pan of baked chicken thighs

The number one thing you need to know about bone-in, skin-on Baked Chicken Thighs is that my family SMASHES them anytime I serve them for dinner.

Plates are licked clean, complaints are non-existent, plus they require 5 minutes of prep time and bake hands-off in the oven which I of course love.

This easy baked chicken recipe is the unicorn of chicken dinners!

Watch How to Make Them!

Ingredients Needed

I love this meal because it is SO SIMPLE. Aside from the chicken thighs, all you need are a handful of everyday, pantry staples.

  • Bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs: are an economical and flavorful cut of chicken that’s very hard to overcook (more on that below).
  • Seasoning mix: a simple blend of dried herbs and spices takes seconds to mix together and adds a ton of flavor. You’ll need salt, pepper, both onion and garlic powders, paprika, and Italian seasoning. Add a dash of cayenne pepper for a little heat.
  • Extra virgin olive oil: helps the seasoning mix adhere to the chicken thighs, and gets the skin golden brown and crispy.

crispy baked chicken thigh on a plate

Why You’ll Love Easy Baked Chicken Thighs

  1. Family friendly. My kids (5, 7, 10), husband, and I all love this dish. It’s one of a handful of recipes that all five of us can happily eat with zero modifications.
  2. Economical. Last week a pound of chicken breasts was selling for $8.99 at the grocery store. Yikes! Right now, skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs are selling for $1.75/lb. So much savings.
  3. Delicious. If you’ve already accepted bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs into your life then you how incredibly delicious and juicy they are. Few things beat the combo of crispy, sizzling skin and juicy, tender meat.
  4. Hands off. Once you send the chicken thighs off to the oven to bake, that’s it! There’s no need to flip the thighs or rotate the baking pan while they roast.
  5. Fool proof. While chicken breasts can become overcooked quickly and easily, it’s very difficult to overcook chicken thighs. Which brings me to…

My #1 Secret for Juicy and Tender Chicken Thighs

Overcook them.

Yes! Dark meat becomes more tender the longer it cooks because it has more connective tissue than white meat. The connective tissues break down the hotter the internal temperature becomes which renders the chicken thighs juicy, moist, and tender.

LOOK AT THIS GOODNESS!!

pressing down on a baked chicken thigh to show juices

Baking Temperature and Timing

While chicken thighs only need to be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees as read by a meat thermometer, I recommend you bake them until they reach 180 – 190 degrees. This takes 30-40 minutes at 400 degrees. We swear by this Thermapen for taking accurate internal temperature readings.

Honestly I’ve pulled the chicken thighs out of the oven at 200+ degrees from time to time and they’re still so delicious and tender.

If you’re the type of person that gets nervous about undercooking chicken, then chicken thigh recipes are definitely for you.

close up of acrispy baked chicken thigh

What to Serve with Baked Chicken Thighs

Baked Chicken Thighs lend themselves extremely well to the Midwestern “meat + veggie + starch” dinner trifecta. Since the oven is already on at 400 degrees, I typically serve the chicken thighs with a roasted vegetable or fresh salad plus some sort of potato.

Here are some more side dish ideas to help round out the meal:

Alright, let’s get this easy chicken dinner recipe on the table!

baked chicken thigh cut into with a knife

How to Make Baked Chicken Thighs

Step 1: Pat the chicken thighs dry.

Start by trimming the chicken thighs of any excess skin then pat them very dry on both sides with paper towels.

bone in skin on chicken thighs on a cutting board

Step 2: Place chicken thighs in a baking dish.

Transfer the chicken thighs into a 9×13″ or similar-sized baking dish. They can be touching but not overlapping.

bone in skin on chicken thighs in a roasting ban

Step 3: Combine the seasoning mix.

Next, in a small bowl stir together salt, black pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, and Italian seasoning. Feel free to use your favorite seasoning mix, or simply salt and pepper which is also very delicious.

bowl of seasoning mix for baked chicken thighs

Step 4: Drizzle the thighs with extra virgin olive oil.

Now drizzle extra virgin olive oil over the tops of the chicken thighs. Chicken skin is very fatty, so you just need a little bit to help the seasoning adhere to the skin.

extra virgin olive oil drizzled over chicken thighs in a baking dish

Step 5: Sprinkle on the seasoning mix.

Sprinkle the seasoning mix over the top then use your hands to evenly coat the fronts, backs, and sides of the chicken thighs with oil and seasonings.

seasoned chicken thighs in a baking dish

Step 6: Bake.

Pop the baking dish into a preheated, 400 degree oven then bake for 30-40 minutes or until the thickest part of the chicken thigh reaches an internal temperature of 180-190 degrees.

Again, the chicken is technically cooked through and safe to eat at 165 degrees, but we’re tacking on extra baking time to render the thighs extremely tender and juicy.

There is no need to rotate the pan or flip the chicken thighs at any point during the baking process.

roasted chicken thighs in a baking pan

Let the chicken thighs rest in the baking pan for at least 10 minutes then serve ’em on up! Wasn’t that easy?

hands around a plate of bake chicken thighs

Baked Chicken Thighs FAQ

Is it better to bake chicken thighs at 350 or 400 degrees? 

  • I recommend baking the chicken thighs at 400 degrees for less time to ensure the chicken thighs stay nice and juicy, vs baking for longer at 350 degrees and running the risk of drying them out.

What is the baking time for chicken thighs? 

  • Bake bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs for 30-40 minutes. Boneless skinless chicken thighs will need about 10 less minutes to bake.

What temperature does a chicken thigh need to be cooked to? 

  • Technically chicken thighs only need to be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees, though I recommend you bake them to 180-190 for very tender chicken thighs.

Can I freeze baked chicken thighs?

  • I recommend removing the meat from the bones then freezing the meat flat in a Ziplock freezer bag, vs freezing the entire baked thigh with the skin and meat still on the bone.

I hope you’ll give these juicy, best ever oven-baked chicken thighs a try for dinner tonight then let me know what you think! Enjoy!

baked chicken thigh on a plate with sides

More Irresistible Chicken Recipes

Best Baked Chicken Thighs

4.5/5 (11 REVIEWS)

Description

Baked Chicken Thighs are incredibly easy and family friendly. Try my #1 secret for baking the best, juiciest chicken thighs of your life!

Ingredients

Serves 4-5

  • 3 — 4lbs bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (7-8 thighs)
  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • For the seasoning mix:
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 1 teaspoon onion powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
    • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
    • 1/2 teaspoon Italian Seasoning

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees then get out a 9x13" baking pan and set aside.
  2. Remove the chicken thighs from their packaging then trim off excess skin if necessary. Pat very dry with paper towels then place the thighs inside the baking pan.
  3. To a small bowl add the ingredients for the seasoning mix then stir to combine. Drizzle the tops of the chicken thighs with the extra virgin olive oil then sprinkle on the seasoning mix. Use your hands to rub the oil and seasonings all over the fronts and backs of the thighs.
  4. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the thickest part of the chicken thighs reach an internal temperature of 180-190 degrees. Note: chicken thighs only need to reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees, but they're much more tender when they're cooked to a higher internal temperature. Briefly broil if desired to further crisp up the skin then let the chicken thighs rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Notes

  • Feel free to use your favorite seasoning mix, or simply salt and pepper, which is also delicious!

This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.

Video

photo collage of baked chicken thighs

Photos by Ashley McLaughlin