Baked Chicken Thighs – WellPlated.com

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Wishing tonight’s dinner was easy, inexpensive, and pretty difficult to mess up? Bonus points if it’s healthy? Time to make Baked Chicken Thighs! These baked chicken thighs have crispy skin, juicy meat, and plenty of flavor.

Why You’ll Love This Baked Chicken Thighs Recipe

  • Never Dry or Rubbery. While baked boneless skinless chicken breast might occupy the default setting in your grocery shopping approach, it is well worth picking up a pack of bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs every now and then. Dark chicken thigh meat is juicier and far less prone to drying out than white breast meat, which means cooking these crispy baked chicken thighs is stress-free!
  • Packed With Nutrients. While many think white meat is healthier, this is hardly the case. Chicken thighs are packed with nutrition. Compared to white meat, dark meat has more iron, zinc, vitamin B-12, thiamine, and other nutrients too. (Yes, dark meat has more fat than white, but it’s still a very lean, healthy protein.) Bring on the chicken thigh recipes!
  • Super Flavorful. Baked bone-in chicken thighs (and Baked Chicken Legs) have more flavor and are juicier than boneless skinless chicken thighs because the bone flavors the meat from the inside and helps retain moisture (it’s why you can skip brining when making Baked Bone-In Chicken Breast, but it’s necessary for juicy boneless Grilled Chicken Breast or Air Fryer Chicken Breast).
  • Budget-Friendly. Making oven-baked chicken thighs for dinner is a bargain! Per pound, dark meat is less expensive than white meat, and bone-in chicken is less expensive than boneless.
oven baked chicken thighs on a plate with greens

5 Star Review

“Followed to a tee and it was absolutely delicious!!! Served some mashed sweet potatoes on the side!! Love your recipes!!”

— Kara —

More About These Easy Baked Chicken Thighs

Today, I’m giving you my best 5-star, juicy chicken thighs in the oven recipe with dried Italian herbs (feel free to swap for fresh herbs if you have them), garlic, and lemon.

Old-fashioned baked crispy chicken thighs in the oven are equally as make-ahead friendly as they are last-minute healthy dinner material. (Though for the fastest method for preparing chicken, try Pan Fried Chicken Breast.)

  • I recommend 60 minutes of marinade time, but you can reduce it to 30 minutes if you need a shortcut.
  • On the opposite side of the timeline, you can completely prep them the night before and pop them into the oven when it’s time for dinner.

This is one tasty (and healthy) baked chicken thighs in the oven recipe you can serve with pride.

crispy chicken thighs that were baked in the oven with herbs and onions

How to Make Chicken Thighs in the Oven

The Ingredients

  • Chicken Thighs. Flavorful and succulent, chicken thighs are a fantastic, healthy ingredient (try them in Chicken Cacciatore). I used bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, which are healthy, affordable, and nearly impossible to mess up.

Substitution Tip

This recipe also works well for boneless chicken thighs in the oven.

Note that boneless skinless thighs in the oven will cook faster than bone-in chicken thighs (boneless, skinless chicken thighs take about 20 minutes to cook at 425 degrees F), so you’ll want to check them very early and often.

If using boneless thighs, be sure to marinate them since the meat doesn’t have the skin or bone to help insulate and flavor it. I recommend this Chicken Thigh Marinade.

  • Italian Marinade. A mixture of olive oil, paprika, garlic, Italian seasoning (which contains oregano, basil, marjoram, and more), salt, pepper, and lemon. It imparts light and bright Italian flavor onto the chicken and helps make it extra juicy. This bright Chicken Marinade is another marinade you can use for chicken in the oven.
  • Onion. My special trick for this recipe is to thinly slice an onion and scatter it around the chicken thighs as they bake in the oven. Once roasted, the onions become deliciously caramelized and sweet.
  • Fresh Herbs. Fresh parsley, tarragon, or thyme is the perfect finishing touch.

Substitution Tip!

Don’t be afraid to experiment. You can bake chicken thighs with just about any herbs and seasonings. Keep scrolling for my favorite recipe variations below!

