30+ Easy Chicken Thigh Recipes

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Delicious and budget-friendly, these chicken thigh recipes are perfect for an easy dinner any night of the week. Find recipes for the slow cooker, oven, skillet, Instant Pot, and more.

Have you ever looked at a package of chicken thighs and wondered, "How am I going to cook this?" If so, I've got you covered! Chicken thighs are one of the easiest types of meat to cook, and it's pretty amazing how many different ways there are to make chicken thighs.

Here's why we love cooking with chicken thighs

  • Always juicy. Chicken thighs are hard to overcook. The higher fat content means they stay juicy. Unlike chicken breasts, they won't dry out if they are cooked a little too long.
  • Affordable. Chicken thighs are one of the most budget-friendly proteins in the supermarket.
  • Flavorful. Chicken thighs are considered "dark meat" and have more fat. The fat equals more flavor. In fact, many chefs consider the chicken thigh the best part of the chicken when it comes to flavor. 

In this guide, you'll find our favorite baked, skillet, slow cooker, and Instant Pot chicken thigh recipes. This includes amazing soups, delicious barbecue chicken, stir-fries, tacos, and so much more!

Eat better with this list of delicious chicken thigh recipes. Trust me, you are in for a delicious meal.

Collage of roasted balsamic chicken thighs and vegetables and teriyaki chicken with vegetables.

The Best Baked Chicken Thigh Recipes

First, let's check out some of my favorite baked chicken thigh recipes. If you have a basic sheet pan or a casserole dish, then you can make these recipes. They are all full of variety, healthy vegetables, and tons of spice!

  • Sheet Pan Asian Chicken Stir Fry: When you are craving takeout, make this instead. This chicken stir fry only takes 20 minutes to bake. Not bad! This recipe also includes instructions if you want to make it low-carb or Whole30 compliant. It's a healthy recipe with lots of Asian vegetables that you'll enjoy.
  • Roasted Balsamic Chicken Thighs and Vegetables: This sheet pan meal combines tender chicken thighs and tons of veggies in a delicious balsamic sauce. All cooked on just one pan in under 30 minutes.
  • Easy Honey Mustard Chicken: Everything you need for a healthy dinner is made on one easy sheet pan. This honey mustard chicken is both sweet and tangy - and the flavors all mix perfectly with the naturally sweet carrots. This recipe has almost no prep time and only takes about 25 minutes to cook. It's even quicker than ordering takeout.
  • One Pan Teriyaki Chicken And Vegetables: This dinner is one of the most popular things to order from Chinese restaurants, and now you can make a healthier copycat at home. This recipe includes everything you need to make your own homemade teriyaki sauce. Soy sauce, spicy ginger, and sticky honey all combine to give you an authentic flavor.
  • One Pan Soy Chicken And Vegetables: Add some color and flavor to your table! Savory chicken served with green onions, sugar snap peas, carrots, peppers, and edamame. This is really easy to customize - add as many different kinds of vegetables as you want. Then, eat it like it is or serve it on of some fluffy white rice.
  • Baked Teriyaki Chicken With Pineapple: Pineapple was used in one of the first teriyaki sauce recipes. This baked teriyaki chicken recipe honors the original while still keeping it healthy. It's easy to do since pineapple is so good for you - full of vitamin C, fiber, and natural sugars.
  • Broiled Asian Chicken Thighs: Broiling is a great method to quickly cook chicken thighs. They get crispy on the outside and stay juicy and tender inside. This recipe uses a delicious Asian-inspired marinade to add tons of flavor to the chicken thighs.

Collage of grilled pollo asado served with limes and grilled lemon dijon chicken thighs.

Get outside with these Grilled Chicken Thigh Recipes

Boneless chicken thighs are a great source of lean protein and are so easy to prepare on the grill! I love thighs the most because they are so tender and won't' overcook if you leave them on a bit too long. There are so many different ways to enjoy them, so try out one of these grilling recipes next.

