Crispy baked chicken thighs are easy to whip up and toss in the oven on a busy weeknight. These chicken thighs turn out juicy and tender on the inside, with a crispy, lightly seasoned crust on the outside.
Oven baked chicken thighs are a family favorite dinner recipe. These chicken thighs are seasoned with a variety of spices that turn into a crispy crust in the oven. The entire family will love them!
Bone-in chicken thighs turn out extra juicy and flavorful from being cooked on the bone. If you're unfamiliar with cooking chicken thighs, don't worry - it's easier than you think!
Ingredients and substitutions
You'll need about 3 pounds of bone-in chicken thighs for this recipe.
This recipe can be made with an equal weight of drumsticks (like in my baked chicken drumsticks recipe), boneless chicken thighs, or chicken breasts. However, the baking times will vary. I highly recommend using a meat thermometer to perfectly cook your chicken, no matter the cut of meat.
Brown sugar can be substituted with granulated sugar.
Tips for baking crispy chicken
- Pat your chicken dry with a paper towel before beginning. Excess moisture on your chicken will prevent it from getting crispy in the oven.
- Trim off any excess fat around the edges - these bits will take longer to crisp up in the oven.
- Prepare your baking sheet with an oven-safe cooling rack on top. Your chicken won't be sitting in excess grease as it bakes.
- Optionally, turn on the broiler for 1-2 minutes after your chicken has finished cooking. This will help crisp up that skin on the outside even more.
Preparing your baking sheet
For this recipe, I highly recommend using an oven-safe cooling rack to bake your chicken. Using this method helps your chicken to bake up crispy because the thighs won't be sitting in grease while they cook.
First, cover your baking sheet with foil. Then, place an oven-safe cooling rack on top. I do not recommend using a cooling rack coated in nonstick material.
I use this cooling rack from Amazon in the oven frequently and it works great. Plus, it's easy to pop in the dishwasher along with the dinner plates.
Skin on or off?
Leaving the skin on your thighs insulates the chicken as it bakes, which helps prevent the meat from drying out. The skin also helps to keep your chicken juicy and gives some leeway if you over-bake them slightly.
You're welcome to use skinless chicken thighs if you prefer. Or, if you're trying to cut calories, feel free to remove the skin once it has finished baking.
If you plan to serve your chicken without skin, I suggest rubbing your spices underneath the skin before baking.
What to serve with chicken thighs
Great side dish ideas to serve with baked chicken thighs:
- Classic Pasta Salad
- Dill Potato Salad
- Southern Macaroni Salad
- Strawberry Spinach Salad
- Savory Roasted Sweet Potatoes
- Kale Apple Slaw
- Roasted Buffalo Cauliflower
Crispy Baked Chicken Thighs
- 3 pounds bone-in chicken thighs about 6-8 thighs
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with foil and top with a metal, oven-safe cooling rack. Set aside.
- Pat chicken dry with a paper towel. This is an important step to help your chicken get crispy when baking.
- In a small bowl, combine onion powder, garlic powder, brown sugar, salt, paprika, pepper, and cayenne pepper.
- In a large bowl, add chicken thighs. Drizzle with olive oil. Pour spices over chicken and toss to coat.
- Place thighs onto prepared baking sheet. Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit (I highly recommend using a meat thermometer).
- Optionally, broil for 2-3 minutes to make skin more crispy on top (watch carefully, edges can burn quickly). Remove from oven and enjoy.
- I highly recommend using an oven-safe cooling rack to bake your chicken. Using this method helps your chicken to bake up crispy because your thighs won't be sitting in grease while they cook.
- If you plan to serve your chicken without skin, rub your spices underneath the skin before baking, then remove the skin once your chicken is cooked through. The skin helps to prevent your chicken from drying out while baking and adds flavor.