Crispy Baked Chicken Thighs With Panko and Parmesan Coating

Oven baked panko breaded chicken thighs

The Spruce

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 50 mins
Total: 70 mins
Servings: 6 to 8 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
553 Calories
32g Fat
15g Carbs
49g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 to 8
Amount per serving
Calories 553
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 32g 41%
Saturated Fat 12g 58%
Cholesterol 164mg 55%
Sodium 389mg 17%
Total Carbohydrate 15g 5%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Protein 49g
Calcium 101mg 8%
*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.)

Your family will love these oven baked chicken thighs, and they couldn't be easier to prepare. The panko crumb coating ensures a crispy, crunchy crust, and they're relatively light in taste and texture when compared to traditional deep-fried chicken. Chicken thighs are also easy on the budget, and they are juicier and more flavorful than chicken breasts. The breading and the fact that you're using thighs, which have more fat in them than breasts, keeps them from drying out in the oven. Make the recipe with whole chicken legs or chicken leg quarters if you'd like.

Panko crumbs, a dash of garlic powder, and shredded Parmesan cheese give these chicken thighs a tasty crispy exterior. They're dipped in honey (or maple syrup) and mustard before the crumb coating is applied for some tang and sweetness.

The chicken thighs are delicious with biscuits, garlic mashed potatoes, and peas or green beans, along with a salad. It's a great chicken for a picnic, too. Potato salad and coleslaw are excellent options as well.

A package of chicken thighs often contains large and small pieces. Larger chicken thighs might have enough meat—about 4 ounces—for one serving, but smaller pieces could yield as little as 2 1/2 to 3 ounces. 

Ingredients

  • 8 chicken thighs (about 3 pounds, bone-in)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper (freshly ground)
  • 5 tablespoons butter (melted)
  • 3 tablespoons mustard (spicy or grainy)
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup (or honey)
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 1/4 cups panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese (shredded, or about 1/4 cup grated)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon paprika (to taste)
  • 2 teaspoons parsley flakes (dried)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for oven baked chicken thighs
    The Spruce
  2. Heat the oven to 400 F. Line a large baking pan with foil and lightly grease the foil or spray it with nonstick cooking spray.

    Foil-lined baking dish sprayed with nonstick spray
    The Spruce
  3. Pat the chicken thighs with paper towels to dry them. Trim any excess fat or skin. The skin adds juiciness and flavor, but feel free to remove it if desired.

    Chicken thighs patted of excess moisture with paper towels
    The Spruce
  4. Sprinkle the chicken pieces lightly with salt and pepper.

    Chicken thighs seasoned with salt and pepper on a cutting board
    The Spruce
  5. In a small bowl, combine the melted butter with the mustard, maple syrup or honey, and garlic powder.

    Melted butter, mustard, maple syrup, and garlic powder combined in a bowl
    The Spruce
  6. In another shallow bowl, combine the Panko crumbs with shredded or grated Parmesan cheese, paprika, teaspoon salt, teaspoon pepper, and parsley.

    Panko crumbs combined with shredded or grated Parmesan cheese, paprika, pepper and parsley
    The Spruce 
  7. Brush or rub the chicken thighs all over with the butter and mustard mixture and then press all sides in the Panko mixture to coat thoroughly.

    Chicken thighs coated with panko
    The Spruce
  8. Place the coated chicken thighs on the prepared baking sheet.

    Coated chicken thighs in a baking pan
    The Spruce 
  9. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until the chicken reaches 165 F. The juices should run clear when chicken is pierced with a fork.

Tip

  • The minimum safe temperature for chicken is 165 F. If in doubt, use a reliable instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the largest chicken thigh.

Recipe Variations

  • Omit the maple syrup or honey from the mustard mixture, or replace it with cane syrup or fruit preserves.
  • For additional heat, add a dash of cayenne pepper to the panko mixture.
  • Replace the salt with a seasoned salt blend or a Cajun or Creole seasoning mixture.
  • Make the recipe with whole chicken legs or a combination of thighs and drumsticks.