Today’s top 20 chicken thigh recipes are going to transform your chicken cuts into five-star delicacies. All from the comfort of your kitchen!
You won’t need any fancy equipment or long hours standing in the kitchen either. These recipes are as simple and straightforward as they get.
So, without further ado, let’s bite into chicken thighs.
Everything You Need to Know About Chicken Thighs
You get two cuts from a chicken leg: the thigh and drumstick.
Chicken thighs are the top part of the chicken leg where it connects to the body. The drumstick is right below the thigh, making it the calf part of the leg.
1. Are They White or Dark Meat?
Although chicken is generally white meat, chicken leg is referred to as dark meat. This is because of its slightly darker tinge, which turns even darker when cooked.
The thighs and drumsticks are juicier compared to chicken breast. They contain more fat and — as a result — more flavor.
This gives thighs a bad rep, so let’s see how they can affect your diet.
2. Are They Healthy?
Chicken thighs contain nutrients, minerals, and healthy fats. Each thigh provides you with 13.5 grams of protein, 109 calories, and 47% fat.
The higher fat content makes them perfect for bodybuilders and people trying to gain weight. Therefore, if you’re looking to lose weight, you may want to keep your distance.
Chicken breasts tend to be the better option for weight loss diets since they’re lean meat.
But you can still include thighs in a healthy diet, and the following are ways to have them as a part of healthy meals.
It’s an Oven Affair: Baked Chicken Thigh Recipes
- Chicken and Rice Casserole. Our chicken casserole is a sure way to get a cozy night started. Casseroles are synonymous with comfort, ease, and flavor, and this chicken and rice dish fits the bill.
- Healthy Chicken Shawarma. The traditional method for prepping chicken Shawarma is to use a rotating skewer. But, unless you have a large industrial roaster at home, we suggest using an oven for baking your chicken — the result is just as tasty.
- Crispy Baked Thighs. Fancy some crunch along with flavor? Coating chicken with a simple spice mix will get you a juicy weeknight dinner in 45 minutes.
- Easy Baked Chicken Thighs. If “four ingredients” doesn’t spell out E-A-S-Y, we don’t know what will! These baked chicken cuts are effortless, thanks to a simple salt, pepper, and paprika seasoning.
- Honey Mustard Thighs. Honey and mustard is a timeless combination that gets us salivating. Couple that with a super simple 5-ingredient list and you get this recipe!
The Pot Cooked It: Instant Pot Chicken Thigh Recipes
- Instant Pot Thighs (Fresh or Frozen). Queue in the instant pot. With an accessory that’ll handle almost the entire cook, all you have to do is choose your best paprika, garlic, and parsley seasonings and expect an irresistible dish.
- Instant Pot Lemon Chicken with Garlic. Combine the ease of using an instant pot and the zesty mix of garlic and lemon, and you get this irresistible chicken recipe!
- Instant Pot Greek Chicken Thighs. You can tell by the simple ingredients list and 35-minute cook that this recipe is a mix of quick and healthy. And what better way to bring Greek flavors into your home than with a tasty olive and tomato dish?
- Smoky Instant Pot Chicken Thighs. We don’t know about you, but we love a dash of smoky paprika to spice things up. With this recipe, you get juicy thighs gushing out irresistible flavors with every bite.
- Honey Sesame Instant Pot Thighs. Dark and saucy is the theme of these gorgeous chicken thighs. But looks make up for only half of the joy you’ll discover once you bite into them!
Easy Breezy Lemon Squeezy: Air Fryer Chicken Thigh Recipes
- Air Fryer Chicken Thighs. An air fryer is one of our most prized kitchen accessories. With no fancy relishes, it takes chicken thighs from plain to succulent in just 20 minutes.
- Air Fryer Fried Chicken. Fried chicken with no cooking oil? Count us in! This recipe brings a new meaning to healthy fried chicken using the classic egg-flour batter for a crispy finish.
- Healthy Air Fryer Chicken and Veggies. Talk about an easy dinner with this chicken and veggie dish. How can 20 minutes of sitting back — legs kicked up — result in a fabulous family dinner? You’ll have to find out!