  • Cilantro Lime Chicken: The secret to juicy cilantro lime chicken is the incredible marinade. The longer you let it marinate, the more pronounced the flavors will be. You can use this recipe in tacos, on top of a salad, in wraps, or by itself. It's so easy to make that you can even make it on busy weekdays when you are tempted to order takeout.
  • Pollo Asado: This Mexican marinated chicken thigh recipe is on constant rotation in our house. It has enough flavor to stand on its own but also makes incredible tacos, tostadas, and burrito bowls.
  • Grilled Greek Chicken Thighs: Another fantastic meal prep recipe, grilled Greek chicken thighs are delicious even a few days later. With the earthy flavors of basil and oregano and the zesty and bright dill, the marinade can't be beaten. This recipe is pure perfection. The chicken is juicy, tender, and has refreshing layers of Greek herbs and spices.
  • Grilled Lemon Dijon Chicken Thighs: It’s amazing how much flavor you get from a simple marinade with lemon juice, olive oil, and dijon mustard. This easy grilled dinner works for so many meals.
  • Easy Spicy Barbecue Chicken Thighs: There are a few different ways you can make this chicken, but spicy barbecue chicken thighs taste the best when you either grill or broil them. This way, they come out slightly crispy. Eat this with your favorite sides. This dish is seriously lip-smackingly delicious!

Collage with chicken cacciatore over quinoa and shredded chicken thighs served with corn tortillas.

Tasty Chicken Thigh Crock Pot Recipes

I love making chicken recipes in my slow cooker - it cooks all day and is ready for dinner when I am. Whenever I create new crockpot recipes, I try to keep them as simple as possible.

What's the point of a complicated slow cooker recipe? Seems like an oxymoron to me. If you want a few of my easy recipes, here are all of my easy Crock-Pot meals for you to check out.

Here are some delicious and easy chicken thigh recipes to make in your crockpot. You will appreciate how tasty and simple they are.

  • Chicken Quinoa Soup With Kale: Take chicken soup up a notch with this super-healthy chicken quinoa soup. In addition to the lean chicken thighs, it has more protein from the quinoa and lots of fiber from all the vegetables. Kale is known as a superfood because it has so many disease-fighting antioxidants in it.If you don't usually like eating kale, you won't even notice it in this soup.
  • Chicken In Chile Verde: Anyone that loves Mexican food will really enjoy this chicken in chile verde. Not only does it give you a tender and slightly spicy chicken, but it includes a homemade green salsa recipe. The tomatillos are tangy, and poblanos give this the perfect amount of heat. Serve it on top of rice for a filling and healthy dinner!
  • Chicken And Cauliflower Tikka Masala: This chicken and cauliflower tikka masala recipe is another dish you can make when craving takeout. It has the same authentic Indian flavors and aroma - but a lot fewer calories. I love to eat it with a bowl of freshly steamed rice. The sauce is slightly spicy and tomato-based, so it's full of vitamins A and C.
  • Chicken Cacciatore: How about some Italian food? Here you go! Slow cooker chicken cacciatore makes the chicken thighs fall apart on your fork. It is smothered in a sweet and zesty tomato sauce. Add all of your favorite vegetables to the slow cooker too. The delicious sauce covers up any vegetable taste, so it's a perfect way to sneak in more nutrition. It's one of our highest-rated recipes, and I know you are going to love it too!
  • Sesame Ginger Chicken: These chicken thighs come out fork-tender and layered with complex flavors but are easy enough for beginner cooks. When you cook with fresh ginger, you'll notice the spicy aroma first. It is pungent and compliments the sweet soy sauce and tangy Hoisin sauce. This recipe tastes even better the next day! Use it in your meal prep plans.
  • Pollo Pibil: This authentic Mexican chicken dish is made with slow-cooked chicken, garlic, spices, lime juice, and orange juice. Get ready for some of the best chicken tacos you’ve ever had.
  • Jerk Chicken: Tender chicken cooked with tons of Caribbean spices and served with fresh mango salsa is something dinner dreams are made of. This dish is always a winner.

Collage with cilantro lime chicken and a bowl of hoisin chicken thighs with rice.

