Poor chicken thighs. While skinless, boneless chicken breast gets all the love, those thighs sit in the refrigerator untouched. It’s true that chicken breast is quick and cheap, but it’s also missing the wow factor of chicken thighs: flavor!
Top Tips for Baking Chicken Thighs
Because chicken thighs have more fat from their skin and dark meat, they have loads of flavor. Your chicken thighs should come out of the oven browned, crispy and bursting with juicy goodness. It can be intimidating to know how long to bake chicken thighs, so we’re taking the guesswork out of it.
Pat the Skin Dry
The first step to preparing your chicken thighs is also the most important. Make sure the outer skin is as dry as possible. Moist skin causes steam, making your cooked thighs mushy. Pat them dry for crispy skin.
Prep the Night Before
Save time and get more flavor by preparing your chicken thighs the night before you bake them. By allowing them to sit with the vegetables and seasonings overnight, you’ll have nothing to do at dinnertime but pop the sheet pan in the oven. Just be sure to keep an eye out for the most common sheet pan dinner mistakes.
Know How Long to Bake Chicken Thighs
You don’t want to overbake and risk dry thighs, so roast only until a thermometer inserted in the chicken reads 170°-175°. It usually takes about 40 minutes. And, yes, you really need a meat thermometer.
How to Roast Chicken Thighs
- 2 pounds red potatoes (about 6 medium), cut into 3/4-inch pieces
- 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1-1/4 teaspoons salt, divided
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed, divided
- 3/4 teaspoon pepper, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 6 bone-in chicken thighs (about 2-1/4 pounds), skin removed
- 6 cups fresh baby spinach (about 6 ounces)
Step 1: Prepare the baking pan
Preheat oven to 400°. In a large bowl, combine potatoes, onion, oil, garlic, 3/4 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon rosemary and 1/2 teaspoon pepper; toss to coat.
Transfer to a 15x10x1-in. baking pan coated with cooking spray.
Step 2: Mix the seasonings
In a small bowl, mix paprika and the remaining salt, rosemary and pepper. Sprinkle chicken with paprika mixture; arrange over vegetables.
Step 3: Bake
How long do you bake chicken thighs at 400°? It depends. Roast until a thermometer inserted in chicken reads 170°-175° and vegetables are just tender, 40-45 minutes. Be sure to use a thermometer to make sure your chicken is fully cooked.
The best part of a baked chicken dinner is biting into the crispy skin. Up the flavor and crunch by broiling the chicken thighs for one minute after they are cooked through. Once they are golden brown, remove from the oven.
Step 4: Let the Chicken Rest
Remove chicken to a serving platter. Cover with a piece of aluminum foil to keep warm. While the chicken is resting, top the vegetables with spinach. Roast until vegetables are tender and spinach is wilted, 8-10 minutes longer. Stir vegetables to combine; serve with chicken.
You can toss chicken thighs with any of your favorite vegetables and seasonings for a quick sheet pan dinner any night of the week. Serve with a light side dish like this Veggie Chopped Salad and you’re ready to go.
Whatever you do, just be sure to break out of your chicken breast rut today. Juicy flavor is waiting for you!