I am a huge, huge fan of boneless, skinless chicken thighs. They are inexpensive, tasty, and easy to cook. In fact, I find it difficult to mess up chicken thighs. They are just dark enough to stay tender, but not so dark as to put off people who prefer white meat. Everyone who eats regularly at my house has eaten chicken thighs!
In the summer I grill these babies every week, especially when I have a big table of people to feed. But in the winter, when I don't feel like stepping outside to the grill but do feel like turning on the oven, I bake the chicken in the oven. It's easy as 1-2-3. Here's what I do.
Chicken Thighs in the Oven Are Quick!
I just love how quick these are. They are truly a weeknight meal. You can come in the door with a package of meat, throw off your coat, and pop these right in the oven. You'll have just enough time to open a bottle of wine and toss together a salad before they're done.
What to Buy
I want to bring this up before we get to the recipe because I think it's always worth talking about where you get your meat. And I certainly don't mean to be didactic — I think meat is something most of us are conscious of, and we all try to get the best stuff we can. My point is really to say that chicken thighs are one of the cheapest, easiest things to buy organic or pasture-raised. Even at a high-end butcher counter, these only cost me $4/pound, for instance.
If you want to add a little more punch to the chicken, you can make a quick sauce of nearly any oil, acid, and spices. Here, for instance, I combined a couple tablespoons olive oil, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, Dijon mustard, garlic cloves, and a dash of red pepper flakes. I often make Asian-inspired sauces with sesame oil, rice vinegar, and lots of chili-garlic sauce. You can also pour pre-made salad dressing over the chicken.
How To Cook Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs in the Oven
What You Need
For the chicken:
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs
Freshly ground black pepper
For the sauce (optional):
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon packed brown sugar
4 cloves garlic, minced
Dash red pepper flakes
9-inch or 8-inch baking dish
- Heat the oven and season the chicken: Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 425°F. Place the chicken in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. The most basic seasoning that this meat really needs is salt and pepper. At this point, if I'm not adding another sauce, I drizzle a little bit of olive oil over the meat too, to help it brown well in the oven.
- Make a sauce (optional): Whisk all the sauce ingredients together in a medium bowl.
- Toss the chicken with the sauce: Pour the sauce over the chicken and toss to combine.
- Transfer the chicken to the baking dish: Place the chicken in a single layer in a 8 or 9-inch baking dish. No need to grease the dish, just lay the chicken inside.
- Roast the chicken: Boneless, skinless thighs cook quickly. Roast until the chicken has an internal temperature of 165°F, about 20 minutes. If they are not ready, continue roasting and checking the temperature every 5 minutes.
- Rest the chicken: Remove the baking dish from the oven, cover with aluminum foil, and let the chicken rest for 10 minutes. This will help it be more tender. Eat and enjoy!
- Doubling: You can double this recipe and bake the chicken in a 9x13-inch baking dish.
- Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.