The Directions

chicken thigh rub for the oven in a small bowl
  1. Marinate. Combine the marinade ingredients and marinate the chicken thighs for at least 30 minutes or refrigerate for up to 12 hours.
seasoned onions for baking with chicken thigh recipe
  1. Season the Onions. Place the onions on a sheet pan and toss to coat with oil, salt, and pepper.
chicken thighs ready to bake on baking sheet with seasoning and onions
  1. Arrange. Nestle the chicken thighs into the onions skin side up.
chicken thighs baked perfectly in the oven with onions and seasoning
  1. Cook. Bake chicken thighs for 15 minutes, stir the onions, and bake for 10 to 20 additional minutes, or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165 degrees F. Let rest on the pan for 5 minutes.
  2. Finish. Stir the onions and broil 1 to 2 minutes to crisp the chicken skin. Garnish with herbs, then serve hot and ENJOY!

Recipe Variations

  • BBQ Chicken Thighs in the Oven. Season the thighs with your favorite BBQ spice blend (such as smoked paprika, chili powder, garlic and onion powder). Bake per the time and temperature suggested in the recipe (with or without the onions). Serve with Barbecue Sauce.
  • Old Fashioned Chicken Thighs in the Oven. Keep the taste pure and simple with salt, pepper, and paprika. Serve with Easy Drop Biscuits and your favorite gravy.
  • Southern Chicken Thighs in the Oven. Season the chicken with a blend of garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, seasoned salt, a little cayenne, and dried rosemary.
  • Curry Chicken Thighs in the Oven. Season the thighs with curry powder, cumin, chili powder, black pepper, and salt. (This variation would be scrumptious with Turmeric Rice.)

Storage Tips

  • To Store. Place baked chicken thighs in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
  • To Reheat. Gently rewarm leftovers in a baking dish in the oven at 350 degrees F or in the microwave.
  • To Freeze. Freeze chicken thighs in an airtight, freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

Meal Prep Tip

Up to 12 hours in advance, dry and marinate the chicken thighs as directed in Step 1. Refrigerate until you’re ready to bake.

Leftover Ideas

De-bone and dice your chicken thighs, then toss them into your favorite pasta (this Pesto Pasta or Mushroom Pasta would be tasty) or reheat on the bone with Homemade Fried Rice for a tasty baked chicken thighs with rice dish. Leftovers also make a fantastic addition to a salad.

crispy skin and golden color, chicken thighs baked perfectly in the oven

What to Serve with Baked Chicken Thighs

Recipe Tips and Tricks

  • Don’t Cover the Chicken. Some chicken thighs in the oven recipes require covering with aluminum foil. This is not one of them. When baking chicken thighs with the skin on, you’re trying to achieve crispy chicken thighs in the oven. Therefore, leaving them uncovered ensures a crispy skin that turns perfectly golden. YUM!
  • Stick With High and Short. AKA the opposite of low and slow. I find it best to bake bone-in chicken thigh recipes like this one at a high temperature—425 degrees F. Since chicken thighs are lean, they don’t benefit from low, slow cooking the way tougher, more marbled cuts like Slow Cooker Pulled Pork do. A shorter cook time with high heat is the move for chicken thighs in the oven.
  • Or Adjust the Temperature As Needed. If needed, you can adjust the oven temperature down to as low as 400 degrees F to accommodate other dishes—say you are cooking the chicken thighs in the oven at the same time as a pan of Roasted Brussels Sprouts or Roasted Butternut Squash. Simply extend the cooking time by a few minutes (or go for 415 degrees F—right in between). Or, you can make a sheet pan Rosemary Chicken Thighs, which include veggies on the same pan.
  • Know When Baked Chicken Thighs Are Done. The best (and I’d say only true) way to tell if your chicken is cooked properly is to use an instant-read meat thermometer inserted at the thickest part. Chicken should be cooked to 165 degrees F, but its temperature will rise after it is removed from the heat. I remove oven-baked chicken thighs 5 to 10 degrees early (155 to 160 degrees F).
  • Don’t Forget the Rest. Resting allows the meat to come to a safe temperature. Resting is necessary so that the juices have time to reincorporate into the baked chicken thighs.
baked chicken thighs on a plate with baked onions
  • 2 1/4 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs about 4
  • 3 garlic cloves minced, about 1 tablespoon
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil divided
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 small lemon zest and juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper divided
  • 1 yellow onion halved and thinly sliced lengthwise
  • Chopped fresh parsley or tarragon or thyme plus additional for serving

