Quick enough for any weeknight dinner but delicious enough to entertain a crowd – these crispy chicken thighs are simply seasoned and criminally easy.
Hello Tuesday! It’s time for the second installment of my carefree summer dinner party (check out the first post here) and this one’s a well loved dinner fave. It might actually rise above the level of your run of the mill favoritism and march right into heart palpitating love territory to be honest. It’s so simple it may sound downright boring, but I promise you that this is the recipe you will turn to time and time again because well, it’s damn delicious.
Crispy Chicken Thighs
These golden brown beauties rely mostly on method to make them so finger licking good. They start astonishingly enough in a cold pan – letting the fat slowly render and sizzle into a crackly, golden crust. It takes time and a little good faith, but once you’ve mastered this method you’ll be on top of the world, the crispy chicken world that is.
How to Make Crispy Pan Fried Chicken Thighs
Because it’s still summer there’s no way I’m turning my oven on for even the most delicious of chicken thighs, so this recipe is all accomplished on the stove top. Of course if you’re making a whole slew of these (say for an epic end of summer party) and don’t mind cranking the AC then feel free to use to the alternative oven roasting directions included in the recipe below.
Why Chicken Thighs are the Obvious Choice
Before we dive into how we’re going to make these juicy jewels of the poultry world really shine, let’s talk about the bird first and foremost. I’ve always been a fan of chicken. It’s the OG white meat after all. But of all the chicken in all the land the fairest must be the chicken thigh.
I realize this seems overblown and a little silly but hear me out. Chicken thighs are cheap, more flavorful than their popular cousin the breast, and have the perfect ratio of juicy meat to crunchy, golden skin. Even better, because they’ve got a higher proportion of fat they are incredibly forgiving. Meaning that seriously overcooking them would take many hours and possibly a blow torch.
Make sure to buy skin on, bone in thighs. The skin is kind of obvious, as it’s the real star of the show. But cooking proteins with the bone in is a tried and true trick to real flavor.
How to Make Crispy Chicken Thighs
This recipe is more about method than anything else. And even though there are very few ingredients (three to be exact) their preparation is key to dinnertime success.
First we’ll start by prepping our chicken. Grab yourself a paper towel and pat each chicken thigh as dry as you can, because moisture is the enemy of crispy chicken far and wide. Then liberally season both sides with salt and pepper because nothing is worse than bland chicken.
Now take a skillet and set it over a cold burner. Wait what? Yes, that’s right. We start this over absolutely no heat at all. The reason is that if you allow the chicken skin to slowly render as the pan comes up to temperature, then you’ll end up with shatteringly crisp skin instead of a floppy, flabby mess.
Lay the chicken skin side down in a cold pan and turn the heat to medium low. The important part now is to wait. It will seem like nothing is happening but just be patient. In a few minutes you’ll hear a slight sizzle which will build over the next 20 or so minutes and result in a crispy, golden brown crust.
Try to resist your urge to peek and let time do its thing. As long as you keep the heat moderately low then you won’t risk burning anything. And when you do pull up a corner to check on the progress, know that it will budge when it’s good and ready. So if the skin is threatening to tear, give it a few more minutes and then try flipping again.
Fair warning, for as simple as this is recipe is, it does create a bit of mess. But honestly, your stove top could use a wipe down anyway, right?
How to Serve Your Crispy Chicken Thighs
Of course these make an excellent dinner any old weeknight. A little salad, some crispy potatoes, and a vibrant sauce are the perfect complements (try this one maybe). But where they really shine is as the effortlessly gorgeous dish at your next summer party.
Oh, and last week I posted this sunshiney peach and quinoa tabbouleh as part of this six part dinner party spread that’s as easy to pull off as it is fun to host. Check it out and stay tuned for the next recipe – it’s coming soon my friends!
Crispy Chicken Thighs
These crispy pan fried chicken thighs are a weeknight staple in our house, but they also make a killer dinner party dish that will take everyone by surprise.
- Prep Time: 5 Minutes
- Cook Time: 35 Minutes
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Yield: 4 Servings 1x
- Category: Dinner
- Cuisine: American
4 bone in, skin on chicken thighs
1 T kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
Pat chicken thighs dry with paper towels and season both sides liberally with salt and pepper. Lay each thigh, skin side down in a large skillet. Place pan over medium low heat and let chicken cook, undisturbed for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and crispy on the skin side. Flip and cook on the other side for 10 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 170°F.
Serve immediately, or keep warm in a 250 oven for up to 30 minutes.
*If you want to make these in the oven, pat chicken dry and place on a wire rack set in a rimmed baking sheet. Mix 1/2 tsp baking powder into salt and pepper and season chicken thoroughly. Bake in a preheated 450°F oven for 30-35 minutes or until the skin is golden brown and the internal temperature reaches 170°F.
Make sure to start this skin side down in a cold skillet. The gradual heat will render the fat in the skin and create a crispy, golden crust.
If when you try to flip these over you’re met with some resistance, let the chicken cook a little longer. They will release when they’re ready, although if you’re using a stainless steel skillet you may have to tug just a little bit to flip them over – but not hard enough to rip the skin.
Keywords: crispy chicken thighs, pan fried chicken thighs, easy chicken recipes, joeats