perfect pan-roasted chicken thighs

I love super simple recipes like this. Especially when the result is so tasty that I’m ready to fill my plate for seconds and I’m visibly crushed because I know there’s none left in the pan. Poor me, I’ll just have to make this recipe again soon. Trust me, I will and so will you, I’m sure. This will be a staple chicken thigh recipe and I’m a chicken thigh lover through and through.

One thing that is different in this recipe is that the chicken skin stays on the chicken. If you grew up in a house that banished any notion of fat, the number one rule in cooking with poultry was that chicken skin must always be removed. And into my adult life, I’ve pretty much followed that rule hook, line and sinker. And with thighs, that is totally fine because thighs are juicy and rarely seem to dry out. But I was eager to try out this recipe as I’m a sucker for simplicity and with a come-on as enticing as Perfection, I could’t resist. The skin stayed on. And trust me, any extra calories are seriously worth it.

This chicken that is easy enough to make on a harried weeknight. Despite it’s simple ingredient list- salt, pepper and a bit of vegetable oil, it’s really about technique and searing the skin to get really crispy results. Did I mention that it only takes 35 minutes?

Perfection does come with a bit of a cost. The only real drawback to this meal is that it is a bit messy. The oil and the chicken fat does splatter, but it’s not enough of a mess to call the whole thing off. Just steer clear of the pan while it’s on the stove to prevent random burns and do a quick wipe down when you put the pan in the oven. The resulting chicken is one with super crisp skin and a moist and juicy interior. Biting into it had me smiling from ear to ear. This isn’t as fussy as traditional fried chicken but it was incredibly delicious! Hello pan perfect chicken, we’ve become fast friends indeed.

elsewhere: Pop over to Poppytalk and take a gander at a very lovely no-fuss Blueberry Almond Norwegian Tea Cake. It contains no butter or oil and it’s completely delicious and easy to prepare.

44 comments to “perfect pan-roasted chicken thighs”

  1. 1
    CookiePie   August 25, 2011 at 12:25 pm

    I absolutely love the simplicity of this, and it looks so delicious! So perfect for a weeknight meal. Yum!!

  2. 2
    Kathryn | Dramatic Pancake   August 25, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    There is nothing better than simply seasoned chicken (WITH skin, for sure), that is crispy and tender. When it comes to chicken, my go-to is usually just a whole roasted chicken, but I’m curious to try out this method!

  3. 3
    Joanne   August 26, 2011 at 3:24 am

    I love it when super simple recipes end up blowing you out of the water!

  4. 4
    Barefeet In The Kitchen   August 26, 2011 at 10:48 am

    These look perfect. I love when the simplest recipes make me so happy. (That tea cake looks wonderful as well!)

  5. 5
    lisaiscooking   August 26, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    I only recently came around to chicken skin, but now that I’ve converted, there’s no going back. Love the simplicity, and I can tell from the photo how delightful that crispy skin was!

  6. 6
    kickpleat   August 26, 2011 at 1:48 pm

    Thanks CookiePie, it is so perfect. Enjoy it!

    Kathryn, it’s seasoned so well and so simply. It’s my new fave 🙂

    Yes, so true, Joanne.

    Thank you, Barefeet. So true. And yes, that cake is a good one.

  7. 7
    cecilia g   August 26, 2011 at 7:55 pm

    fantastic, i would also be crushed if there were no seconds.. love it!!! c

  8. 8
    shellie   August 27, 2011 at 11:23 am

    those look fabulous. nothing beats panfried chicken mouth is actually watering.

  9. 9
    Bijoux   August 28, 2011 at 8:06 am

    I thought for sure there were spices on the chicken maybe even tandoori since the colour is just so robust. We started buying organic chicken thighs not too long ago and love them! For the same price of non-organic chicken breasts we buy the organic thighs which are juicier and retain flavour better. Yup, I’m a convert 🙂

  10. 10
    kickpleat   August 28, 2011 at 10:57 am

    Thanks Cecilia!

