How to Perfectly Roast Chicken Thighs Every Single Time

You have to know exactly how long to bake chicken thighs to get the juiciest, crispiest chicken dinner ever!

Pan roasted chicken and veggiesPhoto: Taste of Home

Top tips for baking chicken thighs

Poor chicken thighs. While skinless, boneless chicken breast gets all the love, those thighs sit in the refrigerator untouched. It’s true that chicken breast is quick and cheap, but it’s also missing the wow factor of chicken thighs: flavour!

Because chicken thighs have more fat from their skin and dark meat, they have loads of flavour. Your chicken thighs should come out of the oven browned, crispy and bursting with juicy goodness. It can be intimidating to know how long to bake chicken thighs, so we’re taking the guesswork out of it.

Pat the skin dry

The first step to preparing your chicken thighs is also the most important. Make sure the outer skin is as dry as possible. Moist skin causes steam, making your cooked thighs mushy. Pat them dry for crispy skin. (Here’s why you should never wash chicken before cooking it.)

Prep the night before

Save time and get more flavour by preparing your chicken thighs the night before you bake them. By allowing them to sit with the vegetables and seasonings overnight, you’ll have nothing to do at dinnertime but pop the sheet pan in the oven.

Know how long to bake chicken thighs

You don’t want to overbake and risk dry thighs, so roast only until a thermometer inserted in the chicken reads 170°-175°. It usually takes about 40 minutes.

To roast chicken thighs, you’ll need:

  • 2 pounds red potatoes (about 6 medium), cut into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed, divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon pepper, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 6 bone-in chicken thighs (about 2-1/4 pounds), skin removed
  • 6 cups fresh baby spinach (about 6 ounces)

1. Prepare the baking pan

Preheat oven to 400°. In a large bowl, combine potatoes, onion, oil, garlic, 3/4 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon rosemary and 1/2 teaspoon pepper; toss to coat.

Transfer to a 15x10x1-in. baking pan coated with cooking spray.

2. Mix the seasonings

In a small bowl, mix paprika and the remaining salt, rosemary and pepper. Sprinkle chicken with paprika mixture; arrange over vegetables.

3. Bake

How long do you bake chicken thighs at 400°? It depends. Roast until a thermometer inserted in chicken reads 170°-175° and vegetables are just tender, 40-45 minutes. Be sure to use a thermometer to make sure your chicken is fully cooked.

The best part of a baked chicken dinner is biting into the crispy skin. Up the flavour and crunch by broiling the chicken thighs for one minute after they are cooked through. Once they are golden brown, remove from the oven.

4. Let the chicken rest

Remove chicken to a serving platter. Cover with a piece of aluminum foil to keep warm. While the chicken is resting, top the vegetables with spinach. Roast until vegetables are tender and spinach is wilted, 8-10 minutes longer. Stir vegetables to combine; serve with chicken.

Whatever you do, just be sure to break out of your chicken breast rut today. Juicy flavour is waiting for you!

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Taste of Home
Originally Published on Taste of Home