs of similar sizes in the oven for even results.

If you are baking chicken thighs from frozen or with a stuffing, be aware that it will take longer for them to cook. Again, the best way to find out whether they are fully cooked is by inserting a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the thighs--but make sure to not touch the bone.

How to bake chicken thighs (2)

HOW TO COOK BONELESS CHICKEN THIGHS IN THE OVEN

Baked boneless chicken thighs often require about half the cooking time of bone-in chicken thighs. You can quickly adapt our recipe to use boneless chicken thighs, following the same prep of patting the chicken dry, brushing with oil, and pressing the seasonings on the thighs.

Then, bake boneless chicken thighs for 15-20 minutes (depending on the size of the thighs) and test for a minimum internal temperature of 160° F. If they don’t reach that temp, no worries! Just add 5-minute baking intervals as needed to reach the minimum temperature.

CAN I USE CHICKEN BREAST, LEGS, OR CHICKEN WINGS INSTEAD?

Yes, you can! Follow the same prep but remember that the time will vary according to whether the piece is bone-in (requires more time to cook) or boneless (cooks faster), the oven temperature, and also their weight/size.

Keep in mind that smaller parts of the chicken cook faster!

The best way to tell when they are fully cooked is to use the meat thermometer. They need to reach an internal temp of at least 160°F (71°C). After resting for 3-5 minutes, they’ll be able to reach 165°F or 74°C.

SHOULD I RINSE CHICKEN BEFORE BAKING?

There is no need to rinse chicken before cooking our oven baked chicken thighs. By rinsing you are getting rid of some of the chicken flavor and may contaminate your sink and work surfaces. Just pat the chicken dry and prep as required in our recipe.

STEPS TO COOK CHICKEN THIGHS IN THE OVEN

To make perfectly baked chickenthighs, follow these 4-5 steps:

  1. Brine (OPTIONAL) –If you have time, brine your chicken thighs. They will be moister and more flavorful because the brine will penetrate the meat. You can use thebrine recipe from myroast turkey! Or you can buy them already brined. But if you are always in a hurry, like me, you can skip this step and still obtain great results. If you marinate the chicken thighs instead, it will have almost the same benefits as brining. To brine chicken thighs, fill a big bowl with lukewarm water and stir in well a handful of salt until it mostly dissolves. Then add the thighs and let them sit for 15 minutes to 4 hours. If brining for hours, place the bowl in the fridge and cover. After that, remove the thighs from the brine and rinse it with cold water to wash off the salt. Then pat dry very well with some paper towels. If you don’t do that, they won’t get a good sear!
  2. Brush –with olive oil or neutral vegetable oil with a high smoke point.
  3. Rub –with a blend of seasonings such as taco, Italian, barbecue, or Cajun seasoning. You can also make your own at home. See recipe notes!
  4. Roast/Bake–preferably at high temps such as 425°F (220°C). It will lock the moisture in and give an attractive golden exterior to the chicken thighs.
  5. Restit is a must to let the thighs rest for 3 to 5 minutes before serving. This will help retain moisture.

Baking perfect chicken thighs is a combination of high temperature and cooking time.

How to Bake Chicken Thighs

How to bake chicken thighs (3)

  1. Start by preheating the oven to 425°F (220°C) for about 20 minutes. Choose thighs that are similar in weight to bake at the same time.
  2. Brine them in salty water for at least 15 minutes if you have time to do so; otherwise, skip this step. Make sure to pat them dry very well; otherwise they won’t get a golden and crispy skin!
  3. Brush the chicken thighs all over with oil, season them well on all sides, and press it on with your hands to get the seasoning to stick. PIC.1 If possible, gently lift the skin to scrub a little bit of oil and seasoning under, especially if you usually remove the skin of the thighs before eating.
  4. Grease a baking sheet with a bit of olive oil (or line one with foil and then grease). Place the thighs in the pan and transfer to the middle rack of the preheated oven.
  5. Bake them for 30 to 40 minutes, depending on the size of the thighs: 3 oz (30 minutes), 5 oz (35 minutes), and 8 oz (40 minutes). PIC. 2 Take them out of the oven when they reach 160°F (71°C).PIC. 3 Of course you can bake them without skin, but it won’t be as crispy and flavorful. The skin contains fat which flavors and moisturizes the meat itself while baking.
  6. Let them rest for 3-5 minutes before serving. Their internal temp will rise during this time, reaching around 165°F (74° C).

NOTE:If you want, you can glaze your chicken thighs! To do this, sauté 3 minced garlic cloves with 2-3 tablespoon of butter on medium heat for about 1 minute. Then, stir in ¼ cup of honey and 2 tablespoon of Dijon mustard and let it cook for 1-2 minutes or until thickened. Then glaze the thighs with the sauce.

