Sometimes, in my more reflective moments, I feel a bit bad for the humble chicken thigh.  The thigh is one of the most flavorful, tender, and juicy parts of the chicken, but damn if those breasts don’t get all the love.  Now, I’ll say up front, I’ve got nothing against the breast.  They are wonderful and have their own place in all kinds of dishes, but not only have I come to appreciate cooking chicken thighs, but I want to sing their praise, and advocate that everyone start working chicken thighs into their culinary repertoire.  But first, you need to know how to cook them, and that’s what I’m going to show you in this cooking video.  Take a peak, and let me know what you think.  Once you master the basics I discuss here, you can work them into all kinds of recipes.  Enjoy!

How to Cook Chicken Thighs

First, figure out what to buy.

  • All chicken thigh will generally be more tender, darker (than breast meat) in color, and have more flavor
  • You can buy skin on, bone in thighs, which I tend to use when I want to roast them whole and or BBQ on the grill
  • You can also buy skin on boneless, which I like to quickly pan sear over high heat to get the skin crispy, and I’ll use them similar to how I’d use chicken breasts
  • Finally, you can buy boneless skinless, and I use these when I’m chopping up the chicken for things like tacos, or when I’m braising the chicken and won’t ever have the opportunity to render out the skin, making it crispy and delicious

Second, cook them thighs

  • Here I’m showing you how to pan roast some skin on, boneless chicken thighs; but you can use the same technique if the bone is still in
  • Take the chicken breasts out of the fridge about 30 minutes before you want to cook it, and path them dry
  • Right before cooking, season them on all sides with salt and pepper
  • This is also the time, I’d add any spice rubs that you may want to use
  • Heat a sauté pan large enough for you chicken thighs over medium high heat until it’s very hot, just to the smoke point
  • Coat the bottom of the pan with a thin layer of olive oil, and lay the chicken thighs down, skin side down
  • It’s important to start with the skin side, so that it has a chicken to render out and become crisp and delicious.  If you start on the other side, when the chicken is cooked through, the skin will still be flabby and a big gross
  • Allow the thighs to sear on that first side for about 4 – 5 minutes.  There should be a lot of sizzling; if not pull the chicken up and allow the pan to heat up more
  • Now turn the chicken thighs over, and you should see the that skin is golden brown, the majority of the fat is rendered out, and the skin is crisp to the touch
  • Continue to cook the second side for about the same about of time ~4 minutes
  • If the chicken thighs are very thick and/or still have the bone, you can move the entire pan into a pre-heated 400 degree oven to finish cooking.  If your pan can’t go into the oven, transfer them into a baking dish, that is already in the oven, also pre-heated
  • But most likely the chicken thighs will reach 160 degrees internal temperature right on the stove top.  With practice, you’ll be able to tell just by look/feel, but if may be worth investing in a meat thermometer until you’re there
  • Once you have them cooked, remove from the pan and allow them to rest for at least 5 minutes before you serve them
  • If don’t right you’ll have a great flavor form the crusty outside, while the chicken stays juicy and perfectly cooked in the center
Total Time: 
30mins
Prep Time: 
10minutes
Cook Time: 
20minutes
Main Ingredient: 
How to Cook Chicken