Crispy Oven-Fried Chicken Thighs or Legs

Oven-fried chicken thighs

The Spruce / Diana Rattray

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 45 mins
Total: 60 mins
Servings: 6 to 8 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
734 Calories
54g Fat
12g Carbs
48g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 to 8
Amount per serving
Calories 734
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 54g 69%
Saturated Fat 10g 49%
Cholesterol 149mg 50%
Sodium 1622mg 71%
Total Carbohydrate 12g 4%
Dietary Fiber 1g 5%
Protein 48g
Calcium 124mg 10%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Crispy fried chicken doesn't have to be a messy, labor-intensive task. This chicken recipe uses two methods to make perfect oven-fried chicken with crispy skin and fabulous flavor. With this two-step skillet and oven method, you don't sacrifice the crunchy coating and flavor you get with deep-fried chicken. 

This is an excellent way to fry chicken. The pieces are briefly fried to crisp the skin, and then they're finished in the oven. There's less mess, less oil used, and the chicken is perfect every time.

If you have a favorite seasoned flour mixture, feel free to adjust the recipe. If you like spicy fried chicken, add a teaspoon or more of ground cayenne pepper to the flour along with the paprika. This is great chicken for a family meal or picnic.

This recipe uses chicken thighs, but whole legs or a cut-up whole chicken can also be used. Larger pieces might take longer, so check them with a dependable meat thermometer or instant-read thermometer. The minimum safe temperature for chicken is 165 F.


  • 3 pounds bone-in chicken thighs (or whole legs, with skin)
  • 2 cups buttermilk (well shaken)
  • 1/2 cup hot sauce (such as Texas Pete's or Frank's)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons ground paprika
  • 1/2-1cup vegetable oil (for frying)

Steps to Make It

  1. In a food storage bag, combine the chicken thighs with the buttermilk and hot sauce. Refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours or overnight.

  2. Heat the oven to 350 F.

  3. Place a rack in a large, rimmed baking pan or roasting pan.

  4. Combine the flour, kosher salt, pepper, and paprika in a wide, shallow bowl or pie plate.

  5. Pour vegetable oil in a deep skillet or saucepan to a depth of about 1/2 inch.

  6. Heat the oil to 360 F.

  7. Remove the chicken pieces from the buttermilk mixture, and dip in the flour mixture to coat thoroughly. Shake off excess.

  8. Arrange the coated chicken pieces in the hot oil—you might have to work in batches—and fry for about 2 1/2 to 3 minutes on each side or until the coating is lightly browned. The chicken will brown more as it bakes.

  9. Remove the chicken to the rack in the baking pan.

  10. Bake the chicken thighs or legs for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the chicken registers at least 165 F on an instant-read food thermometer inserted into the thickest chicken thigh, not touching bone.

Recipe Variations

  • Replace the paprika with a good quality chili powder or salt-free Cajun or Creole seasoning.
  • Add 2 teaspoons of ground poultry seasoning, and decrease the paprika to 2 teaspoons.
  • Add 1 teaspoon of onion powder and 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder to the flour mixture.