WHYARE CHICKEN THIGHS DRY AND TOUGH?

There are the main factors that may have caused your chicken thighs to be dry and tough:

  • You didn’t bring the chicken out of the fridge for 20 minutes before cooking:This is key for even cooking!
  • The thighs were overcooked:Make sure to take them out of the oven as soon as they reach an internal temp of 160° F (71°C).
  • After baking them, you didn’t allow the chicken thighs to rest for 3-5 minutes before cutting them. The resting time will re-distribute the juices and lock the moisture in.

HOW TO SEASON CHICKENTHIGHS

There are several different pre-packaged seasoning blend options out there, such as taco, barbecue, and Cajun seasoning. But you can make your own at home.

One of my favorite homemade seasonings is this one: just mix together 4 teaspoon of paprika, 2 teaspoon of garlic powder, 1 teaspoon of brown sugar (skip the sugar if you are on a keto diet, or sub with dried herbs such as oregano or thyme or Italian seasoning), 2 teaspoon of onion powder, 1 teaspoon of salt, ½ teaspoon of ground cumin, and 1 teaspoon of black pepper. If you want to add a kick, add ½ teaspoon chili powder or cayenne.

Of course, you may also use any dry rub of your choice, about 3 tablespoon for 4 medium/large thighs.

Whatever seasoning you choose, make sure to pat dry the thighs, brush with oil, and then season them well. Press the seasoning on with your hands to get it to stick on each side of the thighs.

How to bake chicken thighs (4)

HOW TO SERVE BAKED CHICKEN Thighs

Our oven baked chicken thighs go well over mashed potatoes, pasta, and rice. Theseroasted carrots and parsnips,roasted delicata squash, Brazilian potato salad, andInstant Pot Brussels Sprouts make great side dishes.

In fact, you can serve them with almost anything!

How to Reheat Chicken without Drying it Out

There is more than one way to reheat chicken thighs. Two of my favorites are the microwave and oven in order of convenience:

  1. Microwave: Place the thighs into a microwave-safe dish, brush with olive oil to keep them moist, and cover the dish with microwave-safe plastic wrap. Heat for 2 – 3 minutes. Make sure the plastic wrap doesn’t touch the chicken, as it could contaminate it with chemicals.
  2. Oven: Preheat oven to 325°F and line a baking sheet with foil. Place the thighs in the center of the foil, brush with oil, and pull the sides up to wrap the chicken in the foil like a parcel. Cook until internal temperature reaches 165° F.

How to bake chicken thighs (5)

STORAGE

Store baked chicken thighs in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. Freeze for up to 3 months! This is one of those easy freezer mealsthat you will want to make again and again.

MORE CHICKEN RECIPES TO ENJOY:

  • Honey Mustard Chicken
  • Honey Soy Chicken
  • Instant Pot whole chicken
  • Brazilian Chicken Stroganoff
  • Healthy Stuffed Chicken Breast
  • Galinhada
  • Keto Ranch Chicken Thighs
  • Cauliflower Mac and Cheese with chicken thighs
  • Air Fryer Chicken Thighs

PIN & ENJOY!

How to bake chicken thighs (6)

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How to bake chicken thighs (and how long)

Find out how to bake chicken thighs that are bone-in and skin-on and for how long to come out juicy and tender. It makes an easy dinner meal,and you can even freeze some for later.

Course:Main Course

Cuisine:American

Keywords:baked bone in chicken thighs, how to bake chicken thighs

Prep Time 10 minutes

Cook Time 35 minutes

Total Time 45 minutes

Servings 4 thighs

Calories399 kcal

Author Denise Browning

Cost $ 1.50 per person

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 4 chicken thighs bone-in and skin-on (about 1 ½ pounds)
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 oz taco seasoning or any other seasoning blend of your choice (for a homemade seasoning, see recipe in the notes)
  • 1 ½ teaspoon salt NOTE: Skip salt if your taco seasoning already has salt.
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoon honey OPTIONAL (skip if you're on a keto diet, or you can use sugar-free honey)
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoon parsley chopped (OPTIONAL)

US Customary - Metric

Instructions

  • Start by preheating the oven to 425°F (220°C) for about 20 minutes. Choose thighs that are similar in weight to bake at the same time.

  • Brine them in salty water for at least 15 minutes if you have time to do so; otherwise, skip this step. Make sure to pat them dry very well; otherwise they won’t get a golden and crispy skin!

  • Brush the chicken thighs all over with oil, season them well on all sides with the taco seasoning and salt. If possible, gently lift the skin to scrub a little bit of oil and seasoning under, especially if you usually remove the skin of the thighs before eating.

