Baked Chicken Thighs

October 22, 2020

This post may contain affiliate links. Read our disclosure policy.

Baked Chicken Thighs – these are deliciously seasoned and have a crisp skin and juicy interior. An easy method that finishes with perfectly tasty results every time!

Image of baked chicken thighs shown overhead served on a white oval platter.

Baked Chicken Thighs

Baked chicken thighs served with potatoes (and 1-hour dinner rolls if you’ve got the prep time) makes for the perfect, comforting homestyle meal.

Nothing complicated, nothing fancy, just simple ingredients creating the classic food we crave.

As with most of my recipes, these thighs are also very easy to prepare and the cooking is all hands off – the oven does all the work. Not much tending to and turning like pan searing or grilling.

This is a versatile recipe as far as seasoning goes and there are endless variations. Just keep to the method – tossing with oil and baking as directed. Then from there you can adjust seasonings to your hearts content with different herbs, spices or blends.

Image of ingredients needed to make baked chicken thighs. Shows raw chicken thighs, salt and pepper, olive oil, lemon, paprika, Italian seasoning and garlic.

Baked Chicken Thighs Ingredients

  • Chicken thighs: Bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs are used here for more flavor.
  • Olive oil: This is used to encourage browning.
  • Lemon: The zest is used to season the chicken, then wedges are used for spritzing upon serving. I like to wait to add the juice just so chicken skin gets crispier in the oven without the added liquid.
  • Garlic: Another alternative is to use 2 tsp garlic powder.
  • Italian seasoning: Make your own blend using 1 tsp each basil, oregano, and thyme then 1/2 tsp each marjoram and rosemary.
  • Paprika: This adds a nice light flavor and also improves color.
  • Salt and pepper: Season with a fair amount.
    Collage of six images showing how to prepare chicken thighs for baking. Shows making a seasoning mixture, drying chicken, tossing with mixture and setting on rack in baking sheet.

How to Prepare Baked Chicken Thighs

  1. Prepare oven: Move oven rack up one level from center. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Prepare baking sheet: Line a rimmed 18 by 13-inch baking sheet with aluminum foil and top with an oven safe wire cooling rack. Spray cooling rack with non-stick cooking spray.
  3. Make seasoning mixture: In an extra large mixing bowl whisk together olive oil, lemon zest, garlic, Italian seasoning and paprika.
  4. Dry chicken thighs, toss with mixture: Dab chicken thighs well dry with paper towels and add chicken thighs to bowl with oil mixture. Toss well to evenly coat with mixture.
  5. Place chicken on rack, season: Transfer thighs to rack on baking sheet turning skin side down. Season with salt and pepper then turn skin side up and season with salt and pepper.

How Long to Bake Chicken Thighs

  • Chicken thighs should be baked in preheated 400 degrees until skin is browned and thighs register 165 degrees in thickest portion, about 35 – 45 minutes. Time can vary based on size of thighs.
  • Baking tip for crispier skin: Broil during last 1 – 3 minutes for crispier skin (keep a close eye on it).
  • For extra flavor: Serve with lemon wedges for spritzing.

Chicken thighs on wire rack shown after baking.

Tips:

  • Use evenly sized chicken thighs so they finish cooking at the same time.
  • Don’t skip drying chicken with paper towels. The extra moisture doesn’t allow chicken to brown and crisp up as nicely.
  • Wanting to reduce smoking? Place chicken thighs over a layer of chopped vegetables (such as potatoes and carrots) instead of a on cooling rack. Increase bake time slightly.
  • Always take temperature to test for doneness. Check temperature in thickest area of chicken thighs.

Chicken thighs on wire rack shown close up after baking.

Sauces to Serve with Baked Chicken

Want to take it up a notch? Try pairing it with a sauce for dipping:

Baked chicken thigh sliced into on a serving plate.

Ways to Use Leftover Chicken

This recipe does make quite a bit so you can serve half for dinner then use the second half to make something else. Here are some ideas:

Baked chicken thighs stacked together on a platter.

More Ways to Make Chicken Thighs

Image of baked chicken thighs shown overhead served on a white oval platter.
5 from 4 votes

Baked Chicken Thighs

These are deliciously seasoned with a crisp skin and juicy interior. An easy method that finishes with perfectly tasty results every time!
Servings: 8
Prep15 minutes
Cook35 minutes
Ready in: 50 minutes

Ingredients

  • 8 large bone-in skin-on chicken thighs (about 3.5 - 4 lbs)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Zest of 1 large lemon (1 Tbsp), remainder of lemon cut into wedges for serving
  • 5 garlic cloves minced, or 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 4 tsp Italian seasoning, store-bought or homemade, see notes
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  • Position oven rack one level above center. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Line a rimmed 18 by 13-inch baking sheet with aluminum foil and top with an oven safe wire cooling rack (I like THIS ONE). Spray cooling rack with non-stick cooking spray.
  • In an extra large mixing bowl whisk together olive oil, lemon zest, garlic, Italian seasoning and paprika.
  • Dab chicken thighs well dry with paper towels and add chicken thighs to bowl with oil mixture. Toss well to evenly coat with mixture.
  • Transfer thighs to rack on baking sheet turning skin side down. Season with salt and pepper then turn skin side up and season with salt and pepper. Leave space between thighs so heat can circulate evenly.
  • Bake in preheated oven until skin is browned and thighs register 175 degrees in thickest portion, about 35 - 45 minutes. If desired broil* during last minute or two for crispier skin (keep a close eye on it).
  • Serve warm** with lemon wedges for spritzing. If desired you can garnish with a 1 Tbsp chopped parsley.

Notes

  • *If you opt to broil you may want to drain fat from baking sheet before broiling to reduce smoking.
  • *After broiling I like to brush away browned garlic pieces from the top as these can be bitter. They season the chicken while baking but once browned the flavor isn't the same.
Homemade Italian Seasoning, mix:
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp marjoram
  • 1/2 tsp rosemary
Nutrition Facts
Baked Chicken Thighs
Amount Per Serving
Calories 390 Calories from Fat 189
% Daily Value*
Fat 21g32%
Saturated Fat 5g31%
Cholesterol 194mg65%
Sodium 154mg7%
Potassium 436mg12%
Carbohydrates 2g1%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 32g64%
Vitamin A 383IU8%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
Calcium 34mg3%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.