Great Chicken Thighs Don't Need a Recipe. Just Boldness.

Great Chicken Thighs Don't Need a Recipe. Just Boldness.

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Kelli Foster
Mar 7, 2017

If your meal plan looks anything like mine, boneless, skinless chicken thighs hit the table at least once a week. These humble budget cuts of chicken are versatile, flavorful, and, when cooked just right, wonderfully tender and juicy.

But let's make sure you're eating your best chicken now. Chicken thighs need a measure of dare and boldness. Unlike the more delicate and — dare we say — unforgiving chicken breasts, chicken thighs need heat to be truly great.

For the Best Thighs, Crank Up the Heat

For the very best chicken thighs, you've just got to crank up the heat in the oven.

Whether they're on a sheet pan, in a skillet, or in a saucy marinade, the best temperature for cooking boneless, skinless chicken thighs in the oven is between 400°F and 450°F, with 425°F being the temperature we rely on most often.

Why High Heat Works Best for Thighs

Chicken thighs have more fat than that wilting flower of the poultry world, boneless, skinless breasts. High heat helps the fat in the thighs melt, it browns the meat, and it adds flavor in the roasting process.

Don't worry about your chicken thighs drying out — there are two factors that ensure juicy results every time. Keeping the oven set at a high temperature means a shorter cook time and, unlike lean chicken breast, thighs are a fattier cut, which not only ups the flavor quotient, but also prevents them from quickly drying out.

When roasted at a high temperature, what you can expect are pieces of chicken that are evenly cooked throughout in just 20 t0 25 minutes, with tender, juicy centers and firm, sometimes lightly crisped outer edges.

Thanks to this high heat and the lack of a bone, chicken thighs cook up quickly, which is just one more of the many reasons (budget! Tasty!) they're a weeknight staple.

So remember! Buy those thighs; you don't even need a recipe. Crank up the oven and cook them boldly.

But if you do want a little more direction in the flavor department, check out some of our favorites below.

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