What Are the Best Tips for Baking Chicken Thighs?

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  • Written By: Lee Johnson
  • Edited By: John Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 24 October 2019
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The best tips for baking chicken thighs are to season the thighs before cooking, marinate the meat before cooking, cook the thighs skin-side up, and cook them at 400 degrees Fahrenheit (204 Celsius) for 30 minutes before turning the heat down. The heat should be turned down to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (176 Celsius) for the last 10 to 30 minutes of cooking. Most of the tips relating to baking chicken focus on making the meat as flavorful and tender as possible. Marinating the meat accomplishes both goals, but some chefs prefer to just use seasoning.

Seasoning the meat prior to baking chicken thighs is an important tip for the flavor of the finished dish. Most recipes suggest simply using salt and pepper to season the meat, which chefs should rub into both sides of the chicken. Other recipes use herbs such as thyme and basil when cooking chicken thighs. Chefs can add other seasonings, but salt and pepper are usually sufficient to add flavor.


Marinating the meat before baking chicken thighs is another tip that can add flavor to the dish. Moisture is added to the meat when a marinade is used, and the acids in the marinade can also break down the muscle fibers and make the meat tender. One marinade that can be used on chicken thighs includes the juice of two lemons and the zest from one, mixed in with tarragon, salt, pepper, and oil. The chef then adds the uncooked chicken to this sauce and leaves it in the fridge for several hours. The flavor of the marinade soaks into the meat and the acids in the lemon tenderize it.

Chefs should always place the meat skin side up when baking chicken thighs. The skin has a lot of fat underneath it, and this helps to make the cooked meat juicier. Placing the skin on the bottom would allow this fat to escape during cooking. With the skin on the top, the melting fat oozes down into the chicken meat and keeps moisture in the thighs.

Baking chicken thighs is best done in an oven set to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (204 Celsius) for the first 30 minutes. Cooking chicken correctly is important, because undercooked chicken can contain salmonella. The temperature of the oven should be turned down to 350 Fahrenheit (176 Celsius) to finish off the cooking. The internal temperature of the thighs should be 170 degrees Fahrenheit (76 Celsius) when cooked. Chefs without a meat thermometer can check to see if the juices run clear when the thighs are pierced.


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Post 3

The article mentions a really good tip. Baked thighs turn out so much better when you bake them skin side up.

The thighs stay juicy and the skin gets crispy. That little piece of crispy skin is probably my favorite part of the whole thigh.

Post 2

I am a big fan of Jamaican jerk chicken. Is there a way I could use a jerk rub or sauce on baked chicken thighs?

Post 1

I think the thighs are my favorite part of the chicken. They have a lot of dark meat and fat so they have some of the best flavor. I don't know why so many people settle for the breast when they could be eating a succulent thigh.

I like to make mine Italian stye. I brush the thighs with oil and then cover them with minced garlic, oregano, basil and crushed red pepper flakes. The flavor on the outside is bold and the flavor on the inside is rich.

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