Make a fuss-free meal with this super simple baked chicken thighs recipe that has only 5 minutes of prep. They'll end up so tender with deliciously crispy skin, and your oven does all the work!
Why you'll love them
These are the best baked chicken thighs because you can count the ingredients on one hand, yet they're loaded with flavor and go with practically any side dish. You don't need much to season chicken since the oven creates a lot of magic in making that crisped up skin and juicy meat. I have suggestions to further jazz it up, but it totally isn't necessary.
One of the benefits of making crispy chicken thighs in the oven is that they're pretty difficult to overcook. This is definitely not the case with chicken breasts! They also tend to be more flavorful and reheat better without drying out, so that's another win. It's the ideal chicken recipe for beginners or busy families looking for a budget-friendly dinner.
What you'll need
- Chicken - we're using bone in, skin-on chicken thighs. They vary a lot in size, so that's why I suggest buying two pounds worth. You can get anywhere from 5 or 6 or up to 8 chicken thighs depending on their individual sizes. Most people will eat 1-2 chicken thighs each.
- Olive oil - it adds moisture and is what makes the exterior get that gorgeous crisped up quality
- Salt & pepper - be generous. It's a tried and true seasoning that goes far in this recipe.
- Smoked paprika - it adds a slight smokiness, loads of flavor, and also gives the chicken skin a richer color
- To make clean-up effortless, I line my baking sheet with foil. Baked-on juices are not a fun thing to scrub off a bare baking sheet.
- These roasted chicken thighs are great because you can make as many or as few as you want. Make a bunch for the week, and you have chicken ready to add to salads or work lunches and can eat them hot or cold!
- For food safety purposes, it's recommended that you don't rinse your chicken prior to cooking it. It simply spreads bacteria around your kitchen. Cooking the chicken will kill any lingering bacteria.
How long to bake chicken thighs
- Your average sized chicken thighs should be plenty cooked and have a chance for the skin to crisp up as well by 35-40 minutes at 400F.
- Using an instant read meat thermometer? Thighs become tender around 175F.
- Chicken thighs are very forgiving, so overcooking them by a few minutes won't hurt, especially if you let them rest before cutting into them.
Do I have to let chicken rest?
- Yes! Letting chicken rest for 5-10 minutes after you take it out of the oven helps it remain tender and juicy because the juices have some time to redistribute. It's an important step.
How to bake chicken thighs
This is an overview, and full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.
- Preheat the oven to 400F, and line a baking sheet with foil as pictured.
- Pat the thighs dry with paper towel to ensure they crisp up. Place on the tray and coat with olive oil and season them.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes until cooked through. If you want extra crispy skin, broil it for a few minutes at the end. Just watch it carefully so it doesn't burn. Let rest, and then enjoy.
Substitutions and variations
- If you want to use boneless, skinless chicken thighs, you can. They will take a bit less time to cook, about 5-10 minutes less depending on size.
- This is a fantastic recipe as-is, but the technique works for any number of seasoning ideas. Try sprinkling garlic powder, onion powder, and Italian seasoning or Herbs de Provence onto the chicken.
- Or use a one stop shop like McCormick's Montreal Chicken Seasoning. There are so many possibilities! You can definitely change it up based on what you feel like. If you like a pop of freshness and brightness, garnish with lemon wedges.
What to serve with baked chicken thighs
- They're a great addition to salads! Make a big green salad with my Homemade Creamy Balsamic Dressing.
- For carbs, you can serve this chicken with anything from rice to Garlic Butter Noodles or Mashed Potatoes.
- Essentially any cooked vegetable is a great choice. Try pairing with my Best Creamed Spinach. It's one of my favorite side dishes.
Leftovers and storage
- Baked chicken thighs will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days in an airtight container. You could freeze them for up to 3 months, but the skin will lose its crispiness.
- Reheat in the oven at 400F. Place on a baking dish with a bit of chicken broth in the bottom. Cover with foil. Cook until it reaches 165F in the thickest part. Check how warm it is after 20 minutes or so. You can try broiling it to crisp the skin up again.
- If using a microwave to reheat, put in on a plate and cover it with damp paper towel so it doesn't dry out as much. Microwave in 1-2 minute increments until warmed through.
If you made these oven baked chicken thighs and would like to leave a review or have any questions, talk to me in the comments below! You can also find me on Instagram.
Easy Baked Chicken Thighs
- 2 pounds chicken thighs (bone-in skin on)
- 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika or more, to taste
- Preheat the oven to 400F and move the rack to the middle position. Line a baking sheet with foil for easy clean-up.
- Pat the chicken dry with paper towel. Place the chicken pieces on the baking sheet and coat them on both sides with olive oil. Season them generously with salt & pepper on both sides. Sprinkle the smoked paprika on the skin (and then rub it on).
- Bake, uncovered, skin side up, for 35-40 minutes or until cooked through. See recipe notes below for more info on timing. Optional: broil for a few more minutes to really crisp up the skin.
- Let the chicken thighs rest for 5-10 minutes prior to serving them (this ensures they will be juicy and tender).
- 2 pounds of chicken thighs serves 4-6 depending on how much people eat/what you serve them with. Cook as many as you need.
- If chicken thighs are on the small side, test doneness after 25-30 minutes. Go up to 45 minutes before testing doneness if the chicken thighs are very large. Chicken thighs become tender with an internal temperature of 175F, so it's always best to use an instant read thermometer to take the guesswork out.
- Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only and should be construed as an estimate rather than a guarantee. Ingredients can vary and Salt & Lavender makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information.
This recipe was originally published on February 16, 2020. It's been updated with new photos and better instructions but is the same great recipe!