    Shellie, these are soooooo good! Yes, to the skin!

    Bijoux, it’s all the the technique. Yes, we always buy organic thighs – cheaper & delicious option. Hooray!

  11. 11
    Chef Mike   August 29, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    Even simpler and easier(better) is to not use the oven at all! Just keep the thighs in the pan after a short 1 minute med-high sear. Turn the heat on the stove way down to low. To the non-skin side (facing up), now is the time to more flavor with add a little mrs dash (herb and garlic), touch of curry powder and/or cumin powder, along with your good sea salt and fresh cracked pepper. Then leave it alone uncovered for a 15 minutes to slowly crisp up and render the skin before turning it over to cook the non-skin side for 10-15 more minutes. The skin will have a light brown crispiness and the fat will render out nicely.

  12. 12
    kickpleat   August 30, 2011 at 4:02 pm

    Mmm, sounds delicious, Chef Mike!

  13. 13
    Chelsea   August 31, 2011 at 10:50 am

    I made this last night and they came out fabulously! And they looked just like the picture. That never happens when I cook.

  14. 14
    kickpleat   August 31, 2011 at 11:53 am

    Chelsea, so glad they turned out so well – it’s such a simple recipe that it’s easy to get fantastic results!

  15. 15
    Adrianna from A Cozy Kitchen   August 31, 2011 at 11:00 pm

    No better cut of chicken than thighs. Sometimes I wonder why I even do whole chickens. I should just do thighs…like this!

  16. 16
    Bunny Eats Design   September 2, 2011 at 11:15 pm

    I have to confess, I have never removed the skin from a piece of chicken. That’s where the best flavour is! I should be as big as a house. I would love to try this recipe. Looks like a home-style KFC. KFC is a weakness of mine so if I can have a freerange version at home, all the better!

  17. 17
    kickpleat   September 4, 2011 at 9:58 am

    I love whole chickens too, Adrianna, but it’s nice to just have the thighs once in a while! Enjoy.

    Bunny Eats, so funny! I think it was my mom who engrained all that no-chicken-fat stuff on me. Luckily, thighs are so juicy that it’s okay. But this recipe needs the fat. Yum!!

  18. 18
    Wine Harlots   September 10, 2011 at 8:39 am

    I love fried chicken with a glass of rose sparkling wine.
    Try it, you’ll like it.


    Nannette Eaton

  19. 19
    kickpleat   September 12, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    Thanks Nannette!

  20. 20
    Meagan   September 19, 2011 at 6:27 pm

    I’ve uncharacteristically left two comments now in a very short timespan, which speaks to how absolutely delicious these chicken thighs were. I was compelled. You’re right: I have a new favourite.

  21. 21
    kickpleat   September 19, 2011 at 6:51 pm

    Aw thanks Meagan, glad to hear it!

  22. 22
    tmhang   November 10, 2011 at 10:47 am

    I made these last night, they were PERFECT! I want to make them for everyone I know!

  23. 23
    Tina   November 13, 2011 at 4:36 pm

    I’m not much of a cook but my chicken thighs turned out GREAT! The funny thing is, I’ve been avoiding meat ever since I moved out of my parents’ place solely because I can’t cook it very well. Thanks for helping me introduce meat to my diet again with this perfectly simple recipe!

  24. 24
    meagan   January 31, 2012 at 2:07 pm

    I am making these now, but they burned after the first two minutes, why???

  25. 25
    kickpleat   January 31, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    Megan, what kind of pan did you use? I’d recommend a heavy cast iron pan – if you have something thinner it might burn the chicken. I’ve made this a couple of times now with no burning. If your pan is thin, turn down the heat a bit so it’s still hot but not scorchingly so. I hope it helps!

  26. 26
    Jerri   March 4, 2012 at 6:45 pm

    Made this tonight & it was a hit w/my guys! Thanks for sharing!

