How to Cook Chicken Thighs Perfectly Every Time

Many people will have a different answer when it comes to their favorite part of the chicken. Some will say breast, some will say oyster. But if you want something that’s extremely flavorful yet forgiving to prepare, it’s the thigh part you’re looking for. It has a higher fat content, which contributes to the flavor. If you want to make the most of your chicken thighs, keep the skin on! The fat rendered from the skin plus the crispiness you get from searing it perfectly is really worth it.

Tips on Cooking Chicken Thighs at Home

  1. Season well. Allow enough time (many will go for as long as 24 hours) to season/brine your chicken before cooking. It can be as simple as just sprinkling with salt, or going all-out with a brine with a blend of herbs. The important part is to let it sit enough until all the flavor penetrates into the chicken. Another plus of seasoning it with salt is that it will draw out the moisture, which is essential for tip #2.
  2. Removing excess moisture is essential! Getting the crispiest chicken skin ever all comes down to this. Prepare the chicken thighs by blotting it with a paper towel to absorb the excess moisture. Get as much as you can, because the drier it is, the crispier it gets!
  3. Skin down first. This one requires patience. Cook the chicken on a hot pan, skin side down first. Don’t touch it! Once it releases itself from the pan, that’s when you should flip it. This part usually take around 8 minutes.

Here are three ways to prepare chicken thighs at home. These recipes are great for effortless weeknight dinners, and the best part is that they’re healthy! Watch the video below to see how to make the recipes. Scroll down for the complete recipe.

Baked Chicken

  1. Place thighs on a sheet tray, skin side down, on kitchen paper. This goes into the fridge until you’re ready to cook them. This extra step also dries them out further.
  2. When ready, take them out of the fridge, pat them dry and season with salt.
  3. Get a cast iron or stainless steel pan on medium heat and spread a thin layer of oil on it. Place this skin side down, bring the heat down to medium low. I like to press this down a little to get crispier skin. Depending on the size of your chicken, this will take about 8 to 10mins. After that flip it. You can either cook this on low, until you get to internal temperature of 73-75c.  Or you can put it in the oven at 200c, until you get to that same internal temperature. Rest for 5 mins before cutting.

 

Chicken Afritada

Recipe

  • 600g Chicken Thighs
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 Dried guajillo chili
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1 red bell pepper, cubed
  • 1 large carrot or 4 small carrots
  • 3 small medium potatoes, cubed
  • 1tsp to 2 tbsp honey (depends how sweet you want it)
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 cup chicken stock

Instructions

  1. Prep all your vegetables and heat pan on high heat. Once hot, place chicken skin side down and cook for 3 minutes. Flip and continue to cook for another 2 minutes. Set aside.
  2. In the same pan, add in onions and cook until translucent. Create a well in the center and add garlic, paprika, and turmeric. Mix and cook for 2 minutes.
  3. Add tomatoes and bell peppers. Once it begins to blister, squash them with a spatula.
  4. Add back the chicken, chili, bay leaves, soy sauce, fish sauce, and tomato puree. Mix until well incorporated.
  5. Add chicken stock until it submerges chicken 3/4 of the way. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes on low heat. Uncover and add potatoes and carrots, simmer for another 20 minutes. This is when you can add the honey and butter, adjust according to the level of sweetness that you like. Mix until well incorporated, and serve.

 

Healthy Creamy Chicken Mushroom

Recipe

  • 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 lb. skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 pcs. garlic
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cups oyster + brown mushrooms
  • 1 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 2 tsp. oregano
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • 3/4 c. low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2c almond milk
  • 2 tbsp. freshly chopped parsley

Instructions

  1. Heat pan with oil and cook the chicken on both sides until brown, seasoned with salt. Once ready set aside.

  2. Add your mushrooms in batches, until they are all nice and brown. Add them all back in, with your red onions and garlic. After about 5 mins, toss in apple cider vinegar, let that cook off for 1 minute before adding chicken broth, mustard and canned of drained and washed butter beans.

  3. Add some oat milk, salt, pepper and fresh oregano. Mix until well incorporated.

  4. Since we are using oat milk here, we will have to add ½ tsp of cornstarch, mixed with 1/3 cup of chicken broth, into the sauce to thicken it. If you choose to use milk or cream, you can skip this.

  5. Once nice and thick, add your chicken back in and let that simmer for 5mins. Before serving, finish with salt and pepper if needed and some chopped parsley.

 

Related Recipes

Healthy Chicken Breast Recipes

Erwan Heussaff
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