- Air Fryer Lemon Pepper Chicken Thighs. All Paleo and Whole 30 dieters are going to love this clean version of chicken thighs. With a tangy lemon and garlic edge to drive the flavors home, we have no doubt this dish will become a healthy regular.
- Air Fryer Chicken and Broccoli. Weeknight meals just got much tastier with this chicken and broccoli dish. Of course, you can make batches to store for weekly relishing— where you can revisit and get it heated before indulging.
Picnic & Party Favorites: Grilled Chicken Thigh Recipes
- Grilled Chicken Salad. Grilled chicken and barbecues go hand in hand. This dish makes a perfect aide for picnics and parties, where you put in the least amount of work and get maximum flavor.
- Honey Sriracha Grilled Thighs. This classic sweet and spicy chicken dish could be exactly what you need for a spontaneous evening. With readily available ingredients, you can transform regular elements into an unforgettable dining experience.
- Juicy Grilled Chicken Thighs. They say less is more. With a 2-ingredient marinade, you can now discover why!
- Balsamic Chicken Thighs. This herb-infused chicken may take a while to marinate, but it’s well worth the wait. Every second enriches the chicken with balsamic and coconut flavors that’ll leave you drooling.
- Yogurt-Marinated Chicken Thighs. Garlic, ginger, and yogurt are the elements that turn this dish from simple to exciting. When all those glorious flavors are soaked up, you’ll have a creamy, succulent dish that’s begging to be served!
How Long to Bake Chicken Thighs
You can bake chicken thighs for anywhere between 25-60 minutes — it depends on what temperature you set the oven to. We have an article that explains how long to bake chicken, which gives further details for various cuts.
In summary, you can set the oven temperature to 300°F and expect to wait for 55-60 minutes while the chicken thighs roast. Or, if you’re in a hurry, you can crank the temperature up to 450°F, giving you a 25-30 minute cook.
The only caution is to avoid overcooking it. As much as it is naturally plump and juicy, overcooking will result in a dry piece of chicken that’s not as satisfying to bite into.
How Long to Boil Chicken Thighs
Boiling chicken thighs is a simple way to extract beautiful flavors. This method comes in handy when looking for effortless ways to cook chicken.
First, wait for the water to boil before adding the thighs, a technique similar to poaching.
After that, lower the temperature to a simmer and leave it to cook. A 6 oz chicken thigh takes about 12 minutes to cook, while an 8 oz piece takes 25 minutes.
You can tell it’s ready when the internal temperature reaches 165-170°F or when the flesh is no longer pink.
How to Debone Chicken Thighs
From the outside looking in, deboning chicken thighs might seem like a challenging task. We’re here to reassure you that it’s not.
Here are a few steps that will have you opting for the less costly bone-in chicken thighs the next time you go grocery shopping.
Step 1: Place the thigh onto a cutting board, with the skin side down so that you can see the bone.
Step 2: Cut vertically — from top to bottom — as close as you can to the bone without cutting too deep on both sides. Ensure to include the cartilage at the top and bottom of the bone.
Step 3: Make incisions under the bone and pull the chicken flesh from the bone. Scrape any excess flesh remaining.
Chicken Thigh Calories
So the difference in calories is not that big, and both score points in the healthy column.
If weight loss is the name of your game, we suggest you stick to skinless chicken thighs. This way, you get the best of both worlds with juicy chicken flavor and plenty of protein.
Protein in Chicken Thighs
The same 5-ounce chicken thigh, without skin, contains 29.3 grams of protein, a pretty large portion.
It’s not as much as the protein found in chicken breasts (31.8 grams). However, it provides more than 16-50% of the required amount of protein on a 2000-calorie diet.
So if chicken breasts happen to be missing from the grocery poultry section, or you feel like having a juicier piece of meat, go ahead and select chicken thighs. They’ll be just as good for helping you stay satiated and building some muscle while working out.
If these recipes got you craving some more chicken, check out our list of 50 healthy chicken recipes. It’s our versatile collection of delicious and diverse chicken dishes!