  27. 27
    Kathleen   October 27, 2012 at 5:46 pm

    I make this several times a month. So easy, and simply delicious!

  28. 28
    Melody   November 7, 2012 at 6:26 pm

    Awesome! Family loved it! Thank you! And so easy….. If only the clean-up was easier! Worth it tho!

  29. 29
    Lezlie   November 13, 2012 at 8:22 am

    I make something like this and it’s even easier: Season both sides of the chicken thighs with salt, pepper and poultry seasoning and place on a broiler pan. Bake skin side up for 50 minutes at 400 degrees.

    Another method is to put cookie cooling racks on a cookie sheet so that the grease drips away from the meat.

    Both methods ensure lovely, golden brown & crispy skin.

  30. 30
    kickpleat   November 13, 2012 at 9:38 am

    Jerri, Kathleen & Melody, so glad you love this recipe!!! It’s so worth the clean-up 🙂

    Lezlie, great tips – I’ll try your version with the cookie racks.

  31. 31
    SR   January 1, 2013 at 4:30 pm

    The skin stuck to the bottom of the skillet while it was cooking skin side down 🙁 i was afraid this was gonna happen…. Any advice?

  32. 32
    kickpleat   January 1, 2013 at 11:19 pm

    SR, what kind of pan did you use? I think a heavy cast iron pan is best. The pan has to be hot and all that rendered fat should help to not make it stick. Are you using tongs or a spatula. A gentle touch with tongs would be best, I think. I”ve made this a few times now & haven’t had that issue so I’m not sure what the problem could have been.

  33. 33
    Paula   January 18, 2013 at 4:08 pm

    Never again! The whole house filled with smoke.

  34. 34
    kickpleat   January 19, 2013 at 9:44 am

    Bummer Paula, maybe your heat was too high? Did you use a heavy cast iron skillet? I find the heavier the pan, the better it regulates the heat.

  35. 35
    Le-Ann   May 2, 2013 at 2:48 pm

    Found you from Pinterest! Made these today from frozen thighs. Delicious! Came out perfect and full of flavor. Thank you! I did use a heavy cast iron skillet.

  36. 36
    Deb   May 22, 2013 at 1:39 pm

    I had never made fried chicken and this was awesome.Thank you

  37. 37
    Tonya   September 17, 2013 at 3:09 pm

    I love cooking chicken thighes this way, but have found that putting the oven on 475 is too high. I set my oven to 425 otherwise my house fills with smoke also.

  38. 38
    kickpleat   September 17, 2013 at 3:48 pm

    Tonya, I think lowering the temperature would be fine – especially if it fills your kitchen with smoke.

  39. 39
    Kathleen   February 6, 2014 at 4:19 pm

    I make this at least once a month and we always comment, “How can something so easy be so honking delicious?”

  40. 40
    Vicks   March 4, 2014 at 7:34 pm

    I loved reading this recipe–took the words right out of my mouth. I’m a chicken thigh lover too and can’t wait to try this soon. Thanks!

  41. 41
    Kristin   June 11, 2014 at 6:28 am

    I just found this recipe and it looks fantastic. But… I don’t have a cast iron pan so I’m afraid to try it 🙁 Bummer!

  42. 42
    kickpleat   June 12, 2014 at 8:44 am

    Kristin, a cast iron pan is a really affordable pan – a new one is around $20 (I’ve bought most of mine at thrift stores where they are considerably cheaper) and they’re great to have around. If you have a very heavy pan you could try it, but it would definitely need to be a heavy pan 🙂

  43. 43
    Karla   August 13, 2014 at 3:49 pm

    I am in the process of making this right now. Changed it spa bit tho. Cooked it on stovetop 2 mins and put it in the oven for 30 mins then I will flop it over the last 5 mins. Using my Emril pan so I turned oven down to 450 also added dash of garlic powder along with salt and pepper. Smelling really good. I would have done it the other way but can’t stand long enough to keep an eye on it. Should be done when my son gets here so he can take it out for me.

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