  • Then sprinkle pepper and brush honey on the thighs. Grease a baking sheet or baking dish with a bit of olive oil (or line one with foil and then grease). Place the thighs on the pan/dish and transfer to the middle rack of the preheated oven.

  • Bake them for 30 to 40 minutes, depending on the size of the thighs: 3-4 oz (30 minutes), 5-6 oz (35 minutes), and 8 oz (40 minutes). Take them out of the oven when they reach 160°F (71°C).Of course you can bake them without skin, but it won’t be as crispy and flavorful. The skin contains fat which flavors and moisturize the meat itself while baking.

  • Let them rest for 3-5 minutes before serving. The internal temp will rise during this time, reaching around 165°F (74° C). Squezze lemon on top and garnish with chopped parsley.

Recipe Video

How to bake chicken thighs (8)

Recipe Notes

NOTE: Honey and parsley are optional ingredients. Therefore, they are not calculated in this recipe.

If you want, you can glaze your chicken thighs! To do this, sauté 3 minced garlic cloves with 2-3 tablespoon of butter on medium heat for about 1 minute. Then, stir in ¼ cup of honey and 2 tablespoon of Dijon mustard and let it cook for 1-2 minutes or until thickened. Then glaze the thighs with the sauce.

How to Reheat Chicken without Drying it Out

There is more than one way to reheat chicken thighs. Two of my favorites are the microwave and oven, in order of convenience:

  1. Microwave: Place the thighs into a microwave-safe dish, brush with olive oil to keep them moist, and cover the dish with microwave-safe plastic wrap. Heat for 2 – 3 minutes. Make sure the plastic wrap doesn’t touch the chicken, as it could contaminate it with chemicals.
  2. Oven: Preheat oven to 325°F and line a baking sheet with foil. Place the thighs in the center of the foil, brush with oil, and pull the sides up to wrap the chicken in the foil like a parcel. Cook until internal temperature reaches 165° F.

Storage

Store baked chicken thighs in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. Freeze for up to 3 months! This is one of those easy freezer mealsthat you will want to make again and again.

HOMEMADE TACO SEASONING RECIPE

Mix together 4 teaspoon of paprika, 2 teaspoon of garlic powder, 1 teaspoon of brown sugar (skip the sugar if you are on a keto diet, or sub with dried herbs such as oregano or thyme), 2 teaspoon of onion powder, 1 teaspoon of salt, ½ teaspoon of ground cumin, and 1 teaspoon of black pepper. If you enjoy spicy food, mix in ½ teaspoon chili powder or cayenne.

You may also use any dry rub of your choice– about 3 tablespoon for 4 medium/large thighs.

HOW LONG TO BAKE CHICKEN THIGHS AT 425°F

The time will depend on the weight/size of your chicken thighs, as well as the temperature that you bake it in the oven.

High temperatures work best to seal the juices in and give it a ‘seared’, golden exterior. I would say that 400-450 F temperatures work the best!

I often bake chicken thighs at425° F degrees (220°C). It has produced some of the juiciest thighs ever!

At 425° F degrees (220°C), the baking time will depend on the size/weight as follows:

  • Small chicken thighs (3 to 4 oz) -- 30 minutes
  • Medium chicken thighs (about 5 to 6 oz) -- 35 minutes
  • Large chicken thighs (about 8 oz) -- 40 minutes.

WHYARE CHICKEN THIGHS DRY AND TOUGH?

There are the main factors that may have caused your chicken thighs to be dry and tough:

  • You didn’t bring the chicken out of the fridge for 20 minutes before cooking:This is key for even cooking!
  • The thighs were overcooked:Make sure to take them out of the oven as soon as they reach an internal temp of 160° F (71°C).
  • After baking them, you didn’t allow the chicken thighs to rest for 3-5 minutes before cutting them. The resting time will re-distribute the juices and lock the moisture in.

Nutrition

Calories: 399kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 15g | Cholesterol: 142mg | Sodium: 684mg | Potassium: 334mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 784IU | Vitamin C: 18mg | Calcium: 19mg | Iron: 2mg

** Nutrition labels on easyanddelish.com are for educational purposes only. This info is provided as a courtesy and is only an estimate, since the nutrition content of recipes can vary based on ingredient brand or source, portion sizes, recipe changes/variations, and other factors. We suggest making your own calculations using your preferred calculator, based on which ingredients you use, or consulting with a registered dietitian to determine nutritional values more precisely.

Please note that health-focused and diet information provided on easyanddelish.com is for educational purposes and does not constitute medical advice, nor is it intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease. Consult with your doctor or other qualified health professional prior to initiating any significant change in your diet or exercise regimen, or for any other issue necessitating medical advice.

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