Chicken thighs are inexpensive midweek meal lifesavers, which is why you need these 15 juicy, flavor-packed chicken thigh recipes in your life ASAP. Whether you like your chicken thighs baked with a crispy exterior or tender and smothered in sauce, there’s something for everyone on this list.
I mean, if we’re totally honest, chicken thighs don’t sound like the most exciting main course meal, but believe me when I say there is literally 👏 so 👏 much 👏 you can do with them. Personally, I’m a sucker for chicken thigh recipes that involve saucing things up with international flavors.
Still, I must admit there is something really comforting about a perfectly baked chicken thigh straight out of the oven too. With so many scrumptious ways to prepare them, get yourself ready to get excited about chicken thighs, maybe for the very first time.
Boneless, skinless chicken thighs cook pretty quickly. They only need about 15-20 minutes, depending on their size. Bone-in thighs take a bit longer, usually 25-30 minutes. Whatever kind of thighs you cook, they’re done when the internal temperature reaches 160℉/71℃.
And the answer to this question is…neither! The breast, breast, tenders, and wings are white meat. Chicken thighs, along with the legs or drumsticks, are considered dark meat. Red meat usually refers to beef, lamb, pork, venison, and goat.
Chicken legs actually have two parts; the thigh and the drumstick. So, yes! Chicken thighs are part of chicken legs. The top part of the leg starts above the knee joint and connects to the chicken’s body.
Baked Chicken Thigh Recipes
1. Baked Crispy Chicken Thighs
Crispy on the outside, tender and juicy on the inside, these baked chicken thighs only take 10 minutes to prep, but oh my word, are they delicious. You can try multiple homemade seasoning combinations to keep things interesting if you decide to make this a weekly feature on your dinner menu.
Baked crispy chicken thighs pair well with almost any side. I love pairing them with potatoes, like these oven-roasted red potatoes, because the oven is already hot, and we can pop them in at the same time the chicken is cooking! The options are limitless when it comes to veggies, but I especially love baked chicken thighs with a side of green beans and bacon.
Store leftover chicken thighs in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-4 days. Reheat in the microwave or pop them back in a preheated oven for about 10 minutes when you’re ready for seconds.
2. Chicken Vesuvio
High fives all around for easy, one-pot chicken dinners! Chicken Vesuvio really ticks all the boxes when it comes to easy, delicious meals. Crispy chicken, baked potatoes, and a dash of colorful peas make this one of my favorite one-dish wonders.
Serve this lovely dish up with some homemade garlic bread because you know I’m all about sopping up the sauce. And if you feel like a side salad, try this kale salad, which is just as delicious as healthy.
3. Jollof Rice and Chicken
Tomato sauce, paprika, scotch bonnet, and juicy chicken thighs make this West African dish one of my faves. I even like serving this dish for special occasions like holiday dinners.
This dish has it all: rice, chicken, and veggies. But in my humble opinion, adding a loaf of freshly made bread to the mix never hurts! Try this easy no-knead bread, and you’ll see why saucy chicken dishes and bread are a perfect pair.
Store jollof rice and chicken in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four days or in the freezer for three months.
4. Honey Mustard Chicken
Pan-seared chicken thighs doused in a tangy sauce with just a touch of a kick make for an unforgettable family dinner. Moreover, you only need a handful of ingredients to bring this flavor explosion to life.
Serve honey mustard chicken thighs with a wedge salad and some creamy chicken pasta. Adding some easy dinner rolls to the menu doesn’t hurt. Can you tell I’m a bread girl yet? 😆
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge. You can enjoy them for 2-4 days.
5. Coq au Vin
This classic French recipe tastes as bougie as it sounds. Rich red wine sauce, mushrooms, carrots, bacon, pearl onions – ok, let me stop there; my mouth is already watering. Of course, you will definitely go back for seconds.
Coq au vin pairs perfectly with mashed potatoes or even grits. Also, don’t forget the French bread and a nice bottle of wine to complete a cozy, French evening at home.
Store coq au vin leftovers in the fridge. Make sure to use an airtight container and finish up your leftovers in four days or less.
6. Nashville Hot Chicken
Nashville hot chicken is sweet, spicy, crunchy, juicy, and just everything a good piece of chicken should be. You don’t have to travel all the way to Nashville, though; it comes together easily right at home. And, of course, these lovelies are perfect for game night, so you might need to cancel that order of wings.
Nashville hot chicken goes amazingly with pickles and your favorite dip to balance out the spiciness. If you’re feeling fancy, try remoulade sauce because it’s always a party favorite. You could also use this recipe to give a spicy kick to your chicken and waffles if you’re feeling extra adventurous.
Nashville chicken will stay fresh in the fridge for 2-4 days. As always, store it in an airtight container.
