There are many reasons to keep the skin on your chicken: its fat content adds moisture and flavor, it crisps up nicely, it's the best part of the bird — more reasons than we can count. So why pull it off and cook it separately? If you're braising or making soup, chicken skin turns rubbery and virtually inedible, and should be discarded before serving. Therefore, if you're braising or making soup, pull that skin off, crisp it up using our innovative technique, and use it the same way you'd use croutons or crumbled bacon.
Nestling the skins between two non-stick pans of the same size will prevent them from curling up and cooking unevenly. The result: thin, flat sheets of crisp, fragrant "chicken skin chips" you can use in sandwiches, instead of bread or crackers for canapés, crumbled to garnish soups, salads, and baked potatoes — the sky's the limit.
What's your favorite roast chicken recipe? Once the skins are out of the oven and ready for seasoning, be creative by using what you like best: fresh or dried herbs, earthy spices like cumin and paprika, Asian elements like five-spice powder and sesame seeds, blends like za'atar and barbecue rub, and freshly grated citrus zest all work perfectly.
- skins from 4 large chicken thighs
- 4 small sprigs of fresh herbs of your choice (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Gather the ingredients and preheat the oven to 375F.
Lay each skin down on a non-stick baking sheet, and spread them out so they take up as much space as possible without overlapping. Sprinkle with onion powder, then lay a sprig of fresh herbs (or an individual leaf of fresh sage) on top of each one, if using.
Lay a second non-stick baking sheet on top of the first, tightly sandwiching the skins.
Bake for 20 minutes. You should be able to hear sizzling and popping as the skin renders.
Remove the pans and let skins cool for several minutes before lifting off the top pan. If you're not using a non-stick pan, allow the skins to sit for 15 minutes after cooking. As they cool, they'll release from the surface naturally (or with minimal help from a spatula).
Carefully remove the skins from the sheet — they'll be fragile — transfer to a paper towel-lined plate, and season with Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Keep skins whole for use as chips, crackers, or sandwich filling, or crumble for use as a garnish. Keep any leftovers in a tightly sealed container in a cool, dry place for up to three days.
- The skin should separate from the chicken in one piece fairly easily, especially if you're using thighs as this recipe calls for. Running a finger between the skin and meat will help loosen it for easy removal, but keep a sharp paring knife nearby to release any tough spots.
- Spread the skins out on the baking sheet as thinly as possible in order to allow the most fat possible to render out. This will make for a super-crispy, less-greasy finished product.
- Keep the oven on, put peeled cubed potatoes right in that pan with some Kosher salt after crisping the chicken skins, toss to coat, and put the baking sheet right back in the 375F oven for 45 minutes. Potatoes are absolutely delicious roasted in herbed chicken fat.