In this recipe + video I share how to make crispy chicken thighs in a skillet that look and taste just like fried but are far healthier AND super easy to make.
The first time I followed this method to cook chicken thighs in a skillet, my family went crazy. My daughter who never touches dark meat DEVOURED not one, but TWO thighs! She had a friend over who also raved over the thighs. My husband loved them as well. Needless to say, these thighs are worth trying, as I feel sure some if not all of your peeps will love these.
Below, I’ll share all that you need to know to turn basic chicken thighs into a delicious, rave-worthy entree.
What kind of chicken thighs are best?
Chicken thighs are very inexpensive, so I buy the best ones I can find. I buy Bare brand at Publix; I inserted a photo below. There is a brand at Publix You want to buy chicken thighs that are bone-in and skin-on. You’ll get amazing moistness from the thigh, and huge flavor from the skin. The skin will get incredibly crisp and golden, and it will keep the inside meat moist and tender as it cooks. So even if you don’t plan to eat the skin, keep it on during the cooking process and discard it before taking your first bite.
Do you brine the chicken thighs?
You don’t have to; you will still get yummy chicken without brining. BUT…..you will always get the BEST chicken when you brine it in buttermilk. When I buy chicken, I immediately put it in a ziploc bag with buttermilk and kosher salt. I also brine whole chicken. You can read about that in this post on buttermilk brined chicken.
Do you rinse your chicken thighs before cooking?
I buy organic, high-quality chicken thighs and do not rinse them. Whether I brine them or cook them from the package, I always pat them dry. If I brine them, I drain the buttermilk and then pat them dry. If I cook them from the package, I simply pat them dry. You can definitely rinse them if that is your preference. Just make sure to pat them dry so that the skin will get crispy when it hits the skillet.
What seasoning do you use for chicken thighs?
I always use kosher salt and ground pepper. Because I love spicy food, I sometimes add some Cajun or similar seasoning. When I add additional spices, I put them on the bottom side rather than the skin side. Too many seasonings on chicken skin can cause the skin to burn.
What oil do you use to cook chicken in a skillet?
I almost always use extra virgin olive oil, and I sometimes add a bit of ghee (clarified butter) to the skillet as well. You can also use coconut oil, avocado oil, or vegetable oil.
Will any skillet work for this chicken?
I prefer my cast-iron skillet for this recipe, as I think cast-iron just gives a better sear and a deep flavor that only comes from cast-iron. I also love serving this chicken from a cast-iron skillet. It just looks like food that you would eat from your grandmother’s table. You can use another skillet; it just won’t look or taste quite as good. My most loved and used skillet is my Lodge Pre-Seasoned 12″. You can buy it from William’s-Sonoma, Target.com, here at Wal-Mart or you can buy from amazon but they offer through 3rd party sellers.
Video of me cooking these chicken thighs.
You can watch me cook these chicken thighs in the video below.
What sides go well with skillet cooked chicken thighs?
Since these skillet cooked chicken thighs are crispy and taste like fried chicken, they go well with many sides. I love steaming some broccoli and adding fresh ripe tomatoes for a lighter dinner. For a Sunday lunch or heartier meal, I will serve this with sides such as our favorite white cheddar mac & cheese or mashed potatoes and this Greek chopped salad.
- 4-6 chicken thighs, bone-in skin-on
- kosher salt to taste
- ground pepper to taste
- 2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Preheat oven to 475 F.
- Place oil in skillet; place on stove on medium-high.
- Pat chicken thighs dry; season with salt & pepper.
- Add additional seasoning to bottom of thighs if desired.
- When skillet is sizzling hot, place thighs in it skin side down.
- Cook 6-8 minutes without turning. Turn when chicken easily lifts from skillet with a spatula.
- Turn chicken thighs; cook 4-5 minutes until brown on bottom.
- Transfer skillet to oven.
- Cook chicken 20-25 minutes or until internal temperature reaches at least 165 degrees in thickest part of thigh.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 6
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 339Total Fat: 25gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 18gCholesterol: 166mgSodium: 323mgCarbohydrates: 0gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 31g