If you like your chicken with crispy skin, this recipe is sure to please. And since you only need chicken, oil, and salt and pepper, it is a simple dish to put together last minute. Crispy skin chicken thighs make a fabulous everyday meal and are perfect for a picnic or tailgating event. Searing and then roasting the thighs in a heavy cast iron skillet makes them render more of their fat, which leaves the skin crispy and delicious.
Chicken thighs have become more popular over the past few years, and for good reason. The meat is affordable while being rich and flavorful compared to the milder tasting white breast meat, offering a satisfying taste all on its own. The one downside is that chicken thighs have more fat than breasts; this fat, however, is what helps make the skin crisp up perfectly.
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- 6 to 8 chicken thighs with skin
- Kosher salt to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 2 to 3 teaspoons canola oil or peanut oil
Gather the ingredients.
Heat the oven to 425 F (220 C/Gas 7).
Sprinkle the chicken thighs with kosher salt and pepper.
Heat the oil in a large, heavy, oven-safe skillet (cast iron is perfect) over medium-high heat.
When the oil is hot, but not smoking, arrange the chicken thighs in the skillet, skin-side down. Cook for 15 minutes, or until the skin is well browned, moving the thighs from time to time to make sure they are browning evenly. Do not turn them over.
Place the skillet in the oven and continue cooking, skin-side down, for another 15 minutes. Turn over the thighs and continue cooking for 5 minutes longer.
To test for doneness, insert a food thermometer into the thickest part of a thigh. The minimum safe temperature for chicken and other poultry is 165 F (74 C).
Serve and enjoy.
- When cooking the chicken thighs, place a splatter screen on top of the skillet so you don't get burned by any spitting oil that can occur when pan-frying; doing this will also keep your stovetop cleaner.
- Don't forget to use an oven mitt when transferring the skillet from the stovetop to the oven, and then from the oven to the counter. The pan handle will be very hot.
- A cast iron skillet is the ideal pan to use for this recipe as it retains heat very well and evenly. Long-lasting, inexpensive, and naturally nonstick, a cast iron skillet is a great pan to have in the kitchen.
Why Isn't the Chicken Skin Crispy?
If you find the chicken thigh skin isn't as crispy as you would like, it could mean the skin may not have been dry before you added it to the oil. Make sure to pat the chicken dry before seasoning, and if you want even more assurance, place the chicken in the refrigerator, uncovered, to let the skin dry out a bit. Also, be sure the skin is pulled taut over the meat, and don't move it around too much while cooking, or else the skin may tear.
Other Chicken Thigh Recipes
If your family is a fan of chicken thighs, you'll be glad to know there are plenty of delicious recipes to choose from. For something crispy and delicious, try oven-fried chicken thighs with panko and Parmesan; the mixture of butter, maple syrup, mustard, honey, and garlic helps keep the coating of panko and cheese on the chicken while adding tremendous flavor. A packet of ranch salad dressing mix combined with oil and garlic turns chicken thighs into a zesty dish everyone will love; simply brush on the ranch mixture and bake. For a little taste of summer, whip up some oven barbecued chicken thighs complete with a simple homemade sauce.