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For a long time, I was a little intimidated by baked bone-in chicken thighs. I’ve been making juicy baked chicken breast for years and years, but chicken thighs were a newer thing. I didn’t like meat with bones growing up, so it took some time to come around. Let’s just say I’m glad I did, because this crispy baked chicken thighs recipe has become one of my favorite ways to make chicken!
The good news is, baking chicken thighs is easier than you might think. This recipe is pretty much foolproof, so you can do it whether you’ve never baked chicken thighs or done it a hundred times.
And while you don’t have to be following a low carb lifestyle to enjoy them, this keto chicken thighs recipe fits in perfectly if you are. It’s also great for anyone wanting to make paleo chicken thighs, too.
Even if neither of these applies to you, I promise that the whole family will love them either way with a side of green beans almondine or cheesy baked zucchini. If you purchased a package that also includes drumsticks, you can make these alongside my crispy chicken drumsticks recipe.
Baked Bone-In Chicken Thighs
If I had a choice, I would make crispy baked chicken thighs that had the skin but not the bones. If only that was easy to come by!
Unfortunately, finding boneless chicken thighs with skin on them is nearly impossible. The butchering process to remove the bones involves cutting away the skin.
You’d have to do it yourself at home if you wanted to get rid of the bones but keep the skin. That’s just a little too much fuss for me. I usually either leave the bones in if I want the skin, or use boneless skinless chicken thighs.
Since I wanted to make this as a crispy chicken thighs recipe, I went for the version that has the skin and bones. My husband isn’t a huge fan of meat with skin and bones, but even he thought these oven baked chicken thighs were good!
Chicken Thigh Nutrition
On average, bone-in chicken thighs are about 6 ounces each, with about 3 to 4 ounces of edible meat. According to the USDA Food Composition Database used to make my low carb food list, a 6 ounce chicken thigh (with skin) has:
- 334 calories
- 24.7g fat
- 28g protein
- 0g carbohydrates
Compared to chicken breasts, you can see that baked bone-in chicken thighs are higher in fat and calories. But, they are also more filling and flavorful. And for those of us staying low carb, the nutrition content of keto chicken thighs is great.
In fact, this crispy baked chicken thighs recipe actually has a little more fat than the numbers above, since we also brush them with ghee. This adds a ton of flavor, keeps the meat extra juicy, and crisps up the skin, too.
That’s one of the reasons I think this is the best chicken thigh recipe: it really lets the actual chicken thighs shine. This type of meat is already naturally flavorful, so it doesn’t take a lot to make it absolutely delicious.
I didn’t want to cover it up with a thick sauce or excessive spices. Ghee, paprika and garlic add just the right amount of flavor to oven baked chicken thighs, without being too overpowering.
How To Brine Chicken Thighs
Brining is much more common with chicken breasts, which are naturally leaner and dry out more easily than baked bone-in chicken thighs. But, chicken thighs can benefit from brining too. They become even more tender and juicy inside. Mmm.
Don’t worry, the process to brine chicken thighs is basically no extra work. And, it doesn’t have to take long. If you don’t have time to brine, you might like this easy shredded chicken recipe – great for meal prepping!
Simply soak the chicken thighs in salt water for at least 10 minutes. Dissolve 1 to 2 tablespoons of salt in a large bowl of warm water, then submerge the chicken and set aside to brine.
You can do longer if you have time, like 20 or 30 minutes, but it’s not a must. Even just 10 minutes makes a big difference!
This method for how to brine chicken thighs originated with how I make chicken breasts. I decided to try the same thing for chicken thighs and it worked great! Super juicy.
How To Bake Keto Chicken Thighs
Okay, let’s talk about how to cook chicken thighs in the oven! It’s super simple, and definitely my preferred method. Actually, all my favorite easy chicken thigh recipes are made in the oven.
Preheat the oven so that it’s ready to go. Once you have the brined chicken thighs, pat them dry and place skin side up on a baking sheet.
Melt the ghee using your preferred method, and brush it all over the chicken, getting the brush underneath the skin any chance you get. This will make for extra crispy baked chicken thighs that are juicy on the inside, too.
Why do we use ghee? It almost has the flavor of butter, but it has a higher smoke point, so we can roast the keto chicken thighs at a higher temperature for a crispy result.
If you are dairy-free or making paleo chicken thighs, ghee is often acceptable since the milk solids from the butter have been removed. If you still need to skip it, simply use another healthy fat that has a higher smoke point, like avocado oil or light olive oil (don’t use extra virgin).
Sprinkle the chicken thighs liberally with your favorite seasonings. I like sea salt, black pepper, paprika and garlic powder. Anything you like will work, but salt and pepper are a must.
At this point, you’re ready to make crispy chicken thighs in the oven! Notice they are skin side down at this point – this is because you’ll be flipping them halfway through.
How Long To Bake Chicken Thighs
Just one step left! How long to cook chicken thighs in the oven? Here is a summary of the time ranges. The exact times will vary depending on the size and thickness of the chicken.
How long to bake chicken thighs at 350?
How long to bake chicken thighs at 375?
How long to bake chicken thighs at 400?
How long to bake chicken thighs at 425?
How long to bake chicken thighs at 450?
The Best Temperature For Crispy Baked Chicken Thighs
Note that the above times are for bone-in baked chicken thighs. Boneless would take less time.
I actually don’t recommend oven baked chicken thighs at lower temperatures like 350, or even 375. Not only does it take longer, but in my testing the meat was less tender and the skin less crispy.
So what’s the best way? Stick with 400, 425, or 450. I prefer 450 degrees for extra crispy baked chicken thighs that are FASTER to make, too. Try them with me!
Tools To Make Crispy Chicken Thighs
Tap the links below to see the items used to make this recipe.
- Mixing Bowls – These are a great width and depth for brining keto chicken thighs.
- Baking Pan – This pan has a nice non stick silicone coating on it to prevent your oven baked chicken thighs from sticking.
The Best, Easy Crispy Oven Baked Chicken Thighs Recipe:
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The Best, Easy Crispy Oven Baked Chicken Thighs Recipe
This easy oven baked chicken thighs recipe is simple to make at 450 degrees. Just 4 ingredients and absolutely delicious! If you want to know how to make chicken thighs crispy and tender, in LESS TIME, this is for you. And, these naturally paleo, keto chicken thighs make an easy, healthy dinner.
Recipe VideoTap on the image below to watch the video.
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Tap on the times in the instructions below to start a kitchen timer while you cook.
Place the chicken into a large bowl of warm water with 1-2 tablespoons of salt. Set aside to brine for 10-20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F (232 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with foil, or use a quality non-stick pan (I like this pan with silicone coating).
Pat chicken dry and place skin side up onto the baking sheet.
Brush the chicken thighs with ghee, getting the brush underneath the skin where possible. Season with sea salt, black pepper, paprika and garlic powder.
Flip the chicken thighs so that the skin is face down. Repeat with butter, sea salt, black pepper, paprika and garlic powder.
Roast the chicken thighs in the oven for 10 minutes.
Flip the chicken thighs, so that the skin side is up. Roast for another 15 minutes or so, until the internal temperature is 165 degrees F.
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Serving size: 1 chicken thigh (6 oz with skin and bone)
Video Showing How To Make Crispy Baked Chicken Thighs:
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