Quick and Easy Skillet Chicken Thigh Recipes

Cooking with a skillet is super simple. There are so many variations to making chicken in a skillet too. When you use a cast-iron skillet, you can even put it in the oven to keep it warm or make it extra crispy.

Check out these skillet chicken thigh recipes and find something new to cook today.

  • Cilantro Lime Chicken: The secret to juicy cilantro lime chicken is the incredible marinade. The longer you let it marinate, the more pronounced the flavors will be. You can use this recipe in tacos, on top of a salad, in wraps, or by itself. It's so easy to make that you can even make it on busy weekdays when you are tempted to order takeout.
  • Tomato Braised Chicken Thighs: If you like Italian food, then you will love these tomato-braised chicken thighs. They take less than an hour to make and taste so good that an authentic Italian cook would give this dish a chef's kiss. Eat them just like they are, or serve them on top of your favorite pasta, rice, or some roasted potatoes. In fact, this sauce is so delicious, you can even use it to replace jarred spaghetti sauce.
  • Italian Chicken And Vegetable Skillet: I love this quick 30-minute meal. You can use either chicken thighs or breasts for this easy skillet recipe - just make sure it is cut up into bite-sized pieces It's a crispy recipe that isn't saucy at all - which is really good if you need something that is portable and reheats well as leftovers.
  • Spicy Skillet Hoisin Chicken: Light up your tastebuds with this classic Asian recipe. Spicy skillet Hoisin chicken is a perfect copycat for takeout. You can make it as spicy or mild as you like it. If you haven't cooked with Hoisin before, this is the perfect recipe to learn from. It has a spicy and smoky flavor that reminds me of Asian barbeque sauce. The garlic chili paste is optional, but I suggest you use it. It really adds dimension to this dish.
  • Balsamic Chicken Thighs With Spinach And Mushrooms: Balsamic vinegar is one of my favorite things to cook with. I love the aroma and flavor - and it tastes amazing on this balsamic chicken thighs recipe. This recipe is low in carbs as it doesn't require any added sugars or grains. It's also super easy, so save this recipe for those days when you really don't feel like cooking.
  • Korean Chicken Thighs: If you love the combination of sweet and spicy this recipe is for you. The chicken thighs cook in a delicious sauce and this dish is perfect over rice or veggies.

Collage with green chicken pozole and shredded green salsa chicken.

More Chicken Thigh Recipes to Try

  • Green Chicken Pozole: Chicken thighs are perfect in soup - they fall apart and soak up all the spices. This green chicken pozole is an authentic Mexican soup recipe that will warm you up on cold days. It's a very comforting soup packed with protein, vegetables, and a bit of spice too!
  • Easy Greek Chicken (Instant Pot or Slow Cooker): The secret to this amazing chicken is the lemon garlic marinade. The oregano is what makes it a Greek chicken recipe. If you have fresh oregano, use it! You'll notice a huge difference when you use fresh herbs instead of dried. This recipe gives you enough chicken to use in your meal prep the rest of the week. Plus, you can use it in a lot of different ways too.
  • Instant Pot Salsa Chicken: I love to make a big batch of this Instant Pot salsa chicken and use it throughout the week. It tastes perfect on top of rice, in chicken tacos, or added to white chicken chili. I include a recipe for homemade roasted salsa verde, but you can also use a jar of your favorite store-bought version instead.
  • Sriracha Chicken: This healthy Sriracha Chicken is packed with sweet and spicy flavors from a quick homemade barbecue sauce spiked with plenty of Sriracha. Make it on the grill or in the oven for a drool-worthy chicken dish.

Boneless skinless chicken thighs in cilantro lime marinade being cooked in a skillet.

Tips For Cooking With Chicken Thighs

Did you find a new recipe to make? I sure hope so! Now that you have a list of all my favorite healthy chicken thigh recipes, I want to share some of my most helpful tips. These will help you as you buy chicken thighs, cook them, and save them for later.

Some of the tips in this list might seem obvious, and others might be new to you. I hope they all help you become a better cook as you use chicken in your recipes.

