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I’ve been making healthy baked chicken breast and chicken legs for two decades, but oven baked chicken thighs were a cut I only got into in my 30s. Let’s just say I’m glad I did — and you will be too, once you try this crispy baked chicken thighs recipe. The crispy skin is irresistible, and the inside so juicy. I’ve made this at least a dozen times, and it has become one of my favorite chicken recipes!
Why You’ll Love These Oven Baked Chicken Thighs
- Juicy and tender meat with crispy skin
- Seasoned with garlic and herbs
- Just 5 ingredients + some pantry staples
- Quick prep time
- Versatile — these crispy chicken thighs go with just about anything!
Ingredients & Substitutions
This section explains how to choose the best ingredients for oven baked bone-in chicken thighs, what each one does in the recipe, and substitution options. For measurements, see the recipe card below.
Get bone-in skin-on chicken thighs for this recipe. It won’t work with boneless chicken thighs, since we’ll be placing butter underneath the skin. If you want to use boneless ones, try my recipes for balsamic chicken thighs, creamy garlic chicken thighs, or Mediterranean chicken instead, all of which use the boneless version.
Compound Butter Underneath The Skin:
Butter underneath the chicken skin ensures super juicy chicken thighs and adds loads of flavor, while the skin protects the butter and fresh herbs from the high heat of the oven.
- Unsalted Butter
- Garlic – Use whole garlic cloves, because we are going to crush them.
- Fresh Herbs – I used fresh parsley and dill. You can experiment with other fresh herbs — see variations in my compound butter recipe post.
- Sea Salt
Seasoning Over The Skin:
Seasonings over the skin ensure that the skin has lots of flavor, and we use oil instead of butter here since it can handle the direct heat.
- Avocado Oil – You can substitute any other heat-safe oil, such as olive oil, in this baked chicken thighs recipe.
- Spices – Smoked paprika and garlic powder. Feel free to add other dried seasonings here, such as dried oregano, dried rosemary, onion powder, chili powder, and/or cayenne pepper.
- Sea Salt & Black Pepper
How To Bake Chicken Thighs
This section shows how to make baked chicken thighs in the oven, with step-by-step photos and details about the technique, to help you visualize it. For full instructions, including amounts and temperatures, see the recipe card below.
- Make the compound butter. In a small bowl, mash butter. Mix in crushed garlic, fresh parsley, fresh dill, and sea salt.
- Season under the skin. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels to remove excess moisture on the surface. Run your hands under the chicken skin to separate it from the chicken underneath, and place dollops of compound butter underneath. Press the skin down to spread it around.
- Season over the skin. Place chicken on a lined baking sheet (you can also use a rack fitted on the baking sheet for even more air flow, or a baking dish that’s large enough to fit the chicken pieces without touching each other). Drizzle the olive oil onto the chicken on both sides. Sprinkle with sea salt, smoked paprika, garlic powder, and black pepper.
- Bake chicken thighs. Place the chicken skin side down on a baking sheet and bake. Flip and continue baking, until the inside is cooked through and the skin is crispy and golden brown.
- Rest. Let the chicken sit for 5 minutes before serving. This will allow the juices to settle in the meat, so that your oven baked chicken thighs stay juicy. Garnish with fresh parsley if desired.
TIP: Use a meat thermometer for best results.
Unlike chicken breast, dark meat like baked chicken thighs tastes best if you cook them to an internal temperature of 170 degrees F. This makes them more juicy than the minimum safe temp of 165 degrees F. This is my favorite meat thermometer for quick readings.
- What temp to bake chicken thighs? You can bake chicken thighs at 400, 425, or 450 degrees F. I prefer 450 degrees F because it’s the fastest and produces great results.
- How long to bake chicken thighs? Baked chicken thighs at 450 degrees F take 22-28 minutes, depending on their size.
- Can you bake frozen chicken thighs? No, baking frozen chicken thighs is not recommended, as they won’t cook evenly and some parts can turn out dry. Thaw your chicken before baking.
- Store: Keep leftovers in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.
- Meal prep: Make compound butter a few days in advance. You can also go ahead and place it underneath the skin and season the top if you like, then bake when ready to eat. Alternatively, you can cook the chicken completely ahead and just reheat.
- Reheat: Warm up baked chicken thighs in the oven at 350 degrees F. If the skin isn’t crispy enough at this point, you can turn up the heat for a few minutes at the end. You can also remove the chicken thigh meat from the bones and repurpose for a buffalo chicken soup or chicken bacon ranch casserole.
- Freeze: After cooling to room temperature, store chicken in an airtight container or zip lock bag in the freezer for up to 3 months.
What To Serve With Baked Chicken Thighs
Serve up these crispy oven baked chicken thighs with an easy side dish:
- Potatoes – Mashed or oven roasted potatoes or mashed are popular options. You can also make healthier mashed cauliflower or roasted rutabaga instead.
- Rice – Regular white or brown rice, or cauliflower rice.
- Vegetables – Try quick roasted asparagus, nutty green beans almondine, buttery sauteed zucchini, or simple roasted broccoli. You can also combine the chicken with mixed veggies on the same sheet pan, to make a sheet pan chicken dinner.
- Salad – Healthy salads always pair well with chicken!
- Sauces – These chicken thighs are already super crispy and juicy, but if you want a sauce, you can serve BBQ sauce or honey mustard on the side.
More Easy Chicken Thigh Recipes
Tools To Bake Chicken Thighs
- Sheet Pan – Once I got these sheet pans, I never looked back. Use them for everything from cookies and roasted veggies to this recipe for chicken thighs.
- Instant Read Thermometer – The best way to ensure you are cooking your oven baked chicken thighs perfectly. I love this one because it gives a reading very quickly (no overcooking!) and is super accurate.
Oven Baked Chicken Thighs
Oven Baked Chicken Thighs (Crispy & Easy!)
Learn how to make oven baked chicken thighs perfectly! This easy recipe is extra juicy on the inside, with crispy skin & simple ingredients.
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Tap underlined ingredients to see where to get them. Please turn Safari reader mode OFF to view ingredients.
Tap on the times in the instructions below to start a kitchen timer while you cook.
In a small bowl, mash the butter with a fork. Add the garlic, fresh herbs, and salt. Mash again.
Pat the chicken dry with paper towels, and place on the baking sheet, skin side up. Run your hands under the chicken skin to separate it from the chicken underneath. Place dollops of compound butter all over underneath the skin and then press down over the skin to spread around underneath.
Drizzle olive oil onto the chicken on both sides. Sprinkle both sides with sea salt, smoked paprika, garlic powder, and black pepper.
Roast chicken thighs in the oven, skin side down, 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 (74 degrees C). Rest for 5 minutes before serving.
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Serving size: 1 chicken thigh
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