Grilled and Smoked Chicken Thighs
7. Hawaiian Grilled Chicken Thighs
Hawaiian grilled chicken thighs will take your taste buds on vacation. They are so sweet, spicy, super delicious, and flavored with pineapple juice, soy sauce, sriracha, and ginger lemon sauce. Moreover, these chicken thighs are literally finger-licking good.
To me, these chicken thighs taste best when paired with my super easy cucumber tomato salad, warm white rice, and some peach iced tea.
Store grilled chicken thighs in an airtight container in the fridge. They’ll stay fresh for 2-4 days.
Stovetop or Slow-Cooker Chicken Thigh Recipes
8. Chicken Thighs with Mushroom Garlic Sauce
When I said chicken thighs are a midweek meal lifesaver, I meant it. These saucy thighs come together in under 30 minutes! They are super quick to make and still feel really elegant with a luxurious sauce featuring mushrooms and garlic.
White rice goes great with this meal, especially since it tastes amazing when you drizzle some chicken sauce over it. 🤤 I also like to add some greenery to my meal with an easy tossed salad.
An airtight container in the fridge is the perfect place for these leftovers. Or keep them refrigerated and consume them within 2-4 days.
9. Moroccan Slow Cooker Chicken Thighs
Who doesn’t love a good slow cooker meal? This simple Moroccan recipe is easy but seriously tasty. Chicken thighs come together with chickpeas, olives, and herb couscous for an unforgettable dinner that can break up your regular recipe routine if you find yourself in a rut.
Definitely pair this meal with Moroccan couscous to keep the exotic theme going. It also pairs perfectly with Mediterranean salads like this chickpea salad.
As always, store leftover chicken thighs in an airtight container in the fridge. Finish off your leftovers in 2-4 days to keep things fresh.
10. Chicken Tagine
This recipe is another Morrocan-inspired dish with chicken thighs, olives, onions, plenty of spices, and preserved lemons. This recipe will make your kitchen smell heavenly, and the salty umami flavor will soothe your soul.
To complete your meal, serve chicken tagine with some steaming white rice, Moroccan Couscous, and flatbread. Oh yes, you’ll need the flatbread to mop up all the delicious juices left on your plate – and yes, I’m speaking from experience. 😅
You can freeze chicken tagine in an airtight container for three months or so or refrigerate it for 3-4 days. Reheat this dish on low heat on your stovetop to make sure it’s just as delicious as the first go-round.
11. Chicken Paprikash
I’ve got this chicken paprikash recipe on my weekly rotation because it’s just that darn delicious. A sour cream paprika-infused sauce makes this dish absolutely delightful.
Serve it up with egg noodles for a stroganoff feel or warm white rice. It also pairs wonderfully with cream cheese mashed potatoes.
You can keep leftover paprikash in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It’ll stay fresh for up to four days.
12. Teriyaki Chicken
This teriyaki chicken recipe is pretty darn close to authentic. It’s so good it will have you passing on Japanese takeout just so you can make your own in the comfort of home. Homemade teriyaki sauce really does make all the difference in this recipe.
Teriyaki chicken works best with white rice, but it’s amazing with fried rice too. Furthermore, I like to serve it with steamed broccoli to get in that serving of veggies.
If you have leftovers (and that’s a big if 😉), then store them in the fridge in an airtight container. You can reheat and enjoy them for up to 4 days.
13. Arroz Con Pollo
Here’s another one-pot meal for the win! Flavorful rice and loads of veggies really balance out the chicken thighs in this recipe. Truly, cleanup is a breeze.
Arroz con pollo is a perfect meal all on its own, but you can always pair it with bread or a salad. Additionally, I like to pair it with Mexican cornbread to keep things interesting (and delicious).
Remember that your leftovers will stay fresh for 3-4 days if you store them in an airtight container in the fridge.
And while we’re on one-pot dishes that are amazing, we can’t overlook the classic Southern jambalaya. Also, it’s a perfect weeknight meal or for guests over the weekend. That’s how good it is, friends.
Pair jambalaya with crusty French bread or some homemade garlic knots. It’s a match made in heaven.
Keep leftover jambalaya in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four days. You can also freeze leftovers for up to three months.
15. Smoked Chicken Thighs
Smoked meats are seriously the best, and chicken thighs – with their already flavorful dark meat – are no exception. This recipe gives chicken thighs a tender texture and just so much flavor. Additionally, a few special sauces make this recipe even better.
Pair your smoked chicken thighs with giblet gravy to create some contrast between the crispy chicken skin and a creamy sauce. On the other hand, you can make a finger-licking-good BBQ sauce for slathering over the finished product. That second option gets rave reviews from my husband every time.
If you happen to have any leftovers (highly unlikely 😆), then pack them up in an airtight container and keep them in the fridge for 2-4 days.
My go-to chicken thigh recipes are paprikash and smoked chicken thighs. Which recipe do you plan on trying tonight? Let me know in the comments.
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