  • Chicken thighs with skin are optional. To keep my recipes lean, I always suggest using boneless skinless chicken thighs. There is a time and place for skin-on and bone-in thighs as well. Just adjust the cooking time if you are using bone-in chicken since it takes much longer to cook. 
  • Buy in bulk and freeze. Whenever you see chicken thighs on sale, buy them and freeze them. One of the best ways to save money is to buy it in bulk. If you do, then separate it into one-pound portions and place each pound in a resealable freezer-safe food storage bag. Since most recipes call for one pound of meat, you'll have what you need when you need it.
  • Use a cast-iron skillet. This is a very versatile pan. Cast iron adds such a great taste and texture to whatever you cook in it. You can even put the skillet in the oven and broil recipes to give them a little extra crispiness on top.
  • Make once, eat twice. Another way to save money is to make a simple recipe that you can use in a different way the next day. This gives you two meals for the price of one. For example, reuse shredded chicken on top of nachos. Or, add sesame chicken to some rice as a stir fry.

Chicken Thigh Cooking Guide

Here is the general cooking time for boneless skinless chicken thighs. They should always be cooked until the internal temperature is 165 degrees.

  • Baked: At 425 degrees, chicken thighs take 15-20 minutes. 
  • Skillet: 10-12 minutes, flipping halfway through 
  • Grilled: 10-12 minutes, flipping halfway through 
  • Instant pot: Cook on high pressure for 8 minutes and let natural release.
  • Slow cooker: High for 3-4 hours or low for 7-8 hours

Here are the general cooking time for bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs

  • Baked: At 425 degrees, cook for 25-30 minutes. 
  • Skillet: Start with the skin-side down, and cook for 10-12 minutes on each side or until cooked through.
  • Grilled: Start with the skin-side down, and cook for 17-22  minutes, flipping halfway through.
  • Instant pot: Sear the chicken thighs to crisp the skin and then cook for 12-14 minutes depending on size. Let naturally release.
  • Slow cooker: High for 4 hours or low for 7-8 hours

Frequently Asked Questions About Chicken Thighs

Here are some questions people often ask about cooking chicken thighs. If you don't see your question in this list, please leave it in the comments.

The best way to cook chicken thighs depends on your personal tastes. If you want crispy chicken thighs, then the grill is the way to go. It will add a smoky flavor too.

For really juicy chicken, I suggest oven-baking it after you marinate it. The marinade will bake into the chicken. Broil it for a crispy exterior!

The slow cooker and Instant Pot will give you chicken that is tender and really soaks up the surrounding flavors.

The great thing about chicken thighs is that they are very versatile and be cooked in almost any way you like.

Raw chicken thighs only last about one or two days past the sell-by date in the refrigerator. This is why you should always pay close attention to the sell-by dates when you are buying any type of chicken thighs. If you think you'll cook it right away, it's totally fine to get the ones that must sell today. If you don't think you'll be able to use it soon, freeze it and then use it later.

The best chicken thigh replacement is always going to be chicken breasts. Rarely you can also use pork loin in place of chicken thighs. Most often, swap chicken breasts for chicken thighs to give you the closest texture and taste.

Freezing extra chicken thighs can help you save money - but what is the safest and healthiest way to thaw it when you are ready to use it?

If you have plenty of time, it will take about a day or so to thaw one pound of chicken thighs in the refrigerator. This is the safest and best way to thaw any type of frozen meat.

If you don't have a lot of time, set the frozen chicken thighs in a bowl of cold water - not hot or warm. The cold water will defrost the chicken thighs in about an hour. Using hot or warm water could cause bacteria to grow on the outer layer of meat while the inner layer is still frozen, so don't use hot water.

The quickest way of all is to use the microwave. Remove the packaging, place the chicken on a plate, and then microwave it at 50% power for about 5 minutes, rotating and flipping the chicken thighs every minute. Please note, this method sometimes makes the edges of the chicken cook slightly and can alter the texture of the final dish. It should be a last resort.

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October 29, 2022 - 12:19
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Great post! Hawaiian teriyaki or BBQ marinade and a grill does wonders on chicken thighs too. Yum!