Crispy Chicken Thighs

Perfectly golden and crunchy, and so easy to make, these are a staple in our kitchen.  This basic recipe is easy to multiply, so it's as great for a dinner party as it is for a casual evening.  The simple procedure also works well for chicken breasts or drumsticks.  See "notes" for details.

ingredients

 


Ingredients

• Bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
• Extra virgin olive oil (or canola oil)
• Sea salt (or kosher salt)


Tools & Equipment

• Baking sheet or roasting pan
• Parchment paper or aluminum foil (optional)
• Paper towels
• Oven mitt

Yield

Makes as many chicken thighs as you choose to cook.  (Two per person is usually a good serving size.)

notes

• This recipe will also work for any other bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces you like, such as breasts or legs (aka drumsticks). Follow the same procedure, but note that chicken breasts cook faster than thighs.  (Breasts usually take between 35 and 45 minutes.)  Chicken legs take about an hour to cook.

• For a lower-fat dish, make this recipe with bone-in, skinless chicken pieces.  Either buy skinless chicken pieces or remove the skin yourself simply by yanking it off.  (If the skin is slippery and difficult to remove, use a paper towel to get a better grip on it.)

• If desired, after the first 45 minutes of cooking, carefully remove the baking sheet from the oven.  (Close the oven door promptly – you don’t want the oven to cool down.)  Rest the baking sheet on your stove top or on a trivet.  Using a spoon, carefully scoop up the pan juices and pour them over the chicken pieces (aka “baste” them).  This will help keep the chicken moist and will make the skin extra crispy.  Return the chicken to the oven to finish cooking.

• Allow any leftover chicken pieces to cool, then wrap them up and refrigerate.  Cold, sliced up chicken is perfect for salads or sandwiches.

• Advance prep: If desired, you can arrange your chicken pieces on the prepared baking sheets, drizzle with oil and sea salt, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until you're ready to cook them, preferably later that day.  When you're ready to cook, all you'll have to do is unwrap the baking sheet and put the chicken in the oven.  (It's a good idea to take the chicken out of the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature while the oven preheats.)

instructions


1. Take your chicken pieces out of the refrigerator.  (Letting the chicken pieces sit at room temperature while you set up will warm them up a bit, so they'll cook faster and more evenly.)  Preheat oven to 400˚F.  Line a baking sheet (or roasting pan) with parchment paper or aluminum foil.  Pour a drop of extra virgin olive oil (or canola oil) on the prepared baking sheet and rub it in.

2. Pat each piece of chicken dry with a paper towel. (This will help them to brown better.)  Arrange the chicken pieces in an even layer on the prepared baking sheet, with their skin sides facing up.  (The chicken pieces should fit in a single layer,  no overlapping. If one baking sheet is too crowded, divide the chicken pieces between two baking sheets.)  Drizzle the chicken pieces lightly with extra virgin olive oil (or canola oil) and sprinkle lightly with sea salt.

3. Place the baking sheet in the oven and cook the chicken pieces for 1 hour.  When they're done cooking, the chicken pieces should be brown and crispy, and will have shrunken significantly. (You can tell that the chicken pieces are fully cooked when the juices they've released into the pan become clear and have lost their pinkish hue, or when an meat thermometer reads at least 170˚F when inserted into the chicken thigh.)  When you remove the baking sheet from the oven, take care not to spill any of the hot pan juices.

4. Serve and enjoy!


step-by-step


Step
1

Take your chicken pieces out of the refrigerator.  (Letting the chicken pieces sit at room temperature while you set up will warm them up a bit, so they'll cook faster and more evenly.)


Step
2
Preheat oven to 400˚F.


Step
3
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.

Pour a drop of extra virgin olive oil (or canola oil) on the prepared baking sheet...
...and rub it in.

Step
4
Pat each piece of chicken dry with a paper towel.  (This will help the chicken pieces to brown better.)
Arrange the chicken pieces in an even layer on the prepared baking sheet, with their skin sides facing up.  (The chicken pieces should fit in a single layer, no overlapping.)

Step
5
Drizzle the chicken pieces lightly with extra virgin olive oil (or canola oil).
If desired, use your fingers to rub in the oil so it coats the chicken pieces evenly.  (Wash your hands as soon as you're done.)
Sprinkle the chicken pieces lightly with sea salt.

Step
6

Place the baking sheet in the oven and cook the chicken pieces for 1 hour.


Step
7

 

After 1 hour, carefully remove the baking sheet from the oven.  Take care not to spill any of the hot pan juices.

The chicken pieces should be brown and crispy, and will have shrunken significantly.
You can tell that the chicken pieces are fully cooked when the juices they've released into the pan become clear and have lost their pinkish hue, or when an meat thermometer reads at least 170˚F when inserted into the chicken thigh.  (Still not sure?  You can always carefully cut into one of the larger chicken pieces to see if it's still raw inside.  If it's cooked, then they should all be done.)

Step
8
Serve and enjoy!

 

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