  • Pat the chicken dry and place in a large bowl or large ziptop bag. In a small bowl, combine the garlic, 2 tablespoons oil, paprika, Italian seasoning, lemon zest and juice (zest the lemon right over the bag or bowl), 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Pour over the chicken and turn to coat the chicken evenly ( or seal the bag and turn to coat). Let sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes or cover and refrigerate for up to 12 hours (let come to room temperature prior to baking).

  • When ready to bake, place 1 rack in the center of the oven and 1 rack in the upper third (about 6 inches from the top). Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the onions in the center.

  • Drizzle the onions with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Toss to coat, then spread into an even layer.

  • Remove the chicken from the marinade; shake off and discard any excess marinade. Clear some spaces in the onions for the chicken thighs, then nestle them in, spacing them evenly throughout the pan.

  • Bake the chicken thighs for 15 minutes. Remove the pan and toss the onions to promote even cooking (I use a fork to stir them around a bit). Return to the oven and bake for 10 to 20 additional minutes (that’s 25 to 35 minutes total), until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165°F. Let rest on the pan for 5 minutes.

  • Stir the onions once more. Place the rack on the upper third rack and broil 1 to 2 minutes to crisp the chicken skin. Watch carefully, so nothing burns. Sprinkle all over with parsley. Serve the chicken hot, with the yummy, jammy onions complete with juices spooned alongside.

  • TO STORE: Refrigerate chicken thighs in an airtight storage container for up to 3 days.
  • TO REHEAT: Gently rewarm leftovers in a baking dish in the oven at 350 degrees F or in the microwave.
  • TO FREEZE: Freeze chicken thighs in an airtight, freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

Serving: 1(of 4)Calories: 598kcalCarbohydrates: 8gProtein: 36gFat: 47gSaturated Fat: 11gPolyunsaturated Fat: 9gMonounsaturated Fat: 23gTrans Fat: 0.2gCholesterol: 213mgPotassium: 587mgFiber: 2gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 1056IUVitamin C: 17mgCalcium: 56mgIron: 3mg

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Frequently Asked Questions

If My Chicken Is Pink, Does That Mean It’s Not Done?

Not necessarily. Chicken meat, especially dark meat, can look pink even when it is cooked through. Again, the absolute best, safest way to know if your chicken is cooked to temperature is to use an instant-read thermometer.

HELP! My Chicken is Dry.

If your chicken thighs are dry, it is because they are overcooked. While you can’t go back, you can cover your mistake by serving chicken thighs in the oven in sauce. Try the honey Dijon mustard sauce from my Pecan Crusted Chicken or go all out with Mushroom Gravy.

How Would I Adapt This Chicken Thighs in the Oven Recipe for Chicken Breasts?

If you prefer lean white meat chicken breasts over chicken thighs in the oven, here is my recipe for the BEST Baked Split Chicken Breast. You can use the marinade from this recipe if you like.

Why Does Baked Chicken Get Tough?

Chicken thighs in the oven recipes get tough when either baked too long or when they’re not properly marinaded before cooking. To avoid tough chicken thighs, make sure to pull them when they reach the right internal temperature (see the box above for tips) and make sure to marinate for at least 30 minutes (or longer). Marinading chicken helps break down the muscle fibers, so the chicken is tender once baked.

Can I Make This Recipe in the Air Fryer?

Sure! See my Air Fryer Chicken Thighs for tips (the onions you can roast separately or saute on the stove if you like).

More Healthy Chicken Recipes

Here are more of my very favorite easy oven baked chicken recipes to try next:

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