Life-Changing Garlic Butter Chicken Thighs

updated May 20, 2020
Life-Changing Garlic Butter Chicken Thighs

These chicken thighs are impossibly juicy, thanks to a garlic butter drizzle and stovetop-to-oven cooking method, and boast the crispiest, crackliest skin.

Serves4 to 6

Prep20 minutes

Cook35 minutes

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Credit: Yossy Arefi

Describing something as “life-changing” is often just hyperbole, but these garlic butter chicken thighs are fully deserving of the term. They’re impossibly juicy, thanks to a garlic butter drizzle and stovetop-to-oven cooking method. You can throw practically any vegetable into the pan — fresh or frozen — and it’ll get cooked in the most stunning pan sauce. But what really makes this chicken life-changing is its ultra-crispy skin, created using a technique borrowed from duck breasts. I’d cook this recipe for the chicken skin alone!

This five-ingredient chicken dinner is easy enough for a weeknight, but tastes like something you’d serve at a fancy dinner party. To complete the meal, boil pasta or make a pot of rice while the chicken cooks, then serve with the extra pan juices and garlic butter to really knock this one-pan meal out of the park.

Here’s how to make the crispiest garlic butter chicken thighs that will change your chicken-cooking life.

Credit: Yossy Arefi

For the Crispiest, Crackliest Chicken Skin, Start with a Cold Pan

Starting the thighs in a cold, ungreased skillet will give you the crispiest skin imaginable with minimal effort. As the pan slowly heats, the fat cooks out of the skin, and the chicken thighs begin to cook in their own flavorful fat. And as the temperature of both the pan and the fat increases, the skin gets crispier and crispier.

Combined with the juices from the chicken, the fat also makes a luscious sauce for the green beans — the addition of garlic butter is really just gilding the lily. Using frozen green beans cuts down on prep, but you can certainly use the same weight of fresh beans. Thin haricot vert can be cooked whole, while plumper fresh green beans should be halved in length before cooking.

Deboning the Chicken Thighs

This recipe asks you to debone the chicken thighs, which makes them cook a little faster and ultimately makes them more enjoyable to eat (save the bones for a quick batch of chicken stock). But if you’re feeling lazy or are short on time, you can absolutely skip this step — just err on the longer side of the recommended cooking times, both in the pan and in the oven, and be sure to check the chicken’s internal temperature before serving.

Life-Changing Garlic Butter Chicken Thighs

These chicken thighs are impossibly juicy, thanks to a garlic butter drizzle and stovetop-to-oven cooking method, and boast the crispiest, crackliest skin.

Prep time 20 minutes

Cook time 35 minutes

Serves 4 to 6

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds

    bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 6 small)

  • 1 1/4 teaspoons

    kosher salt, divided

  • 4 cloves

    garlic

  • 3 tablespoons

    unsalted butter

  • 12 ounces

    fresh or frozen green beans

Instructions

  1. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 425ºF.

  2. Debone 3 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs: Flip each chicken thigh over so it is skin-side down. Using kitchen shears, cut through the meat along both sides of the center bone, making sure not to cut all the way through the meat and skin. Cut off the cartilage at the top and bottom of the bone. Cut underneath the bone, which will cut the bone off completely from the thigh. Use the shears to trim off any excess fat, cartilage, or skin.

  3. Pat the chicken thighs dry with paper towels and season on all sides with 1 teaspoon of the kosher salt. If using fresh green beans, trim, then cut in half crosswise.

  4. Place the chicken thighs skin-side down in a large (12-inch) oven-safe skillet, preferably cast iron, and turn the heat to medium. Cook undisturbed until the skin is golden and crispy, using tongs to move the thighs around the pan after 10 minutes to ensure even browning, 15 to 18 minutes total (they will not be cooked through at this point). Meanwhile, place 3 tablespoons unsalted butter in a small microwave-safe bowl and microwave on HIGH until melted, 30 to 45 seconds. Mince 4 garlic cloves and add to the melted butter.

  5. Transfer the chicken skin-side up to a clean plate, leaving the rendered fat in the pan. Add 12 ounces green beans to the pan, season with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, and toss to coat the beans in the chicken fat. Place the chicken thighs skin-side up on the green beans.

  6. Drizzle the garlic butter over the chicken and green beans and transfer the skillet to the oven. Roast until the chicken is deeply golden brown, crispy, and registers 160ºF in the thickest part, 12 to 15 minutes.

Recipe Notes

Using bone-in chicken thighs: You can skip the deboning step if you prefer. Bone-in thighs take longer to cook, so err on the longer end of the suggested cooking ranges both in the pan and in the oven, and be sure to check the chicken's internal temperature before serving.

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 4 days.